Big Lead Sports Bar



Recently, there was great debate about an LPGA mandate requiring players who did not speak English to, you know...speak English.
Contrary to what many people think, English is not an easy language to master, hence the LPGA's quick reversal on the policy. And I'm here to prove it, with a few sports examples of some names that could've royally confused the Seon-Hwa Lees of the world.

10. Case of the disappearing "Mc-"

Has anyone ever heard Tracy McGrady's named pronounced MICK-GRADY? No, but I'm used to hearing "MA-GRADY" quite often. Yet Kevin McHale is pronounced MICK-HALE. Judges, can we get a ruling?

9. The Nowitzki file.
Please, please, please, announcers...I beg of you...can we decide on how we're going to pronounce this: NOWITZKI or NOVITZKI (the correct version)? He's only played for Dallas since, oh...1998...

8. The dual-letter.
Does it serve a purpose to have two A's in that first name, Isaac Bruce? Or how about your unneccessary L, Brandon Lloyd?

7. Does J=J, or does J=H?
Say "Julio Franco". Now say "Julius Jones". Now say "Albert Pujols". Clearly, this is a pitfall that could trap even the fastest of learners.

6. Making the simple name difficult.
Here in Pittsburgh, we have the great Evgeni Malkin. And after several years in a Pens uniform, people still can't decide whether his name is pronounced MALK-in or MAL-kin. Of course, it would help if he spoke English.

5. The evil "silent letters"
Hey, Dwight Howard, what wrong with your G? There's Jake Delhomme and Bill Cowher, who both waste perfectly good H's. And then there's David Wright, who, much like his team, clearly has no need for a W.

4. Same name, many variations.
What's the right way to spell this first name? You can choose from:
A. Antwaan Randle El
B. Antoine Walker
C. Antowain Smith
D. Antawn Jamison
E. Anton Volchenkov
I know one thing: I'm stumped.
3. The case of Plaxico Burress.
One of the all-time great mysteries in names. His named is spelled PLAXICO, and pronounced PLEXICO. You have to admit, though, the man knows how to wear his headgear.

2. The even more perplexing case of Ricardo Colclough.
My personal favorite, the former Steeler fumble machine pronounces his name "COAK-LEE". That's right, "Lough" now equals "Lee", at least in one household. So you could very well see Cliff Lough pitching for the Indians or Derrek Lough suiting up for the Cubs if the Colcloughs ran the country.

1. Brett Favre.
It's spelled FAVRE and pronounced FARVE. Even EA had trouble with this in Madden '09.

Your turn:

The amateur English professors who took time out of their busy schedule correcting papers to read this will surely make me look foolish for such a silly article. Of course names are pronounced differently, you simpleton! But feel free to add any that I've missed in the comments section.


Dave said...

"7. Does J=J, or does J=H?
Say "Julio Franco". Now say "Julius Jones". Now say "Albert Pujols". Clearly, this is a pitfall that could trap even the fastest of learners."

The J = H is Spanish , so this point doesn't really apply to foreigners learning english.

RedHawks Hockey said...

thanks for ruining the joke, jackass.

The Jon said...

Got 2 for you.

1. PGA Golfer Jose Maria Olazabal. Pronounced (Oh-la-THAH-bul)

So now Z = TH. Bad news for all you Tharley Thalapthky fans.

2. NHL Hall of Famer Mark Messier. Pronounced (Mess-E-A)

So now ER = A. Thats a shame for such greats as Ben RoethlisbAgA, Willie ParkA, JAome Bettis, etc.

Big D said...

Let's not forget the Angels player Chone Figgens who pronounces Chone "Shawn"


Captain Dummy said...

lets not forget teemu sleanne! is it TEE-mu??? TAE-mu???

Unknown said...

Aaron Rodgers is 0-2 in the Phonetic Names competition: a double-A and a superfluous D.

That said, American English is so hard because we've mashed together various combinations of Olde English, New(e?) English, Spanish, French, German and, of course, Latin. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U (as in "vacuum") and Z can be doubled but make the same sound as they would all by their lonesome; C, G and J can be hard or soft, and it's not a medical condition; H makes other letters do weird things (CH, GH, PH, RH, SH, TH, WH, ZH); C, K, CK, KK, Q and QU can all sound the same -- sometimes; and don't get me started on dangling participles. And that's not what you think it is, you perverts.

Welcome to the melting pot, where we can't decide on a national language, our PRIMARY language is harder to learn than pi to 500 decimal places, and we all taste like chicken.

This is Mike from The Steel Tradition, signing off.

(I majored in English; sue me.)

Broke But Still Drinking said...

My name is spelled with a C-H-A-D but pronounced as "Chuck"

DarkHelmet said...

the Z as TH is a great call (although more a Spanish problem). I've also heard them pronounce Jimenez as "hee-men-eth", making me want to punch myself in the face. WTF is the deal with the TH- good GOD

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

David Wright knows nothing about W's in September

Mike R. said...

How could you possibly leave off Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila?????

Robert Ullman said...

I think Malkin shoulda been first, 'cause not only is there confusion about his last name, but his first as well: is it EV-GENNY or EV-JENNY?

Boomer said...

I dont even know the correct spelling of his last name, but i know how it's pronounced and it sure as hell doesn't sound like how it is spelled... Coach K at Duke... anyone want to take a stab at clarifying that?

Unknown said...

Karel Pilar, played for the Leafs a few years back, last name Pilar was pronounced PEE-LASH! WTF MAN

Red Dog said...

this is one of the stupidest things i've ever read. isaac and lloyd? that is how those names are spelled.

Eileen Flinn said...

What about Loren Toews (former Steelers linebacker 1973-83) and Lauren Tewes (Julie your cruise director from the Love Boat)? My recollection is they both pronounced their last names very similarly.

Koz said...

Some of these folks are making a good point about several of the names and instances being mentioned having nothing to do with English.

Not sure I follow this one, Raul. :-\

J. Yeh said...

I can't believe no one has mentioned Dwyane Wade. I'd like to think he took a typo and just ran with it.

Unknown said...

Along the same lines as Pilar being Pi-Lash, how about that rock solid defenceman Stan Neckar, pronounced Nech-Kash!

Unknown said...

Don't forget about Chicago Blackhawks player, Jonathan Toews. Last name pronounced Taves.

Unknown said...

From Monte Python:
"It's spelled Luxury Yacht, but it's pronounced Throatwarbler Mangrove."

Dave said...

Ruining the joke??

The point is that English is hard to learn because of all the crazy, sometimes seemingly fluid rules of the language. I agree with most of the list, but using foreign names is a cop out. Of course foreign names won't follow the general rules of English!

And if we're talking ridiculous foreign names, how has Jarkko Ruutu avoided mention?

Anonymous said...

If we are going to talk about odd names to pronounce, how about we thrown in Toews teammate, Dustin Byfuglien.

Unknown said...

After the beat down on Sunday, how could we forget Kevin Kolb as in Cobb.

Lee Baker said...

I also hear people pronounce David Wright as "Davit". I think it's a East Coast thing though, in the same way they say "hundret" instead of "hundred".

Unknown said...

What bout "zlatan ibrahimovic", pronounced ibrahimovich:P

Unknown said...


William Wagner said...

I'm having a hard time pronouncing their names because every commentators have their own way of saying them. I'm really confused.

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