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Athletic Baby Names

Athletic Baby Names
If you're a sports fan, you may find baby name inspiration while watching a football game or a tennis match. While the legendary stars of sports history usually had regular guy names like Joe and Jimmy and Michael and Mickey (not to mention Billie Jean), some of the newer luminaries, as well as the surnames of classic athletes, offer options for baby names that go beyond the perimeters of that limited playing field. Names such as Beckham and Iker in particular have really taken off.

Along with Beckham and Iker, other athletic baby names in the US Top 500 include Brady, Colt, Gabriella, Jesse, Kyrie, Mia, Palmer, and Serena. Rare names with strong ties to illustrious athletes include Gehrig, Magic, Usain, and Wilt.

An athletic baby name may not imbue your child with sports skills, but it can give him or her a hero to look up to. If you love sports, consider using an athletic baby name as a first or middle name for your child. Browse our favorite options below.
  1. SebastianHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin from Greek
    • Meaning:

      "person from ancient city of Sebastia"
    • Description:

      Sebastian is derived from the Greek Sebastianos, meaning “from Sebastia.” Sebastia was a city in Asia Minor—modern day Sivas, Turkey. Sebastian is a name with a substantial history, first as the third-century martyr whose sufferings were a favorite subject of medieval artists, then as the name of memorable characters in such varied works as Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and The Tempest and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
  2. RoryHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "red king"
    • Description:

      This spirited Gaelic classic, which became popular in Ireland via the illustrious twelfth century king Rory O'Connor, makes a highly energetic choice, now used for either sex. Rory's gender split is still trending boyward; it's one of the coolest boys' names starting with R.
  3. MiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian word name or Scandinavian short form of Maria
    • Meaning:

      "mine or bitter"
    • Description:

      Mia originated as a short form of Maria, which ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Miryam. In modern times, Mia has been used as a nickname for names including Amelia, Emilia, and Miriam. Mia is also an Italian and Spanish word meaning 'mine.'
  4. EvanderHeart
    • Origin:

      Scottish; Greek
    • Meaning:

      "bow warrior; strong man"
    • Description:

      Evander is a name that could build on the popularity of shorter form Evan, and could work and play well with schoolmates like Zander and Xander.
  5. BrooksHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "of the brook"
    • Description:

      Surname name, nature name, and word name, with a more masculine slant than Brook or Brooklyn. Brooks Robinson was one of the greatest third basemen ever, playing for the Baltimore Orioles from 1955 until 1977. Brooks might be considered one of the new wave of stylish English names for boys.
  6. AltheaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "with healing power"
    • Description:

      Althea is a poetic, almost ethereal name found in Greek myth and pastoral poetry, associated in modern times with the great tennis player Althea Gibson, the first African-American to win at Wimbleton.
  7. LennoxHeart
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "elm grove"
    • Description:

      Lennox is an aristocratic and powerful Scottish surname name made truly special by that final x. The worldwide fame of British boxer--World and Olympic champion--Lennox Claudius Lewis brought the name into the spotlight as a first name, while as a last it's tied to Eurythmics singer Annie L.
  8. AustinHeart
    • Origin:

      English, shortened form of Augustine
    • Meaning:

      "great, magnificent"
    • Description:

      Austin is one of the most attractive city names for babies, with an attractive southwestern feel, place-name panache and the solid base of having long been an Anglo-Saxon surname and a first name since medieval times. Austin reached the Top 10 in the 1990s, but has been gradually slipping down the list.
  9. NolanHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "champion"
    • Description:

      Nolan is one of the rising Irish surname names, in the spirit of Conan and Ronan, partially inspired by pitcher Nolan Ryan-- who was named Lynn at birth, after his father. Nolan is a cheerful, friendly traditional Irish surname with the appropriate meaning of "champion," and one of the new attractive boy names starting with N.
  10. HunterHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "one who hunts"
    • Description:

      Hunter has been dropping a bit for the past few years but is still one of the leaders of a distinctive band of boys' names that combines macho imagery (Hunter, Austin, Harley) with a softened masculinity. Hunter was for years attached to gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson; Josh Holloway used it for his son.
  11. SerenaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "tranquil, serene"
    • Description:

      Serena, a name used since Roman times, was given fresh life by tennis star Williams, and then again with the leading character on Gossip Girl, Serena van der Woodsen. There have also been Serenas on soap operas and other shows from Bewitched to Law & Order.
  12. FletcherHeart
    • Origin:

      English occupational name
    • Meaning:

      "arrow-maker"
    • Description:

      Fletcher is a common surname with a touch of quirkiness; it definitely fits into the So Far Out It's In category--and moving further in all the time along with other occupational names from Parker to Forester.
  13. CooperHeart
    • Origin:

      English occupational name
    • Meaning:

      "barrel maker"
    • Description:

      The genial yet upscale and preppy Cooper was one of the first occupational last names to catch on -- and Cooper remains a pleasing option.
  14. RuthHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "compassionate friend"
    • Description:

      Ruth, with its air of calm and compassion, was the third most popular name in the 1890s, remaining in the Top 10 through the 1920s. It's still in use today as some parents tiring of Rachel and Rebecca are giving Ruth a second thought. Some see such Old Testament girls’ names as Ruth and Esther rising on the heels of boy equivalents Abel and Moses.
  15. JesseHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "gift"
    • Description:

      King David's father turned 1980s cowboy, Jesse is now down in popularity. The name is associated with a wide variety of bearers, from outlaw Jesse James to Olympic athlete Jesse Owens to activist Jesse Jackson to current actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jesse Eisenberg. The spelling Jesse is more usual as a boys' name while Jessie is more traditional for girls.
  16. JacksonHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "son of Jack"
    • Description:

      Cool name Jackson is one of the celebrisphere's top favorite boy names, having been chosen by, among others, Spike Lee, Poppy Montgomery, Carson Daly, Maria Bello, Natalie Maines, Scott Wolf, Maya Rudolph, and Katey Sagal. After a spectacular rise, this stylish presidential name has been in the Top 25 since 2010, overtaking John as one of the most popular boy names starting with J.
  17. DexterHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "dyer, right-handed"
    • Description:

      The jazzy, ultra-cool Dexter, like most names with an "x," has a lot of energy and dynamism. Over the years, it's been attached to a number of diverse real and fictional personalities—C. K. Dexter Haven, the witty Cary Grant character in The Philadelphia Story; Dexter Green, the protagonist of the F. Scott Fitzgerald story "Winter Dreams"; great jazz tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon; the boy-genius protagonist of cartoon Dexter's Laboratory; and the most recent TV series Dexter based on the books by Jeff Lindsay, whose lead happens to be a genial but sociopathic serial killer.
  18. JordanHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "flowing down"
    • Description:

      Jordan became one of the top unisex baby names in the heyday of basketball's Michael Jordan, and is still among the most popular unisex names starting with J. The name was originally given to those baptized in holy water brought back by Crusaders from the River Jordan, the only river in Palestine, and the one in which Christ was baptized by John the Baptist.
  19. BoHeart
    • Origin:

      Norse nickname
    • Meaning:

      "to live"
    • Description:

      A popular name in Denmark, in this country Bo has some cowboy swagger and a lot of substance in its minimal two letters. In Mandarin Chinese, Bo means "wave".
  20. ReeseHeart
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "ardor"
    • Description:

      The sassy, steel magnolia appeal of Oscar-winning Reese (born Laura Jeanne—Reese is her mother's maiden name) Witherspoon has single-handedly propelled this formerly boys’ name into girls' popularity.