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Best Cavalier Nicknames
September 13, 2013
A Cavalier nickname surmountable to his proper name, John "Hot Rod" Williams was a key cog on the great Cavs teams from the late 80s and early 90s. Williams was drafted by the Wine and Gold in the second round of the 1985 Draft and in nine seasons averaged 12.9 points to go along with 7.1 rebounds.
Clarence "Foots" Walker was drafted by the Wine and Gold in the third round of the 1974 Draft. In six seasons with the Cavaliers, Foots averaged 7.2 points and 4.9 assists in 23.9 minutes per game.
Austin Carr encompasses Cavaliers basketball, so it is no surprise he earned the nickname "Mr. Cavalier". From being selected first overall by the Wine and Gold in 1971, to being the quotable color analyst for Cavs FOX Sports Ohio broadcasts, Carr has been a model representative with the organization for over 40 years.
"Big Ben" Wallace came to the Wine and Gold in a mid-season trade during the 2007-08 season. His signature afro and bell toll sound from the beginning of ACDC's "Hells Bells" after each blocked shot resonated with fans everywhere.
Robert "Bingo" Smith was selected from San Diego in the expansion draft on May 11, 1970. Bingo went on to have a great 10-year career with the Wine and Gold averaging 13.2 while leading Cleveland to their first three playoff appearances.
Known almost exclusively as "Booby", Daniel Gibson won Cavs fans for life with his unforgettable performances throughout the Wine and Gold's playoff run to the 2007 NBA Finals. Gibson claimed his nickname came from his mother during his childhood. When Gibson would often come running into their house with bumps and bruises, his mother would say, "Cry baby booby".
Rocking neither a butch haircut, nor a beard, Alfred Beard Jr., better known to Cavalier fans as "Butch", played in 83 games (1971-71 & 1974-1975) for the Wine and Gold averaging 13.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
Much like "Mr. Cavalier" Austin Carr, Michael Campanella Russell, or affectionately known as "Campy", has been a vital part of the Cavaliers organization well after his playing career. Campy transitioned from being a former All-Star on the court to the Cavs Director of Alumni Relations and FOX Sports Ohio Pregame & Postgame TV Analyst.
Calvin Miles Jr. aka "CJ" joined the Wine and Gold as free agent in the summer of 2012. In his first season with the Cavaliers, CJ averaged 11.2 points off the bench including a 33-point explosion against the Brooklyn Nets on December 29, 2012.
Ronald "Flip" Murray was acquired from Seattle halfway through the 2005-06 season instantly bringing some style and grittiness to the Wine and Gold. In 28 games, Flip averaged 13.5 points and 2.8 assists.
Although "The Reignman", Shawn Kemp, got his nickname from his early years with the Seattle Supersonics, the All-Star power forward and his nickname came to the Cavaliers via a three-team blockbuster trade in the fall of 1997. In 204 games with Cleveland, Kemp averaged 18.5 points and 9.1 rebounds.
Kyrie Irving's much older alter ego "Uncle Drew" has become of nickname of sorts for the Cavs All-Star point guard. Irving's depiction of an old man schooling "youngbloods" on the blacktop in a series of Pepsi MAX commercials often translates to his play on the NBA stage with his lightning quick ball-handling and street ball moves.
"The Alaskan Assassin", Trajan Langdon's, three seasons with the team never superseded his nickname. After an illustrious collegiate career at Duke, Langdon was drafted by Cleveland with the 11th overall pick in 1999 and in 119 games with the Cavs averaged 5.4 points.
Never shying away from self-proclaimed nicknames, Shaquille O'Neal kept the trend going back in the summer of 2009 when the All-Star center joined the Cavaliers via a trade with the Phoenix Suns. Nicknames during Shaq's brief tenure included: Shaqer Heights, The Big O'hio, Witness Protection Program, Shaqalier, The Big Cuyahoga... and the list goes on.
William "Smush" Parker enjoyed one stint with the Cavaliers back in the 2002-03 season. After signing as a free agent on September 25, 2002, Smush played in 66 games for Cleveland averaging 6.2 points and 2.5 assists.
Dan Marjerle was dubbed as "Thunder Dan" during his early days with the Phoenix Suns and brought the nickname with him to Cleveland in the fall of 1995 following a trade. In one season with the Cavaliers, Marjerle played in all 82 games, averaging 10.6 points while knocking down 146 three-pointers.
The late Robert "Tractor" Traylor enjoyed two stints with the Wine and Gold (2000-01 and 2004-05). In 144 total games, Tractor averaged 5.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in 17.6 minutes.
Drafted by Cleveland with the 12th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, "The Ukraine Train" Vitaly Potapenko, averaged 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in 177 games for the Cavs. Potapenko has recently joined Mike Brown's staff as a player development coach with the Wine and Gold.
A player like Anderson Varejao is inevitably going to get a nickname. Making Clevelanders' heart sing with his long flowing red curls and relentless energy and effort, Varejao became known as "Wild Thing" to Cavs Nation. The Wild Thing's 2013-14 season will be his 10th with the Wine and Gold.
"Big Z" Zydrunas Ilgauskas was drafted by Cleveland with the 20th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. Nobody has played more games (771) than Big Z while playing in a Cavaliers uniform. For his Cavaliers career, Ilgauskas averaged 13.8 points and 7.7 rebounds. It is only fitting Big Z has stayed within the organization as Special Assistant to General Manager Chris Grant.
"Zo" just sounds like a rock solid nickname and the Cavaliers' ironman small forward, Alonzo Gee, fits the bill having played in all 82 games for the Wine and Gold in the 2012-13 season. During that season, Zo averaged 10.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and was the team's go-to perimeter defender.
"King James" played seven seasons with the Cavaliers averaging 27.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.9 assists.
Vernell Eufaye "Bimbo" Coles played in 115 games over the span of three seasons with the Cavaliers averaging 4.2 points and 2.6 assists.
Walt "Clyde" Frazier was acquired from New York as compensation for the anticipated signing of veteran free agent Jim Cleamons in 1977. Over 66 games with the Wine and Gold, the Hall of Famer averaged 14.6 points.
Wayne "Tree" Rollins singed with the Cavaliers as a free agent on August 3, 1988. Tree played in 108 games for the Cavaliers spanning two seasons averaging 2.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.8 blocks.