Forget about labor, picking a baby name is the hardest thing moms will ever do during pregnancy. For some it’s as easy as paying tribute to a loved one or a friend, but others draw inspiration from TV shows, movies, novels, documentaries and of course, athlete's names.
Whether you’re a sports fan or not, this list of 25 Baby Names For A Future Athlete is sure to spark some baby name ideas, especially since it features a medley of top athletes and sports. Many of the athlete mentions are the best in their sports, having won numerous awards and world championships. Their names have come to represent something greater than them and any future little baby with the name is sure to be filed for greatness… okay, it’s a grand thought, but isn’t that what all soon-to-be parents hope for when picking a name?
The cool part about the names on this list is that many of them have begin to interchangeably be applied to either boys or girls. So although the athlete in question may be either a woman or a man, their names can still be applied to either gender! Some of the athlete names are also their last names and yet are top on the baby name charts for a first name.
Price, it’s time for a new little champ to take over the world. Although the best goalie in the world hasn’t been able to carry his team to securing the Stanley Cup, it doesn’t stop this name from being one of the top ones for those looking for a name inspired by an athlete.
Although he’s only missing a Stanley Cup in his collection of trophies, he has secured nearly every other award possible: Hart Trophy for the NHL’s most valuable player, the Vezina for the league’s top goaltender, and the Ted Lindsay Award. He’s also a perennial all-star and the backbone for Team Canada.
What makes this Canuck native’s name truly interesting is that it can be used by either gender. However, do keep in mind that while using this name for a girl has dropped in popularity in the last couple of years, the popularity has drastically risen for boys. For girls, it was a name that was more popular in the 1960s and 1970s (such as Carrie Fisher).
Although the name origins of “Carey” are much debated, some believe that it comes from the Gaelic word “caraich”, which means “to move” or “to stir”. This does make sense since “Carey” sounds a lot like “carry”.
If you look up “Danica”, there’s only one woman that you will fall on: Danica Patrick. You don’t even need to add her last name, as there are no other Danicas like her and especially not athletes!
Danica Patrick is an American professional stock car racer, but what makes her stand out from the rest is her true talent for the sport. On top of being the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500, she also holds numerous other achievements and awards, most notably as the 2005 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, the most popular driver from 2005-2010, and the 2013 Daytona 500 pole winner.
If that wasn’t enough, Danica has also modeled on countless occasions, has starred in CSI:NY and has even won a competition on Chopped. Is there anything this woman can’t do?
Unsurprisingly, Danica is a very popular girl baby name, coming in at #728 in 2017. It’s a wonder her name didn’t make it to the first spot, given Danica Patrick’s many “first” achievements!
Is Austin a boy or a girl name? It can certainly be attributed to any gender. More recently, Austin has risen in popularity for boys, landing in #77 and #1,579 for girls.
Meaning “great, magnificent”, this baby name can be spelled either “Austin” or “Auston”. It’s also said to mean “majestic dignity”.
In the NHL, there’s Auston Matthews, the left-wing player for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He holds numerous IIHF World Championship gold medals, along with other awards, most notably, the Bob Johnson Award, given for excellence in ice hockey.
He has the record for the most goals as a rookie for the Toronto Maple Leafs and he’s likely to win Rookie of The Year 2017.
With the “Austin” spelling, there’s Austin Rivers, a highly popular shooting guard/ point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s also the first NBA player to play for his father, coach Doc Rivers.
Alternatively, it can also be spelled “Austen”, a spelling that is often used to make reference to Jane Austen, an English writer from the 19th century.
There’s certainly no shortage of Gabrielles in the sports world. There is the absolutely stunning Gabrielle Reece, an American volleyball player, who has also modelled as well as landed a few movie and TV show acting gigs.
Lately, Gabrielle Douglas, most commonly known as Gabby Douglas, is the one who has been making all the headlines as she is the first African American athlete to have become the individual all-around gymnast champion.
As far as gymnastics medals and awards, Simone Biles is the undeniable champ, but while her name has been dropping in popularity, Gabby’s full name, Gabrielle, has climbed all the way to #249 in 2017! Both names are pretty though and can even be used for twin girl names.
