15 Famous Athletes Who Changed Their Name

15 Athletes Who Changed Their Name Mid-Career

DONTE WHITNER
USA Today Sports

Donte Whitner threatened to change his name to 'Donte Hitner' in 2013. It ultimately never worked out for the hard-hitting safety, but you have to admit his new name would have been pretty catchy.

But unlike Whitner, here are 15 famous athletes who did in fact go ahead with their name change. Some just wanted to, others did it for religious reasons. Let's take a look:

1. Maybyner Rodney Hilário - Nene

Nene
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1. Maybyner Rodney Hilário - Nene

Nene

The PF decided to adopt his childhood nickname of 'Nene' (baby) back in 2003 to make things simple and to do his best Pele impression.

2. Bobby Moore - Ahmad Rashad

NBA Europe Live Off-Day/Practice - Rome
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2. Bobby Moore - Ahmad Rashad

NBA Europe Live Off-Day/Practice - Rome

The Viking great and former NBA sideline reporter was Bobby Moore prior to converting to Islam.

3. Chris Jackson - Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

MAHMOUD ABDUL-RAUF
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3. Chris Jackson - Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

MAHMOUD ABDUL-RAUF

Just like Rashad, Chris Jackson became Mahmoud Adbul-Rauf because of religious beliefs.

4. Mark Duper - Mark Super Duper

Mark Duper on the line
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4. Mark Duper - Mark Super Duper

Mark Duper on the line

You can't make this stuff up. The former Dolphins receiver Mark Duper went the extra mile back in 1985.

5. Jim Hellwig - Warrior

Warrior
WWE Facebook

5. Jim Hellwig - Warrior

Warrior

The late, great Ultimate Warrior was so committed to his character that he changed his legal name of Jim Hellwig to 'Warrior'.

6. Eldrick Woods - Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods
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6. Eldrick Woods - Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Who in the heck is Eldrick Woods? Oh, just the most famous golfer of all time before his legal name change to Tiger.

7. Mike Stanton - Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton
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7. Mike Stanton - Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton

No, Mike and Giancarlo are not two different people.

8. Johan Santana - Ervin Santana

Ervin Santana
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8. Johan Santana - Ervin Santana

Ervin Santana

Don't mess with the Johan. There was already a famous Johan Santana in MLB, so the now Braves pitcher opted for the first name of 'Ervin'.

9. Marvin Hagler - Marvelous Marvin Hagler

Hagler v Hearns
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9. Marvin Hagler - Marvelous Marvin Hagler

Hagler v Hearns

Here's a case of nickname turned real name. At least it flows.

10. Akeem Olajuwon - Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon
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10. Akeem Olajuwon - Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon

Not much of a major change here, but Akeem sure looks a heck of a lot different than Hakeem.

11. Walker Smith Jr. - Sugar Ray Robinson

In The Ring With Ray
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11. Walker Smith Jr. - Sugar Ray Robinson

In The Ring With Ray

The former boxing champ was born with a normal name, but died with one of the best names in sports history.

12. Cassius Clay - Muhammad Ali

Training Ali
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12. Cassius Clay - Muhammad Ali

Training Ali

Cassius Clay was on the rise in the 1960s when he too converted to Islam. Now, Muhammad Ali is arguably the most well-known athlete of all time.

13. Chad Johnson - Chad Ochocinco

BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 7: Wide receiver Chad Johnson #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals stands on the field prior to game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 7, 2008 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens won 17-10. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
Getty IMages

13. Chad Johnson - Chad Ochocinco

BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 7: Wide receiver Chad Johnson #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals stands on the field prior to game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 7, 2008 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens won 17-10. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

Regardless of what this guy's name is -- he's still a moron.

14. Ron Artest - Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

14. Ron Artest - Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace

There's not a lot about MWP on the basketball court that says peace, but hey, give him credit for trying to spread a positive message.

15. Lewis Alcindor - Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
USA Today Sports

15. Lewis Alcindor - Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Lewis Alcindor was a basketball champion himself. Kareem Abdul Jabbar would go on to reach heights that very few in NBA history have.


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