Pistol Pete: How a skinny white guy revolutionized basketball
A-O!!! That’s pronounced like “Hey Yo,” but with a street slang accent. That’s also not a greeting or slang term, in fact it’s a nickname, just like Hot Sauce, Skip To My Lou, and The Professor. Yup, they’re some of the biggest players from the And-1 Street Ball Tour you may have heard of.
Despite the non-existent rules of carry or travel, they were wizards with the ball. They dazzled the crowd and broke they defenders’ ankles, literally, but besides being street ball players, what do they all have in common? They wouldn’t have been who they were without “Pistol” Pete Maravich – whose awesome nickname belongs among the all-time great names:
Clyde Drexler – “The Glide”
Clyde The Glide just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? A silky smooth nickname such as this, deserves to go to a silky smooth player, much like Drexler was. It really is a match made in heaven. (Source: Twitter)
Brian Cardinal – “The Custodian”
Most sports fans won't have any idea who the hell Brian Cardinal is, and why would you? He averaged under 5 points a game for his career, and was just a tall white guy. But his nickname, "The Custodian", is an ALL TIME nickname. He was such a grinder that did all the dirty work for the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks, much like a custodian does. Love this guy. (Source: Twitter)
Tim Duncan – “The Big Fundamental”
If you don't like Tim Duncan, well then you're just a loser. Was he a boring basketball player? Yeah, he was, but he was a winner and the kind of guy I would want on my team. The bank was always open for Timmy, and he did everything the right way. Hence the name, "The Big Fundamental." (Source: Twitter)
Allen Iverson – “The Answer”
The original cornrows rocking, shooting sleeve wearing NBA player, Allen Iverson is one of my all time favorite players. He had more swagger to him than really any athlete I can remember, and having a nickname like "The Answer" is as cocky as it gets, and I wouldn't want it any other way with him. (Source: Twitter)
Magic Johnson – “Magic”
Earvin Johnson's nickname represented his game more so than any athlete ever, "Magic." Some of the passes he would make just made your jaw drop, and although he wasn't known for his shooting, he could make a big shot when called upon. He made his teammates better, and brought showtime to Los Angeles. The guy truly was magic. (Source: Twitter)
Darryl Dawkins – “Chocolate Thunder”
This is one of my all time favorite nicknames, because it's freaking awesome. "Chocolate Thunder" is a nickname that means business, much like Dawkins did on the hardwood. I wish I had a nickname like "Chocolate Thunder." (Source: Twitter)
Deion Sanders – “Prime Time”
If he wasn't on a team you cheered for, you probably hated Deion Sanders because he was such a cocky player that you just wanted to slap upside the head. But for how much the dude talked, he backed it up, and showed up when the lights shined the brightest during the biggest games. Therefore, a nickname as cocky as "Prime Time" fits him perfectly. (Source: Twitter)
Johnny Manziel – “Johnny Football”
Manziel's pro career may have not turned out so good, but the dude was a legend in college, being the first freshman (redshirt) to ever win the Heisman, with a large part of that coming from the "Johnny Football" nickname. You don't have a nickname that cool and not be an awesome quarterback, while also having more fun than any college athlete ever. Johnny Football, what a guy. (Source: Twitter)
Julius Erving – “Dr. J”
Nicknames don't get much cooler than "Dr. J", that's basically the pinnacle of nicknames. Everyone knows you're cool, and probably really good at basketball, both of which Julius Erving was. And for what's it's worth, his afro was as cool as his nickname. (Source: Twitter)
Fred McGriff – “Crime Dog”
I absolutely love everything about Fred McGriff's nickname of "Crime Dog", because I absolutely have no idea what it's even in reference to. Crime Dog? Like what the hell does that even mean? My response is who cares, because it's freaking awesome. (Source: Twitter)
Gordie Howe – “Mr. Hockey”
That's right, I'm showing hockey some love here. Now I'm not really a Redwings fan at all, and Gordie Howe was way before my time, but I mean come on, he has an awesome nickname. "Mr. Hockey" is the stuff of a legend, they literally made him the face of hockey because he was so unbelievable at it. (Source: Twitter)
Doug Martin – “Muscle Hamster”
Much like Fred McGriff's nickname, I love Doug Martin's, because it just so outrageous. "Muscle Hamster" is such a ridiculous nickname, that if you don't like it you're just a lame person. I am all about the Muscle Hamster. (Source: Twitter)