Oh Connor McGregor, the bad boy of UFC! The reigning UFC Lightweight Champion is arguably one of the biggest loud mouths in the industry but there’s no denying that he’s both highly entertaining, as well as very proficient in his fighting style.
He certainly has the skills to back up his claims and despite initially losing to Diaz, he did go on to win the re-match. He is also the only UFC fighter to have ever become a champion in two divisions following his lightweight fight with Alvarez, thus making him the only UFC dual-weight champion, in both the Featherweight and Lightweight divisions.
But for anyone on the hunt for a baby name, McGregor’s loud mouth definitely shouldn’t be a deterrent from picking the name “Connor”. A name that means “wise” in Scottish, it’s one of the highest picked names of 2017, coming in at an eyebrow-raising #52 on the charts.
According to some baby books, Connor also means “lover of hounds” and in Irish mythology, there was a king in Ulster with this name.
A stunning name, Elena is actually one of the top 100 baby girl names, holding the #53 place as of 2017. Historically, it’s Greek in origin (such as Helena of Troy), but nowadays, it’s also one of the most popular Russian names.
A major Olympic athlete with this name is none other than Yelena Isinbayeva. Although her name is with a “Y” in the beginning, it’s still pronounced the exact same way and is technically written in Russian as “Elena”. Both variations of the name are popular, but while Yelena holds the #6,355 rank in popularity, Elena is actually #53 as of 2017. This name’s high popularity level is sure to deter some future mommies, but I’m sure that for many others, this won’t even be a factor!
Isinbayeva is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a three-time World Champion in pole vaulting. She is also considered as one of the greatest pole vaulters of all time, especially since she holds the record for the highest pole vault at 5.05m (16.568ft).
Surely everyone’s heard of Sid the Kid? Crosby is a two-time Stanley Cup winner, all-star and national team Canada captain and he has practically won every single trophy that a hockey player can possibly secure, with the exception being Rookie of The Year.
Given that he’s considered to be one of the best hockey players of all time, his name should definitely be a strong contender for any hockey fan.
Once again, Sidney is another one of those names that can either swing towards team pink or team blue. As a girl baby name, Sidney actually exploded in popularity in the 1990s, but has since quieted down a bit, with the “Sydney” spelling version being more popular. Instead, its popularity as a boy name is heavily on the rise and it’s almost certain that the NHL star has something to do with the trend.
Mia is one of those all-around favorite baby names. Over the last couple of years in particular, it has made its way onto countless girls name lists from many different countries, like Australia, England, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Scotland and even Chile!
Although only three letters long, some view it as being the nickname of the name “Maria”, while others consider it a name of its own. In particular, this name was popularized by Mia Farrow’s own name and was even one of the top 1000 names in 1964.
Mia can also be a nickname for Mariel, such as is the case of Mia Hamm, the FIFA Women’s World Cup winner and two-time Olympic gold medalist. Despite being born with a club foot, she went on to be one of the best female soccer players of all time, which just goes to show how perseverant Mias can be!
More recently, Kate Winslet named her daughter Mia Honey.
Brett Hull, Brett Favre, Brett Anderson, Brett Gardner… so many Bretts! Brett Favre is hands-down the most popular Brett in football. Although his team won the 1997 Super Bowl, it made it again all the way to the end in 1998, but losing this time around. Nonetheless, Brett Favre remains one of the best football players of all time, being the first ever quarterback to pass 500 touchdowns.
As for Brett Hull, he's considered as one the greatest American born hockey goal scorer, despite being Canadian. He was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2009.
This name could also be amended to just “Bret”, in similar fashion to Bret Michaels, leader if the glam-metal band Poison and one of the most known rock stars.
Technically, the name “Brett” means someone originating from Brittany, but it’s up to you if that’s an aspect of the name that you want to focus on or not!
Despite losing to Holly Holm at UFC 193, Ronda Rousey continues to be cited as one of the best UFC fighters and most popular alongside Connor McGregor. Ronda as a baby name isn’t all that popular just yet, but Holly has remained in the #300-400 range since 2000.
In fact, Holly Holm is actually the first ever to win both the boxing and mixed martial arts championships. She’s of course also the first to knock Ronda Rousey on her bum. At the time, Ronda had been rather sure of her ability as she had enjoyed 12 consecutive MMA wins and six UFC wins.
