An Orlando basketball organization combed through nearly 5,000 fan-submitted nicknames in a 1986 naming process. The group went with Magic over other options like the "Heat," "Tropics" and the "Juice." Maybe it's because the team's superstars always want to play elsewhere or the extensive number of stars in the logo, but this nickname conjures up more images of Doug Henning than NBA Championships. That is what happens when you let the fans decide anything.
If it weren't for such a storied history, generally awesome uniforms (especially, the blue ones) and a killer mascot, the Phillies might be the lamest sports nickname of all-time. Phillies is short for, you guessed it, the Philadelphia Philadelphias. Yes, this franchise is the oldest unchanged nickname in all of pro sports (1890), but it doesn't scream intimidating by any stretch.
I love nasty blues guitar riffs and chaotic jazz brass bands, but I like them on my turntable not in the Stanley Cup Finals or the NBA Championship. The "Jazz" at least made sense in New Orleans but couldn't be further from relevant in the state of Utah. Additionally, the blues are inherently depressing (much like the hockey team) and musical notes certainly do not instill fear into the opponent's heart.
It rolls off the tongue, the blue and white color scheme is classy and very cool and the Maple Leaf is front and center on the Canadian flag. But could anything be less scary than something that dies every year and ends up in the neighborhood garbage can? All of this from a franchise that hasn't even played for a Stanley Cup since 1966-67. At least, they didn't go with The Wanderers.
This team has a rich history of success and a storied tradition of some of the game's greatest names. But what exactly is a Dodger? The name stems from the busy Brooklyn city streets and the common phrase "trolley-dodgers" given to those literally dodging trolleys in the New York borough. To quote Patches O'Houlihan, "if you can dodge a wrench... you can hit a baseball?" Well, I am paraphrasing.
The Browns are the biggest draw in a city that has been without a championship of any kind for over sixty years. Maybe if they went with a more inspiring nickname like a terrifying jungle cat (they were actually named the Panthers for two months) or at least an ornery bird instead of... a color? Yes, the name comes from legendary football pioneer Paul Brown but the logo is essentially a brown sheet of paper? Even Paul Brown himself didn't want the nickname. Enough said.
It's not a person, an animal, a historic idea, symbol or logo. It's simply an inanimate object that hangs on both ends of the court. Does Brooklyn Backboards sound any better because that is essentially what the New Jersey-turned-Brookyn franchise is nicknamed. There is a reason this team's mascots include Duncan The Dragon, Sly the Silver Fox and now BrooklyKnight — who is one letter away from being a porn star (do your web searching at home, please).
The Denver basketball franchise was originally named the Larks after the Colorado state bird and the Rockets after original owner Bill Ringsby's trucking company. When the ABA team moved to the NBA it obviously had to rename itself. The fans picked Nuggets as the team name after the long history of gold prospecting in the state. So a small rock (okay, a gold rock) is what fans in the Mile High city root for each night. Considering the state's and NBA's reputation for recreational marijuana use, it's apropos that their team is named the Nuggets.
The Chicago White Sox. The Boston Red Sox. The Cincinnati Red Stockings. Winter jackets, work boots and Under Armour might be the toughest articles of clothing and even they sound super lame. But a mispelled sweaty glove made for your feet? Really? It's about as intimidating as a mitten or a diaper. The Red Stockings were smart enough to drop the stockings early in the going and have excelled as the Reds for decades. But the Chicago White Sox — formerly the White Stockings — take the cake. Not only are they named after one of the nastiest pieces of clothing, but the baseball team that hails from the South Side of the Windy City doesn't even wear white socks. They are black.
Executives at Walt Disney would call it "synergy." Sports fans call it garbage. And it's why the Anahiem Mighty Ducks had to eventually drop the "mighty" from their name. Yes, the powers that be at Disney founded the Ducks franchise in 1993 and named it after their successful hockey movie about a rag-tag youth hockey club led by coach Emilio Estevez. The duck goalie mask may have looked mean, however, this team was anything but until a shocking Stanley Cup run in 2006-07.