Amongst the 1.398 BILLION people that live in China, 625 MILLION of them consider themselves basketball fans. That's TWICE the ENTIRE AMERICAN POPULATION. Of the 625 MILLION, 143 MILLION consider themselves hardcore basketball fans (i.e., regularly watch and play basketball). That's still almost 50% of the American population.
Although the American basketball fanbase is not as huge, fans have created extremely interesting nicknames (Dr. J, The Answer, The Glove, etc.), so you're bound to have fans in China create Chinese NBA nicknames.
So... Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Chinese NBA Nicknames!
Bobby Portis + Nikola Mirotic:
English NBA Nicknames: Bobby Buckets, Threekola
Chinese NBA Nicknames: The Gash Brothers
The Gash Brothers is a play on the nickname for the Golden State Warriors duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (aka 'The Splash Brothers').
When Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic were on the Chicago Bulls, behind the scenes, Portis and Mirotic were trash-talking one another during practice. The trash-talking continued, back-and-forth, escalating to the point where Portis punched Mirotic in the face.
Mirotic had to be sent to the hospital, where he was left with a fractured face and concussion.
As a result, Chinese fans would give the nickname, The Gash Brothers, to Portis and Mirotic as Portis punched Mirotics, resulting in a gash (i.e., an injury).
English NBA Nicknames: Brodie, Beastbrook, Mr. Tripie Double
Chinese NBA Nicknames: The Ninja Turtle, Wei Dude.
Chinese NBA fans nicknamed Russell Westbrook the Ninja Turtle because fans think he looks like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. This isn't just exclusive to Chinese NBA fans as well. During All-Star weekend, NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. was trolling Westbrook by calling him a Ninja Turtle.
As for Wei Dude, Westbrook's phonetic name in Chinese is:
Luo Se Wei Se Te Bu Le Ke (if you say this fast, it sounds like Russell Westbrook)
However, because it's so long, Chinese NBA fans decided to shorten it to "Wei Dude." In addition, they replaced 'wei' (translation: guarding) with another 'wei' (translation: dominating). Makes sense. After all, Westbrook is leading in triple-doubles.
English NBA Nicknames: The Beard, El Chapo, Jimbo Slice, Honey Bun.
Chinese NBA Nicknames: The Mayor of Jingdezhen/Porcelain Mamba/Free Throw Mamba, Fat Mamba.
Jingdezhen is a town in China that is well-known for making fragile porcelain. Since Harden is perceived to be the best at drawing fouls even though he's barely touched (like porcelain), he's been unanimously voted by Chinese NBA fans as the Mayor of Jingdezhen.
Porcelain Mamba and Free Throw Mamba refer to the same thing as the previous nickname. Fat Mamba is pretty self-explanatory. As for 'Mamba,' that's in reference to Kobe Bryant's English NBA Nickname, the Black Mamba. Chinese NBA fans think that Harden plays like Bryant, but the difference is that Harden is better at drawing fouls, free-throw shooting, and is fat.
Career FT%: 85.8%
FTA while with the Houston Rockets: 10.4
During his career, Harden has drawn 429 three-point shooting fouls. That's more than the Charlotte Hornets have drawn from the 2016-2019 NBA season (185).
English NBA Nicknames: Iggy, Dolla Billz
Chinese NBA Nicknames: Coffin Mamba/Vampire Mamba
Chinese NBA fans think that Andre Iguodala plays like an older person in the regular season, but Iguodala suddenly comes back to life once the playoffs start. This transformation in Chinese culture is known as "opening the coffin lid," hence, Coffin Mamba.
2014-2015 Regular Season Stats:
7.8 Points, 3.3 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1.2 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks.
46.6 FG%, 34.9 3P%, 59.6 FT%
2014-2015 Playoff Stats:
10.4 Points, 4.7 Rebounds, 4.4 Assists, 1.3 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks.
47.4 FG%, 35.4 3P%, 41.5 FT%
English NBA Nicknames: Day-Day, The Dancing Bear, Dray
Chinese NBA Nicknames: Chasing Dreams
Draymond Green's Chinese NBA nickname is Chasing Dreams because when said aloud, it sounds like 'Draymond.' Chasing Dreams in Chinese is 'zhui meng.'
