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NBA Spell Jam

By Russell Samora & Matt Daniels

Colin Morris recently explored the difficulties of spelling by identifying Reddit comments with (sp?) next to words. It’s no surprise that Jake Gyllenhaal, along with other celebrities, were atop the list. Let’s take this idea one step further for NBA fans.

Bonus: not an NBA fan? See the celebrity version here.

Below we’ll put you through a series of tests. You can skip ahead if you just want to see the results, but be warned, once you do there is no turning back!


The charts below show the top 8 most common permutations for each NBA player in our test from all the reader submissions.

Want more data-driven experiments? Check out or Birthday Paradox explainer, that uses you as part of the data.

Data and Methods

A slightly modified scale was used to represent the flow diagrams to make all branches’ text legible, so the sizes don’t perfectly represent the proportion of responses. We chose to only show the top 8 permutations of each name. Phonetic data isf from Basketball Reference. You can download the data yourself here.

Get in touch with Russell Samora or Matt Daniels, or email us at