How to pronounce Antetokounmpo and other NBA names like a pro

Oct 17, 2019

The NBA runs a global game, with players now hailing from all corners of the world. Inevitably, this means you might end up tripping over some player names. We don’t blame you. Instead, we’re here to help.

You wouldn't want to butcher NBA names like Charles Barkley:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

Say it: “Yonnis Antay-tu-koompo”

In the Greece of the Greek Freak, that's how you would say his name. But according to ESPN’s Ryan Ruocco, in the reigning Most Valuable Player's native Yoruba tongue, it's pronounced "Adedo-Koonbo." Don't mess it up like Shaquille O'Neal did at the 1:47 mark of the video below.

Cheick Diallo (Phoenix Suns)

Say it: “Shek Di-ah-low”

The Malian big benefited greatly from Anthony Davis' midseason trade request. Cheick went from missing 18 games from October to January to having nine double-doubles the rest of the way. You could just stick to saying his last name, but in case you ever needed to say Cheick, it's "Shek."

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Kristaps Porzingis (Dallas Mavericks)

Say it: “Kristaps Por-zing-gis”

The Unicorn has looked good so far since returning from an ACL injury and more than 20-month layoff. This season, all eyes will be on Kristaps, who re-signed with the Mavs after forcing his way out of New York. When it comes to the Latvian power forward, just say it like it is.

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Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)

Say it: “Luka Don-chitch”

Despite a Rookie of the Year campaign from him (21.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 6 apg), fans and analysts still have a hard time pronouncing the name of Porzingis' new teammate. Luka was born in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, which is commonly said as "Lyoo-blyah-na."


    Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Clippers)

    Say it: “Mon-trez Hair-ull”

    As Django might say, the "L" is silent. Montrezl is coming off a breakout season (16.6 ppg, 6.5 rpb, 1.3 bpg) as a Sixth Man of the Year runner-up to his Clipper teammate Lou Williams. Check out Shaq outdoing himself and mispronouncing a few more names including Harrell's:

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    Goran Dragic (Miami Heat)

    Say it: “Go-ran Dra-gich”

    No, Dragic does not rhyme with tragic. Expect the 33-year-old Slovenian to have a bounce-back year, after being plagued with injury last season, where he averaged 13.7 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game in just 36 games. He has to fight for minutes in Miami's backcourt logjam.

    Frank Ntilikina (New York Knicks)

    Say it: “Frank Ni-li-kee-na”

    Just like you don't pronounce the first "K" in his Knicks, you don't pronounce the "t" in the Rwandan-French point guard's last name. The former No. 8 pick has yet to justify his draft position after averaging just 5.9 points and 3.1 assists in 25 starts across his first two seasons.

    Dario Saric (Phoenix Suns)

    Say it: “Dah-rio Sha-rich”

    The Croatian forward is hoping for a longer stint with the Suns, after getting traded twice in his three-year career. Following a strong sophomore season with the Sixers, the 2017 NBA All-Rookie First Team member's numbers and minutes have consistently dipped. Here's Saric's entry in a league pronunciation guide:

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