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20 Best Current NBA Player Nicknames

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Best NBA Nicknames of Current Players

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA announced they were thinking about putting nicknames on the back of specific player's jersey for one of the four games between the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets. This is an awesome, yet awful idea, but it also go me thinking about which current NBA players have a good enough nickname to warrant being placed on the back of a jersey.

Normally, nicknames are earned and not self-given, unless you’re Kobe Bryant. When one does obtain a nickname, it should be special and meaningful, something you can take pride in. But sometimes a person obtains a nickname from doing something stupid too.

When you hear a nickname, it should automatically trigger an image of the person it represents. If not, then you know it’s not a good nickname. Nicknames like “Magic”, “White Chocolate”, “Agent Zero”, “Dr. J” or “Air Jordan” are recognizable by not the hardcore NBA fans, but also the causal ones as they are linked to iconic players.

But not all nicknames are exciting or convey a sense of accomplishment. A few that come to mind are: Deron Williams (DWIll), Chris Paul (CP3), Dwight Howard (D12), Tracy McGrady (T-Mac) or Kevin Garnett (KG). They’re all unique nicknames, but other than being great Twitter hashtags, they don’t invoke anything special when hear them.

With lots of NBA players currently having nicknames, it was difficult find the 20 best, but I think I did. Check out my Top 20 and let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Mathew Muncy is an Indiana Pacers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMuncy, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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20. Black Mamba

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant is, arguably, the NBA’s deadliest player. He strikes with such force and speed, like a black mamba, that no one can stop him. It’s also the reason he earned the right to nickname himself.

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19. King James

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Lebron James was crowned “King James” before he even won a championship. But now that he’s won back-to-back titles, he’s earned the nickname.

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18. Air Congo

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Serge Ibaka is from the Republic of the Congo and due to his athleticism and speed, he gets serious air when dunking or blocking a shot. Joining the "Air" family should be a huge honor for Ibaka.

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17. The Truth

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Pierce earned his nickname after nearly being stabbed to death and then putting on a 42-point performance against the Lakers. After the game, Shaquille O’Neal told a reporter that Pierce was “The f*cking Truth”.

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16. Iggy

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Iguodala was given the nickname “Iggy” during his childhood. He apparently hates the nickname and wants everyone to stop using it. Iguodala wants to be known as “Dre”, which is lame. Honestly, it’s going to be hard to stop calling him Iggy after all of these years.

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15. Birdman

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Anderson earned his nickname during his Summer League days because he used to fly around the court grabbing rebounds, blocking shots and dunking. The bird flew the coop there for awhile, but he stormed back into the NBA last season and unleashed his inner Birdman once again.

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14. Super Lintendo

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

You could say “Linsanity” was a bigger nickname for Jeremy Lin, but he wasn’t the original “sanity” so I went with his other nickname. Super Lintendo plays on Lin’s Asian heritage and the fact that what he was doing on the court with the New York Knicks two years ago could normally only be accomplished in a video game.

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13. Super Mario

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With a name like Mario, it’s pretty hard not to reference the famous video game maestro. Luckily Mario Chalmers has lived up to the nickname and even portrayed his alter ego during the Miami Heat’s “Harlem Shake” video.

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12. Durantula

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant is long, lean and feared. This fitting name was given to Durant by J.E. Skeets of the Ball Don’t Lie blog on Yahoo. The nickname was so awesome that Durant got sued for a trademark violation despite the fact that he never actually used the name.

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11. AK-47

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

I know I said nicknames that were just a combination of a players name, initials, and that numbers were lame, but Andrei Kirilenko's is too awesome to pass over. Kirilenko has worn the number 47 his entire NBA career, his initials are AK, and he was born in the same town where the AK-47 was manufactured in Russia. Nicknames don’t get more perfect than that.

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10. Jesus Shuttlesworth

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Ray Allen played a high school basketball player in the movie “He Got Game” and his name was ... wait for it … Jesus Shuttlesworth. The name stuck, thanks to his NBA teammates, and he has since worn it with pride.

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9. Red Mamba

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

You have to be a special player to earn the nickname “Mamba” and even more special to have it given to you by the original Mamba. Kobe Bryant referenced to Matt Bonner as the “Red Mamba” (because Bonner is a ginger) during an interview. Bonner’s three-point shooting is Mamba-like, which helped earn a trip to the Three-Point Contest last season.

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8. Windy City Assassin

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Most common is DRose, but that’s lame. So when you heard Stacy King call him the “Windy City Assassin,” you knew it was meant to be.

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7. The JET

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

No, Jason Terry isn’t a pilot, but he does like to run around the court airplane style. “JET” comes from Terry’s initials, Jason Eugene Terry. No, he is not related to Kenny "The Jet" Smith.

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6. Bostrich

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve ever seen Chris Bosh, then you will know how long his neck is and how he resembles a raptor or ostrich. I’m pretty sure only non-Heat fans call Bosh the “Bostrich”, but it’s a pretty funny and a rather dead-on nickname.

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5. Vinsanity

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Vince Carter was given the original “sanity” nickname along with “Air Canada” during his time with the Toronto Raptors. His high flying dunks, especially during the 2000 dunk contest, made him a household name and it's safe to say “Vinsanity” will live on forever.

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4. The Matrix

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Smith gave Shawn Marion the nickname “The Matrix” during Marion’s rookie season because he was so athletic and he was able to play and defend multiple positions.

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Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Standing Tall and Talented, that’s where the acronym STAT comes from. Amar'e Stoudemire was given the name in high school and it followed him to the NBA. The nickname held up while Stoudemire was in Phoenix, but not since he moved to New York.

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2. Manimal

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Kenneth Faried is part man, part animal. He so happens to resemble Animal from the Muppets. So when his friend suggested the nickname “Manimal,” he knew it was perfect.

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1. Born Ready

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Lance Stephenson was given the nickname “Born Ready” by Bobbito Garcia who was an announcer at Rucker Park. Garcia said he watched Stephenson play and dominate against any age group and knew he was just "Born Ready".