“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” — Juliet.
That may be true for William Shakespeare, but not always when it comes to athletes. Changing the name is common among movie celebrities as they feel comfortable while using their alias names off screen, and it is also very common for many different sportsters.
The world enjoyed when Shahid Afridi became Boom Boom Afridi for his astonishing sixers, or when Shoaib Akhtar was known as Rawalpindi Express for his tremendous bowling speed. But that’s not all; many athletes made their nicknames official in the legal way as they are widely known by their just nicknames. So here is the list of 10 Athletes who are known by different names.
10 Athletes Who Are Known By Different Names[MyAd]
10. World B. Free
This American former professional basketball player who played in the NBA from 1975–1988 was known as the “Prince of Midair”, as well as “All-World”. He and George Gervin battled for scoring titles in back-to-back seasons in 1978-79 and 1979-80 as he burst onto the NBA scene in 1975. He was born with the name Lloyd Bernard Free and nicknamed “World” by his friends during his junior high days in Brooklyn. According to him, “they just started calling me ‘all-world’, because all-city and all-county and things like that weren’t good enough. Finally, they just started calling me World.” On December 8, 1981, he legally changed his first name to World and became World B. Free.
9. Marvelous Marvin Hagler
This legendary retired American professional boxer was undisputed World Middleweight Champion from 1980 to 1987. Marvin holds the highest KO% of all middleweight champions at 78% along with twelve undisputed title defenses. He was also introduced to the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. The International Boxing Research Organisation rates Hagler as the sixth-greatest middleweight of all time. Marvin was born with the name Marvin Nathaniel Hagler, and he legally changed his name to Marvelous Marvin Hagler In 1982 after he got annoyed with network announcers who often did not refer to him by his nickname “Marvelous”.
8. Chad Johnson[MyAd]
This American football wide receiver currently plays Canadian football for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. CNBC listed Ochocinco as No. 1 of “Most Influential Athletes in Social Media” in April 2011. He is a six-time NFL Pro Bowler and was also named to three All-Pro teams. On October 25, 2006, Johnson announced that he would prefer to be called “Ocho Cinco,” which is “eight five” in Spanish, the jersey number he wore. The back of his jersey read “Ocho Cinco” instead of “C. Johnson” against the Atlanta Falcons during warm-ups for the October 29, 2006 game, and then he legally changed his name to Chad Javon Ochocinco on August 29, 2008. After a few years with the new name, including a terrible season in New England, he again changed his name back to Chad Johnson.
7. Mark Super Duper[MyAd]
This American football wide receiver played for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League from 1982 to 1992. Dolphins have their best years while Mark was teamed with Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino and fellow wide receiver Mark Clayton. Duper was into the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll on December 15, 2003. On a different note, He also finished seventh in the 200-meter dash and reached the semifinals of the 100 meters in 1980 Olympic trials. He was born with the name Mark Duper, and during his football days, he was nicknamed as Super Duper for his skills. With the Pro Bowl selections, he also made this name official in 1985.
6. Sugar Ray Robinson[MyAd]
This American professional boxer is frequently cited as the greatest boxer of all time. In 1940, at the age of 19, he turned professional and had a 128–1–2 record with 84 knockouts. Robinson went on a 91 fight unbeaten streak from 1943 to 1951, which is the third longest in professional boxing history. He attempted to enter his first boxing tournament but was told he needed to obtain an AAU membership card first. He could not procure one as he was just 15 years old, whereas the minimum age limit was 18. Walker Smith Jr. became known as “Sugar” Ray Robinson when he circumvented the AAU’s age restriction by borrowing a birth certificate from his childhood friend Ray Robinson.
5. Ahmad Rashād[MyAd]
Ahmad is a former professional football player of Gridiron and an American sportscaster, mostly with NBC Sports. This All-American running back and wide receiver from Oregon was the fourth overall pick in the 1972 NFL Draft. He was also named to the College Football Hall of Fame on May 9, 2007. He was born with the name Robert Earl Moore and was formerly famous with the name Bobby Moore during his early career. Later Moore converted to Islam In 1972, and changed his name to Ahmad Rashād. Ahmad stands for the “Admirable One Led to Truth” in Arabic while his last name comes from his mentor in St. Louis, Rashad Khalifa.
4. Bo Jackson[MyAd]
The famous retired American baseball and football player is the only athlete to be named an All-Star in two major American sports. This multi-talented athlete was also a two-time state champion in the decathlon as he set state school records for indoor high-jump with 6’9″ and triple-jump with 48’8″ In 1982. Bo was born with the name Vincent Edward Jackson as he was named after his mother’s favorite actor, Vince Edwards. His family described him as a “wild boar hog,” as he would constantly get into trouble in his childhood days showing the ferocity and energy of a wild boar. Eventually, this nickname was shortened from boar to “Bo”.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar[MyAd]
This retired American professional basketball player played 20 seasons in the NBA for Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers as a center. He was ‘NBA Most Valuable Player‘ six-times, a record 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection along with NBA All-Defensive Team member for 11 times. This legend was born with the name Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. While attending UCLA in the summer of 1968, he took the Shahada twice and converted to Sunni Islam. He later made his name change official a day after the Bucks won the championship in 1971. In 1998, Abdul-Jabbar or Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar was sued by Kareem because he felt younger Abdul-Jabbar, who played for Dolphins, was sponging off the name he made famous.
2. Muhammad Ali[MyAd]
This former American professional boxer is generally considered among the greatest heavyweights in the sport’s history. He was awarded “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. He was born with the name Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. Due to his boxing career, Clay was initially refused entry to the Nation of Islam. But shortly after he won the Liston championship in 1964, the Nation of Islam was more receptive and agreed to recruit him as a member. Elijah Muhammad declared soon that Clay would be renamed Muhammad Ali. He later announced “Cassius Clay is my slave name,” which created a huge sensation. Ali was converted from the Nation of Islam section to mainstream Sunni Islam in 1975.
This legendary player, who was born on October 21, 1940, is widely regarded to be the best football player of all time. Pelé is the most successful league goal scorer in the world, with 541 league goals, and 1281 goals in total 1363 games. He was also listed in the Guinness World Records for most career goals scored in football. His real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, named after the American inventor, Thomas Edison. He was originally nicknamed Dico by his family, while he received the nickname “Pelé” during his school days. He was nicknamed after his favorite player, goalkeeper of the local Vasco da Gama team, Bilé. Bilé stands in Hebrew for “miracle”, but the word has no known meaning in his mother tongue, Portuguese.
Most of the football players of Brazil are known by their nicknames, and changing name rapidly or using alias names in jerseys is very common in NBA. Throughout the sports world, there are many cases of name changes where some of them use the nicknames because of their incredibly long original names, after they change their names officially or just because they love that name.
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10 Athletes Who Are Known By Different Names
2. Muhammad Ali
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
4. Bo Jackson
5. Ahmad Rashād
6. Sugar Ray Robinson
7. Mark Super Duper
8. Chad Johnson
9. Marvelous Marvin Hagler
10. World B. Free