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The Boston Celtics have long lead the league in a number areas from championships to Hall of Famers to any number of individual and team records, but when it comes to the greatest nicknames of all time, they have a solid if not overwhelming representation.
At least, that is, in the eyes of our sister site Rookie Wire. In the eyes of the author, the Celtics have 19 players whose “noms de guerre” have earned them a spot in the NBA’s top-100 all-time players nicknames. While we happen to be biased and think there should be a handful more in there for Boston and those that are mostly higher, it’s a well-rounded assessment of some of the best nicknames sported by players across the league’s seven-decade history.
So without further ado, let’s see who fell where for the Celtics on this list (and be sure to check out the full list!).
98. Ray Allen/Jesus Shuttlesworth
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
"Ray Allen famously portrayed blue-chip recruit Jesus Shuttlesworth in the 1998 film “He Got Game,” and the nickname stuck," notes Rookie Wire. "The movie, which starred Denzel Washington, also featured numerous NBA players, including Travis Best, Rick Fox, Walter McCarty and John Wallace."
97. Robert Williams/Timelord
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
"Celtics center Robert Williams boasts one of the best nicknames among current NBA players," suggests Rookie Wire. "Timelord was born when fans on Twitter lampooned media outlets for making a big deal out of missed appointments early in his pro career. Williams wasn’t actually late for those appointments, fans reasoned sarcastically, because he actually controls time and space."
83. Paul Pierce/The Truth
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
"Paul Pierce was bestowed his nickname by legendary big man Shaquille O’Neal," relates Rookie Wire. "After Pierce scored 42 points for the Celtics against the Lakers in 2001, O’Neal pulled aside a Boston reporter to praise Pierce and anoint him as the Truth. Succinct and powerful, the moniker stuck."
81. Cedric Maxwell/Cornbread
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Network.
"Cedric Maxwell received his nickname from college teammate Melvin Watkins after watching the 1975 film “Cornbread, Earl and Me.” Watkins saw a resemblance between Maxwell and NBA star Jamaal Wilkes, who portrayed Nathaniel ‘Cornbread’ Hamilton," relates Rookie Wire. "He won two championships with the Celtics and was named MVP of the 1981 NBA Finals."
72. John Havlicek/Hondo
Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images
"Sticking with a Western theme, John Havlicek got his nickname from a childhood friend who had trouble pronouncing his last name," Rookie Wire tells us, "and thought the future Celtics great carried himself like John Wayne’s character in the 1953 film “Hondo.”"
70. Darko Milicic/The Human Victory Cigar
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
"Darko Milicic is mostly remembered as the journeyman big man who was drafted No. 2 overall by Detroit in 2003 — with Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade still on the board," observed Rookie Wire. "Another player whose garbage time minutes evoked Red Auerbach’s celebratory stogies is Stojko Vrankovic, who played five NBA seasons with the Celtics, Timberwolves and Clippers."
68. Kevin Garnett/The Big Ticket
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
"Kevin Garnett earned his moniker as the first true franchise player in Minnesota Timberwolves history," suggests Rookie Wire. "Garnett went on to win the 2008 NBA championship with Boston and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020."
66. Artis Gilmore/A-Train
AP Photo/Jim Gerberich
"At 7-foot-2, 240 pounds, Artis Gilmore must have looked like a freight train to opponents when running upcourt with a head of steam," posits Rookie Wire. "Gilmore led the ABA in rebounds per game in four of his first five pro seasons, and he later led the NBA in field-goal percentage in four consecutive seasons from 1980-81 through 1983-84."
62. Tommy Heinsohn
AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll
"Tom Heinsohn averaged 18 shots per game over the course of his nine-year NBA career with the Celtics, earning the logical handle Tommy Gun," says Rookie Wire. "That nickname was taken a step further to describe the sound of a Tommy Gun. Heinsohn won eight NBA titles with Boston and later served as the team’s head coach for eight-plus seasons, although younger fans know him better from his long broadcasting career."
56- Stephon Marbury/Starbury
AP Photo/Elise Amendola
"Stephon Marbury was bestowed with his nickname as a youth in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. Whether a fusion of “Stephon” and “Marbury” or a predictor of his future fame, the handle makes sense," observes Rookie Wire. "He played 13 NBA seasons with the Timberwolves, Nets, Suns, Knicks and Celtics, before capping his career with a successful stint in the Chinese Basketball Association."
