The NBA is littered with great nicknames. The Big Fundamental. Larry Legend. The Stifle Tower. Vinsanity (which was so great it spawned a bastard child -- Linsanity). The Truth. Rain Man. The breadth of quality nicknames extends to even lesser-known guys like Marcin Gortat (The Polish Hammer). Given the plethora of fun and witty nicknames across the league, why isn’t there more contempt for Stephen Curry’s "The Baby-Faced Assassin"?
The Baby-Faced Assassin is terrible. It's a nickname whose most conspicuous function is to describe Steph’s face. That's not genius. That'd be like if every time I stepped on a basketball court all the other fellas called me the Black Haired Baller. That’s ridiculous. Let's stop being ridiculous. Stephen Curry needs a better nickname. He's the best player in the NBA and its reigning MVP. He just dropped 51 effortless points on the Wizards and followed that up by telling jokes with President Obama in the White House. The guy is king of the basketball planet -- we can't just compare him to an infant and call it a day.
People of the internet, let’s mobilize to find Steph a better nickname. Let's prove that the collective might of the World Wide Web is good for more than posting cat videos and stalking former classmates that got attractive (Hey, Fatima, shout outs if you're reading this!). Let’s create Stephen Curry -- basketball savant -- a nickname more representative of his mind-bending talents, something more hyperbolic, something that rolls off the tongue.
(Or at least something that doesn't compare him to a toddler.)
But before we jump in, it's important to be informed of what makes a nickname iconic.
The following is a guideline to help you create a worthwhile NBA moniker (Note: The nickname does not have to adhere to all 12 rules, but ideally, consideration should be paid to more than one.):
Rule 1) The nickname should be apropos of the player's physical traits. The Wilt Chamberlain/Anthony Davis rule.
Chamberlain was really tall so they called him Wilt the Stilt. Anthony Davis is The Brow because he only has one brow. Simple enough.
Rule 2) The nickname should pay homage to the player's origin or place of employment. The Giannis Antetokounmpo Rule.
The Greek Freak is a reference to Giannis’s home country and his freakish ability. With a name as great as Giannis Antetokounmpo, I’m not sure why he even needs a nickname. Maybe people can't pronounce Giannis Antetokounmpo. (It took me 10 tries to type "Giannis Antetokounmpo" correctly. Let's stick with the Greek Freak.)
Rule 3) The nickname can't be short-sighted -- nicknames must be cool even when the player is dead. The Nick Young/Dwyane Wade rule.
When was the last time someone said the word "swag?" Swaggy P is going to be the Blackberry of nicknames in another two years. "What? You still use 'swag'? What is it, 2009?" And poor Dwayne Wade. He used to be Flash, but after his game slowed, Jalen Rose took to calling him "Flashes." Terrible foresight.
Rule 4) When possible, the nickname should rhyme. The Earl Monroe rule.
Earl the Pearl is fun to say. And it reminds people of pearls, which are shiny. People like shiny.
Rule 5) Nicknames can't be self-appointed. The Kobe Bryant rule.
As far as I can tell, Kobe Bryant woke up one day and started telling people to call him Black Mamba. Sorry, Kobe, it doesn't work that way. Nicknames aren't like job titles on LinkedIn. You can't just arbitrarily throw a bunch of impressive sounding words together and expect people to believe it's you.
Rule 6) The nickname should reaffirm superiority. The Lebron James rule.
He's King James, NBA royalty. He is better at basketball (and life) than you.
Rule 7) The nickname can't be cheesy. The Karl Malone rule.
The Mail Man? Because he always delivers? I remember in the '97 Finals when the whole state of Utah didn't get their letters because Malone short-armed the delivery.
Rule 8) The nickname can't just be the player's initial and first syllable of the last name. The Jason Richardson rule.
A lot of forgettable things happened in the early aughts: Friendster, boy bands, the Lakers three-peat (just kidding, Lakers fans!) and nicknames that used the first initial of a player and half his last name. That's how we got so many D-Wills, T-Macs and J-Riches. We can do better.
Rule 9) The nickname should connote the ability to do the humanly impossible. The Michael Jordan rule.
It should come as no surprise that the G.O.A.T. has one of the best nicknames of all time. He was Air Jordan because he could fly to the rim. Like the Jordan 11s, it's deceptively simple and beautiful.
Rule 10) The nickname should instill fear in opponents. The Kevin Durant rule.
The Slim Reaper sounds like someone that would murder you on a basketball court and also murder you in a dark alley. Be wary of KD if you see him in a dark alley.
Rule 11) The nickname should sound cool when said out loud. The Vince Carter rule.
Half-Man Half-Amazing. Sometimes I say that to myself in front of the mirror in the morning just to get pumped up for the work day. Try it!
Rule 12) The nickname can't have the word "baby" in it. The Stephen Curry rule.
I don't hate "the Baby-Faced Assassin." I just don't think it works. The word "baby" doesn't lend itself well to an NBA nickname because it's soft and cuddly. There's no menace in it. No one outside of an unsuspecting new father is afraid of a baby. Also, "baby" and "assassin" cobbled together makes me think of an infant stabbing someone. That's a thought I shouldn't have to have while watching people play basketball.
There you have it, people. Now that you know the 12 rules of good NBA nicknaming, do your best to be the one that creates the moniker that will follow Stephen Curry's transcendent career.
Note: "The Splash Brothers" is not Stephen Curry's nickname. It's the nickname of the Curry-Thompson duo. I think we can all agree that Steph is good enough at basketball to not have to share a nickname.
Note 2: As RichieZ23 reminded me in the comments below, "Chef Curry" is Steph's other nickname. That one's not bad, but hits too close to James Harden's "cooking" action. What would Lil' B think?