Nicknames should be sacred. They are, amongst most guys. Take me and Tom for example. All of our friends call Tom, Tom4. Why? Don't ask. Nonetheless, if someone else named Tom wanted to be called Tom4, I'd have to tell him to eat shit and die because that name is already taken. Nicknames are usually a lame thing to have and usually they don't stick, but when they do, you have to honor that. So why won't sports reporters?
The worst case right now is the name "Big Ben." It's been used in football, basketball, and baseball. Football has Ben Roethlisberger. Basketball has Ben Wallace. And ESPN.com actually called Milwaukee's starting pitcher Ben Sheets "Big Ben" in their link to a game story. There should be only one. So how should this be solved? Easy -- three-way cage match. Unfortunately, I don't think any of their contracts allow cage matches. So we'll have to think it out.
Ben Sheets is out. He's not that big. He's only 6'1", which is only average for a pitcher. So his nickname is really only half right. I don't know if people from Milwaukee have been calling him Big Ben forever, but he hasn't made enough of an impact for anyone else to know. Sorry Regular-Sized Ben, time to pick another.
Ben Roethlisberger is much more deserving. He's a big guy at 6'4" and 241 lbs. There are other quarterbacks that are around 6'4", but none of them are named Ben and few weigh as much. In fact, he was big enough to make the game-saving tackle against the Colts in the playoffs two year ago. He's the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl. Plus, he has a name that's tough to pronounce, making a nickname not only deserving, but also necessary.
Ben Wallace is the tallest of them all at 6'9", although according to ESPN.com, he only weighs 240, one pound lighter than what they had Roethlisberger at. Of course, you give or take a pound every deuce you take, so I'm not gonna get picky here. He too has a championship ring, and he rocks a mean 'fro that probably puts him at 6'11". He's a dominant center, and although this year with the Bulls he wasn't as dominant as some thought he would be, he's still a presence to be reckoned with. He's been around the longest too so he was called "Big Ben" first.
So who should have this nickname? Well, according to Tom4, no one should since it's a lame cliche that shows no signs of creativity. Plus, they're named after a British clock. Ooooh, exciting! Nonetheless, we're not here to judge the nickname, although we just did. We're here to decide who should have it. As I said, Sheets is out, unless he can prove he's got a 14-inch penis. Then I'll reconsider. So it's between Wallace and Roethlisberger.
If we're going by time, it probably should be Wallace. But we've allowed Roethlisberger two years with the nickname without complaining, so just because Wallace had it longer, I'm not gonna deny Roethlisberger. Both men are actually big, although none really tower over others who play the position. Both men have a ring. These stats are so similar that it's tough -- who, oh who, is gonna get the nickname?
I'm giving it to Roethlisberger. There are a couple factors that sway me. First, the casual sports fan knows football more than basketball and if, as of now, you mention "Big Ben" to a casual fan outside Chicago, they'll probably think you're talking about the quarterback. Also, he's got a bitch of a name to say and more of a bitch of a name to write. You don't know how many times I resisted calling Roethlisberger "Big Ben" because I didn't feel like typing Roethlisberger. Plus, both men weigh the same amount, so who is really bigger for his frame? The 6'4" guy is.
We shouldn't let the situation go this far. There are a few others, such as Super Mario to describe Mario Lemieux, Mario Williams, and Mario Andretti. Of course, we don't hear about this because hockey and NASCAR aren't in the mainstream sports scene. The biggest dilemma really is the LT one. Lawrence Taylor is the original LT and he was a beast of a linebacker. LaDainian Tomlinson is a beast of a running back and could be one of the best running backs ever. They weren't around the same time, but they are in the same sport. Because of that, we can't have two LTs. I love Tomlinson, but Taylor should be LT at least until Tomlinson wins a ring or breaks some more records. In the end, maybe Tomlinson is more deserving of the name, but we can't decide that now so best to rename Tomlinson. People have called him LDT, which I like. Tom4 came up with "Peeping Tom" which hasn't caught on like I hoped.
If groups of guys don't allow multiple nicknames, it's surprising that sports does. I think sports writers just don't have time to come up with new nicknames. But if that's the case, use their last name and let the fans come up with it. If the star deserves the nickname, they'll get it. And hopefully, it'll be more creative than Big Ben.