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 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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(6) Mark Asses v (11) 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.
(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.
(2) Thankgod Moses v (15) Marvin Gay