[Voting is now over. Go to ROUND TWO.]
In compiling a scouting database, hopefully to be launched in June time, I have spent a lot of time rooting through rosters of basketball teams all around the globe. And while this website and the subsequent database are to be completely serious – this website is one man’s CV, after all – I would be lying if I denied that all this trawling had uncovered some awesome player names along the way,
Funny names are funny, and the idea of bracketing a bunch of them is not new. The Name of the Year competition started back in 1983, before the author of this bracket was even a sperm, and that baton has been passed to new ownership, who last year awarded Leo Moses Spornstarr the 2013 winner of the world’s ultimate accolade. Inspired by, and in homage to, this decades long legacy of doing God’s work, there hereby follows the first definitely-not-going-to-be-annual Ridiculous Basketball Player Names Tournament Bracket, featuring basketball players of different sizes and calibre, of players both current and retired, male and female, and professional and amateur, from all around the globe.
|(Click here for full size version)|
As can be seen above, 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.
* 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.
* Names considered but which ultimately did not make the cut include Bak Bak, Courtney Van Beest, Duany Duany, Duke Crews, Dustin Dibble, Fab Melo, Four McGlynn, Isaac Butts, Jordan Noblitt, Marc and Myles Loving, Matt Haryasz, O.J. Mayo, Scooter Gillette, Tommy Gunn and Wanaah Bail.
* Seedings are somewhat arbitrary and open to much conjecture, as is unavoidable, but were created via consultation with others (who I supposed you could term a selection committee). Some of this consultation came with my girlfriend, who, if she had her own way, would anoint Ebenezer Noonoo as the winner without any need for a competition and have done with it. She laughed at that name for about four hours. Additionally, The Starter’s Trey Kerby helped formulate the final selections, for he is the sole arbiter of comedy.
To the matchups!
THE “WHAT THE HELL?” REGIONAL
(1) Grienntys Chief Kickingstallionsims v (16) Indiana Faithfull:
In what’s expected to be a typically landslidey 1 v 16 matchup, former Alabama State centre Kickingstallionsims – currently playing professionally in Saudi Arabia – matches up against current Wofford backup shooting guard Faithfull. Faithfull might win some votes from Hoosier fans, yet the outstanding novelty value and unrelenting length of the Chief’s fearsomely long name surely reigns supreme.
(8) God’sgift Achiuwa v (9) Hippolyte Tsafack:
Backup St. John’s big man Achiuwa faces down backup Memphis big Tsafack in a delicate battle of two college basketball players only their own team’s fans have ever heard of. Achiuwa comes from Nigeria, a country so densely populated with people who understand a brilliant name when they see it that they had the temerity to vote for a president named Goodluck Jonathan, while Tsafack, a Cammeroonian, has a first name that basically means “queen with a magic girdle”. Achiuwa wins the higher seeding on account of the arbitrary and redundant use of the apostrophe in his name.
(5) Solomon HorseChief v (12) Urule Igbavboa:
HorseChief, a one time guard for Pacific University, wins points for both the absurdity of his surname and the random capital letter employed halfway through it. Igbavboa, a Valparaiso graduate currently playing in Germany’s top division, wins points for the sheer magnanimity of his first name. You rule too, Iggy.
(4) Exree Hipp v (13) Vonteego Cummings:
Longtime NBA guard Vonteego Cummings and his unique name will be known to most of us, yet the insaneness of it is not to be forgotten. As if his ejaculatory surname was not sufficient, “Vonteego” was (genuinely) created as a portmanteau of two cars, a Volkswagen and a Montego, surely the only such person on this list to be named after a mode of transport. However, Hipp’s name, which is pronounced exactly as it looks like it is, might scratch an even rarer itch. The one time Maryland forward and long time Globetrotter must surely be the only player alive whose full name is a medical procedure.
(6) D’Awvalo Turnipseed v (11) Qavotstaraj Waddell:
D’Awvalo, a former guard for Division 3 Huntingdon College, is in fact only one of a number of Turnipseeds in basketball today. A quick search reveals fellow ballplaying Turnipseeds Justin, Willis, Will, Brock, Dmitri, Thad, Dante, Taylor. Keith, Lee, Brittney and Monet, all of whom sound a bit like farmers in a kids TV show. Meanwhile, former Chattanooga, Maryland and multiple time ABA centre Waddell had parents who clearly did not know where to stop. Nor, apparently, where to begin.
Former Texas Tech guard and Canadian national team member Nurse boasts the results of the hitherto little used “stick three random nouns together and see what happens” approach to child naming, which is to be lauded at all times. Meanwhile, Perth Wildcats guard U’u channels God’sgift Achiuwa’s random apostrophe usage, and in the end creates a surname that an Eric Cartman exclamation.
