Last weekend was the 12th edition of my family’s annual Cowboys Weekend (read: 40 family friends using a Cowboys game as an excuse to get drunk and yell “let’s go Cowboys” in thick Indian accents as loud as they can). For the first time in years, we chose a Cowboys game that started at 3:15 p.m. instead of at noon. The three extra hours of tailgating did not turn out to be a good idea.
After stumbling into Texas Stadium a few minutes before the game started, my friend heard the play-by-play announcer talk about recently rechristened Bengals wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco. My friend started yelling that Ocho Cinco was the most ridiculous name he had ever heard and that the announcer was an idiot. A large, slightly inebriated lady wearing a Chad Johnson jersey told my friend to shut up. He gazed in her direction, tried to sober up and failed.
After a brief screaming match consisting of the lady yelling “Who DEY?!” and my friend looking really confused and yelling “Who DEY?!” back, we were quickly approached by a burly security guard. I convinced him that the lady was really drunk and just angry that she had to buy a new jersey. He laughed and decided against kicking us out of the stadium.
So in honor of Chad Ocho Cinco almost ruining the best weekend of the year, my column today will be devoted to the best names in sports history.
World B. Free: Originally Lloyd Bernard Free, he became known as “World” because of his ridiculous vertical (44 inches!). He now teaches basketball in inner-city Philadelphia and works as the 76ers’ community relations director. He’s helping the World B. Free.
Coco Crisp: The Red Sox center fielder is officially named — wait for it — Covelli Loyce Crisp, explaining why his great grandmother shortened his name to “Co.” His sister, in a flash of comedic genius at the breakfast table, turned “Co” into “Coco,” giving us the first – and hopefully only – professional athlete named after a cereal.
Miroslav Satan: The Slovak hockey player’s name is supposed to be pronounced “Shaw-ton.” Whatever. We all know the Pittsburgh Penguins made a deal with the devil. How else do you explain Sidney Crosby? The five people in the United States who still watch the NHL are anxiously waiting for Satan to be traded to New Jersey. I can hear it now — “Satan scores! The Devils win the Stanley Cup!”
Dick Butkus: Is there another name that just screams football player? Butkus, the best linebacker ever, has one of the strangest collections of post-football jobs: sponsor for the “Qwik Cook Grill,” ex XFL football coach, and referee for WrestleMania. And we thought his name was a joke.
Razor Shines: It’s not even a nickname. Anthony Razor Shines manned first base for the Expos for four years before moving on to his current position as manager of the minor league Clearwater Threshers.
Rusty Kuntz and Dick Trickle: You can’t make this stuff up. Kuntz was an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals in the 1980s while Trickle is one of the most decorated auto racers in American history.
So there you have it. Compared to Kuntz, Free and Satan, Ocho Cinco seems downright tame.