52. Nate Archibald/Tiny
AP Photo/Fred Jewell
"At 6-foot-1, 150 pounds, Nate Archibald is diminutive by NBA standards. But his nickname actually was handed down within his family," notes Rookie Wire. "He was named to six All-Star squads and won the 1981 NBA title with the Celtics. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991."
43. Tom Sanders/Satch
Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images
"Tom Sanders was tabbed as Satch as an homage to baseball legend Satchel Paige during his youth in New York City," relates Rookie Wire. "Sanders won eight NBA championships in 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics from 1960-73 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011."
39. Bob Cousy/Houdini of the Hardwood
Darryl Norenberg-USA TODAY Sports
"Legendary Celtics point guard Bob Cousy boasted a flashy style at a time when pro basketball was mostly vanilla. That led to his earning a nickname with an homage to noted magician and escape artist Harry Houdini," says Rookie Wire. "Cousy was named an All-Star in each of his 13 seasons with Boston, winning six NBA championships along the way. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971."
35. Robert Parish/Chief
Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images
"Robert Parish was tagged with this moniker by Celtics teammate Cedric Maxwell. And just as Maxwell’s nickname was inspired by a movie (see No. 81 on this list), so was Parish’s. Maxwell reached back to the 1975 film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and likened Parish to Chief Bromden, the hulking, stoic character played by actor Will Sampson," shared Rookie Wire. Parish played 21 NBA seasons with the Warriors, Celtics, Hornets and Bulls, and he holds the league record with 1,611 regular-season games played ... He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003."
33. Larry Bird
USA TODAY Sports
"Larry Bird certainly is Larry Legend, a 12-time All-Star and three-time NBA champion who happened to be one of the deadliest clutch shooters in the history of the sport," notes Rookie Wire. "But his more colorful nickname points back to his rural upbringing in French Lick, Indiana. A three-time MVP, Bird was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998."
26. Pervis Ellison/Never Nervous Pervis
AP Photo/Don Ryan, File
"Pervis Ellison was dubbed Never Nervous Pervis during his time at the University of Louisville, where he averaged 15.8 points per game and helped the Cardinals win the 1986 NCAA championship," suggests Rookie Wire. "Expectations were high after Ellison was drafted No. 1 overall by the Sacramento Kings in 1989. But his availability became an issue, as he was beset by injuries throughout his pro career — leading to a dubious second nickname, Out of Service Pervis. Ellison averaged 9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game during his 11 NBA seasons with the Sacramento, Washington, Boston and Seattle."
22. Pete Maravich/Pistol
Dick Raphael-USA TODAY Sports "Pete Maravich took the razzle-dazzle of Bob Cousy and raised it to another level at the point guard position. One of the sport’s greatest showmen, Maravich brought newfound creativity and improvisation to the game with no-look passes, circus-style moves and ultra-slick dribbling skills," offers Rookie Wire. "The nickname Pistol was first applied to Maravich in high school by Jerry McLeese, a sportswriter at the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina. The moniker followed him to a record-setting collegiate career at LSU and 10 brilliant NBA seasons with the Hawks, Jazz and Celtics. Maravich, who even wore “Pistol” on the back of his jersey at times, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987."
20. Gary Payton/The Glove
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
"Gary Payton earned his nickname as a tribute to his impeccable defensive skills," shared Rookie Wire. "It’s said that Payton’s cousin once told the SuperSonics legend that he was holding talented Suns point guard Kevin Johnson “like a baseball in a glove.” "He’s best known for his 12-plus year tenure in Seattle, but he also had stints with the Bucks, Lakers, Celtics and Heat. Payton won the 2006 NBA championship with Miami and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013."
13. Dominique Wilkins/The Human Highlight Reel
John MotternAFP via Getty Images
"One of the legendary dunkers in basketball history, Dominique Wilkins earned his nickname for his aerial exploits at the University of Georgia," says Rookie Wire. "In addition to scoring creatively, Wilkins also scored prolifically. He led the NBA with 30.3 points per game in the 1985-86 season and averaged 24.8 points per game during 15 NBA seasons with the Hawks, Clippers, Celtics, Spurs and Magic. Wilkins was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006." This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [mm-video type=video id=01f24vpkvsx4bn59s6 playlist_id=none player_id=01f1jxkahtwnvzepyp image=https://images2.minutemediacdn.com/image/upload/video/thumbnail/mmplus/01f24vpkvsx4bn59s6/01f24vpkvsx4bn59s6-445111190867c7433dd96c99362f5d8e.jpg] [lawrence-related id=48517,48510,48508,48483] [listicle id=48488]