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How I Named My Baby: Kobe Ali

How I Named My Baby: Kobe Ali

Tiffany Moore, a hairstylist, and Patrick Moore, a store manager, live in Louisville, Kentucky with their two children.

Their youngest child, a son named Kobe Ali, was born on August 11, 2020, joining big sister Jordan Mia. Here, we talk to Tiffany about the basketball-themed sibset and how she and Patrick chose the baby name Kobe Ali for their little boy.

Tell me about Kobe and his name! How long did it take you to decide on a name?

To tell you about his name I have to tell you about my daughter’s name, Jordan Mia Moore. My husband and I met in college in 2004, and he was obsessed with Michael Jordan. We had our lives planned out and I told him that our first child, girl or boy, would be named Jordan. He was like, “and that’s when I knew I loved you.”

I was going to come up with the middle name because technically he got the first name. But I was wracking my brain about what it would be. One day it just hit me — Mia Moore! Like mi amor, ‘my love!’ Obviously spelled differently, but it rolls off the tongue the same.

We had her in 2014 — immediately after everyone was like, “so when’s Kobe coming?” — because Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant. It just makes sense. The joke was, “and then LeBron.” I was like “just one more kid! There’ll be no LeBron.”

Patrick kept saying it, “Kobe boy or girl.” All our friends loved it, our families loved it, and I was just like “Yeah, it’s nice, but…isn’t that kind of repetitive to do these basketball players?”

I tried to come up with something better. I had a list in my phone and every time I heard a cool name, I would write it down. But I would go back to the names and realize I didn’t love them. I kept playing with the idea of Kobe, and then we heard the news that Kobe Bryant passed. We dealt with it and we grieved just like the rest of the world did. Patrick and I still hadn’t decided on a name, and my husband was like, “No pressure, but like…please?” At that point, I thought it made sense.

What factors were you considering when thinking of a middle name for Kobe?

I was talking to my sister, telling her how I needed a middle name. I like short syllables for middle names — I always try to find something that’s quick and contributes to flow. Especially with Moore, because it’s kind of basic.

Kobe was a hard name to match with, especially because we’re used to hearing it with Bryant. I ventured away from that and tried to pick something original.

Then I thought of Ali. We live in Louisville, Kentucky, the home of Muhammad Ali, who’s a larger-than-life presence. I told my sister and she gasped and said, “that’s it!” I ran it past my husband, and he was like, “Yeah, I love that.”

You were really settled on Kobe Ali going into the delivery.

Oh yeah. We found out that our son was going to be diagnosed with Down Syndrome as well as have a heart defect and need heart surgery at three months. Muhammad Ali was a fighter. They call the kids that have heart surgery ‘heart warriors.’ Kobe’s names coupled together — two of the greatest to ever do it — are an inspiration to put your best foot forward every single day.

Kobe has really walked into his name and owned it. There are so many obstacles placed before him, so many things they say could happen. And Kobe’s just been like, “pssh.” In the hospital, they set these goals for him before he could leave. They said he would have to be in the NICU — he was only there for 24 hours before he came to our room. Or they said, “He has to drink this much,” and I would tell him out loud, “You have to do this. They really need you to do this.” The next day, he’d do it. I think he’s going to continue to live up to his name.

Clearly his name was meant to be, but what were some of the other names you were throwing around?

I’ve always liked Miles — it’s one of my favorite boy names. But it felt out of place. I also liked Lincoln, Dallas, and Ky. At one point I thought we were going to have a girl, and I considered the name Journey. But soon after that, I knew it had to be a boy — my body was telling me, since my pregnancy was so different this time around.

How did you and your husband navigate your conversations around names?

Because there wasn’t much discussion on Jordan — it just clicked for us — I would think that we have the same taste in names. It’s hard to tell because we didn’t go round and round about it. I would think of names on my own, but decide they weren’t good enough to bring to the table. He would have thought Miles was an older name for us.

When you were younger, what would you have liked to name the baby?

When I was younger, I loved Brooklyn. I don’t know why! Brooklyn was just that name for me. Funnily enough, I ended up having a little cousin named Brooklyn.

I will say, I’ve always been a fan of gender-neutral names, or even boy names for girls. We have a ton of Kyles in our family, but I love the name Kyle for a girl. I think it’s so powerful when a girl can rock a guy’s name. And then you meet the person, and it gives you a whole new perspective on the name.

Yeah, that’s what you did with Jordan, which is a unisex name, but traditionally masculine. And you were going to use Kobe even if the baby was a girl. What middle name would you have paired with Kobe if the baby was a girl?

I think I would have still used Kobe Ali! When you hear it, you’re like, “Oh yeah, that goes!”

Tell me about your own name! How do you feel about being named Tiffany?

I love my name, but one thing that I don’t like about it is that I don’t have many cool nicknames. Tiff is where I draw the line, pretty much. I was actually supposed to be a boy. My dad has two daughters from a previous marriage plus my older sister, so he and my mom were really excited for a boy. My name was going to be Nicholas Gregory — my dad’s name is Gregory — but when I arrived my mom was like, “What are we doing with this girl?”

They asked my four-year-old sister what she would name me, and she said, Tiffany. To this day, my sister is like, "I love your name." It’s a special connection between us and she did a great job, but I’m not sure I’d trust my four-year-old to name my newborn.

My middle name is Suzanne, the same middle name as my mom. I used to dislike that, but then my husband started calling me Suze and it just clicked — I was like “Hey, I like that!”

There’s your nickname! Did your experience of living with your name influence your choice of baby names at all?

For sure. I wanted them to enjoy their names and come into their names. Another thing about Jordan’s name — although it’s clearly in honor of Michael Jordan — when I looked it up, it said the meaning of Jordan can also be ‘descending.’ When I found out I was pregnant with Jordan, my grandmother, who was my favorite person in the world, passed away. I feel like as my grandmother was ascending into Heaven, Jordan’s spirit was descending. I’ve always thought of that as a sign. That’s the reason why her name fits her. She knows who she is, she’s confident in herself. Kobe is strong, he’s a warrior. He’s going to be confident in who he is, too.

What are some of the trendy names in your social circle?

It’s funny, now that we have Kobe, I keep hearing "My next kid is going to be Ali." My friends and I are on our second round of kids, and some of the new ones are Xander and August. I like Jackson, that’s one I’ve heard a lot. All the -sons — Jackson, Harrison, things like that. We’re having a lot of boys!

Do you have any big fears related to baby names?

You always think long-term — is this professional, can they get a job with this name? And I’m not a celebrity, so I can’t go too far left with names. But no, I didn’t really have any fears.

I know some people are kinda secretive with names, but we were pretty open about it. Especially since people were expecting Kobe, I’m always quick to say the Ali, just because I feel like that’s my two cents. Even at doctor’s appointments, they’re like, “Oh, his name is Kobe?” I’m like, “Kobe Ali!”

Does Kobe have any unexpected nicknames?

Patrick calls him Fatty! Jordan calls him Bubbie, and so do I. I use so many pet names, just whatever comes to mind. Like Stinkabutt, for example. I haven’t nailed down a real nickname for him.

Kobe was born at 37 weeks and had issues with his heart and getting up to weight. Once he put more weight on and started to get rolls, I told him, “You look like my little Buddha!” But I think Bubbie is going to be the one that sticks. It’s easy to say and he gets it from Jordan and me.

What advice would you give to someone who’s starting the baby name process?

Name your baby what you want to. I know a lot of times people are like, “I have to name him after my dad,” or “I have to put a family name in there.” But only do that if that’s what you actually want.

This is your child, you have the responsibility and privilege of naming them, of creating this life, so I would say just do you. You don’t have to please anyone else. Once they see the beauty of your child, it’s not going to matter what their name is anyway.

Thank you so much, Tiffany!

For the chance to participate in How I Named My Baby, please email sophie@nameberry.com

About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top baby name trends of 2021, baby name synesthesia, and the top names in each state. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.