Inspired by, and in homage to, this decades long legacy of doing God's work, there hereby follows the second Tremendous Basketball Player Names Tournament Bracket, featuring basketball players of different sizes and calibre, of players both current and retired, male and female, from all around the globe. The question we ask here, as always: which name is better?
To give some context as to the standards we hope to achieve here, the inaugural Basketball Player Names Tournament was won by Steeve Ho You Fat, who beat Grienntys Chief Kickingstallionsims in a tense final. Standards are high. Dreams are bigger.
As can be seen in the full draw above [click to fully expand], the bracket accords with the March Madness tournament bracket style, except arguably with less arbitrary divisions for the regionals. Things of note:
* No consideration is given to a player's current status. Some are long since retired, and some never even went pro. Yet it matters not - if you were a basketball player to an organised standard (e.g. college, its equivalents, and above), whose existence, career and name can be found, you count. Anything college and above is sufficient, although this does mean high schoolers and recreational players are not permissible, which is bad news for fans of Sean Sohappy, Tommy Ghost Dog and Rocky Three Irons the world over. But you gotta have rules, even if I do bend and outright break them later on.
* The age cut-off limit is slightly arbitrarily set at 17, due to anything less than that being impossible to verify. This is bad news for fans of Spanish team Unicaja Malaga, who boast in their youth ranks a 13 year old named Golden Dike. When the story of the hilarity of his name breaks in American media in a few years, remember that you heard it here first.
* All names are verifiably true via other internet resources, and links to such are given where necessary. In one instance, there exists only one reference to the person on the entire internet. But it will do. Play along.
* Little consideration is given to how names are actually pronounced. The only criteria used is how the name looks like it would be pronounced by a particularly ill-informed English speaker.
* What constitutes a 'better' name is entirely in the eyes of the voter only. Vote with your own criteria. Different strokes for different folks. The only demand is that names are judged on names alone, irrespective of the skills, life, times and career of the players to whom they are attached.
* The depth of research that went into this is mildly disturbing, but there is always the chance good names have been missed. If you know of a great name not listed in either this pool or the other one, email it in to email@example.com.
* This tournament follows the NCAA tournament bracket style, save for the abolishment of play-in games, because, duh.
* There is no condescension here. We love the names and thus we love the people behind them. There may be occasional amazement as to how such names came to pass, but it is not ever intended to be derogatory. Give me the esoteric over the bland all day. (Also, my own name is basically Dirty Penises, so I have no room to talk.)
* Seedings are somewhat arbitrary and open to much conjecture, as is unavoidable, but were determined via consultation with others (who I supposed you could term a selection committee). Amin Elhassan of ESPN.com, who enjoyed the first incarnation more than anyone should ever really enjoy anything, was not of much use at all really.
To the matchups!
The Name Is The Window On The Soul Regional (a tenuously cobbled-together group of players whose names either contain anything that could be conceived as vaguely descriptive; the regionals get less tenuous later on!)
(1) Chastity Gooch v (16) Ashley Awkward:
Awkward, a one time WNBA player and financial consultant who who wants to fatten up Allen Iverson, boasts an awkward surname and the always beneficial use of alliteration. But she surely stands little if any chance of the 1 v 16 upset against Gooch, one of the best players in female college basketball, who sports all three of a tender body part, a belt and a former England cricket captain in her name. If you don't know where on the body the gooch is, then guess, and you're more than likely within a few inches of being right.
Chastity Gooch or Ashley Awkward?
(8) Arthur Pervy v (9) Jackie Bedwell
Pervy, a young player in the Greek second division, has one of the most unlikely Greek names ever inflicted on a Greek man. As for Bedwell, I currently live in a place called that, and it's still funny to me. And hopefully also to Jackie, a one time British national team coach and former London Towers player. Good for her. Good for me. Good for you. Good for everyone.
Arthur Pervy or Jackie Bedwell?
(5) Fantasy Jenkins v (12) Epiphanny Prince:
One of the greatest names in sports belongs to USA international volleyball player, Destinee Hooker, but long and hard efforts to find any evidence of her ever playing a competitive standard of basketball so as to be eligible for this competition proved unsuccessful. Nevertheless, former Life University forward Fantasy Jenkins channels her quite closely, and it is hard to sound much more like an aspiring model than she has managed. WNBA star Prince, meanwhile, clearly yearns for a more existential appreciation of monarchic being and introduces us to a world where the concept of religious enlightenment is in play, which is something.
Fantasy Jenkins or Epiphanny Prince?
