With the influx of players from around the globe, we get hooked on Phoenix, er, phonics
We, at NBA.com, are here to help. From player profiles to team overviews to player interviews, our crack staff has the 2002 NBA Draft covered.
Now, the hard part. We're not talking about who goes where. Only 29 general managers know what will happen on Wednesday. No, what we're talking about are names and how to pronounce them. Some of the names in this year's draft may be unfamiliar to most, difficult to spell for writers and tough to say for broadcasters.
Are Tskitishvili's offensive skills as intimidating as the pronunciation of his name?
But that's where we come in. Because even some of the simpler looking names, such as potential lottery pick Caron Butler, (Ka (rhymes with the) – ron)
, have the possibility of being mispronounced, we offer this handy pronunciation guide for fans and professionals alike.
So, hit Ctrl-P and have this with you when you hunker down to watch the draft at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT, Wednesday.
First, we have the Georgian who inspired this article. He is a potential lottery pick, but he isn't from the South. He's a seven-footer with skills from a country south of Russia and east of the Black Sea. And his name isn't as daunting as it first appears, so you shouldn't be skittish when you try to pronounce it.
Nikolos Tskitishvili (knee-ko-Los Skeet-ish-vee-lee), just remember, when you say his name, the "T" is silent. It is somewhat similar to a future Hall-of-Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon, where the "H" is silent. In fact, Olajuwon didn't have the "H" when he was the No. 1 pick of the Houston Rockets in 1984, when his name was spelled Akeem.
Speaking of No. 1 picks and the Houston Rockets, we have the tallest man with the short name: Yao Ming.
It's (Yow!), which rhymes with Rookie of the Year Pau (Pow!) Gasol. Too bad Memphis can't swing a deal for the 7-5 center from China. Then the Grizzlies would have one-two punch of Yao and Pau in the frontcourt.
If you think that's funny (my editors barely cracked a smile), then how about "Nene" Hilario (Neh – nay Hill-A-Ree-o).
"Nene" means "baby" in Portuguese, but GMs aren't laughing about the 19-year-old Brazilian's precocious talent, size (he's 6-11) or his pterodactyl-like wingspan (7-5).
The team that selects Bostjan Nachbar (BOAST-yan Knock - bar) won't need to brag, they can let the Slovanian forward's play speak for itself.
We're still not out of the woods with Qyntel (Quinn-tell) Woods.
Woods is the junior college player who's being compared by some to Tracy McGrady.
Other pronunciations of interest
Another Peja, a sharpshooter from the University of Hawaii in Predrag Savovic (PED-ja SA-va-vitch)
Happy New Jiri (YEAR-e) Welsch
While there's the R&B star Tyrese, the draft has its own with Tarise (Tie-reese) Bryson
Although his surname appears to rhyme with a huge sitcom star's, it doesn't: Israel Sheinfeld (Shane-feld)
Oklahoma State's Frederick Jonzen (Yon-see-an), because my wife's an OSU alum.
For the truly adventurous
Giorgos Diamantopoulos (Gee (hard G) -or-gos Dee-ah-man-top-oh-los)
Vlatko Ilievski (Ill – eee – ev – skee)
Gintaras Kadziulis (GIN-tar-as KA-jul-lis)
Nenad Krstic (NEY-nad KRIS-tich)
Salius Kuzminskas (SAUL-is KUZ-min-skas)
Arvydas Macijauskas (AR-vee-das MA-tee-YOW-skas)
Lazaros Papadopoulos (LA-za-ros PA-pa-DOP-o-lis)
Mladen Sekularac (Ma-LA-den SHOCK-u-LAR-ac)
Andrijia Zizic (An-DRE-ja GEE-jich)