Some basketball players are known for their acrobatic shots and soaring dunks, while others are known simply because they’ve got the hardest names to pronounce in the NBA. Players are recruited from all over the world these days, and as a result the Josh Smiths of the league are seen next to the Thabo Sefoloshas, which coincidentally is the first name up on this 10 hardest NBA player names to pronounce list.
1. Thabo Sefolosha Thabo Sefolosha is from Vevey, Switzerland, plays guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and has quite an interesting name. It might not be the hardest name to pronounce in the NBA, but it is still nonetheless confusing. The only problem is his first name is actually pronounced as TA-bow.
2. Danilo Gallinari Danilo Gallinari is a forward for the New York Knicks with a very Italian name. When two L's are next to each other in a name, such as Gallinari, things get tricky. Do the L's keep making an L sound? Do they make a Y sound now? Many a defender has pondered this question as Gallinari set up at three-point line, allowing him to make almost 45% of his three point attempts over his career. Looks like having one of the hardest names to pronounce in the NBA may work to a player’s advantage.
3. Yakhouba Diawara Yakhouba Diawara dabbles at guard and forward for the Miami Heat. He also provides a challenge for teammates whenever they try to call his name for a pass. They shortened his name to "Kuba", which also gives Diawara a spot on the Lamest Nicknames in the NBA list.
4. Zaza Pachulia Zaza Pachulia is a forward for the Atlanta Hawks out of Tbilisi, Georgia. It could be argued that his hometown is harder to pronounce than his name, but it would be a close call. The best part is that Pachulia changed his name from Zaur to Zaza. As a result of all those Z's he is now referred to as "Z" by teammates and "Little Z" by Zydrunas Ilgauskas, another one of the NBA’s hardest names to pronounce.
5. Nenad Krstic Nenad Krstic is a center for the Oklahoma City Thunder with many consonants in his last name. It wouldn't be bad if those consonants were spaced out, but he has them all bunched up at the beginning making it tricky for announcers to say who got that last rebound.
6. Yi Jianlian Yi Jianlian, a 7-foot forward for the New Jersey Nets, has a very confusing name. While it is his last name that looks daunting, many don't know that the Y in his first name is silent. His name spelled phonetically is EE jee-AHN-lee-AHN. Who would've thought that a two-letter first name would be harder to say than an eight letter last name?
7. Zydrunas Ilgauskas Zydrunas Ilgauskas is a Lithuanian center for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Everyone refers to him as "Big Z" because nobody actually knows how to pronounce his name. That and he is 7' 3". He has been a solid player throughout the years and currently holds the record for most games played as a Cavalier. We’re pretty sure NBA refs count this Cavalier as having the hardest name to pronounce in the NBA. Chances are he went in the record books as "Big Z" because nobody wanted to write out his full name.
8. Didier Ilunga-Mbenga Didier Ilunga-Mbenga is a back-up center for the Los Angeles Lakers. He doesn't get many minutes per game, but that's most likely because Phil Jackson can't remember how to say his name. It could also be because the 7-foot Mbenga got dunked on by 5' 11" Ty Lawson. Either way, Didier Ilunga-Mbenga is not a name that rolls off the tongue.
9. Hedo Turkoglu Hedo Turkoglu is a forward for the Toronto Raptors who can hit three pointers like nobody's business. The fact he can light up the scoreboard so much is pretty much the only reason people know how to pronounce his name. Announcers had to say who was scoring so much and eventually had to learn how to pronounce one of the hardest names in the NBA. Turkoglu's name is pronounced HEE-doh TURK-oh-lue.
10. Joel Przybilla Joel Przybilla is a center for the Portland Trail Blazers with too many consonants in a row in his last name. His name would be hard enough to pronounce if it was just the problem of consonant crowding, but he has to pull a Gallinari and throw those two L's in. Just to clear things up, Gallinari's two L's are pronounced like a Y, while Przybilla's L's keep their L sound.