(4) Calamity McEntire v (13) Mike Smelkinson:
McEntire is a daughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend, coach, teacher, recruiter, goofball, and follower of Christ, an assistant coach at Arizona who previously played a couple of years at Eastern Oklahoma State College. (It's fragile, maybe, but read the rules in the opening.) Smelkinson is the head coach at Harford Junior College and played himself at Division 3 school St. Mary's Maryland. His name sounds like what kids in the playground might call the particularly pungent token stinky child, Michael Wilkinson. Every playground has a Mike Smelkinson.
Calamity McEntire or Mike Smelkinson?
(6) Gerald Fonzie v (11) Urban Rat
Former Stephen F. Austin guard Fonzie is profiled in more depth here by a staff writer who somehow exhibited the discipline to not make a Happy Days reference at any point. Not even a shark jumping joke. Rat, the only Slovenian on this list, is a young guard currently playing for Vrani Vransko whose name is also graffiti, and probably a gang somewhere.
Gerald Fonzie or Urban Rat?
(3) Joo Suk v (14) Dennis Dunker
Given that this is basketball, semi-professional German player Dennis, whose nickname appears to be Sir Bump-A-Lot, is one of the more aptly named players around, alongside Jordair Jett, Shaquille Duncan and Adonis Jordan. [On that subject, British national team player and one time NBA draft pick Spencer Dunkley named his son "Slam", which is a tremendous effort on his part, but unfortunately Slam took up cross country running instead of basketball. Thanks a LOT, Slam.] As for Joo Suk, he is a former player of the Seoul SK Knights in South Korea, and although his full name is Joo Il Suk, I dropped the middle part for effect. I realise Korean names do not work in this way, but artistic license is employed.
Joo Suk or Dennis Dunker?
(7) Genesis Lightbourne v (10) Lekan Somefun
Lightbourne is a former Iowa State player and current bodybuilder whose name is not only biblically relevant but also has a great cadence. Former Grace College star turned businessman Lekan Somefun played several professional seasons in his native Holland, and his name suggests he is much less religious. And that really is how he spells it.
Genesis Lightbourne or Lekan Somefun?
(2) Corperryale L'Adorable Harris v (15) Benjamin Bangard
You will have heard of Corperryale L'Adorable, even if you don't think you have, for that is the real full name of NBA player Manny Harris. You won't have heard of Bangard, a player from Mauritius who likes a good scrap, but by God you know what he's about. You can bangand or you can bangome.
Corperryale L'Adorable Harris or Benjamin Bangard?
Body Parts And Famous People Regional
(1) Pee-Wee Gash v (16) Ronny Micock
Gash, a one time Tennessee player, combines crude euphemisms for both male and female genitalia in his name and thus can be considered the ultimate combo guard. Micock, a player in the Seychelles of all places (there really was no stone left unturned in researching this list), is a bit more simple in his genitalification.
Pee-Wee Gash or Ronny Micock?
(8) Picasso Simmons v (9) Tiago Casanova
A slightly more artistic battle here, and certainly more poetic and workplace friendly than the tempestuous and childish battle above. Simmons scored ten points in four years for Murray State before presumably going on to develop a career in being a terrible painter who tried to pass off the results of powerful hallucinogenics as art. [Pablo Picasso's legacy still needs explaining to me, because I don't get it.] Meanwhile, the young Portugese pro Casanova has what is possibly the sexiest name in basketball. Much sexier than Pee-Wee Gash, to be sure. There's always two dates if your name is Tiago Casanova. She might have hated you on the first one, but even then, with that name, she'll want to like you.
Picasso Simmons or Tiago Casanova?
(5) Harvey Knuckles v (12) Genevieve Hyman
Hyman isn't all that uncommon of a nickname, as famously evidenced by US swimming medallist Misty Hyman. There is also a basketball player called Travis Hyman from Bowie State who has made it all the way up to NBA summer league level. Nevertheless, Hyman is a particularly tough sell as a surname on a lady for obvious biological reasons, so one time NC Central forward Genevieve Hyman takes the fall here. Harvey Knuckles, the 39th pick in the 1981 NBA Draft, sounds about as rock hard as it is possible for one man to sound. You wouldn't mess with a man called Harvey Knuckles.
Harvey Knuckles or Genevieve Hyman?
(4) Baskerville Holmes v (13) Willie Sweat
Two solid names here requiring a bit of knowledge, one quite poetic and high brow (literary fact: The Hound of the Baskervilles was the fourth Sherlock Holmes book written) and one considerably less so (terminology fact: in my country, the willy is a slang term for a man appendage). Note that like all participants, Baskerville, despite how sad and tragic his story is, is hereby judged on name alone.