Hideki Matsui – “Godzilla”
Yes, I'm a big time Yankee fan, and yes I loved Hideki Matsui, and his baller nickname of "Godzilla". It's such a killer nickname because everyone knows you've got some serious bat power with a name like that, which he did. Plus, Godzilla is way cooler than King Kong, he's a gigantic fire breathing dragon type monster, better than some stupid ape. (Source: Twitter)
Joe Namath – “Broadway Joe”
Let me start off by saying this, Joe Namath was one of the most overrated football players of all time, that's a fact. But the guy had the swagger, moxie, confidence, and handsome face I want in my quarterback. And with a nickname as cool as "Broadway Joe" it's basically the quarterback you want to lead your team to a Super Bowl. So yes, his nickname was awesome, he was cool, but he was overrated. (Source: Twitter)
Calvin Johnson – “Megatron”
I never really got into Transformers, because I think it's for nerds, but "Megatron" is one of the coolest nicknames to ever grace the sports world. Calvin Johnson was an absolute freak on the gridiron, and could do things that basically only a transformer could do, hence the awesome nickname. Transformers are still for nerds though, regardless of how cool Megatron is. (Source: Twitter)
Marshawn Lynch – “Beast Mode”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r18lHPDMNFE...also if you don't like Marshawn Lynch then you're a terrorist. (Source: Twitter)
Matty Ryan – “Matty Ice”
While it sucks for Matt Ryan that he lost the Super Bowl in devastating fashion, not all his lost because he's on this list because of his awesome nickname of "Matty Ice." People say it's because he's clutch and what not, but everyone knows it's because he use to pound Natty Ice in college. See guys, famous people are just like us. (Source: Twitter)
Pete Maravich – “Pistol Pete”
I don't know much about Pete Maravich to be honest, other than he was pretty awesome at basketball, at least from what I've heard. And for my money, you don't have a nickname like "Pistol Pete" and not be an awesome basketball player. Gotta love seeing a white guy on the hardwood with a sweet nickname. (Source: Twitter)
Paul Pierce – “The Truth”
I wish Paul Pierce was still on the Celtics, but hey things happen. Anyways, his nickname of "The Truth" is one of my favorite nickname in all of sports. It's a nickname that let's people know you're the real deal at your respected sport, which he was (he's old now), plus it suits him so perfectly, because he is the truth. Anyone that takes it to Lebron in the playoffs is the real deal, and Pierce did numerous time. The Truth! (Source: Twitter)
DeMarcus Cousins – “Boogie”
I bet most people don't even realize that DeMarcus Cousins' first name is DeMarcus, because basically everyone calls him "Boogie" now. It's kind of like the whole Magic Johnson thing, not many people know Magic's first name is Earvin. He may be a total head case, but Boogie Cousins is my guy, and has a sweet nickname. (Source: Twitter)
Unfortunately this writer is way too young to have witnessed him play, but highlights on YouTube are not fairytales. They’re real. If you haven’t watched any of his highlights, you’re gonna want to check them out. He was amazing. He revolutionized the game. He changed what it meant to be a point guard and the rules of ball handling and passing.
SEE ALSO: C-3PNO – Why Chris Paul isn’t an elite point guard
Pistol was Magic Johnson before Magic, he was the And-1 street team before the tour, he was Kyrie Irving before Kyrie! If you yourself have ever done a behind the back pass, or dropped off a pass between the legs, then you are channeling your inner Pistol, not Steph Curry or Chris Paul.
The only thing flashier than the Pistol himself was maybe his iconic mop-top hair. But don’t get it twisted; this 6’5 scrawny white dude could ball. Besides being a masterful passer and ball handler, he could flat out score.
Before his pro days, he had one of the most prolific scoring runs ever, averaging 43.8, 44.2, and 44.5 points per game in three years at Louisiana State University. He even scored 50 or more points in 10 of LSU’s 31 games his senior year. Say it with me, BALLER!
His scoring woes didn’t stop in college, oh no, they transferred over to the pros. In the 1976-77 season, his best season, he averaged 31.1 ppg and scored 40 or more 13 times, including a 68-point effort against Walt Frazier and the New York Knicks.
So next time you lace up your kicks and step on the hardwood or blacktop and you decide to make a pass behind your back or through your legs, don’t call out Magic or Curry, instead, yell out Pistol!