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11 Athletes Whose Names Are (Or Really Seem Like) Typos
written by Sam Greenspan

I'm all about nontraditional spellings of names. For about two years of elementary school I pushed to have my name spelled "Samm." (It didn't take. Then I decided I wanted to change my name to Quinn. That also didn't take. That was it for me. At least until I have a midlife crisis and change my name to Rembrandt Q. Einstein.)

Some of the athletes on this list have intentionally nontraditional spellings. Some actually are stuck with names that resulted from birth certificate typos. But all of them have names that are constantly misspelled... mainly because the correct spellings SEEM to be typos.

  1. When you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way.
    Brett Favre, NFL. There are two theories on why "Favre" is the spelling but "Farve" is the pronunciation. One, it was a typo on his grandfather or great-grandfather's birth certificate and it just stuck. Two, it was French. Either way, feel free to use it as more ammo to dislike him.

    As for me, I'd like to make a request that no one in history has ever made before: Can we get more media coverage of Favre's upcoming decision? (Maybe then we'll hear less about LeBron's. I'm over him. Really.)

  2. Chone Figgins, MLB; Shawon Dunston, MLB; Shonn Greene, NFL; Shawne Merriman, NFL. And I remember when I was younger and first found out that "Sean" was another spelling of "Shawn." I thought THAT was weird.

  3. Antawn Jamison, NBA. Antawn Jamison is a bona fide typo -- the hospital made a mistake on his birth certificate, but his family decided to keep his name that way because they thought it made him "distinctive." (As opposed to what Antawn did against Kevin Garnett during the Cavs' playoff implosion, where he was "D"-stink-tive. Wordplay.)

    Apparently, he didn't appreciate the childhood trauma that comes with having your name repeatedly spelled wrong... so when he had a son, he named him Antwan Jamison Jr.

    I didn't know someone could be a junior without having the same name spelling, but why not? I just wish George Foreman had done that so he could have a family of George Jr., Jorge Jr., Gheorghe Jr., Johrge Jr. and George Jouxnior.


  4. Torii Hunter != torri gates.
    Torii Hunter, MLB. He's another victim of the birth certificate typo. He says, quote, "I think, when my mom filled out the paperwork after I was born, she accidentally put two 'I's."

    "Torii" is actually the Japanese word for the really distinctive gates in front of a Shinto shrine... but there's no connection between Torii Hunter's name and those gates. Just like there's no connection between Tree Rollins and Level 1-3 of Super Mario Bros.

  5. Andruw Jones, MLB. There's no definitive answer whether or not his name was misspelled on his birth certificate. Then again, he was born in Curacao, in the Caribbean, so it's hard to take anything on his birth certificate at face value.

    And based on the way his skills took a nose dive around age 31... an age when baseball players are still supposed to be in their primes... I'm thinking "Andruw" isn't the only suspect item you'd find on that birth certificate.


  6. A screen grab of the Domonic Brown "idiot" comment.
    Domonic Brown, MLB. He really spells it this way. It works for him... didn't work so well for a writer at the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, "Local News". Back in November, the writer was putting together an article about Domonic and wanted to alert his editor of the typo-esque spelling.

    So he wrote: "(*NFP: DOMONIC IS SPELLED RIGHT, HE'S JUST AN IDIOT*)."

    NFP stands for "not for publication" -- but this slipped past the goalie and DID get published. (Online, not in print.) It was quickly pulled, but not until after screenshots could be taken.

  7. Dwyane Wade, NBA. Dwyane's another one who had a birth certificate typo... and another one whose parents decided they liked the misspelling.

    That apparently set Dwyane on a lifelong quest to be surrounded by people with oddly-spelled names -- he married his high school girlfriend Siohvaughn Funches, and, before they got divorced, they had two sons, Zaire Blessing Dwyane Wade and Zion Malachi Airamis Wade.

    So go ahead and use that to grasp at straws if you're a Bulls fan ("He'll want to play with Joakim Noah! But damn, I knew we shouldn't have traded Thabo Sefolosha").

  8. Jhonny Peralta, MLB. He doesn't just stand by the spelling -- in an interview back in 2007 (back when people realized the Indians existed), he told the "Santo Domingo Times" that his spelling is right and every "Johnny" or "Johnnie" in the world is wrong.

    That's some good chutzpah right there. It's a shame he's terrible at baseball.

    (Yup. Despite my attempt at a cathartic list about Cleveland sports disasters, I'm still insanely bitter.)


  9. I searched forever but couldn't find a photo of the spelling mistake. This was the closest I got, but it's only the part of that tattoo without the typo.
    LaDainian Tomlinson, NFL. It's a name that seemingly didn't exist before he got it... and it *still* manages to seem misspelled thanks to that first, extraneous "i."

    Whether his name is a typo or not, Ladainian inadvertently got typo-based revenge on his mom. According to this article, when LT was at college he got a tattoo of his mom's face, and, underneath, the words "MY INSPERATION." And, just like that, another unintentional typo invaded the Tomlinson household.

  10. Keith Bulluck, NFL. "Bulluck" just looks wrong. There's no way to trace the accuracy of the spelling -- as a child, Keith was abandoned by both his father and mother.

    (And, in a story that's like a Fiddlerized version of "The Blind Side", he was raised by an adoptive Jewish family, the Welches, in Manhattan. He used to go to bar mitzvahs, keep kosher for Passover, understand Mel Brooks humor, all that. Unlike the "Blind Side" family, though, I'm pretty sure the Welches weren't just using him because Brandeis needed a new middle linebacker.)

  11. Laynce and Jayson Nix, MLB. They're brothers, both playing in the majors. Laynce inherited his father's typo -- his dad's name is also Laynce. As for Jayson, when he was born two years later, he avoided "Lance" aspect of the name... only getting cursed with the random "y." I'm actually not sure which of those is preferable.

There are more honorable mentions than I could possibly think of, so for everyone from Robb Nen to Jewhan Edwards to Geremi Gonzalez to Dahntay Jones to Bill Belichick who didn't make the list, just know you weren't forgotten... just not quite storied enough.

This list was originally published on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 09:00:00 AM under the category Sports.
It currently has View Comments.

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