Baskerville Holmes or Willie Sweat?
(6) Mark Asses v (11) Tracey Moustache
Nothing clever going on here. Just some good old fashioned body parts, one optional, one plentiful.
Mark Asses or Tracey Moustache?
(3) Nelson Mandela v (14) Sydney Smallbone
If your surname was Mandela, you'd name your son Nelson, and every other male relative in the family would be called it too. Fair enough, I guess. But that doesn't make this all that much less unlikely. If your surname is Smallbone, though, nothing really helps, so you might as well be alliterative. And a girl.
Nelson Mandela or Sydney Smallbone?
(7) Koomson Hitla v (10) Zach Stalin
Information on the Ghanian college player Hitla is so scarce that I can't even be sure which way around his name goes. But what I do know is that the matchup against 6'5 240lb NAIA power forward Stalin was entirely an accident of seedings and was not in any deliberate manipulation on my part. In related news, I lied to you just now.
Koomson Hitla or Zach Stalin?
(2) Thankgod Moses v (15) Marvin Gay
Nigerian professional Thankgod had parents clearly did not observe his semi-namesake's eleventh commandment, "thou shall really properly double check spelling and grammar on thine birth certificate, because thou only gets one shot at it and thy kids shall not suffer for your mistakes". Similarly, multi-year USBL player Marvin Gay came up just one E short of parody. Although I guess it's one way to know that he's not actually the singer Marvin Gaye. (Another good way to tell the difference between them would be to find out which one is dead.)
Thankgod Moses or Marvin Gay?
First Name Makes No Difference Regional
(1) Phyllis Mangina v (16) Jan Moritz Overdick:
Mangina is a legend at Seton Hall, having played and then coached there for many years. Nonetheless, she might well be better known for her surname, which records a whopping 142 separate entries on urbandictionary.com, all of them fictional, and none of which are particularly endearing. Meanwhile, German prospect J-Mo looks a bit like Kristen Stewart during her postmodernist elf era, and has no entries on urbandictionary.com, although we can readily imagine what one might say.
Phyllis Mangina or Jan Moritz Overdick?
(8) Tyrone Manlove v (9) Starr Breedlove
There's a lot of love in this matchup, some biblically sanctioned, some not. I don't intend to influence this or indeed any vote, but just know that if the higher seed prevails here, the world becomes that much more accepting of homosexuality. So in essence, an eternity of bigotry and segregation rides on the outcome of this ostensibly meaningless competition. So no pressure there or anything.
Tyrone Manlove or Starr Breedlove?
(5) Elvis Old Bull v (12) Chris GooGoo
Elvis Old Bull Jr was a player at NAIA school Rocky Mountain College, and the son of Indian basketball great Elvis Old Bull Sr. (Elvis has another son called Gavin playing at Little Big Horn College, but that's not as fun. More on that institution later.) Three part names are always fun to me, especially those derived with Native American origins, but as 5 v 12 matchups go, there is upset potential in the form of former British professional player Chris GooGoo, who apparently liked his first words on this Earth enough to stick with them for eternity.
Elvis Old Bull or Chris GooGoo?
(4) Peter Jurkin v (13) Keene Cockburn
Keene Cockburn is what you get if you do too much Peter Jurkin.
Peter Jurkin or Keene Cockburn?
(6) Young Gi Bang v (11) Irene Flapper
As is often the way with Korean names, English translations of them tend to offer some variation in quite how to organise the syllables. Personally, I'm hoping that when he is drafted in 2016, we can go for Bang Young Gi. [A reminder once again of what was said in the opening - it doesn't matter how a name is actually pronounced, only how it looks like it might be to an English speaker with no worldly linguistics knowledge.] Flapper, who played two decades of professional European ball, is also apparently a type of headpiece.
Young Gi Bang or Irene Flapper?
(3) Dave Poon v (14) Mark Gayman
Our condolences go out to one time minor leaguer Mark, who perhaps more than everyone else on this list has had to spend so much time explaining to (and hearing unwanted feedback about) his name. Unfortunately, I should think it highly unlikely he gets even the mild consolation of a first round victory in an online name bracket tournament for his troubles, as he finds himself here in a very difficult matchup against the immortally named Dave Poon, a man with ruthless simplicity on his side. Or should I say "men" - the best part is, there are two Dave Poons.
Dave Poon[s] or Mark Gayman?
(7) Leo Goes Ahead v (10) JoJo Longalong
Remember Gavin Old Bull from above? Leo Goes Ahead is his teammate. And JoJo Longalong, OBVIOUSLY, once played for a team called Power Horse Energy Drink, because of course he did. An enjoyable matchup with real depth here.
