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The Most Mispronounced Athlete Names and How to Pronounce them!

Athlete Names That Often Get Mispronounced

The United States is known as a melting pot of diverse cultures and with diverse cultures, we gain diverse names. With the origins of names in North American sports coming from across the globe, we may often spot a name on a jersey we don’t know how to pronounce.

A great cross-section of these names can be seen in sports such as the NFL, NBA, NHL and the MLB. The big four sports leagues have had diverse names for a long time, at times causing issues for fans, commentators, and even shirt-makers with their complexity and length.

The Most Mispronounced Athlete Names

To find out which names are the most mispronounced in the US and place your bets accordingly, we here at BetUS surveyed 2,000 American sports fans across the country, to see how well they could pronounce sports stars’ names across different sports. The surveyed were presented with the name of the sports star and several phonetic spelling choices and had to review which phonetic pronunciation they thought is the correct one.

Sports commentators may be able to pronounce many of the names of the cuff, but can the fans?

The survey revealed that two names were equally tied for the most incorrect pronunciations, basketballer Ömer Aşık , pronounced Oh-mare Ah-sheek, had 70% of the surveyed mispronounced his name, choosing the phonetic spellings of Oh-mar Ah-Sick and Oh-mar-Ah Sheek.

Jonathan Toews was also the most mispronounced; the Hockey star’s correct pronunciation would be Jonathon Taves which only 14% of the 2,000 got correct, the most chosen pronunciation was Tows, with 57% picking this option.

Across football Najee Harris (Na-gee Harris) had the most correct pronunciation at 58%, despite recently complaining about how he was often mispronounced, alongside Houston Texans CJ Fiedorowicz with 38% correct pronunciations. Harris’ recently retired quarterback teammate Ben Roethlisberger also was one of the most well pronounced, with 66% of people getting nis name correct,

The most incorrect pronunciations were for Michael Hoomanawanui (Michael oh-muh-now-ah-noo-ee) with only 16% of the surveyed fans knowing the correct pronunciation. 44% of the surveyed picked the phonetic spelling Michaal Hoo-man-nah-wan-eee. Deyon Bucannon was the second most incorrectly pronounced with 63% choosing the incorrect pronunciation, the most chosen pronunciation for him is Dee-on Buh-cann-on at 47%.


Within basketball stars Ömer Aşık (Oh-mare Ah-sheek) was the most difficult pronunciation with 70% choosing wrong.  Bohan Marjanović (Bau-bon Mar-yan-nov-itch) was the second most difficult to pronounce with 68% choosing incorrectly with 40% choosing the pronunciation Boh-ban Mar-jan-nov-ick. 

Mario Hezonja (Mario He-zon-ya) was the most correctly spelt with 38% of fans choosing the correct pronunciation.

Other names that fans struggled with were Sim Bhullar (Sim Bu-luh) with 65% choosing incorrectly.

The most iconic name and player in the NBA over the last few seasons is Giannis Antetokounmpo. His name is a product of double translation, because of his Nigerian parents, the name Adetokunbo was changed to Αντετοκούνμπο, as per the Greek tradition. This changed again to be ​Antetokounmpo. Because of his name, he was often referred to as the ‘Greek Freak’, but in the US 54% struggled to pronounce it, perhaps showing that his increased fandom as MVP and champion has helped them learn his name more than some of his league contemporaries.

Now that you know how to pronounce you favorite players names we invite you to

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