(7) Ruben Boumtje Boumtje v (10) Lazabian Jackson:
Boom Boom, a well known NBA veteran, beat out Bak Bak and Duany Duany for the honorary so-good-they-named-him-twice place on the list, mostly on account of that obvious and perfect nickname that it spawns. Arkansas Pine-Bluff guard Jackson should probably always go by “Laz.”
(2) Patrick Willybiro v (15) Galal Cancer:
Willybiro, a one time Prairie View guard, spent a few seasons playing semi-professionally in France, where it is unclear how many citizens were aware his name was an amalgamation of a genital and a writing implement. Whereas Cornell guard Cancer is no doubt fully aware that everyone sees the problem with his.
THE “SURNAMES THAT HAD NO CHANCE AT LIFE” REGIONAL
(1) Steeve Ho You Fat v (16) Jose Antonio Alcoholado:
The infamous Ho You Fat, for whom no explanation of his name has ever been uncovered, continues to play his trade in his native France, where not nearly enough people will recognise why his name is hilarious. Meanwhile, Alcoholado, a bit part player in the fourth division of Spanish basketball, has a two pronged pincer movement of a surname – in addition to the obvious alcohol reference it offers, his name “Alcoholado” translates from Spanish as “a cow with skin darker around the eyes than on the rest of its body.”
(8) Gregor Fucka v (9) Dennis Fuckner:
An important if entirely NSFW showdown here between long time veteran Fucka and little known German minor league backup guard Fuckner, for the ultimate F*ck battle. Fucka might lose a couple of points on account of the issue-dodging that went on during his proposed move to the NBA roughly a decade ago, when executives and media alike scrambled to find a way to avoid the obvious cuss word. Just say it how it should be said, there is no alternative. Remember Danny Shittu.
(5) Lior Lipshits v (12) Rudy Gay:
The funny nature of Gay’s name should not be forgotten just because of how famous it is. We run the risk of using it so often that we forget the potential it offers, and how, should he ever join Minnesota, the timeless Gay-Love pairing would be created. However, Gay may struggle here in a matchup with Israeli national team point guard Lipshits, whose name is sometimes spelt Lipschitz, but not always.
(4) Brianne Boner v (13) Cathy Cockrum:
Two female players with male genitalia in their names go head to head here, and yes that head pun was deliberate.
(6) Moran Shitrit v (11) Mike Lovercheck:
Shitrit, another female player, is a former Israel under-19 national team player whose name is perhaps not as rare as you might imagine. In contrast, Grace University guard Mike Lovercheck is surely the only man alive with that name, a theory Google affirms.
(3) Ghyslain Fanny v (14) Jonas Minges:
There is remarkably little information about Fanny, whose name is sourced from this 2008 blog post about the struggles of the Mauritius men’s national team. [The level of research for this post can best be described as “emphatic.”] Slightly more is known about 21 year old Swedish guard Minges, a former national u-18 team member who furthers his chances by playing for a team called Hogsbo.
(7) Kara Bonenberger v (10) Stanley Titsworth:
A former Missouri Southern guard, Titsworth’s name is simple in its delivery and effective in its humour. Yet it struggles to compete with Bonenberger, a current Pennsylvania forward, whose full name sounds like the ideal service offered by your local car breakdown cover company.
(2) Chris Porn v (15) Barbora Homolova:
THE “BRILLIANT FIRST NAME CHOICE” REGIONAL
(1) Just-in’Love Smith v (16) Austen Powers:
Powers, a former Seattle graduate with six years of professional experience around the globe, was born in 1987 before the comedy character of the same name, yet ought not be penalised for this. Even then, he will struggle to pull the upset on former Siena guard Smith, whose impeccably contrived forename wins his parents bonus points for sheer temerity.
(8) Fat Lever v (9) Fabulous Flournoy:
Lever’s given name here is merely a nickname derived from the constant mispronunciation of his given name Lafayette, yet creates a snappy two-word phrase that could plausibly pass off as a necessary piece of equipment for anyone so overweight they need to be shoehorned out of a car seat. Flournoy, well known to us Brits as the long time player-coach of the Newcastle Eagles, has no need for such fakery.
(5) Jordair Jett v (12) Semen Antonov:
His surname is already a fantastic surname that is hard to misfire with, yet in naming their son Jordair, Jett’s parents have created the ultimate in basketball player names. Conversely, Semen Antonov’s parents did not create the ultimate in basketball player names. They created Semen jokes.
(4) Deuce Bello v (13) SirValiant Brown:
Brown was a huge name at the turn of the century, partly after being ranked second in the country in scoring as a freshman, and partly because his name was SirValiant Brown. Current Missouri guard Bello is in no danger of leading the country in scoring, yet his name offers multiple reasons for kinship – “Deuce” is an oddly chosen nickname, masking his real name of Quddus Tosin, a name given to him by his mother, Bummy Bello. No, really. Bummy Bello.
