Former Lakers star Rudy LaRusso was a fascinating guy with some killer nicknames.
Rudy LaRusso was a Brooklyn-born basketball star in the 1950s and 60s. He went to Ivy League Dartmouth College after leaving NYC and the Minneapolis Lakers drafted him in the second round (No. 10 overall) in the 1959 NBA Draft. In his eight seasons with the Lakers franchise, LaRusso scored 24,487 points.
What’s more fun about LaRusso, though, are his nicknames. According to Basketball Reference, his long list of amazing nicknames include:
- The Ivy Leaguer With Muscles
- Honey Boy
- Roughhouse Rudy
Some of the names are self-explanatory, as the 6-foot-8, 220-pound LaRusso was a tough, muscular player even by today’s standards, let alone in the 1960s. As for why he was called “Honey Boy” or “Musty,” that’s anyone’s guess.
LaRusso was an interesting figure, for sure. He was a five-time All-Star and the unheralded No. 3 behind the Lakers’ big-name stars Jerry West and Elgin Baylor on those 60s teams. When the team traded him to Detroit at the end of his LA run, he refused to go, wanting to stay in California, per Complete Sports magazine. Instead, he finished his career with one season on the San Francisco Warriors.
He also appeared on an episode of Gilligan’s Island, is a member of the Jewish Sports Hall of Fames, and was “a successful investment banker and sports agent” after his playing career, according to his Dartmouth obituary.
LeBron James is now ahead of LaRusso on the Lakers’ all-time scorers list, though, so the former franchise great will likely once again fade into memory. Next up for LeBron? He takes aim at No. 12 on the list, Hall of Famer Vern Mikkelsen, aka “The Great Dane” from Hamline University. Stay tuned for that.