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Grantland Rice

What's in a nickname?

What's in a nickname?

A-Rod. K-Rod. F-Rod. I-Rod. B-Rob. We are not living in the Golden Age of sports nicknames. J-Roll. O-Dog. T-Mac. D-Wade. These are not nicknames; they're contractions, abbreviations.

Crowned "King James" at the outset of a career that has yet to see him win a championship, Lebron James was dubbed so because that version of the Bible is common parlance. It had — and has, given that he's ruled nothing yet in the NBA — no relevance. Mr. James might as well be nicknamed "Vulgate." At least "King Carl" Hubbell won a World Series — and besides, Hubbell's other moniker, the "Meal Ticket," possessed more panache than an overblown...