(6) Dominitrix Johnson v (11) Nick Quick:
Not Nick van Exel, but a former UC-Santa Barbara guard whose name really was Nick Quick. Cool name, Nick. Meanwhile, former Three Rivers junior college guard Johnson often used to go by “Dom”, but no one was fooled. Embrace your name, says this hypocrite.
(3) Spongy Benjamin v (14) Soren Wanke:
The former Volklingen Baskets guard’s name describes both an action and its after-effects, while the former Marist forward was presumably particularly water absorbent in his childhood.
(7) God Shammgod v (10) Scientific Mapp:
The legendarily named Shammgod faces a legit upset chance in the form of Mapp, the former Florida A&M guard who, along with his brother Majestic Mapp, brought the funny name game to a new level in the late 1990’s. There is literally no justification for either of these names, and that’s from where the fun comes.
(2) B.J. Banjo v (15) Staats Battle:
Most names with B.J. in are funny, for reasons you should definitely ask your grandparents about the next time you see them in person. Yet B.J. Banjo, a former ETSU guard, takes the issue to a whole new level with her name by combining those initials with the name Banjo. Something for everyone there, or everything for someone if that someone is Steve Martin. NC State guard Staats Battle, meanwhile, gives hope to ballhogs everywhere – his name is their way of being.
Incidentally, there is a third player called B.J. Battle, a guard currently at Columbus State, who merits more than a passing mention here. Unfortunately he will have to be content with a passing mention.
THE “COMPOUNDING THE PROBLEM” REGIONAL
(1) Gang Wang v (16) Storm Clonch:
Clonch is a weird name which on its own sounds somewhere between onomatopoeic and vaginal, and adding Storm to it compounds any bizarreness. However, Chinese Basketball Association veteran Gang Wang will be tough to beat in this regional. Wang is a very common Chinese name, despite its alternative meaning in American English, yet to pair it with Gang in this way is first class.
(8) Hunter Dick v (9) Sharkeysha Midgette:
Midgette, a former player at UNC-Pembroke, may try to pronounce her name to rhyme with Jimmer Fredette or Penn Gillette, but naturally we’re not listening to that possibility and are deciding she is called Sharky Midget. The fact that Hunter Dick is only good for an eighth seed here shows the tremendous strength of this stacked regional.
(5) Chubby Cox v (12) Girts Puke:
The long since retired former NBA player Cox has the born name John, yet opted to play via the name Chubby, which should earn all of our respects. Meanwhile, according to the Urban Dictionary, “girt” means either big or sexy, neither of which is doing Latvian minor leaguer Mr Puke any favours here.
(4) Lady Comfort v (13) Deverin Muff:
It is hereby hoped that “Deverin” is pronounced the same way as “diva in,” and the very possibility that it might be serves as a reminder to all Mr and Mrs Muffs out there not to name your children anything that ends in the syllable “in.” However, great of a name that he has, Eastern Kentucky forward Muff stands little chance against the powerhouse name of former Temple centre Lady Comfort, whose name sounds like a sanitary product.
(6) Cookie Belcher v (11) Chop Tang:
Long time pro Belcher spurned his given names Segado Cortez in favour of Cookie, apparently preferring to ply his trade under the guise of a dyspeptic Sesame Street character. Meanwhile, former North Mexico Highlands big man Tang has decided to compound the sexual imagery of his surname with violent overtones. Or, if you’d prefer, a nice pork dinner. Tang is currently in prison on bank robbery charges, so we’re worried about which it is.
(3) Karolina Puss v (14) Conrad Sexe:
Division 3 St John’s Minnesota big man Sexe manages to combine a funny surname with a powerful first name that implies the level of manliness you can only hope his surname delivers. However, his chance is surely a long one against Polish professional player Karolina Puss, whose name sounds like a Petey Pablo album.
(7) Dick Packer v (10) Dallas Ennema:
Packer, the President of the American Basketball Association and brother of the much more well known Billy Packer, is a former Lehigh guard whose name probably doesn’t need explaining. As for University of Albany guard Dallas, no name is going to do much to change the fact you are Mr Ennema, but wouldn’t as inconspicuous as possible be the aim here?
(2) Ebenezer Noonoo v (15) Randy Duck:
In my country, a country in which Randy Duck played several professional seasons, “randy” means “horny.” A randy duck is thus a duck who wishes to do adult duck stuff to other adult ducks, which is both a fun image and a great name. However, underappreciated though he is, Duck will have a hard time against Noonoo, a former Illinois-Chicago guard whose first name is an MDMA reference and whose surname is either a vacuum cleaner or a girly part. Even without the references and standing solely on its audible merits, Ebenzer Noonoo is a brilliant name, and perhaps the greatest number two seed in the history of anything ever bracketed.
A google search reveals that the phrase “Duck will have a hard time against Noonoo” has never been typed before in internet history. This is the fun we are having.
[Voting is now over. Go to ROUND TWO.]