Tuesday, August 11, 2009

GSNHOF Nominee - Atari Bigby

I have this theory that Great Names are kind of like Carlos Delgado. A lot of people look at Delgado now and think that he's pretty decent when healthy, but when he retires people are going to realize that the dude whopped (at least) the quietest 473 homeruns you'd ever seen. People like Delgado enough now, but imagine how they'll feel in twenty years. Maybe it's more like a fine wine or something, you've got to let it age before you can truly appreciate it.

I think current sports names have the same issue though. Everyone in the current HOF portion of this site has been retired for a while (even God Shammgod). Being retired lets your name enter mythological status, where people truly don't believe that guy ever existed. As for current players, we see them on the courts and on the fields, and so it's hard to truly admire the awesome named ness of a Shaquille O'Neal or a Nomar Garciaparra. Years from now though, I'm telling you, these guys will be on a site like this. It's just too soon right now.

So what does all that have to do with Atari Bigby? Well he's a current player, but I think his name is damn good enough that he might have a shot at the Hall anyways. And so he shall become the next great one nominated for the Great Sports Name Hall of Fame.

First things first: Atari was named after the Japanese word for "attack," not the video game console. I'm sure most people realized that, but I know a lot of us probably wish it were the other way around, because then it's a lot funnier.

Anyways, "Attack" was born in Jamaica, but moved to the States at age four, settling in the Miami, Florida area. He played high school prep ball at a school also attended by S Marquand Manuel, WR Andre Johnson, WR Roscoe Parrish, OL Jamaal Jackson, and Miami Heat PF Udonis Haslem, which is the makings for a far better team than anything my high school ever put out. Atari played offense and defense and was damn good, recording 72 tackles, four forced fumbles, 500 receiving yards and nine touchdowns as a senior.

From there Atari had a shot to go to the University of Miami, but he attended University of Central Florida instead because they wouldn't make him cut his hair (Atari is a Rastafarian). This probably hurt his draft stock quite a bit, but he ended up being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dolphins in 2005. He was on the team about two months before getting cut, and followed this up by signing with the Jets (and getting cut a month later). Things were not looking great for Atari.

But then things took a turn for the better. Signed to the Packers practice squad later that year, Atari made his NFL debut on December 22, 2005. The next year he was still mostly practice squad, but in 2007 Atari took the starting reigns from old friend Manuel and ran with them, catching five interceptions (including four in his defensive player of the month December) to go along with 66 tackles. Atari was clearly a star in the making.

Then came 2008, and Atari got hurt. He sprained his ankle in the preseason, played as a shell of himself as a result, and finally went on IR after seven games. Now, however, after intense rehab and a re signing with the Pack, Atari is ready to play. You wouldn't know it from his non updated sportsblog, but his website oozes readiness (and also mentions that he loves Omar Epps movies and salmon...so that's cool).

I don't know about you, but I'm hoping Atari comes back real strong this year. Although they'd better come up with some sweet nicknames for the Packers Defense when he's leading the charge. I kind of like Space Invaders. Any other ideas?

To see the best sports names of all time, visit the Truly Great Names page.
To see some good sports names that were voted out, visit the Good Names page.
To see the current voting ballot, visit the Ballot page.

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