With the Scripps National Spelling Bee concluding last night, I thought I’d give winner Arvind Mahankali the challenge of spelling some of the toughest names in the NBA. Spelling words like humuhumunukunukuapua’a and knaidel can’t be that much harder than spelling Kevin Love, right?
All we need now is a “Roundball Rock” remix and name it Roundball Spelling.
I divided the spelling contest into four levels, sort of like a video game where it (hopefully) gets more difficult after each one. I apologize in advance for not researching the definitions of names, alternate pronunciations, language of origins, and how they’re said in a sentence. I don’t have all day and I’m sure neither do you.
Here are the names I came up with:
First Level: Sneaky first names
- Antawn Jamison
- Dwyane Wade
- The easiest way to tell if someone is a Lakers or Heat bandwagoner is if they spell these two names incorrectly.
- Greivis Vasquez
- I feel like this causes more trouble among writers and journalists than I think, or maybe it’s just all in my head. Spelling: it’s a mental game.
- Aron Baynes
- Just weird. Pronouncing the ‘ron’ part of his name like Ron Artest would make him sound like a total badass.
- Marreese Speights
- One of the underrated media nightmares is Marreese Speights. The first two letters are easy shmeezy, but then it’s a murderer’s row from there. Scary stuff.
Second Level: Tricky last names
- Andrew Goudelock
- Pronouncing his last name might be more difficult than spelling it, but it’s still questionable enough to place Goudelock on the list.
- Tim Ohlbrecht
- Another weird one with some silent letters.
- Jonas Valanciunas
- Just a totally normal U.S. first name mixing with a totally normal overseas last name. No big deal.
- Rodrigue Beaubois
- Knowing a Rodrigue from college made this a little easier to spell. Beaubois sounds like some awesome foreign meat or something else that’s utterly delicious.
Third Level: Confusing mix of both
- Timofey Mozgov
- Whenever I read or hear his name I imagine he has two super-sized front teeth.
- Luc Mbah a Moute
- Most underrated part of this is that it’s four words. Note: Serge Ibaka’s name would trump all if he stuck with entire eight-word name. Twitter would have to double the maximum amount of characters to tweet just to fit his name in.
- DeSagana Diop
- Diop. Jeeop. Jeep? French for Jeep? Probably, and DeSagana reminds me of lasagna which, when looking at Diop’s year-by-year stats, there’s a legitimate chance he ate a few servings five minutes before every game. Michael Beasley knows what that’s like.
Fourth Level: Names from the Google-less, grammatical hell
- Tornike Shengelia
- Close, but not exactly related to Darius Songaila. I can’t help but say Shengelia in a Dr. Evil voice though. Don’t ask.
- Viacheslav Kravtsov
- This name gives me a craving for some coleslaw and sauerkraut.
- Donatas Motiejunas
- If I saw his name as the author of a sappy romantic novel, well, I would definitely spend a rainy day reading it with a bottle of wine.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Pat yourself on the back if you can spell that name in one try.