The name game


What’s in a name? When it comes down to it, a name is just letters. A name doesn’t necessarily define who we are as people, but it can be a great first impression. This is especially true in the world of sports, where names are remembered forever.

Most sports names aren’t special, but the person behind the name can make a plain name legendary. Take Michael Jordan for example; it isn’t a fancy name whatsoever. Because of Jordan’s greatness, his name has become a worldwide brand. Hank Aaron is another plain, but legendary name. His longtime reign as the homerun champion of baseball made Hank Aaron a great name.

Not every athlete is remembered as the greatest of all time, but in some cases, the name stands out the most. One of the best names in recent sports history is held by an NFL running back: BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The long, and rather professional name earned the former New England Patriot the nickname “Law Firm.” It’s not an intimidating name, but absolutely catches the attention of fans around the NFL.

There are names though which aren’t the least bit intimidating. Roland “Rollie” Fingers is one of these names. If I didn’t know who Fingers was, I’d assume he was a middle-aged ice cream man. Never would I guess he was an MVP, Cy Young Award winner, and seven-time All-Star, but that’s exactly who Fingers was in his 17-year pitching career.

A few other soft sports names include Milton Bradley, Guy Whimper, and Dick Butkus.

Bradley, a former outfielder for eight different professional baseball teams, shares the same name as an American board game company.

Whimper is currently an offensive tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but his name says he shouldn’t even consider contact sports.

Finally there is Butkus, who owns possibly the worst name not just in sports, but also in the history of mankind. Despite the terrible name, the former Chicago Bears linebacker is considered one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history.

At Lasell, the men’s basketball team features a student-athlete who possesses what I consider the greatest name known to man: Logan Liberty. The surname, Liberty, is the definition of America. The given name Logan is the same as Wolverine’s in X-Men. Essentially, Logan Liberty is a six-foot-seven patriotic superhero.

Okay, it’s ridiculous for me to take athletes’ names literally. If that were the case, Dick Butkus would not be the best visual. Names are an identity, as is the number worn on the back of a jersey. But a name doesn’t define an athlete. It’s the career and achievements that define the name.