Sunday, February 6, 2011

Darth Bader and Athletes with Star Wars inspired monikers

The Dark Side of the Mouthpiece: Ryan "Darth" Bader (photo from
One of the undercards of UFC 126 (featuring Anderson "The Spider" Silva vs Vitor "The Phenom\ Belfort" as the main event) piqued my interest as it pitted two young up and coming fighters, Jon "Bones" Jones and Ryan "Darth" Bader. Now that's a cool crossover between the UFC and Star Wars .

(image from

Ryan (real name: Ryan DuWayne Bader) was the winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 finale and had a pristine MMA record of 12-0, racking up impressive wins over Keith Jardine and Antonio "Little Nog" Noguiera) before falling to Bones Jones in their match via 2nd rd guillotine choke. Too bad, I guess the force was not strong  with Darth Bader today. Bones was the same fighter who broke Brandon Vera's cheekbone and I wanted Bader to sort of avenge him.

So, which other athletes have used Star Wars influenced monikers?

I Believe I Can Fly (Samboy Lim before Space Jam)

1. Avelino "Samboy" "The Skywalker" Lim
This Philippine Basketball Association legend mesmerized Pinoy hoop fans in the early 80s with his devil-may-care aerial acrobatics

Kenny Walker (image from

2. Kenny "Sky" Walker

His claim to fame was winning the 1989 Slam Dunk contest while he was with the New York Knicks.

DVD Cover of Skywalker: The David Thompson Story (Image from

3. David Thompson

Perhaps more deserving of the moniker than Kenny Walker is David Thompson, a Hall of Famer whose career started with the ABA then eventually the NBA where he was a 4 time All Star. He played for the Denver Nuggets and Seattle Supersonics. His Airness Michael Jordan admitted that he looked up to David Thompson as his role model while growing up. Another interesting fact: Thompson was drafted number 1 by both the ABA and the NBA

Lester Hayes (image from

4. Lester Hayes ("The only true Jedi of the NFL")

More popularly known as "The Judge" and "Lester the Molester", Hayes was a big Star Wars fan who anointed himself "the only true Jedi of the NFL" He played for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders as cornerback and was the 1980 NFL Defensive Player of  the Year. He was literally a Force to reckon with.

Black Mamba with a Lightsaber (image from, an LA Lakers blog)

5. Kobe Bryant (Kobe Wan Kenobi)

OK, you might say I made this one up just because I'm a Kobe Bryant fan. But to prove you wrong, early in Kobe's career, Chris Berman of conducted a poll among readers of The Berman Files to see which nickname was appropriate for Bryant. Interestingly enough, out of 15,500 votes casted, Kobe Wan Kenobi won with 5,586 votes. If you're still skeptical, click on this link:

Shaqawookiee? (image from

Just wondering, if Shaq had a SW nickname, what would it be? Remember that dance number he had during the All Star game in Phoenix with the Jabbawockeez? Could it be "Jabba the Shaq?" "Shaqawookiee?"

Your guess is as good as mine.

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