Explaining the 15 oddest nicknames in Houston Rockets history

Houston Rockets James Harden Chris Paul (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden Chris Paul (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
6 of 8
Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Kevin Willis (Photo by CRAIG LASSIG / AFP) (Photo credit should read CRAIG LASSIG/AFP via Getty Images) /

7. Kevin Wills – T-Rex

Kevin Willis spent over two decades in the NBA, not retiring until he turned 44. While that’s as old as a dinosaur in NBA terms, that’s probably not why he was given then nickname T-Rex. While there’s no mention of the name in his Wikipedia entry and no official sources explaining it, there is some debate online on certain NBA forums.

In a Real GM post from 2019, a user speculates the nickname as resulting from his limited wingspan of 6-feet-10 inches. For a 7-footer, that’s pretty low, which would explain the nickname since a tyrannosaurus rex is known to have disproportionately small arms.

Willis spent three seasons with the Rockets, averaging 11.8 points and 7.4 rebounds in that time.

6. Zaid Abdul-Aziz – The Kangaroo

Born Donald Smith in Brooklyn, New York, Zaid Abdul-Aziz converted to Islam just before going to the Houston Rockets for the 1972-73 season, resulting in the name change. According to Basketball-Reference and his Wikipedia page, another name he went by was The Kangaroo.

The interesting story behind Zaid Abdul-Aziz. Related Story

While there doesn’t seem to be an official source that gives an explanation for the name, it seems pretty straightforward. Kangaroos are known for hopping, so it’s safe to assume Abdul-Aziz had hops throughout his career.

The only written reasoning I could find also appears to be pure speculation, from a 2011 Bleacher Report article about college basketball.

Next: No. 5, 4, and 3