The 10 Greatest Nicknames in Michigan Sports History
The announcers don't come up with snappy nicknames like they used to. How could Barry Sanders never have a nickname?! Bye-Bye Barry.
We have had some great nicknames here in Michigan. Here is the top 10.
10) Jerome "The Bus" Bettis. He became the Bus at Notre Dame but Jerome Bettis played high school football for Detroit Mackenzie. He and his brother used to sell crack in Detroit to make ends meet. Later in his life, he would win a Super Bowl in his hometown.
9) Mark "The Bird" Fidrych. He was the Rookie of the Year for the Tigers back in 1976.Plus, a 2 time All-Star pitcher. It's better to burn out than face away and he had a brief but stellar career with Detroit.
8) Aurelio "Señor Smoke" Lopez also known as "The Vulture of Tecamachalco." Juan Berenguer also had this name but I heard George Kell say it first. Aurelio died in a car accident back in 1992, he was 44.
7) "Mr. Big Shot" Chauncey Billups. "The Answer" is a GREAT nickname. The question... Why would the Pistons trade Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson? Mr. Big Shot won a title with us back in 2004 and was Finals MVP. The Answer didn't do much of anything in Detroit. Chauncey had his #1 retired by the Pistons back in 2016.
6) Thomas "Hitman" Hearns. What a great nickname for a fighter. He also went by the "Motor City Cobra."
5) "Megatron" Calvin Johnson. The best Lions receiver EVER. Best Lions nickname EVER! Second best Lion ever behind Barry Sanders.
4) George "Sparky" Anderson. He managed the Tigers to the World Series back in 1984. He became the first manager ever to win the World Series in both leagues.
3) "The Brown Bomber" Joe Louis. Where is this movie? First of all, the name sounds like someone who leaves a mess behind in a bathroom. But could he hit you so hard you crap your pants? Does the Pope crap in the woods? Yup. Joe Louis wasn't orginally from Detroit, his family relocated here after being chased out of Alabama by the KKK. His grandparents were slaves. He also broke the color barrier in golf playing in a PGA event back in 1952. He was the first black hero in America.
2) "Mr. Hockey" Gordie Howe. Considered to be the one of the greatest of all time and the most complete player ever to play hockey. Fun fact: A Gordie Howe hat-trick is a goal, an assist and a fight.
1) Earvin "Magic" Johnson. How can I not have a guy from Lansing #1? Seriously, you could just say Magic and people know. The greatest point guard ever got his nickname from Fred Stabley Jr, a writer for the Lansing State Journal.