Gotta be honest – I forgot to do this post last week. There was no Friday Mount Rushmore because other, more important things were happening, namely the follow-up to the dueling Carson Wentz and Howie Roseman/Nick Sirianni press conferences.
But we’re gonna forge ahead with this column because we think it’s an award-winner. We’re having some fun while not taking ourselves too seriously. Maybe you’ll learn something.
This week, we’re honoring Philadelphia athletes whose names are totally butchered by local fans (mostly sports talk radio callers). These poor guys. The fans would add random letters or just make up their own pronunciations, OUTRIGHT, which would sometimes follow them during the entirety of their Philadelphia tenures.
Our top guys to have this unfortunate distinction are:
We took a Nigerian guy and turned him into a Spaniard.
Nelson Agholor was born in Lagos and came to the United States when he was young. He’s a black man from Africa, and you had people on WIP and the Fanatic calling him “Aguilar,” as if he was instead born in Madrid.
The irony here is that that the word “aguila” actually means “eagle” in Spanish, so go figure. It’s a wacky and accidental meta experience brought to us by blue-collar Birds fans.
Spanish, Catalan, and Jewish (Sephardic): habitational name from any of numerous places called Aguilar, from Latin aquilare ‘haunt of eagles‘ (a derivative of aquila ‘eagle‘), for example Aguilar de Campo in Palencia, Aguilar de la Frontera in Córdoba, and Aguilar de Segarra in Catalonia.
We were out here catching babies, unlike Aguilar!
Pretty bad one.
Eagles fans have this habit of adding an ‘s’ to end of last names that just don’t have one. Alshon “Jefferies” is the prime example. Chase “Daniels” was another terrible one. Asante “Samuels,” too.
In the case of others, like Halapoulivaati Vaitai, we just go with the nickname of “Big V” and call it a day. But other guys with more typical “American” names don’t get this distinction, and instead have to live with their names being constantly screwed up.
Birds fans will also add a ‘d’ when unnecessary. Charlie “Gardner” dealt with this. We have this habit of adding letters that just don’t need to be added.
Hershey? Like the chocolate bar? The town in Central Pennsylvania?
This one is old school, but infuriating. Tom Moore can back me on this one, because he actually covered the 76ers when Hersey Hawkins played here in the late 80s and early 90s.
Hawkins was a pretty damn good player. He was a main part of that Charles Barkley/Armen Gilliam team that won 53 games but ran into Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in the playoffs (Johnny Dawkins was injured that year). Hawkins played five seasons here, averaging about 19 points and shooting better than 40% from three. He was an All-Star in 1991 and then went to Charlotte in the 1993 Dana Barros trade.
Most Sixers fans probably don’t remember this, but Hawkins actually got another shot at the Bulls later in his career. He was on the 1996 SuperSonics team that featured Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, and Detlef Schrempf, which lost 4-2 to Chicago in the finals.
Happy 53rd birthday to @sixers great, Hersey Hawkins!
His lights out shooting, super defense, and meticulous mustache all on display in Game 3 of the 1990 ECSF. pic.twitter.com/pb7eD98iYS
— Sixers History (@SixersHistory) September 29, 2019
I don’t know how many times I heard people say “Holiday” instead of “Halladay.” It also didn’t help that his nickname was “Doc,” so people then automatically assumed that the last name was the same as the famous gambler and gunslinger.
Somebody pointed out to me that Charlie Manuel used to call Doc “Holiday” instead of “Halladay,” which is true. I do remember Charlie saying that frequently.
By the way, not sure if you read this story from a few years ago, but Manuel told Halladay’s sons that he’d continue to support them and come to their games, following the plane crash that killed their dad. He followed through on that promise, and showed up to high school games and practices, which was really cool. Charlie was always a great dude.
honorable mentions: Chase “Daniels” (Daniel), Allen “Bar-bray” (Barbre), Asante “Samuels” (Samuel), Andre “Ig-wa-dala” (nobody could say his name correctly), Pat Bur-ell (also butchered), Charlie “Gardner” (Garner), Nnamdi Asomugha (all kinds of things)