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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. Athletic baby names might be the right style for youl

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, ordered by current popularity on Nameberry.

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Modern Hero Names

  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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 Wimbledon.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. AustinHeart
    • Origin:

      English, shortened form of Augustine, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "great, magnificent"
    • Description:

      Austin is one of the most attractive city names for babies, with an appealing southwestern feel and place-name panache.
  14. JacksonHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "son of Jack"
    • Description:

      Jackson is one of those names that's much more popular than you think, coming in near the top of our annual Playground Analysis, which ranks names by grouping all their spellings together. There were nearly 17,000 baby boys named Jackson -- along Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxxon, Jaxen, Jaxyn, Jaxsen, and Jaxsyn -- which counted together makes it the Number 3 boys' name.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. GabriellaHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian feminine variation of Gabriel
    • Meaning:

      "God is my strength"
    • Description:

      Gabriella is the feminine form of Gabriel, a name derived from the Hebrew Gavri’el. Gavri’el is composed of the elements gever, meaning "strong," and ’el, referring to God. Gabriella is used among a variety of cultures in the US, including Italian Americans, Latinos, and in the Jewish community. Gabriela is the Spanish spelling.
  19. IvanHeart
    • Origin:

      Russian variation of John
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      Though some might find it a bit heavy-booted, Ivan is one of the few Russian boys' names to become fully accepted into the American naming pool.
  20. HankHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Henry, German
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Hank is a midcentury guy nickname (which actually dates back to the seventeenth century) of the Al/Hal/Dick school, which has been on recess from the playground for decades. Now it's just beginning to be given on its own again, appreciated for its earthy, sportsguy cool. Hanks Aaron and Greenberg (born Henry) and Hank Williams (born Hiram) Sr and Jr. are worthy namesakes.