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A definitive explanation of how to pronounce Igor Kokoskov’s name

Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov, right, speaks as general manager Ryan McDonough listens Monday, May 14, 2018, in Phoenix. Kokoskov will oversee a vastly improved team after they compiled the worst record in the NBA last season. (AP Photo/Matt York)

When the news broke that the Phoenix Suns had targeted Igor Kokoskov as a candidate to become their head coach, we scrambled to pronounce his name.

When news broke that he’d been named head coach, the struggles continued.

And even when the Suns made the hiring of the Utah Jazz assistant official and provided the media with a pronunciation guide (kuh-KOS-kov), it apparently wasn’t exactly right.

That ‘s,’ which for the non-lazy transcribers can be written with a caron over it (š), is pronounced as a “sh” sound.

Kokoskov, while visiting Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, said he doesn’t mind all the mispronunciations. He does, however, remember a funny story about Duke Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski discussing his own personal problem in 1996, Kokoskov’s first trip to the United States.

“I was participating (in a) coaching clinic at Duke. Coach Krzyzewski was talking about his childhood and he was laying out the whole presentation saying that people couldn’t pronounce his name. And he promised that some day, ‘I’ll make you pronounce my name right.’ At the time, he was Coach K.

“Igor Kokoskov — somebody called me ‘eye-gore,’ somebody Coach Kosh-Kosh. I’ll appreciate effort.”

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough dropped some pronunciation knowledge on us when he introduced Kokoskov at the team’s introductory press conference on Monday.

McDonough’s scouting background and travels to Europe helped him out, the GM told Bickley & Marotta.

“I’d say the advantage I have … is having spent a lot of times in the former Yugoslavia,” McDonough added. “I’ve been to smoke-filled gyms all over the place there. You pick up things all along the way.”