Marshawn Lynch is another athlete with a memorable nickname—and a “beastly” one, at that.
The phrase beast mode refers to “a state of performing something, especially difficult activities, with extreme power, skill, or determination.” Beast mode became popular in sports during the late 2000s and early 2010s due to its association with football running back Marshawn Lynch, who uses Beast Mode as his nickname.
According to Lynch, the nickname came from one of his old coaches, who called him “a beast.” This slang sense of beast, emerging by the early 2000s, refers to “someone extremely good at something, e.g., a skilled basketball player is a beast on the court.” The idea of Lynch entering beast mode on the field, however, also suggests earlier uses of beast mode in 1980–90s TV shows and video games for “powering up,” where characters switched into the mode of a preternaturally strong beast.
According to Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch himself, beast mode is not confined to competitive activities like games or sports. For instance, a coffee barista could be said to be entering beast mode when working fast, efficiently, and in a driven manner, such as preparing four cups of coffee at once. A patient, as another example, might “go beast mode” to fight cancer.