Soccer is a form of art, at least if you play it the traditional Brazilian way. The joy of the beautiful game, “joga bonito”, may be one of the reasons why Brazilians regard their players as artists that create beauty using a ball. That may be one of the reasons why so many Brazilian players carry nicknames – or stage names – just like artists. Another one may be that their real names are either too long (“Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira”) or too similar with others (“José Da Silva”).
For the purpose of shortening, many players either use their first name, like Sócrates (see above), his brother Raí (Raí Souza Vieira de Oliveira), Ronaldo (Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima) and many more. Others use their family name instead: Falcão (Paulo Roberto Falcão), Taffarel (Cláudio André Mergen Taffarel), Júnior (Leovegildo Lins Gama Júnior), etc.
This shortening leads to another issue: How to distinguish players with similar short names? The solution is to add more content. One example may be the place of origin: Juninho Pernambucano originating from Recife in the Pernambuco state vs. Juninho Paulista from São Paulo. Another example is scaling up or down: Ronaldão (“big Ronaldo”) vs. Ronaldinho (“small Ronaldo”)
More interesting, however, are those players with stage names that are not based on their real names, those that have an actual meaning or story.
Like those derived from misspelling/ mispronunciation: Everybody knows Pelé, but only few know where the name comes from. The most commonly told story: When young Edson Arantes do Nascimento was watching his father play, he liked the goalie of the team called “Bilé”, yet wasn’t able to spell the name correctly, so he called him “Pelé”. His father liked it and started to use that name for his son. Or the other way around: Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite’s younger brother wasn’t able to properly pronounce the name of “Ricardo”, calling him “Kaká” instead.
Another source for stage names is based on similarity:
“Garrincha” is the name of a small Brazilian bird (a kind of wren), and because he was nearly as small as this bird in his childhood, Manoel Francisco dos Santos got his stage name this way.
Another player who was short heighted as a child was Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri. His uncle nicknamed him after the Brazlian name of one of the dwarfs from Snow White: “Dunga”
And some stage names are even base on the players abilities in soccer. Like that of Carlos Roberto de Oliveira – a striker who was able to shoot pretty hard: Roberto Dinamite.
Sometimes I think it’s a pity we don’t have stage names in business. Not that I wanted to discuss if business is an art (it surely is!) but because of the personal flavor stage names add: If the new guy from your main supplier would introduce himself as, say, “Roberto Dinamite”, you would know what to expect in the upcoming price negotiations.
Interestingly, most stage names (or nicknames) are not chosen by the person herself, but by friends, colleagues or others.
Let’s play a little game. Let’s pretend it wasn’t this way. Just imagine there were stage names in business, too. And imagine you could choose your stage name yourself. What would it be?
Think about it. Come on, take the time and do it. How would you like to be called? How would you like others to see you?
Found one? Don’t read on unless you found your stage name.
Good. You’re still reading, so obviously you found your stage name. Let me guess that the stage name is not something like “the lazy one”, “weirdo” or “loser”. Probably it’s something more positive, something that’s got elements from you, maybe your energy, your esprit, your intelligence or your creativity.
Now let’s take our little experiment one step further: Do you believe others would have given you the same stage name if I would have asked them to come up with one for you?
If you have any doubts they would have, it’s not due to their limited imagination, it’s due to the fact that you’re not coming across the way you would like it to be.
Today is a great day to start working on that. To make them realize what your stage name should be. To live up to the stage name you just chose with all its positive implications, all its aspirations and all its elements derived from you.
It can be the core of your (professional) personality, it can be the core of your personal brand – it’s what you stand for. Start earning your stage name!