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Old-School NBA Nicknames

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

Before “The Beard,” there was “The Pearl.” Before “The Claw,” there was “Clyde.” Player nicknames in the NBA have been around forever, with the likes of “The Big Dipper,” “Mr. Clutch,” “Pistol,” “The Dream” and “The Human Highlight Film.” If you’re a longtime NBA fan (think 1970s and 1980s), you’ll enjoy this “old school” Quiz featuring NBA nicknames of the past. Some will be harder than others, of course. Can you give us the nicknames of the following league alums?


1. VINNIE JOHNSON played in the league from 1979 to 1992, primarily with the Detroit Pistons.


2. The late MARVIN WEBSTER played in both the ABA and NBA, from 1975 to 1987.


3.  Considered one of the greatest Boston Celtics of all time, the late JOHN HAVLICEK played from 1968 to 1978.


4. The oft-controversial MARVIN BARNES played in the ABA and NBA from 1974 to 1987.


5. Although he went undrafted, DONALD EARL WATTS played seven NBA seasons, from 1973 to 1979.


6. Hall of Fame player ELVIN HAYES won an NBA title with the Washington Bullets in 1978.


7. WALTER DAVIS played in the league from 1977 to 1992, primarily with the Phoenix Suns.


8. Celtics great CEDRIC MAXWELL, who played from 1977 to 1998, won two championships with the Celtics.


9. ERIC FLOYD played in the NBA from 1982 to 1995. He is best known for his stints with the Warriors and Rockets.


10. JAMAAL WILKES played from 1974 to 1985, winning four NBA titles (three with the L.A. Lakers).



1. Johnson was “The Microwave” because he heated up almost instantly.

2. Webster was known as “The Human Eraser” for his knack for blocking shots.

3. Havlicek was affectionately known as “Hondo.”

4. Barnes as infamously known as “Bad News.”

5. The headband-wearing Watts went by “Skick.”

6. Hayes was well known as “The Big E.”

7. Davis was so fast and sleek, he carried the nickname, “Greyhound.”

8. Maxwell’s nickname was “Cornbread.”

9. Floyd’s nickname was “Sleepy.”

10. Wilkes was so smooth, he became known as “Silk.”

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