Inspiration when choosing your baby’s name can come from a variety of places, and sometimes your favorite sports stars can help you make that decision.
It can be a player who provided an iconic moment for the team you support, or a player who has achieved great things over their career.
Here at Betsperts, we took a look at some of the most iconic moments in American sport over the past two decades, and some of the greatest athletes, to see which players and moments inspired the most baby names in the US.
Sporting Moments Which Inspired Baby Names
Watching the success of the team or athlete that you support can be one of the most rewarding parts of sport, as well as one of the most memorable moments of your life.
Tiger Woods, 2009 – 225% increase in baby names
Tiger Woods endured a difficult year off the green during 2009. Reports circulated over a car crash and an affair which hampered his reputation. However, after a controversial 2009, Tiger made his apologies and returned to the Masters. Despite finishing fourth, he regained the respect of his fans, and inspired a considerable number of expectant parents to name their child ‘Tiger’.
Kobe Bryant, 2020 – 201% Increase in baby names
In January 2020, Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter accident. Kobe and his daughter Gianna were two of nine people involved in the crash. Kobe had a 20 year career in the NBA, retiring in 2016, and following his retirement, the Los Angeles Lakers retired both his #8 and #24 shirts and became the only player to have multiple shirts retired by the same franchise. Kobe is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and following his shock death, his name increased by over 200%, as fans honored his legacy.
Venus Williams, 2007 – 115% increase in baby names
Due to injuries, Venus Williams won just one major title between 2003 and 2006. However, 2007 would be the year where she returned to her best. Williams won Wimbledon and in doing so became only the fourth woman to win the British tournament four times. The 42-year-old also became the lowest-seeded Wimbledon champion, beating her own record she set in 2005. Williams would also reach the semi finals of the US Open, which was the first time in four years that she would reach a semi finals of a Grand Slam.
US Athletes Whose Careers Inspired Baby Names
It’s not only those iconic moments which can inspire a baby name. Sometimes an athlete who has dedicated their lives to the game can cause an increase in baby names over time. That’s why we looked at whose name caused an increase in baby names since their debut.
Sindey Crosby, Ice Hockey – 2,121% increase in baby names since debut
Sidney Crosby takes second place, with the name, Crosby, increasing by over 2000%. The 34-year-old has a number of accolades to his name during his career and is regarded as one of the best ice hockey players of all time.
James Harden, Basketball – 1,436% increase in baby names since debut
The name, Harden, has taken off since his debut in 2009, by almost 1,500%. James Harden has been on the NBA All-Star team for the last ten years in a row, and the shooting guard was even named MVP in 2016. The 32-year-old has had an incredible career, and the Arizona State Sun Devils honored his tenure by retiring the no.13 shirt.
LeBron James, Basketball – 1,347% increase in baby names since debut
LeBron James was drafted in 2003, when the Cleveland Cavaliers chose him in round 1/pick 1. LeBron James has gone on to have an incredible career, and is now regarded as one of the best basketball players of all time. The name LeBron has rocketed since getting drafted and completes our top three.
The Most Popular Sports Inspired Names
We’ve looked at all of the athletes included in our lists to reveal which sports-inspired names were the most popular between 2000 and 2021.
To get our original list of sporting moments, we used Wolf Sports and Business Insider. We looked at the baby names the year before the moment, and the year after the moment to see whether it had an impact. For the sporting moments, we looked at the year of the moment, and the year after to see which had the more baby names. We removed any names that were lower than 20 during its peak year.
We then used YouGovAmerica and ESPN to find the most popular Sports Personalities of all time. We used this list and selected those who had unique names, and those who had made their debut before 2000.
In order to find whether these athletes had caused a name increase, we then used national data from the Social Security Administration. We looked at when the athlete made their debut, and totalled the number of times the names had been used before and after their debut. We then used this to calculate the average number of names per year for before and after their debut, before finally calculating the percentage increase of the average names per year. Names that have been included in the list, but do not have a percentage increase means that there were no babies under that name until after the athletes debut.
For the most popular sports inspired names, we simply took the total of babies with that name between 2000 and 2021, regardless of when the athlete made their debut.
Read More: Sports Stars That Have Inspired the Greatest Increase in UK Baby Names