And spelling is at a premium Wednesday as youngsters do battle in the National Spelling Bee.
With that in mind, let’s have a little spelling bee of our own. There are plenty of Minnesota sports figures over the years who have had names that are hard to spell. Let’s run through 10 of them here and see how many you can get right.
I’ll even use them all in a sentence. Answers on the link at the bottom of the page.
1. Jim P. — This former Lynx assistant coach and current Timberwolves TV analyst on Fox Sports North played for the Gophers and enjoyed a long NBA career. He’s famous enough that I should know how to spell his name, but for some reason I don’t always get it right on the first try.
2. Jim K. — A former Vikings tight end who played at the University of North Dakota. His last name kind of rhymes with flying saucer, but good luck spelling it.
3. Doug M. — The former Twins first baseman and current manager of their Class A team in Fort Myers, he routinely made as many great defensive plays in a week as there are letters in his last name.
4. Nino N. — This Wild forward was obtained from the Islanders for Cal Clutterbuck, one of GM Chuck Fletcher’s best moves. He had a career-high 25 goals last season. But as hard as his shot is, spelling Nino’s last name is even harder.
5. T.N. — You have to get both the first and last name correct for this former Twins shortstop from Japan who came to symbolize (and contributed to) the organization’s descent into bad baseball starting in 2011.
6. C.C. — This former Vikings wide receiver and 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee had great hands. If you spell his name wrong, you have nobody to blame but yourself — not a fall guy.
7. Sara G. — Around the office, this Gophers softball ace is known simply by her first name and last initial because of how difficult her name is to spell. It’s almost as hard as it is to hit her pitches.
8. Ace N. — Speaking of aces, this Minnesota Kicks legend hailed from South Africa and was considered one of the greatest soccer players that country ever produced. Sadly, he died of a heart attack in 2006.
9. A.J. P. — This former Twins catcher hit a memorable home run in the 2002 American League Division Series and was later traded to San Francisco in a deal that netted the Twins Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser. Minnesota fans then spent the next decade-plus booing him for some strange reason.
10. N.B. — We’ll end with another one where you need to get both parts of the name right. That’s how tricky it is to spell the name of this current Timberwolves forward who was emerging last season before a season-ending injury cut his season short.
OK, ready? Click here for the answer key to see how you did.