However, there is sentimental reasoning for this nickname. During the 2012 NBA Draft, Draymond was chosen in the second round as the 35th pick. Draymond's NBA career seemed like it would be short-lived due to how low he was picked, but he chased his dream and became a 3x All-Star, 3x Champion, 5x All-Defensive, and 1x DPOY.
English NBA Nicknames: The Hobbit, E-Money, EG.
Chinese NBA Nicknames: Round Face Mamba
This is, by far, the funniest nickname. Eric Gordon's Chinese nickname is 'Round Face Mamba' because of how round his face is.
Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov:
English NBA Nicknames: The Man from Sudan, Mozzy.
Chinese NBA Nicknames: The British Jordan and Championship Center.
Before starting the 2016-2017 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers signed a 31-year-old Luol Deng to a $72 million four-year deal and signed a 30-year-old Timofey Mozgov to a $64 million four-year deal. These were costly contracts for players who, although play well in the past, were out of their prime.
The following season, Deng and Mozgov would play horribly.
As a result, Chinese NBA fans named Luol Deng, the British Jordan, and Timofey Mozgov, the Championship center, to sarcastically poke fun at how terribly both players were playing. Deng was nowhere near Michael Jordan's basketball ability, and Mozgov did not play like a Championship Center.
7.6 Points, 5.3 Rebounds, 1.3 Assists, 0.9 Steals, and 0.4 Blocks.
38.7 FG%, 30.9 3P%, 73 FT%
7.4 Points, 4.9 Rebounds, 0.8 Assists, 0.3 Steals, and 0.6 Blocks.
52 FG%, 80.9 FT%
Shaquille O' Neal, Charles Barkley, and Nikola Jokic:
English NBA Nicknames: Diesel/Shaq Fu, Sir Charles/The Round Mound of Rebound, The Joker
Chinese NBA Nicknames: O'Fat, The Flying Fat Pig, Fat Cola
These are pretty self-explanatory. Shaq, Barkley, and Jokic are all fat, hence, O'Fat and Fat Cola. Barkley's nickname hurts the most. Ouch.
On the bright side, the 'Flying' in the 'Flying Fat Pig' refers to Barkley's ability to soar above taller, slimmer players to grab rebounds. It's similar to his English NBA nickname, the Round Mound of Rebound, but just more straightforward and mean. In addition, Jokic's name has more to do with Jokic drinking three liters of Coke a day before becoming an NBA player.
Unfortunatley, O'Fat is just replacing the 'Neal' in 'O'Neal' with fat because Shaq was fat near the end of his career. This nickname seems like such a low-blow (and is just mean).
English NBA Nicknames: Pierre, The Big Secret
Chinese NBA Nicknames: Gaffe God
Javale McGee was nicknamed the "Gaffe God," most likely due to the number of times he's appeared on Shaqtin' a Fool. He's had so many 'gaffes' (does anybody even use this word) that China NBA fans have now crowned him the Gaffe God.
Either way, I much rather be known as the Gaffe God rather than O' Fat.
English NBA Nicknames: Dame, Logo Lillard, Dame D.O.L.L.A
Chinese NBA Nicknames: The Hoodlum Tycoon and the Trash Brothers (+CJ McCollum)
In 2013, two brothers claimed that Damian Lillard's entourage beat them up for taking pictures with Lillard without asking for permission. Now, that still doesn't really answer why Dame's Chinese nickname is the Hoodlum Tycoon.
The Hoodlum Tycoon is a well-known Hong Kong TV drama from the 80s that translated, said "The Feud of Two Brothers," referring to the two brothers that took a picture with Damian Lillard without permission.
The other nickname, also pretty negative, the Trash Brothers, is another take on the Splash Brothers. However, unlike Klay and Steph, Dame and CJ typically lose in the early rounds of the playoffs. Before Dame and CJ, Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan were originally called the Trash Brothers.
Thank You to @nick_kapur on Twitter for all of these Chinese nicknames: