Category: athlete names
Then again, your hero or heroine may be from your own family and circle of friends and acquaintances: a favorite teacher, an acquaintance you’ve always admired.
Celebrities have recently been incorporating hero names into their choices for their children: Mariah Carey‘s daughter is named Monroe after Marilyn, for instance, while Jennifer Jason Leigh and Noah Baumbach named their son Rohmer, for French director Eric. Several politicians in recent years have named their children Kennedy, for example, a conscious choice to identify with that powerful political family and legacy.
Almost two hundred riders from 31 nations, 22 teams and two managers for each team. It’s the Tour de France, having begun once again its manic three-week-long dash through fields, up and down mountains and, of course, the grandstand finish that is the final stage in Paris.
But what has that to do with names? you may ask. Well, with so many different nationalities competing, cycling fans are bound to find a name to suit. Whether it’s Mark for top sprinter Mark Cavendish, Bradley for this year’s favorite Bradley Wiggins, Fabian for the winner of Saturday’s opening prologue, Swiss ace Fabian Cancellara, or Cadel Evans, last year’s champion, your son (or daughter, if you’re daring) can bear the name of a competitor in Le Tour 2012.
Early last month, the Social Security Administration released its official list of 2010′s most popular baby names. While I don’t really care that Jacob was the most popular name in 2010 for boys and Isabella for girls, I do enjoy playing around on the SSA’s Popular Baby Names website, which lists the thousand most popular boys’ and girls’ names for each year.
After checking the popularity of my children’s names (Malachi was the 163rd most common boys’ name in 2010; neither Meyer nor Resha was in the top 1000), I decided to look into the names of popular athletes to see how many people were naming their children after popular sports stars.
Of course, the data for athlete names such as Michael, Tom, Tim, Maria, and Mia isn’t terribly meaningful. These names are so common that there’s no way to know if parents are naming their children after Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, Tim Lincecum, Maria Sharapova, or Mia Hamm. But more unique athlete names yield some interesting results.
Though I was surprised to learn that LeBron has not been among the 1000 most popular baby names in the past decade, I discovered that both Peyton and Kobe have. Peyton peaked in popularity in 2007, the year when Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was named MVP of Super Bowl XLI. The name was least popular in 2002 and 2003, years in which the Colts performed below expectations. The name Eli made a jump in 2008, the year that began with New York Giants quarterback (and Peyton’s brother) Eli Manning leading his team to a Super Bowl win. (Eli made another jump in 2010. I wonder if the 2010 Elis are the little brothers of the 2007 Peytons.)
It will be interesting to see if Peyton gets a bump in 2011, thanks to Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. Hillis, a breakout star last season, recently was selected by fans to be on the cover of the Madden 12 video game. If you can make it onto the Madden cover, you can probably make it into the delivery room. Peyton is also a popular girls’ name, but I don’t know if that has anything to do with sports.
Kobe, after a strong showing from 2000 until 2002—the years that Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title—fell drastically in 2004. Kobe Bryant was arrested for sexual assault late in 2003. The name had a minor renaissance in 2008, the year the Lakers returned to the NBA Finals.
Danica jumped into the top 1000 in 2005, the year that Ms. Patrick made her Indianapolis 500 debut, finishing fourth and becoming the first woman in the history of the race to lead a lap. Danica ranked 611 in 2005 and rose to 353 in 2006. It has been in the top 500 ever since. (I’m guessing that Danica’s recent popularity has to do with the race car driver and not the actress who played Winnie Cooper.)
While the country’s attention will be focused on football this Super Bowl Sunday, some of us may be more interested in another aspect of the action: The crazy names of the players, of course! Nameberry’s new intern Robert Harclerode breaks down the most interesting names on both teams:
The Super Bowl has displayed a vast amount of talent and drama, but it has also showcased some of the most unique names on one of the biggest stages in all of professional sports.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers both boast their own separate historic franchises, as well as their own fascinating names within the Super Bowl’s past. In Super Bowl I & II, which both ended in Green Bay victories, Bart Starr was named the Most Valuable Player. Other great Packers in those first Super Bowls include Forrest Gregg, Boyd Dowler, Elijah Pitts, Max McGee, Lionel Aldridge, and Zeke Bratkowski.
Here are some distinctive names to listen for in this year’s Super Bowl showdown:
ATARI Bigby – #20 – Safety
DARYN Colledge – #73 – Guard
DIYRAL Briggs – #53 – Linebacker
JARIUS Wynn – #94 – Defensive End
TRAMON Williams – #38 – Cornerback
ARNAZ Battle – #81 – Wide Receiver
BRYANT Mcfadden – #20 – Cornerback
BYRON Leftwich – #4 – Quarterback
CREZDON Butler – #28 – Cornerback
FLOZELL Adams – #71 – Offensive Tackle
KEYARON Fox – #57 – Linebacker
LAMARR Woodley – #56 – Linebacker
MAURKICE Pouncey – #53 – Center
MEWELDE Moore – #21 – Running Back
RASHARD Mendenhall – #34 – Running Back
TROY Polamalu – #43 – Strong Safety
ZIGGY Hood – #96 – Defensive End
Nameberry intern Robert Harclerode is a student at Montclair State University where he majors in communication studies and minors in business and journalism. Robert is in the process of writing and managing his own sports blog.
If there’s one arena that may have been kind of neglected in the nameberry search for cool namesakes, it would probably be the wide, wide world of sports.
But we’ve dug through the archives and managed to come up with the following group of more out-of-the-ordinary monikers:
BIBB FALK – played for the Chicago White Sox
DORNE Dibble – wide receiver for the Detroit Lions
NILE Kinnick – won the 1939 Heisman Trophy
PAAVO Nurmi – Finish track star, outstanding long-distance runner of his time
VALMY Thomas – major league catcher