OKC Thunder: Genesis of player nicknames OK3, Brodie, and Chinese versions

Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – APRIL 15: Steven Adams /

Chinese nicknames for stars:

As mentioned up top Nick Kapur’s Twitter thread on Chinese nicknames blew up on social media. Some of the nicknames are logical, others are hilarious and a few are full on shade.

The Logical names:

Tim Duncan nabs the most logical name – 石佛 “The Stone Buddha”.  Given Timmy seldom displayed emotion on the court, this makes perfect sense.

Likewise Kevin Garnett is 狼王 or “King of the Wolves” obviously appointed when he was still in Minnesota.

Steve Nash has a bit of a perplexing Chinese nickname –  风之子  or “Son of the Wind”. Since Nash wasn’t particularly fast it seems confusing. But, when you think about the Phoenix Suns running Mike D’Antoni’s seven second or less offense it makes more sense.

Ben Simmons was dubbed “Mattress” (席梦思), but Kapur states the Chinese weren’t aware of the Simmons Mattress brand which makes it all the more delicious.

Anthony Davis name – 浓眉 translated as “The Thick Brow”.

Sidekick nicknames:

Two players get dubbed with explanations which allude to their sidekick status:

Scottie Pippen – 天下第二人 “Second Best Under Heaven”, given his secondary role to Michael Jordan.

Dwyane Wade –  典韋 “Dian Wei” seems to be phonetic at first glance, but a deeper dig shows it may tie into his second banana role to LeBron James. As per Kapur:

"Dian Wei was a mighty warrior from the ancient Three Kingdoms Period who was a loyal sidekick of the general Cao Cao. He famously died covering for Cao Cao’s retreat when they were ambushed by a rebel army. His name also sounds like “Dwyane Wade.”"


Arguably the funniest nickname belongs to Spurs Kyle Anderson who is referred to as “Slow-Mo”. The Chinese take it a step further — 人类蠕动精华 or “Human Peristalsis”. Full disclosure, this made me laugh out loud.

A close second on the humor scale is JaVale McGee whose Chinese nickname will make Shaq smile: 囧神  means “Gaffe God”.

Other humorous nicknames were handed out to Charles Barkley who was dubbed the “fat pig,” but this wasn’t shade because it meant he was flying. (飞猪)

Nikola Jokic is – 肥可樂 or “Fat Cola” recalling when the center used to drink three liters of Coke a day.

Shade Nicknames:

DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Miller definitely got the short end of the stick here. Cousins nickname translates into “younger female cousin”.  Kapur stated in his article when the Chinese are throwing shade they often will interchange male to female.

Meanwhile Miller’s chinese nickname is “Karen Mok”.  This is based on the resemblance between Miller and actress Mok. In fairness the two do have a similar appearance.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic /

Yet the best shade was saved for former OKC Thunder player James Harden. His Chinese nickname is  景德镇镇长 “The Mayor of Jingdezhen”

As per Kapur:

"Jingdezhen is a town famous for making fragile porcelain, so “Son of Jingdezhen” (景德镇之子) is a term for an NBA flop artist. Harden is perceived to be the best at this “art,” so he gets to be the “mayor” of Floptown."


JR Smith soup antics too late:

Some Chinese nicknames seem to be incorrectly matched. For example the translation of Klay Thompson’s 汤神 is “Soup God”. After this past season perhaps JR Smith should’ve been given this name. Instead Smith carries another name with shade “The Nerve Knife” based on his inconsistency getting on your nerves.

Like North American NBA fans the Chinese can change their minds about a player. For example Dwight Howard was originally dubbed “The Magic Beast” while in Orlando. But, after a bad turn in LA some Chinese fans switched to calling him “The Evil Baby”.

Mamba is extremely popular:

Although Kobe Bryant is the only Mamba (Black), as per Kapur there are copious mambas in the lexicon. Sometimes they simply combine it with a color. In other instances they pair it with an action.

Check out the multiple players tied to mamba iterations with two Thunder players making the cut.

More from Thunderous Intentions

Matt Bonner: “Red Mamba”

Brian Scalabrine:  “White Mamba”

James Harden: “Free Throw Mamba” as well as “Porcelain Mamba” (the latter based on his flopping).

Victor Oladipo:  “Diligent Mamba” given his work ethic

Andrew Wiggins: “Strength Conserving Mamba” (based on Wiggins seemingly not always giving 100 percent)

Boogie Cousins: “Technical Mamba” (self explanatory)

Clint Capela: “Pancake Mamba” (for receiving easy alley oop passes to score)

Andre Iguodala: “Coffin Mamba”. This references the fact Iggy doesn’t turn it up until the playoffs, which is pretty genius.

Ryan Anderson: “Standing Around Mamba”. Anyone who has witnessed my articles and reference to Anderson catching flies (mouth agape) on defense, knows I loved this one.

Corey Brewer: “Laughing Mamba”

Steven Adams: “Box Out Mamba”

Manu Ginobili: “Bald Mamba”

Kyrie Irving: “Flat Mamba” (paying homage to Irving’s the earth is flat comment).

Nick Kapur’s original thread of Chinese nicknames blew up and he subsequently posted two articles. Check them out as they offer plenty more Chinese nicknames and giggles galore.

Kapur’s Twitter thread, the DeadSpin article and The Guardian article.

So, there you have it a look at the OKC Thunder player and NBA nicknames. Go to the comments section and tell us which are your favorites.

OKC Thunder: Genesis of player nicknames OK3, Brodie, and Chinese versions