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David Brann / Senior Staff Photographer

Freshman guard Grant Mullins resembles a prince from a fairy tale.

You know, nicknames used to mean something in the sports world. But now, we've let ourselves get lazy. The sports pages these days are full of A-Rods and K-Rods, D-Wades and K-Marts, Melos and JPPs.

Where's the originality? Where's the wit? Give me names like the Round Mound of Rebound, Chocolate Thunder, the Human Highlight Film, and the Minister of Defense. Give me the Fridge, the Great One, the Answer, the Worm, and the Galloping Ghost.

Heck, sportswriters in the '20s came up with like fifteen nicknames for Babe Ruth. Are you telling me today's reporters can't come up with at least one good one for anybody else?

Lest you think that I'm all talk, I'm devoting the rest of this column to righting the ship. Here are seven names that the Columbia community needs to adopt right now (help me out here, Spec sportswriters).

Brett Nottingham (football): "The Sheriff"

OK, it's a little obvious, but it kicks the crap out of "B-Nott." I've been pushing for this one from the very beginning, and I'm just sad I won't be on campus next season to see the Sheriff hand out some hard justice. Sure, this nickname implies that Nottingham is some sort of villain. But the dude's 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds. He ain't no Robin Hood. And let's face it, the Columbia football team could use a little bit of the Sheriff's nasty swagger.

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Pete Mangurian (football): "The Man"

I hate to be so predictable twice in a row, but this is a natural fit. The Lions football coach is the picture of authority, and he made it clear from day one he was here to kick ass and win games. "The Man" is one of those titles that just works, and my friend and fellow columnist Peter Andrews agrees with me.

Maodo Lo (men's basketball): "The Chairman"

I bestowed this title on Maodo in my basketball end-of-season awards column, but it bears repeating. Now all we need is a student section full of fans waving Little Red Books.

Grant Mullins (men's basketball): "Prince Charming"

Have you seen this kid? Blond hair, blue eyes, a pearly-white smile... He's straight out of central casting. Sure, it might be problematic that these things are standards of beauty in our society. But who cares, the name's perfect.

Miwa Tachibana (women's basketball): "Benihana"

This Lions point guard is super entertaining to watch and always leaves you wanting more, just like those crazy performing waiters. She's an accurate shooter, tossing the ball in the basket as if it were a shrimp tail. She slices up defenses like a chef slices onions, and her game sizzles like a hibachi. And poetically, "Benihana Tachibana" just flows off the tongue.

Marvellous Iheukwumere (women's track): "As Advertised"

Iheukwumere has been truly marvelous so far this season, winning two individual Ivy championships in the indoor 60-meter and 200-meter back in February. When your first name says it all, your nickname can just ride its coattails.

Joey Gandolfo (baseball): "The Wizard"

Look, when your last name is Gandolfo, I'm going to call you "The Wizard." It's one of my ironclad rules. Deal with it.

There you go, Columbia, seven nicknames to get you started. But the train shouldn't stop here. I encourage you to come up with nicknames of your own and start shoving them down your friends' throats. Maybe apply for a Spec sports column so you can force them on total strangers. I guarantee you, this sort of silliness will only make the games more fun. Or my name isn't Tuberculosis.

Tyler Benedict—The Munshi of Monikers—also goes by TB, TyBen, TyTy Baby, and Vision. He is a Columbia College senior majoring in English and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, and the poet laureate emeritus of the Columbia University Marching Band. The Road Less Traveled runs biweekly.

sports@columbiaspectator.com | @trbenedict

Grant Mullins Maodo Lo Miwa Tachibana Marvellous Iheukwumere Brett Nottingham Pete Mangurian Joey Gandolfo
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