In 1925, the university held a contest to determine the new name of the MSU sports teams. The name chosen was the unimaginative "Michigan Staters." A local sportswriter was not happy with this title, so he took matters into his own hands, taking one of the other options, "Spartans," and using it in game recaps and eventually, headlines. Nobody complained, so it hung around and remains to this day.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson gives the thumbs up during the regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament between the Michigan State Spartans and the Virginia Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)