Get unique insight from Fredette, Thompson, Cousins, Evans and more as they dish on the many monikers bestowed upon them by family, friends and fans.
From Lionel “L-Train” Simmons to Michael “The Animal” Smith, the Sacramento Kings have had a variety of memorable and fitting nicknames throughout the team’s history – oftentimes the monikers serve as creative descriptions of the players’ talents and embody their on-court personalities.
In fact, many players, such as Anthony “Spud” Webb and James “Jimmer” Fredette, are almost exclusively referred to by their well-known sobriquets as opposed to their given names.
“’Jimmer’ originated from my mom,” says Fredette, revealing he is rarely called by his birth name. “Every once in a while just for fun (I’ll be referred to as James), but not by anybody who does it seriously.”
Over the years, Fredette’s older brother, T.J., also coined several humorous and unique monikers for the Sacramento rookie.
“I used to have a nickname called ‘Cheeks,’ because I had really big cheeks when I was younger, and ‘Clemenza,’ who is a character from ‘The Godfather,’” discloses No. 7.
During his first NBA season, Tyreke Evans had his two most popular nicknames – “Reke Havoc” and “Too Easy” – custom designed on the rims of two of his cars.
“The way I play, I earned the name ‘Reke Havoc’ from Rucker Park when I went out there,” explains Evans. “A lot of people go with that in the League.”
Donté Greene, however, divulges a less publicized alias for the former Rookie of the Year award-winner, which instead references Evans’ dining habits.
“Tyreke, we call him ‘Ty-eats Evans’ – he eats a lot,” tells No. 20.
While Greene says his teammates simply refer to him as “Taé,” a shortened version of his first name, he has also created several unforgettable nicknames for himself on his popular online show.
“I did a little skit on my ‘Donté Greene Show,’ and one of the characters was called ‘Buckets,’” he says. “I have a few names – ‘Buckets,’ ‘Doratio Cane’ – (by which) the fans call me.’
Coincidentally, “Buckets” happens to be one of the many fan-derived monikers bestowed upon sharpshooter Marcus Thornton, who has appreciated every one of his imaginative handles.
“I like all of them,” says Thornton. “I like ‘The Bayou Bomber’ one. I guess since I’m from the South, I’m ‘The Bayou Bomber’ – that’s the one I go with.”
The nicknames for No. 23, which have invariably transcended the test of time, have all revolved around his propensity for delivering key baskets with the game on the line.
“My teammates (have) basically called me (by nicknames) all meaning the same things – ‘Big Shot’ and ‘Clutch,’” he says. “Anytime you have a name like that, it’s always big.”
Much like Thornton, rookie guard Isaiah Thomas, who ranks among the League leaders in crunch time scoring, has been nicknamed “Mr. Fourth Quarter” and “IT Department” by his supporters.
“’Mr. Fourth Quarter’ is nice, but I just go by ‘I.T.’ or ‘Zeke,’” says Thomas. “Any of those names, I like them – the more, the better.”
The Kings rookie has also embraced a designation typically assigned to the final selection of the NBA Draft.
“In my situation, I was ‘Mr. Irrelevant,’ so that’s like a motivational nickname,” he says. “It’s fun to go by that.”
Chuck Hayes has come around to adopting a nickname that was initially created by a Houston Rockets broadcaster and has since spread into the Sacramento locker room.
“People call me ‘Wagon,’ and I respond it to it as if (they said) Chuck,” he admits. “It’s something that Bill Worrell, the color commentator for the Rockets gave me, and I’m sticking with it.”
Whereas Thomas and Hayes have recently acquired their widespread nicknames, several Kings players’ distinctive monikers date as far back as they can remember.
“’Big Cuz’ is a childhood name,” says DeMarcus Cousins.
“’Boogie,’ I earned at Kentucky from playing like a guard, basically,” adds No. 15. “It’s a name that just came up – people started calling me (by it) and it stuck.”
Swingman Francisco Garcia, most commonly called “El Flaco,” has similarly had the suitable nickname throughout the majority of his career.
“It’s a nickname they called me in the Dominican Republic, and they just keep calling me it here. It means skinny,” he says. “I think it was (created by) one of my friends back in the Dominican.”
Although John Salmons says none of his teammates have ever characterized him by anything other than his first name, No. 5’s family and friends know him by a pair of aliases.
“Some of my family calls me ‘Man,’ and some of my friends call me ‘Buc,’” he says. “’Man’ – I have no idea where that came from – it was just from when I was growing up.
“All of my friends were older than me, and they called me ‘Young Buc,’ and it went from ‘Young Buc’ to ‘Buc,’ and it just stuck.”
Jason Thompson, who is generally referred to by his initials or his Twitter handle, “J.T. the Kid,” is working towards earning a nickname that symbolizes his hard work in the paint and on the glass.
“The more consistent I’ve been playing, I get some Tweets (calling me) ‘Mr. Double-Double’ from family and friends, so hopefully I can just keep living up to that,” he says.
No matter what fans and commentators choose to call them, from rookies to veterans, Kings players have unquestionably made names for themselves on the court.
– First-year forward Tyler Honeycutt says his teammates have dubbed him by different variations of his first and last name.
“They call me ‘T-Honey,’ ‘Honey’ or ’Cut’ – there (aren’t) too many nicknames you can have for Honeycutt.”
– Hayes’ favorite nickname in Kings’ history is “Big Nasty,” a moniker given to bruising big man Corliss Williamson. No. 42 says he will always remember facing the former Sacramento forward for the first time during the 2006-07 season.
“I like ‘Big Nasty’ – he was a problem,” recalls Hayes. “I played against him and he (scored 30 points).”