"Pascal Shakeem": CNN host butchers Raptors star's name

Feb 22 2023, 4:19 pm

It isn’t always easy being the face of the Toronto Raptors.

Just ask, uh, Pascal Shakeem?

In a segment celebrating the international talent across the NBA that made it to the league’s All-Star game this season, CNN host Zain Asher introduced Toronto’s Pascal Siakam as “Pascal Shakeem.”

Celebrating the African talent around the NBA, Asher also failed to correctly pronounce the names of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid.

Siakam is a native of Douala, Cameroon, while Embiid was born in Yaoundé, approximately 250 km east of Siakam’s hometown.

Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, Greece, though both his parents had immigrated to the country from Nigeria prior to his birth.

Siakam was participating in his second All-Star game, having previously made an appearance at the NBA’s annual showcase in 2020.

He’s in the midst of one of the strongest seasons of his career, as he has averaged 25.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 49 games this season for the Raptors.

He picked up 12 points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes of action while coming off the bench for Team Giannis, who won the game 184-175 over Team LeBron.

To add insult to injury, the CNN segment also got a crucial fact wrong: it labelled nine All-Star starters as international players, when in fact there were only six (in addition to the three reserves).

The Twitterverse was not kind to the pronunciation of Siakam’s name.

It’s an easy mistake for anyone to mispronounce a name here or there, but it’s another thing entirely to mispronounce three in a row. It’s not clear if Asher was simply reading off the teleprompter and misread, but it is clear that somebody at CNN clearly failed to prepare their host for the segment as she mispronounced the names of three of the NBA’s most popular players.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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