Sunday, August 5, 2007

How the Biggie Got His Name

A number of people have asked how Biggie got his name and what it really is.

Biggie's full name is Yanilan's Big E.Z., The Notorious D.O.G., call name "Biggie" or "Biggie-Z."

This is a combination of the names of hip-hop artist Biggie Smalls, The Notorious B.I.G., which references our neighborhood, NYC and Biggie's transition from being a teeny puppy to big dog, and Ervin Zador, a nod to Biggie's Hungarian origins and our love of water polo.

Ervin Zador was one of the greatest water polo players of all time, and played on the 1956 Hungarian Olympic team in Melbourne. Just weeks before, the Soviet Union had invaded Hungary to stop the Hungarian Revolution. Hungary and the Soviet Union met in the semifinal round, and E.Z. scored 2 goals while Hungary took a 4-0 lead. It was one of the bloodiest and most violent water polo matches ever, and that's saying a lot in a highly physical sport where injuries are common. By the start of the Olympics the Hungarian Revolution was over and the Hungary/Soviet Union match had become a proxy for the real conflict that was going on in Hungary itself.

The match was called with about 1 minute left in the game after a Soviet player punched Zador, opening a bloody gash in his face. This caused much unrest (aka near riot) in the pool among the players and spectators, and the referees stopped the game and awarded the win to Hungary, which went on to win its 4th gold medal. Zador, among others, defected and now lives in the United States.

Zador later said that when got out of the water with blood streaming from a cut below his eye, "All I could think about is, 'Could I play the next match?'." My water polo friends will know why that resonates with me and my shoulder.

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