What’s in a name, anyway?
For star athletes, their names can be of vital importance. Superstars like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Derek Jeter have successfully turned their legal names into full fledged brands, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But there are a bunch of athletes who don’t even use their real names. No, this isn’t a list full of Tiger Woods and Magic Johnson. Everyone knows their real names are Eldrick and Earvin (which, let’s be real here, clearly explains why they preferred to use flashier nicknames instead of they given monikers).
But do you know the real name of former UFC champion Tito Ortiz? What about two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson? While you may know some of these real names, we’re betting you’ll learn at least one new name as you go through our list of athletes who used fake ones.
20. Mookie Betts
Current Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts started his career with a bang. He made his Big League debut at just 21-years in 2014 and has already made two All-Star teams and won a Gold Glove in 2016. He even finished second in MVP voting in just his second full season in The Show. Baseball fans in Boston can look forward to cheering on Mookie for years to come, but his real name is Markus Lynn Betts.
Apparently, his parents wanted his initials to match MLB (a fitting choice, really). But for some reason, infant Markus was given the nickname Mookie by his parents because they were big fans of former NBA player Mookie Blaylock. Despite the mixing of sports, the name stuck with Mookie throughout his childhood and into his pro ball career.