Leo Goes Ahead or JoJo Longalong?
(2) Marshall Cabbagestalk v (15) Martin Gotthardt
Martin Gotthardt is a Czech player of several seasons. Good for him. Now let's deal with Marshall, a guard from Coker College and the closest thing this tournament has to the previous tournament's D'Awvalo Turnipseed. It seems self-evident that Marshall's name, some how and some way in some time likely far away, stemmed from some farming related thing somewhere. Most names have some bizarre industry-based origins somewhere. But why Cabbagestalk? Who once saw a cabbage and saw fit to name himself, his family and his legacy after it? And which is it supposed to be, anyway? Is it Cabbage Stalk or Cabbages Talk? How many syllables are we dealing with here? Are we dealing merely with a boring biological fieldnote that cabbages have stalks (they do!), or the inane archaic ramblings of a man who once either wondered whether or wished that cabbages can talk (they do not)? And more immediately, when I searched the internet for basketball players with 'cabbage' in their name, what else could I have done with that time?
Marshall Cabbagestalk or Martin Gotthardt?
First Name Makes All The Difference Regional
(1) Fonda Dicks v (16) Harlee Wood
Fonda Dicks is a legendary female player and coach who, despite internet legend, did not marry a man named Randy Peters. As for Harlee Wood.......I see what you did there. Fair play to your parents.
Fonda Dicks or Harlee Wood?
(8) Wyatt Skunk Cap v (9) D'Olajuwon Swanks
High school player Swanks (I bent the rules a bit, shut up) has such a fine cadence and rhythm to his name that it doesn't even really matter if you don't get the reference in the first bit. This is often the case with names that feature a four syllable first name and a one syllable second name: see also, Horatio Kane, Jamario Moon and Penelope Keith. Wyatt Skunk Cap, another Little Big Horn College player, counters with a three parter including two random nouns. It's a strong matchup in what will be seen to be certainly the strongest regional of the entire bracket.
Wyatt Skunk Cap or D'Olajuwon Swanks?
(5) LaShawn Medicine Horn v (12) Dick Ricketts
Another random double-nouner here in Medicine Horn, a Dakota Wesleyan basketball player and high jumper who appears to rock out the full name with pride. Good for her. Former NBA player Dick Ricketts tries to counter with a genital/disease pincer movement, but LaShawn's combo is strong in its uniqueness.
LaShawn Medicine Horn or Dick Ricketts?
(4) Squirtisha Moore v (13) Dane Bacon
A salute to Hastings College player Dane Bacon for embracing the word play in his name. (It would really help right here if you knew what Danish bacon was.) He could have hidden behind something else, but he didn't, and that is the correct way. One time basketball player turned track runner Squirtisha Moore has few options for concealing her name, unfortunately.
Squirtisha Moore or Dane Bacon?
(6) Man Sze Wong v (11) Lady Grooms
There is no "i" in Sze, and no "a" in Wong, but you get the idea. As for Lady Grooms, the former WNBA player continues Lady Comfort's legacy from the first installment of ensuring a player in each bracket whose name sounds more like a hygiene product, but the regality of the forename restored any lost dignity.
Man Sze Wong or Lady Grooms?
(3) Ivana Mandic v (14) World B. Free
The policy this tournament holds towards nicknames is that if they are so regularly used so as to be the main way to refer to the player, they are accepted as the player's name. This is what allowed for Spongy Benjamin to make the strong showing that he did in tournament number one, and although the one time Lloyd Free actually changed his legally a long time ago, he would have sufficed due to this rule anyway. As for Ivana, she somewhat moved away from the Austen Powers-y nature of her birth name by revising it to Ivi Mandic, but for our purposes here, it matters not how she masks or pronounces it.
Ivana Mandic or World B. Free?
(7) Deejay Lazy Boy v (10) Volkan Dik
Somehow, both of these are completely real.
Deejay Lazy Boy or Volkan Dik?
(2) Majestic Mapp v (15) B.J. Battle
Majestic, a former Virginia guard and former All-American, is the brother of Scientific Mapp, who made a terrific run to the Final Four of the initial tournament (losing only to eventual winner Steeve Ho You Fat) after being criminally underseeded at a lowly #10. Lesson learned - Majestic is in at #2. This is bad news for B.J. Battle, Columbus State guard and a man who definitely did not win the bidding on his own URL name. I checked so that you don't have to.
Majestic Mapp or B.J. Battle?
Voting for the first round closes at midnight Sunday night Pacific time, or 3am Monday morning Eastern. Vote now, and spread the word. If not for me, do it for Marshall Cabbagestalk.