Both Holly and Ronda could certainly make for some interesting twins names for girls as well, though hopefully their rivalry wouldn’t get passed down!
Whether you want to go with Peyton or Manning, both names are equally as cute for a baby! Peyton Manning is also one of the most recognizable names in football as he’s a two-time Super Bowl champion, and has won numerous other awards, such as five NFL MVP awards, three Bert Bell awards, the 2012 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and many others. He was also the 2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2012.
Meaning “son of a hero”, Manning ranked at #5,440 for boys and #15,289 for girls in 2017. Peyton, on the other hand, is significantly more popular, ranking at #387 for boys and as high as #75 for girls! The fact that it ranks so high for girls is surprising given the superstardom success of the footballer Peyton Manning. Also, Peyton’s brother’s name is certainly worth considering as a baby name for either gender as well: Eli.
How could the hunkiest footballer ever not get mentioned on the list of baby names for a future athlete?! Even those who don’t follow football have somehow heard of Tom Brady, especially since he’s married to none other than the smoldering hot supermodel Gisele Bündchen.
And even more importantly, there's also the fact that he most recently won yet another Super Bowl, putting his total tally up to an incredible five wins – wow!
Not only is the name Brady on the #255 spot for the most popular baby boy names, but it’s actually #3,937 for girls! In terms of name significance, Brady means “broad island”, which certainly isn’t nearly as spectacular as the amazing athletic feats accomplished by the star quarterback.
How could anyone forget Neil Patrick Harris’ joke about Reese Witherspoon: “she’s so lovely, you could eat her up with a spoon”? Certainly one of his best ones but the famous actress isn’t the only one with this sweet name!
Brittney Reese is an Olympic gold medalist in long jump. She won the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics and silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She has also won the gold medal in three World Championships, hence definitely qualifying her name for a baby name as well.
Many names are overwhelmingly used for just either one of the genders, but the cool part about Reese is that it’s equally as popular for either a baby boy or a baby girl.
Bend it like Beckham? Okay lame joke, but Beckham is a pretty awesome name, especially since David Beckham is one of the best soccer players in the world. He also gets major points for rating higher than 10 on the hotness chart and for being married to none other than Victoria Beckham from the Spice Girls.
He has won many awards, including the FIFA World Awards, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and even numerous Teen Choice Awards – no surprise there!
Although Beckham continues to be one of the 300 top names for boys, it surprisingly vastly jumped in popularity for girls since 2015. In terms of significance, Beckham is said to mean homestead by the stream”. Despite the meaning, it’s definitely a very cute baby name.
Steffi Graf undoubtedly one of the best tennis players in the world. Throughout her career, she won 22 Grand Slam singles titles and she was the #1 player by the Women’s Tennis Association for 377 consecutive weeks, which is the longest record that anyone (including men) has ever held. She was also inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004, as well as the German Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
There is also Steffi Jones, who played as a defender for Germany’s women’s national soccer team. She’s now a manager, but during her career, she won three European Championships in a row with her team.
Steffi is a baby name that has drastically risen in popularity since 2015. Although it can technically be shortened from Stephanie, it can also be a name of its own.
Sure Peyton and Brady are great and super popular, but so is Deion, a name popularized by Deion Sanders. Although now retired, Deion Sanders is a two-time Super Bowl champion. He’s also the holder of numerous awards, such as the First-team All Pro (8 times), the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1994, the Jim Thorpe Award in 1988 and he’s a two-time Consensus All-American. His #2 jersey at Florida State was also retired in 1995.
The name Deion isn’t nearly as popular as when it flew upwards on the charts in 1995, it’s still rather high on the charts, coming in at 1,597 for boys. Despite the popularity about baby boys, some parents have instead opted to give this name to girls, ranking it at #15,291 in 2015.
Starting in the 1970’s, Evonne Goolagong Cawley was one of the world’s leading tennis players. Throughout her career, she won 14 Grand Slam titles and she was also inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1988.
Alternatively, the name “Evonne” is also sometimes spelled “Yvonne” instead, but keep in mind that the latter spelling is more popular and has recently risen in popularity on the charts as well. While Yvonne was #2,380 in 2017, Evonne was #9,638 in 2016. Both names are considered to mean “archer” and have French backgrounds.
