Giannis Antetokounmpo Loses MVP Race because Voters Can’t Spell his Name

Dak Slowe

Projected to be one of the closest MVP races in NBA history, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was closing the season as the slight favorite over Rockets’ guard James Harden. An unlikely result came in the voting after James Harden was announced the winner. Harden winning the award wasn’t the surprise, as many thought he had a realistic chance of winning the award, it’s how he won it.

The everlasting struggle of spelling Antetokounmpo’s name has finally caught up to him, with a bulk of voters misspelling his name on the ballots.Fantastically, it wasn’t just misspelled once– it was an error that was on 38 of the 101 total ballots who voted him first for the MVP this season. Although James Harden won th e award, he only nabbed 33 of the 101 votes, the remaining 68 went to The Greek Freak, just in different variations of how his name is really spelled.

That’s right, voters didn’t just misspell his name once;¬†they did so FIVE DIFFERENT WAYS. Giannis is now the second player in history to rank in multiple spots in an award’s voting, ending up as the MVP runner up, third in the race, as well as fourth, fifth, and ninth. Yes, you read that correctly. This happened before, but not for over 40 years, when an MVP voter had a typo on the Kansas City Royals’ guard, spelling his name Nate “Archiblad” instead of Archibald. This is the first time it had to be checked since then, but according to the NBA’s official award voting rules, each spelling of a player’s name is classified as its own vote. The league claims the reasoning behind this is because the NBA doesn’t have an editing team available to fix the mistakes.

The final results of the voting with first place was James Harden (38), Giannis Antetokounmpo (30), Giannis Atetokounmpo (16), Giannis Antetokoonmpo (8), Giannis Antetokuompo, and the final vote was a handwritten ballot with just his first name “GIANIS” in all caps (which is also poetically misspelled itself).

When an anonymous voter was asked why or how he spelled the superstar’s name wrong he tried explaining his reasoning.

“I knew I didn’t know how to spell it, so I tried looking it up, but I didn’t know what to type because I don’t know how to spell his name,” said the voter. “I just ended up just trying to sound it out, and hoped for the best. I spelled it right, right?”

It should be mentioned that this was the voter who voted “GIANIS.”

Unsurprising to the public, but the remainder of the award races had absolutely no votes given to players such as: Giannis’ brother Kostats Antetokounmpo, Pistons guard Svitoslav Mykhailiuk, Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica, 76ers center Boban Marjanovic, Trail Blazers big man Skal Labissiere, Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, Bulls teammates Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot & Ryan Arcidiacano,¬† Celtics forward Guerschon Yabusele, and the most notable snub, Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander not making either of the All Rookie teams out of sheer embarrassment trying to spell his name.

Although missing out on an MVP award due to spelling complications is a huge detriment to Giannis’ career, he’s still 24, and maybe by next year the voters will get around to learning how to spell his name, or all just mutually agree to write just his first name on the ballot (I’m not looking at you “anonymous voter.”) On a positive note, Giannis (and his multiple last name spellings) did earn himself both forward spots on the All NBA First Team, one on the Second Team, and two again on the Third team; something that hasn’t been done before and won’t be done for a long time.