Wednesday, June 27, 2001 Updated: July 6, 12:53 PM ET
The List: Best of the best sports nicknames
Page 2 staff
Since June was Nickname Month on Page 2, we've taken the best monikers from our monthlong search for the best nicknames in all of sports and present them here to determine the best of the best.
It's almost as if "Magic" was Earvin Johnson's given name.
Below are Page 2 editors' and readers' top choices from each category we've compiled in the past month: basketball, baseball, football, hockey, boxing, sports unit and sports moment. After considering all 20, vote in the poll at left for the best sports nickname of all-time.
1. "The Immaculate Reception"
Terry Bradshaw's desperation pass deflected off Raiders safety Jack Tatum and then hit Steelers receiver Frenchy Fuqua before Franco Harris grabbed it and headed for the winning touchdown as time expired in Pittsburgh's 1972 AFC divisional playoff victory.
2. Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch
Perfect nickname for a Hall of Fame receiver whose left leg never knew what his right leg might do, and vice versa.
3. "Purple People Eaters"
Minnesota Vikings' defensive line of the 1970s.
4. "The Chicoutimi Cucumber," Georges Vezina
Pays respects to his hometown in Quebec and shows how calm and cool he was in the net.
5. "Hands of Stone," Roberto Duran
Small, fearless (at least, until the Leornard fight), he hit like a ton of bricks.
6. "Charlie Hustle," Pete Rose
Anyone who sprints down the first base line after drawing a base on balls deserves a nickname like Charlie Hustle.
7. "Phi Slamma Jamma"
University of Houston men's basketball teams of 1982-'83 and '83-'84.
"The Great One" won four Stanley Cups while playing in Edmonton.
8. Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Clever, elegant, descriptive, respectful.
9."The Great One," Wayne Gretzky
Says it all.
10. Michael "Air" Jordan
One of the few who outplayed his own great nickname.
11. "Steel Curtain"
No team or unit name ever reflected the city it played in like "The Steel Curtain." The name represented hard-driving players and spoke volumes for the city of Pittsburgh.
12. "The Thrilla in Manila"
This Ali-Frazier classic gets a slight nod over another favorite nickname for a boxing match, "The Rumble in the Jungle."
13. "Shoeless" Joe Jackson
It's probably the most colorful nickname in sports history, with a great story to back it up.
14. "Sweetness," Walter Payton
The rarest of combinations: great player, wonderful man.
"Sweetness" described Walter Payton on and off the field.
15. "The Human Eraser" (Marvin Webster)
Don't ever come in here with that weak stuff again!
16. "The Miracle on Ice"
Al Michaels' call said it all: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"
17. "The Splendid Splinter," Ted Williams
Back in the day, "The Kid" was as skinny as a snake, and just as dangerous.
18. "He Hate Me," Rod Smart
Just absolutely hilarious and the only thing that was memorable about the XFL.
19. "Iron" Mike Tyson
The nickname "Iron" was as simplistic as his style; he didn't need a ring entrance with the production value of a Hollywood blockbuster, just black trunks, black shoes, and intimidation.
20. "CuJo," Curtis Joseph
It's almost getting to the point where you don't even call him "Curtis Joseph" anymore.