This month, thanks to Elon Musk, I’ve been forced to re-visit an old childhood trauma. Everyone has some sort of trauma from their childhood. It could be physical or mental and it varies from person to person. One of the things that I hated the most in my childhood was having a substitute teacher in elementary school. Those first five minutes of class at Hill Elementary (Garden Grove, CA) where the sub would take roll, butcher half the classes name’s and then assign some bullshit work for the entire day were moments that I dreaded as a little kid.
I know it might not be a serious trauma, so let me explain. My government name is “Claudio”, and having a 20-something year old sub come in carelessly and proceed to call me “Claudia” while doing roll was brutal for my confidence when I was young.
Famous genius and technology entrepreneur, Elon Musk and Grimes just named their new born baby, X Æ A-12 (congrats btw.) This kid is going to have an absolute rough time going through life explaining people how to pronounce his name. I truly feel for the kid. It’s almost like a scene from Key and Peele’s famous sketch show:
Let me pivot this convo over to sports and let’s take a look at some guys in the NBA who most likely had their names butchered by substitute teachers their entire life. The NBA has been on a hiatus for a little while now due to the famous COVID-19 virus, hopefully this feeds you daily NBA/List/Rankings fix. Enjoy!
#5. Rui Hachimura
(Roo-ee Ha-chi-mur-ah) Rui is a 2019 rookie who was drafted 9th overall by the Washington Wizards. Rui was born in Japan, but you might have guessed that based on his last name. Rui’s name is a tongue twister at first but once you nail it a few times, you’ll have it forever.
#4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
(Shy Gil-juss Alexander) Shai is bright young star in the NBA, and while his play is impressive, I’m more impressed by the seamstress that stitches his jerseys together. His jersey definitely gives off Jarrod Saltalamacchia vibes and that’s why hes #4 on this list.
#3. Matisse Thybulle
(Mat-eece Thigh-Bull) Matisse is a great young player from Washington and he is a lockdown piece for the 76ers. The American-Australian got his name from 19th century French Impressionist painter Henri Matisse. Thybulle has a very unique name and I would definitely love to hear Keegan-Michael Key try and pronounce the young player’s name.
#2. Sekou Doumbouya
(Say-ku Doom-boo-ya) The 2019-20 French rookie burst on to the scene in 2020 before the NBA was put on hold right when people were barely getting the hang of pronouncing his name. The Detroit small forward’s name is a battle to pronounce, but if you take it a letter at a time, you should be able conquer Sekou’s name by the time the NBA returns.
#1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
(Yannis Ant-et-o-kumpo) The Greek Freak is now a certified star in the NBA, so now alot of people are used to pronouncing the Greek star’s name. Giannis isn’t the only Antetokounmpo to rep his long last name, Giannis has four brothers, 2 of them with NBA ties and 1 of them scheduled to the enter the NBA in a few years. Giannis and his brothers have probably endured people butchering their last name’s for their entire life, but with Giannis’ super star trajectory in the NBA, mispronunciation should be a thing of the past.
The moral of the story here is to be proud of your name. Don’t let other people butcher it, make sure they capitalize it and don’t change it to make other people feel comfortable. Make them pronounce it the way it is pronounced.
Some honorable mentions include:
- Yuta Watanabe
- Timote Luwawu-Cabarrot
- Svi Mykhailiuk
- Frank Ntilikina
- Sir’Dominic Pointer
- Anzejs Pasecniks
- Quinndary Weatherspoon
- Rodions Kurucs