The many nicknames of Indiana State’s Robbie Avila, ranked from Cream Abdul-Jabbar to Larry Nerd

Indiana State center Robbie Avila, the 6-foot-10 forward with the goggles and the game, leads the Sycamores into the NIT championship at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday at the Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. 


Indiana State (32-6) faces Seton Hall (24-12) in a matchup of teams that were left out of the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Avila, who averages 17.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, still has emerged as a player to remember this March. Which nickname do you prefer? 


Larry Nerd? Cream Abdul-Jabbar? Let’s rank the many nicknames Avila will take with him to Arch Madness – and perhaps March Madness. 



Avila has become a viral sensation because of his looks – a 6-10, 240-pound center wearing goggles is going to attract attention. He has the game – he ranked in the top five in the MVC in scoring and rebounds and was seventh with 3.9 assists per game.


Avila also plays at the same school as Larry Bird – the legend who led the Sycamores to the NCAA men’s national championship game in 1979 – a matchup against Michigan State that is widely-credited for spawning the March Madness phenomenon. 



This one is hard to top, and Avila even has the goggles to watch the legendary center who was a three-time NCAA champion at UCLA. This will be the nickname that sticks with Avila through the MVC and NCAA tournaments if the Sycamores can make a run – and it will trend on social media throughout March. Who is making those T-shirts first? 


2. Larry Nerd 


Bird averaged 30.3 points per game through a three-year career with Indiana State before going on to win three NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. Avila has emerged as Indiana State’s most-popular player since Bird, so the pun fits perfectly and will be the second-most submitted nickname on X. Even Sycamores coach Josh Schertz knows the nicknames by now.  


3. College Jokic 


That is the best comparison to Avila’s game. He has an all-around skill-set for a post player that translates outside the lane and below the rim. Avila has 11 games with 20 points or more, 12 games with five assists or more and six games with 10 or more rebounds. He’s shooting 55.6% from the field and 39.6% from 3-point range. SN’s Stephen Noh highlighted the comparisons to Jokic earlier this season. 


4. Larry Blurred 


A nice combination of the Larry Bird theme with the goggles, but it doesn’t quite hit as hard as the first Bird-inspired nickname. You will also see this spelled “Blurrd,” which is a better variation. 


5. Rob Wave 


This is Avila’s personal favorite nickname. “My favorite music artist is Rod Wave, and so I got one earlier that was ‘Rob Wave.”That’s always going to be my favorite, but I do like ‘Cream Abdul-Jabbar,” Avila said on the “Dan LeBatard Show” on March 4.


6. Milk Chamberlain


Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points and 17.5 rebounds at Kansas in 1958, so we shy away from comparing anybody to “Wilt The Stilt.” If Chamberlain is “The Big Dipper,” then does that make Avila the “Milky Way?” 


7. Steph Blurry 


It’s the weakest one of the bunch. Why not just coach with “Blurry Curry?” Plus, teammates Julian Larry and Ryan Conwell are better 3-point shooters. Curry, however, was arguably the most-famous NCAA tournament Cinderella of all time. He led Davidson to the Elite Eight in 2008. 



Gideon Canice

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