Let us be clear: When we speak of the misspelled names in sports, we’re speaking of names that aren’t spelled correctly to begin with, which means those writing them then misspell them. So these names just aren’t spelled correctly by anyone. And it’s terrible. For a sportswriter, or even as someone who comments a lot on sports sites or message boards, you have to write a lot of athletes’ names. No surprise there. While the nuance or novelty of a misplaced letter or alternate spelling may seem like a fun play on a name when it’s on a player’s jersey, it can make life a living hell that can’t end soon enough when you’re writing 500 words on that athlete in question. If the entries on this list had any other career, they wouldn’t affect me one bit. But being a pro athlete isn’t special enough. NOOOOOOOO. You have to have a cute unique name. F*ck you, entries #9-#1. You can all go to hell until you fix your names.
Any name that’s such a literary nod immediately loses its coolness when you spell it phonetically. “It’s a reference to Dante Aligheri. Only I’m going to spell it like a mongoloid child would.” Those things don’t mesh well. I don’t blame him. I blame his parents. You can’t change your name. You can only depend on your parents not to saddle you with a bullshit one. Looks like Dahntay got the ole’ ram job with his name. I guess “Willyum Cheakzpeer” was too long.
9. Dahntay Jones
Here’s a list of words for which I am willing to put an “h” immediately after a “j”:
- Jheri Curl
(Thanks for playing.)
8. Jhonny Peralta
Not the worst offender, if only because there are no other LeBron’s to confuse him with. Also, the name is at least spelled phonetically. And, when you’re the most famous athlete in the country (the world?), you sort of give everyone a passive education. So I’ve gotten used to the “Big L, little E, big B, etc” thing. But I still have to correct a lot of people who haven’t. That takes time and effort, neither of which a sportswriter wants to give more of than is absolutely necessary. Writing about another LeBron James triple-double is boring enough. At least don’t make me think about a second strike of the “Shift” key every time I need to mention him.
7. LeBron James
You can’t just transpose letters like that. It’s confusing. The spelling of his name sort of drifted out of the public consciousness the moment we saw a grainy picture of his penis while he was wearing Crocs, but his was a real problem. It immediately separated the sports fans from the non-sports fans. Because only a sports fan would be so accommodating as to entertain this gibberish spelling/pronunciation.
6. Brett Favre
I mean, it’s spelled like a regular name. But it’s pronounced Steff-en. Not Ste-fahn. Steff-en. You want to put an “a” in there. You want to change the “ph” to an “f” to match the European (non-Greek, anyway) pronunciation. But you can’t. It’s like spilling a soda then walking away from the mess every time you write his name. Shit, though. That kid can shoot.
5. Stephen Curry
Ok. Culturally, this one is probably all right. I mean, it’s Polish, and this is what Polish words look like. But as a sportswriter, F*CK THIS NAME. Some names are sneaky, like Nicolas Cage spelling his name without the “h,” or Scottie Pippen not being named “Scotty Pippen.” You never even know you misspell them. Not Mike Krekjasdfljkasdfjadfsjklsdflkj. You sense the need to write his name about two paragraphs before you need to. You write things like “The US National Basketball team coaching staff” just so you don’t have copy and paste this clusterf*ck of a name into a document, then remove the native formatting. You don’t need another reason to hate Duke, but if you’ve ever had to write COACH K’s name, you have one.
And if you have more than one “z” in your name, you better be a goddamn Pokemon character.
4. Mike Krzyzewski
HA! I got you. It’s not spelled “Laverneus Coles!” It’s just pronounced that way. It’s spelled Laveranues Coles, which makes me think his parents were either random number generators, or epileptics throwing darts at a handwriting chart. If you were to pronounce the name as it’s spelled, you would say it, “Luh-vera-nwess.” Or you would just bite your own tongue off to prevent the discomfort of saying that name.
3. Laverneus Coles
Goddammit, Dwyane. Not only do you play like a timid little pussycat, but you’ve got this secret little spelling of your name that it takes fans like seven months to pick up on, and only then after they relax their eyes and say a chant. It doesn’t make sense. No one on earth will EVER spell your name right unless you walk them through it. Unless that person is a sportswriter, in which case there’s no sum of money payable that will ever make us feel clean for committing this literary abortion. The name “Dwayne” is bad enough. Making it worse is just gilding the lily.
2. Dwyane Wade
We don’t find ourselves writing about J.J. Redick too much, which is part of the problem. This crafty son of a bitch just shaved a “d” off his name and expected us not to notice, which is ridiculous. We always notice when a player shaves his d.
Anywho, Redick should be spelled with two “d”s. Does it really matter in the case of J.J. Redick to the point that we need to make a mental note? No. It doesn’t. Nobody’s gonna double check the spelling of J.J. Redick’s name. So what’s the alternative? That’s right. Getting it wrong. Every time.