Purdue Boilermakers forward Travis Carroll has an interesting nickname, and an interesting backstory to how he earned that nickname. Because nicknames can only be earned, you cannot give yourself one. (As George Costanza and “Seinfeld” taught us) And “Tacos,” as Travis Carroll is known is well aware of his nickname and how he earned it. I talked about “Tacos” with Travis Carroll at Big Ten Media Day.
Travis Carroll is nicknamed Tacos because a few years ago a reader on SB Nation’s Purdue site “Hammer and Rails” went to comment on a posting with his phone. He tried to type TC, but it auto-corrected to tacos. The name has taken off since then.
“It’s kind of cool having a nickname like that. People dress up like tacos for the game,” Carroll said.
“I’ve seen signs where I’m shooting the ball, but they’ve changed the ball to a taco. Some people want me to put Tacos Carroll instead of Travis Carroll when I’m signing autographs, so it’s kind of a fun thing,” he added.
Travis Carroll said he’s never really had a nickname stick to him like this one has at any point of his life. Ryne Smith gave him a few nicknames during his freshmen year, but none of them had any staying power. And this is a wonderful thing because we’ve certainly lost our way with athlete nicknames these days. You rarely get a “Oil Can Boyd” or “Crazy Legs Hirsch these days. Instead we have trite and obvious abbreviations like A-Rod and D-Will.
We need more fun nicknames like Tacos Carroll.
“If anybody wants to call me Tacos that’s cool with me,” Carroll said.
It would be really interesting if Purdue were to play at Michigan State this season, but unfortunately that’s not on the schedule. Why? Because whenever MSU wins and scores 75+ points, ticket holders get free tacos. And you often hear the Breslin Center crowd chanting “we want Tacos.”
That might be a bit confusing to Travis Carroll and the Purdue Boilermakers.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. A Fulbright scholar in media studies, he’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)