In a world of professional sports, it's usually a blessing when you have a unique name that's easy to remember. Guys like Jordan, Tyson, Maradona, or Senna are immediately recognizable, but others are not that fortunate. However, even they had it better than guys and girls with very unlucky names that deserved them a place on our top ten list!
10. Scott Speed
Many artists, like musicians or actors, change their names to sound better. However, "Speed" is Scott Speed's real surname! Moreover, it sounds almost perfect for a guy who spent most of his life as a professional racer. Although he was indeed speedy and won multiple open-wheel championships, Speed was super-slow when he got the chance to drive Formula One.
Even though he drove 28 races in two years, the American had exactly zero titles, zero wins, zero podiums, and zero points! His Toro Rosso team was among the worst in competition, to be fair, but he also couldn't beat his teammate. The second season was even worse, as Speed failed to finish seven out of ten races and was replaced with the future world champion, Sebastian Vettel. Speed later established himself as a successful rallycross champion, but his failing at the crucial moment of his career will haunt him forever.
9. Fat Lever
While we thought about including 6'7" Purvis Short on our list, we ultimately decided that he can't beat NBA legend Fat Lever. If you're asking why sane parents would call their kid Fat, the answer is, they didn't! Lever's real name is Lafayette, but not many people know that he is Fat since childhood!
The irony of his name/nickname is that Fat was actually very slim. At the peak of his career, he was 6'3" and only 170 lb point guard for the Denver Nuggets. Even decades after he stopped playing, he kept his elegant figure, serving as an example of how to stay in decent shape. Oh, and Fat got the nickname from his brother, but it didn't have anything to do with his size. Instead, it was just that it was easier for him to call him Fat that Lafayette!
8. Frank Brickowski
Being known for shooting bricks might be the worst thing that could happen to an NBA player - just ask Nick "The Brick'' Anderson. However, unlike the former Orlando Magic player, Brickowski didn't have to do anything to earn his nickname. Playing as center and power forward, Brickowski was best-known for his aggressive play against Dennis Rodman in the 1996 NBA finals against the Bulls dynasty. Yet, that wasn't enough to stop him.
Brickowski was a role player, but by no means he fired bricks. On the contrary, his career shooting average is 52%, as he was one of extremely rare excellent three-point shooters among big men, especially later in his career. He wasn't bad from the line either, scoring three out of four attempts. And yes, "Brick" was indeed his nickname.
7. Gary Speed
Gary Speed is a legend of Welsh soccer and the English Premier League. As a quality midfielder, Speed has played almost 700 games for well-regarded teams such as Leeds United, Everton or Newcastle. What made him so good was his versatility, work rate, and leadership. Moreover, his great conditioning allowed him to play until he was 39.
Still, as you've guessed it, Gary Speed was never speedy. Although he wasn't among the slowest, you surely wouldn't expect him to make crucial runs! Unfortunately, despite being very successful and admired, Speed committed suicide in 2011, caused by depression.
6. Robbie Savage
Welsh Robbie Savage spent most of his soccer career in the English Premier League as a midfielder. Even though he was a member of Manchester United, he never played a game for the team. However, he had a few successful seasons in Leicester, Birmingham, and Blackburn. With Leicester, he won his only trophy, League Cup.
Savage had a pretty nasty reputation, as he always claimed that he was getting booked because of his surname. By the end of his career, he collected 89 yellow cards, a Premier League record! Still, he wasn't really a savage. Even though he played professionally for almost 20 years, Savage was sent off only twice! In both cases, many experts claim that he was unfairly punished. So yeah, while Savage was a dirty player, he wasn't a wildman.
5. Kevin Muscat
When we say "muscat," you probably think about excellent muscat wines and the scents of this grape variety often present in perfumes. It's delicate and elegant, but these aren't the words to describe Kevin Muscat. Unlike Robbie Savage, the Australian soccer international was often violent as he earned a nickname "the most hated man in football."
Once he arrived in England in 1996, Muscat quickly made his mark by causing a brawl that included a record 21 players! Not only was he booked almost 150 times in his career (with 13 red cards), but the Australian had also injured many players, including legends like Cristophe Dugarry and Craig Bellamy. Many have called Kevin Muscat the dirtiest player in history, and it's hard to argue against it.
4. Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito had a long career and was even a Pro Bowler, but you'll never see him on Madden NFL cover. Playing as a guard, Incognito quickly became notorious for his dirty ways, including illegal tackles or punching his rivals. However, his teammates were also not safe, as he earned suspension after bullying one of them. Incognito was involved in several bizarre incidents, including going mad at the funeral house after his plea to cut his father's head didn't go through.
There is nothing incognito about this man, not only because of his wild temperament. Someone who is 6'3" and 325 lb could hardly not be noticed! Hopefully, he will skip further shenanigans dangerous to himself and other people.
3. Terry Butcher
When you're a center back, the Butcher name might just work for you. Terry Butcher is an old-school former English soccer player who never played for some of the top teams in his home country. Despite that, Butcher represented England at three World Cups, once reaching the semifinals. In 1986, he was one of the players desperately trying to stop Maradona from scoring what will become "A goal of the century" in one of the most controversial games ever.
So, is Terry Butcher a butcher? Not really, though one time, he looked like that. In a match against Sweden, Butcher was drenched in blood after a clash of heads. His shirt was all red, but that level of hardness made him a fan favorite. Not to say that he didn't have his fair share of hard fouls, but nothing that would make him stand out.
2. Dennis Wise
Dennis Wise was a soccer player and a Wimbledon captain, a team known then as "Crazy Gang." As the club was full of wild personas, including Vinnie Jones, they desperately needed someone sensible to lead them. Unfortunately, Dennis Wise wasn't wise enough. Moreover, he was usually the one making trouble!
The highlight of his erratic behavior came in the middle of the nineties when he was often red-carded for aggressive tackles and swearing. In 1995 he was even sent to prison after attacking a taxi driver in London. Luckily for him, the three-month sentence was later overturned. However, his worst was yet to come. In 1998-99, Wise missed an astonishing 15 matches because of multiple suspensions. He was even accused of biting a Real Mallorca player, though miraculously, he wasn't charged.
1. Adolf Hütter
Like his famous countryman (you know who we are talking about!), Austrian Adolf Hütter succeeded in Germany. But lucky for everyone, this Adolf only wants to conquer the world of soccer. Hütter was a decent player, but apparently not good enough for German Bundesliga. However, in Austria, he won three titles with GAK and even reached the UEFA-Cup final.
As a coach, he was more successful, winning Austrian and Switzerland titles before finally moving to Germany, as a coach of Eintracht Frankfurt. As for his name, Hütter admits that he can't be a hundred percent happy about it, so his friends and family call him Adi. Adolf got his name after his uncle, who tragically passed aged at only 27. Even though his parents weren't sure about that, his grandmother insisted they should do it.
As we've learned on our top ten, all of these athletes have unfortunate and hilarious names, though it doesn't seem it has affected their careers. Well, if Adolf Hütter could keep his despite coaching and playing in Austria and Germany, maybe we can all learn to love our names!
What is your favorite athlete with an unappropriated name or nickname? Have we missed someone? We're eager to hear your opinion in the comments!
Cover photo: Classic Retro Football Shirts
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