Some nicknames have more thought and historical or geographically relevance than others. Whether a team boasts a nickname with deeper meaning or one that selected for no reason at all, every nickname was conceived at some point in time and, with the exception of a few rare cases, it was not the only name considered.
Scroll down for some nicknames that were nearly selected, or actually selected and quickly removed, for professional sports teams.
Orlando Magic – Juice
Yes, Juice was actually among the four finalists for Orlando’s NBA franchise in the late 1980s. In addition to the final selection of Magic, the names Heat and Tropics were also considered.
Colorado Avalanche: Black Bears
The team actually filed copyright paperwork for Black Bears before doubling back to Avalanche. Names that were also heavily considered include Outlaws, Extreme, Blizzards, Storm, Renegades, Rapids and Cougars. The Outlaws ultimately went to the city’s Major League Lacrosse team while Rapids was snagged by their MLS team.
Dallas Cowboys – Steers
Dallas’ new NFL team was slated to be the Steers before the team’s management group decided in favor of Cowboys after criticism.
Minnesota Wild: Blue Ox
Also included among the six finalists were Freeze, Northern Lights, Voyageurs and White Bears. It’s unclear which of the five posed the largest threat to be tabbed official nickname over Wild.
New Jersey Devils: Americans
Like the Wild, there was a large list of names that included Blades, Coastals, Colonials, Gulls, Jaguars, Meadowlanders and Meadowlarks and although rumors state Americans led the group, it’s not clear which name was the most heavily considered outside of Devils.
Oakland Raiders – Senors
Senors was selected as nickname for their inaugural 1960 season and the team actually played the preseason as the Senors before switching to Raiders amid widespread jokes and complaints. Oh weird, people were making jokes at the expense of an Oakland football team…some things never change…
Kansas City Chiefs – Mules
Owner and founder Lamar Hunt wanted to keep the Texans name after moving from Dallas but, despite his strong objections, finally opened it up to competition. Mules came in a close second to Chiefs.
Miami Marlins – Flamingos
Former team owner Wayne Huizenga told media outlets in the mid-1990s that they strongly considered the Florida Flamingos before going with the Marlins.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Justice
The folks of Columbus were nearly forced to call their hockey team the Justice. It might be patriotic and commanding but it’s absurd that Justice was a legitimate option.
Boston Celtics – Unicorns
Most Celtics fans are already aware that their basketball team was nearly named the Unicorns way back in 1946 before owner Walter Brown opted for Celtics. Other top choices were the Olympians and Whirwinds.
Charlotte Hornets – Flight
Bobcats wasn’t a popular choice but the other two finalists weren’t much better, with one being far worse: Dragons and Flight. We have no clue if there’s an abnormal amount of Dragons running around North Carolina but Flight is an ode to the state’s aviation history.
Nashville Predators – Ice Tigers
Nashville unveiled the team logo before actually picking a team, leading to a contest that produced Ice Tigers, Fury and Attack as the three most popular options, with the team electing for Predators over the other three.
Washington Wizards – Sea Dogs
Washington declared their desire to remove the name Bullets, as they no longer wanted the team to be associated with gun violence, and gave fans a list of five names, which included eventual winner Wizards. The others were Dragons, Express, Stallions and the second-most popular choice: Sea Dogs.
St. Louis Blues – Mercury
Before owner Sid Saloman, Jr. selected Blues from W.C. Handy’s song St. Louis Blues in 1967, the team nearly picked Mercury or Apollo.
Memphis Grizzlies – Mounties
The Grizzlies kept their name upon moving to Memphis in 2001 but instead of keeping the name of a bear, they could’ve been keeping the name of a mounted police officer. Mounties, chosen from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was nearly selected before the team began play in 1995 but police objections led the ownership group to pick Grizzlies.
New York Mets – Empires
The Mets were chosen over a slew of other team names, led by the most popular options of Empires and Islanders. Those two were not among the list of ten candidates given to fans after the city was awarded an expansion team, but, as write-in options, were the second and third-most popular choices. Also included in the ten names were the Rebels, Skyliners and Continentals.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Polars
Four months before the NBA officially granted Minnesota a franchise, the ownership group held a contest, one that was whittled down to two names: Polars and Timberwolves.