Let’s face it, spelling is hard, even for us adults sometimes. And over the years, many sports fans have had to learn that spelling is also a part of the process of becoming a true and educated sports fan. The wide world of sports is chalked absolutely full of names that are impossibly difficult to spell, even for the most bright and educated of individuals. No matter what league you follow, what languages you speak or your heritage, you won’t have to look too far to find player names that are incredibly hard to spell or are simply spelled in a weird way compared to how people with similar names are spelled.
Also, with the influx of international players in almost all of the major sports that we watch, the names are getting more unorthodox or difficult to spell. The purpose of this list is to look at the most misspelled names in sports. Using Factiva, a database that aggregates information from tens of thousands of sources, we were able to see which athlete names are most commonly misspelled based on both print and online articles. Not only did the data show the amount of misspellings, it also showed us what the most common misspelling of their names were. The misspellings occurred almost equally between an athlete's first name or last name being that one that is commonly misspelled.
The following 15 athletes are the athletes that appear to have the highest percentages of misspellings in print and online articles according to Factiva. So read on and see how many of these names you could spell on the first try. You may be shocked at how easy some of these are to spell for you, but the data doesn't lie. Check it out.
15 Torii Hunter
Torii Hunter is a five-time all-star who won nine consecutive Gold Glove awards. With these types of accolades and his near two decades in the majors, you would think people would know how to spell his name, but that is not the case. Despite his name being very simple, the error that most people make is that they forget to at the second “i” in Torii.
14 Brett Favre
Brett Favre is one of the most prolific passers in NFL history and a true legend in pro football. The gunslinger is the holder of many NFL records and is extremely well known among all NFL fan circles. Despite this, his name is still one of the most misspelled in sports. Most hard-core fans will know that the “v” comes before the “r” but we’ve seen numerous people screw it up, even sports writers. The pronunciation of the name is likely the cause of these errors, but after decades in the spotlight, you would think people should know how to spell Favre.
13 Mark Teixeira
Teixeira is a talented slugger and first baseman that currently plays for the New York Yankees. Even though he is one of the best power hitters and fielders at his position, people continue to misspell his name. In defense of the people who spell it wrong, his name is pretty difficult to spell, simply due to the sheer number of vowels that appear in his name in a seemingly random order. Sounding it out doesn’t help much either, so this name deserves a spot on this list without a doubt.
12 Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez is one of the most infamous and polarizing players in baseball history and it seems that people either really love or hate the guy. However, both sides might argue that his name is not that difficult to spell. However, the most common way that his name is spelled wrong may surprise you. According to Factiva, the most common misspelling of his name is “Rodriquez,” which is fairly surprising, as we are unsure how a “q” would fit in once you pronounce his name.
11 Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis recently signed a huge contract with the Indiana Pacers, but has played for numerous other teams and has been a solid scorer in this league for nearly a decade. The confusion on how to spell his name doesn’t come from his last name like a lot of people on this list, but it comes from his first name. Pronounced “Mon-Tay,” we can totally understand how some individuals would think that his name is spelled with an “e” on the end, and not an “a.”
10 Jhonny Peralta
Jhonny Peralta has made three All Star games in his career and is considered to be a solid shortstop in the MLB. Currently playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, his hitting is among the best at his position and his defense is always improving. If you were to say his name out loud a hundred times and try to spell it out, it would likely take you quite a while to actually guess correctly where that “h” in his name goes. That is without a doubt the weirdest way we have ever seen "Johnny" spelled out.
9 Cal Ripken
“The Iron Man” is known as one of the best infielders in MLB history, but is perhaps best known for his seemingly unbreakable record of playing in 2,632 consecutive games over a period of around 16 years. You would think that people would know how to spell his seemingly simple name after him being in the majors for 20+ years, but you’d be wrong. Somehow, according to Factiva, over 1,000 different articles on the internet feature his name being spelled as Ripkin, which simply doesn’t look right! A man with the resume of Ripken deserves better than that.
8 Antawn Jamison
Antawn Jamison is a former NBA forward who enjoyed a lengthy career in the NBA and is now a sports analyst. He is also among the most underrated players of his generation, as he averaged 18.5 points per game over his career, which is very impressive. His name, which is pronounced “An-twan,” is different than any other spelling of the name we have ever seen. Normally, the “w” appears before the “a,” so that is the likely reason for the massive amount of people that spell his name wrong.
7 Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao is one of most popular boxers in the world and is a national hero in his home country of the Philippines. Despite being one of the best pay-per-view sellers in combat sports and being in the mainstream for years, his name is still misspelled more often than any other boxer. This is one of the more understandable spots on this list because his name ends with four straight vowels that are all different. Good luck spelling that right the first time.
6 J.J. Redick
J.J. Redick first gained national popularity as a sharpshooter for the Duke Blue Devils and is currently the all-time leading scorer for Duke. His skills as a shooter have translated well to the NBA and he's carved out a solid role for himself in the NBA. His name seems easy enough when you look at it and say it, but the big mistake that people often make is they believe his last name has two d's, rather than one. In fact, over 500 different articles online contain this mistake, which shows just how little research some people put into publishing articles.
5 Agnieszka Radwanska
Now, this one is really tough to spell, even for the most seasoned speller. Radwanska is a top level talent in women’s tennis, has 14 career singles title wins and is consistently ranked as one of the best players on tour. She has also been voted as the WTA’s most popular player on numerous occasions which is a testament to her talent and personality. Despite this immense popularity, her name is still misspelled at a higher frequency than any other tennis player according to Factiva.
4 Skylar Diggins
Skylar Diggins is a professional basketball player with the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA. She was also a standout star for Notre Dame and is the school’s all-time leading scorer. Now while she may seem like a strange addition to this list because of her fairly simple name, of the 8,000 or so articles that have her name, almost 2% contain her name as Skyler Diggins, which is a very large amount compared to most athletes.
3 Mark Buehrle
Mark Buehrle is a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and has played for two other teams in his more than decade long career. Buehrle also is among very exclusive company as he has thrown both a no-hitter, in 2007, and a perfect game, in 2009. The confusion with his name comes from the fact that it is pronounced “birly,” which is incredibly different than how it's spelled. Most often with his name, people flip the "h" and "r," incorrectly spelling his name Mark Buerhle.
2 Miikka Kiprusoff
Coming in as the second most misspelled name in sports, according to Factiva, is former NHL goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. As you may know, Finnish players are notorious for their difficult to spell names, especially for us Westerners, and Kiprusoff is no different. Though his last name is fairly difficult for some, it is the double “i's” in his first name that leads to most of the misspelling. Even the biggest Calgary Flames fan likely wouldn’t know how to spell his name right the first time.
1 Dwyane Wade
Coming in as the unquestioned, most misspelled name in sports is the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade. Wade is a former NBA champion and Finals MVP, and he is also among the most popular players in the NBA. According to Factiva, a whopping 4.3% of articles that feature Wade have his name spelled wrong, which is over a full percentage higher than the player in second place. The mishaps in the spelling of his name without a doubt come from the fact that he is the only person we have ever seen that has the “y” before the “a” in Dwayne.