And here I thought Little Troy wanted to play basketball all the time. Once again, the Oxford English Dictionary has blown my mind, and set the record straight. He was obviously thinking of the Earl of Rochester.
OED Online Word of the Day
Your word for today is: baller, n.2
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈbɔːləː/, U.S. /ˈbɔlər/, /ˈbɑlər/
Etymology: < either ball n.2 or ball v.3 + -er suffix1.
A person who takes part in a ball; spec. (in pl., usually with capital initial) the name given to a group of rakes of the Restoration Court, led by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, and renowned for their dissolute behaviour.
The group is known chiefly through Pepys’s Diary: see quot. 1668.
1668 S. Pepys Diary 30 May (1976) IX. 218 Here I first understood‥the meaning of the company that lately were called ‘Ballers’; Harris telling how it was by a meeting of some young blades‥and my Lady Bennet and her ladies; and there dancing naked, and all the roguish things in the world.
1671 H. Savile Let. 26 Jan. in Rochester-Savile Lett. (1941) 31 [Your Lordship] is chosen Generall in this warr betwixt the Ballers & ye farmers, nor shall peace by my consent ever bee made till they grant us our wine and Ds custome free.
1673 Coll. Poems Several Persons (rev. ed.) 108 The Ballers life‥. With dangerous Damsels we dally, [etc.].
1946 Rev. Eng. Stud. 22 341 [Frank Newport and Harry Killigrew] were members of the obscene company of ‘Ballers’, to which Savile, Sedley, Rochester, and others of the Court Wits also belonged.