Chinese Names for NBA Players

Chinese Names for NBA Players

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Updated May 21, 2018 at 02:43PM EDT by Adam.

Added May 21, 2018 at 02:06PM EDT by Adam.

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Chinese Names for NBA Players refers to nicknames for athletes in the National Basketball Association given by Chinese fans. When translated to English, the names tend to amuse western audiences. After sporadically appearing online for several years, a May 2018 thread compiling the Chinese nicknames for basketball players went viral.


One of the earliest known posts compiling Chinese nicknames for NBA players was posted by on March 29th, 2007.[1] This included examples like "German Racecar" for Dallas Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki, "Little Emperor" for LeBron James, "Stone Buddha" for Tim Duncan, and many more (portion of the list shown below).

Translation of Chinese Explanation Nickname Chinese Team Player Nickname 大本钟(Da Ben Wallace's size and ability to defend Da means "big and Z is the first letter of his first name Direct translation of English nickname "King James" Ben Big Ben Chicago Wallace Zhong) Clevelandllgauskas Cleveland LeBron 小皇帝(Xiao Charlotte Dallas Denver Denver Zydrunas z(DaZ Big Z JamesHuang D Emeka Emperor King of the Meaning Okafor Dirk Nowitzki Zhan Che) Carmelo 猫王(Mao Wang) Cats 德国战车(D 甜瓜 an Gua) Melon 答案(Da An ) e Guo German Dirk's ability to roll on court like a racecar. And he is a player from Germany. Racecar Sweet The nickname Melo" resembles "Melon". "Sweet Melon" refers to Camelo 's sweet and cute appearance Allen Iverson Chauncy The Answer Direct translation of his English nickname 滑(Guang Hua) Smooth Direct translation of English nickname "Smooth" 面具人(Mian Ju Ren) Man in the Richard Hamilton Hamilton's habit of wearing a mask on court Detroit Tayshaun E(Xiao PrinceWang Zi) Prince Direct translation of his last name " Prince" Detroit 非洲大山(Fei 船长(Chuan 老猫(Lao Mao) 小飞侠(Xiao Fei 小飞鼠(Xia Dikembe Africa's Big Mutombo's ability to block shots. And he is a player from Africa Mutombo Zhou Da Shan) Mountain Elton Houston The Captain He's seen as the leader of the Clippers Clippers BrandZhang) Cuttino Old Cat Direct translation from English nickname' The Cat' LA Clippers Mobley Kobe Lakers Bryant Xia) nrng Bryants ability to jump Little Flying Mouse Damon o Fei For his speed and the ability to pass through opposing players Memphis Stoudemire Shu)


A popular thread about Chinese names for NBA players appeared on Reddit on March 23rd, 2015.[2] This included new names like "Letter Dude" for Milwaukee Bucks player Giannis Antetokounpo, "O'Fat" for Shaquille O'Neal, and "20,000" for Wilt Chamberlain, referring to a rumor that Chamberlain had slept with 20,000 women. In January of 2016, a Reddit thread in /r/Warriors[3] was created devoted to how the nickname Stephen Curry was "Sky Fucker." On October 31st, 2017, ESPN posted a video of Antetokounpo being told his nickname was "Letter bro" (shown below).

@Nick_Kapur Thread

On May 7th, 2018, Twitter user @Nick_Kapur[4] started a long thread compiling some of the more humorous nicknames. The first tweet gained over 13,000 retweets and 28,000 likes. After the thread spread, the it was covered by SB Nation,[5] The Guardian,[6] and Deadspin.[7]

Nick Kapur ( Follow ) 、 @nick kapur A thread of Chinese internet nicknames for NBA players. China is crazy for the NBA, but official sources use boring phonetic transcriptions, failing to take advantage of Chinese characters having both sound and meaning. Chinese netizens have "improved" on these official names :04 PM-7 May 2018

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