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While watching some preseason analysis for the upcoming MLB season, I noticed something kinda funny. When people pronounce it properly, I get all confused by the name Eric Gagne. I am totally prepared for them to say Eric Gag Knee, like Greg Gagne. On the other hand, it must be painfully annoying for Gagne to have his name butchered by the media and fans on a daily basis. Thus, in Gagne’s honor, we have assembled a little hat tip to the Hall of Fame of Butchered Names. To clarify a bit, we avoided the overly complicated foreign names, because we were getting bogged down by the long list of Olczyks and Ozolinshs in the NHL. Instead, the list in more in favor of just the random mispronounced names. In no-particular order, we present a few of the great tongue-twisters in sports.
Patrick Roy (Patrick Wah) – Thank heavens for Sega Genesis. It’s bad enough that 97% of all girls still refer to him as Patrick Roy, as in Roy Munson, but imagine if every dip-a-toe-in-the-water hockey fan still did as well. As they say in Boston, at least NHL ‘93 and ‘94 helped spread the Wahd.
It’s pronounced “Gee." Not "Gee" like in this exchange: "Great, Dad. But I got homework to do." "That's okay, son. You can do it on the boat." "Gee, hon', isn't our son swell?" "Yes, dear. Isn't life swell?" But rather, "Gee" as in: “He went for totally (gee)k to totally sheik.”
Carl Yastrzemski (Carl Yastrzemski) – I don’t know what the deal with this one is, but people see a name that ends in “Ski” and they just start making shit up (I might have a little familiarity in this particular area). Fortunately for Carl, he got off the hook as most fans referred to him as Yaz, but I guarantee that his teachers all throughout high school would call him Mr. Tasterminowski.
Brett Favre (Brett Far-Veh) – Shit, I can’t even pronounce this right on paper. Well, Brett has the undisputed most disastrous name in the history of pro sports. The sheer difficulty of Brett’s surname is immortalized on the silver screen in "There’s Something About Mary." The trick to Brett Favre’s pronumciation is to just belt it out with confidence. Nobody really knows how to say this one, so whatever you choose, just say it like you mean it.
Tim Biakabutuka (Tim Bee-Ah-Ka-Buh-Too-Kah) – Despite a stellar college career at the University of Michigan, the 8th selection in the NFL draft, and a decent NFL career with the Carolina Panthers, nobody ever came close to getting this name right. Oh and by the way, his first name is actually Tshimanga. Tim is wrong too, but he just assumes you’re all too dumb to even bother. I guess you can’t blame Tim for succumbing to the easy abbreviated name though, he did live in Canada.
Eric Gagne (Eric Gahn-Yay) – It’s pronounced Gahn-Yay. If it helps you remember, you can recite my childish little pneumonic device. Eric Gagne has gone to to the bay to eat some hay and go on a date with Rebecca De Mornay.
Dat Nguyen (Dat Win) - Trust me. You do not want to mess up Dat’s name. Contrary to popular belief, little Asian dudes will f*ck you up. This is good to learn, especially for you college kids, because this last name is everywhere. You might as well start pronouncing it right now. It’s not Na-gu-yen, but rather it’s pronounced Wen or Win or something like that.
Renaldo Balkman (Renaldo-not-Rolando Balkman-Not-Blackman) – White people have this perception issue with Renaldo’s name. It seems their eyes plays tricks on them. I think it’s because he is, you know, um, black. Thus, white NBA dabblers always call him Renaldo Black Man. Plus, as if it wasn’t confusing enough the white people, there is also a NBA player from the 70s & 80s called Rolando Blackman.
Pavel Bure (Pah-Vel Boo-Ray) – This one is little more mainstream these days, but man back in Pavel’s heyday, he used to get butchered. Who would have thought 4 sylaables could cause do much damage. Any combination you could imagine, people used it: Pay-vel, Pah-Vel, Byure, Burr, or Bu-Ra. You name it, he’s heard it. We don’t feel too sorry for him though, since he’s seen Kournikova in the raw.
Before we leave you, here’s a funny little tidbit of Bure-Kournikova trivia from Wikipedia. “In 2001 a Moscow based newspaper called the eXile published an article claiming Bure broke-up with Anna Kournikova after discovering she had two vaginas.”
Finally, if any others come to mind, hit us up in the comments.