Between the two names, Yvonne might be harder to spell, while Evonne is slightly easier as it derives from “Eve”.
While we’re on the topic of names similar from “Eve”, there’s also the baby name Evander, inspired from two major athletes.
The first is Evander Holyfield, an American former boxer. Nicknamed “The Real Deal”, Holyfield is considered one of the best punchers of all time and is the only four-time heavyweight champion.
The other Evander worth noting is Evander Kane, who was actually named in honor of Evander Holyfield. Kane, a left winger for the Buffalo Sabres and despite his attitude that has landed him in a lot of hot waters, he was won a gold medal at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament with Team Canada.
The name Evander also has Roman and Greek roots. While the name is said to be derived from the Green Evandros, with the “andros” part meaning “manly”, in Roman history, Evander was also one of the earliest founders of Rome.
Nowadays, so many names can be for either gender and this includes Sasha. Technically, the name Sasha is of Russian heritage and is typically used as a nickname for “Alexander”. In the past couple of decades though, many Russian parents have named their girl babies “Alexandra” and thus, have used “Sasha” as a baby girl name as well.
Although many The Walking Dead fans will be quick to point out that Sasha is a kickass zombie slayer, there’s a real life figure skater who is definitely just as kickass. Sasha Cohen is an American figure skater, who is a three-time World Championship medalist and who has also secured the 2006 Olympic silver medal.
An undeniably beautiful name, Sasha is girl baby name whose popularity is on drastically on the rise and which holds the #406 as of 2017.
Surely not too many explanations are needed for Kobe? One of the most recognizable names in basketball, Kobe Bryant has overwhelmingly won five NBA championships and has received many awards, such as the NBA Finals MVP, the NBA MVP, the NBA Scoring Champion, and even won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1997. While representing the United States, his team also won the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.
Although a more popular name for boys, Kobe has also begun to be used among girls. Alternatively, it can either be spelled “Koby” or more recently as “Kobee”. Reportedly, Kobe Bryant’s own parents were inspired by the top-quality Japanese beef for their son’s name!
Montana is another one of those names that is highly debatable as to whether it’s a girl’s name or a boy’s name. However, the use of Montana as a boy’s name has drastically dropped in the past couple of years, with most people preferring to use it as a girl’s name.
Any football fans, and especially 49ers fans should certainly consider this baby name though in homage to the former American football quarterback, Joe Montana.
Also nicknamed “Joe Cool” and “The Comeback Kid”, Montana led his team to winning four Super Bowls and is also the recipient of numerous awards, such as getting the Super Bowl MVP three times, the NFL Most Valuable Player award twice, and the NFL Comeback Player of The Year. The San Francisco 49ers have even retired the number 16 jersey that he wore while playing with them. In 1990, he even received the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award.
Although Montana is his last name, it’s still a name that is very commonly used as a first name. Montana means “mountain” and is also a state in the U.S.
Speaking of Lennox Lewis, Muhammad Ali once said: “You’re the greatest one there is, like me”. Lewis is a three-time world heavyweight champion and he has also won gold in the super-heavyweight division of the 1988 Summer Olympics, while representing Canada.
For centuries, Lennox has solely been a boy name but in recent years, it has also risen in popularity among girls. The name is of Gaelic origin, meaning “from the field of elm trees” and it’s interesting to note that Shakespeare gave the name “Lennox” to a minor character in Macbeth.
Whether for boys or girls, the name Lennox is one of the most popular nowadays, ranking at #466 or boys and #531 for boys in 2017. This definitely comes as no surprise given how popular baby names with an “x” have become in the past couple of years.
Although many will instantly be drawn to thinking about Maya The Bee, there’s a Maya that’s much more awe-inspiring: Maya Moore. An American professional basketball player, Maya Moore has won so many awards before the age for 30 than I have room to mention here. Some of her most notable achievements and awards is that she’s a three-time WNBA champion and she has also won the WNBA MVP Award, has participated in numerous All-Star games and has been a WNBA scoring leader.
Her awards are very impressive to read, especially since in both the 2012 London Olympics and in the 2016 Rio Olympics, she won the gold medal in Basketball while representing the United States.
In fact, Maya ranks #45 as one of the most popular baby names for girls as of 2017. It’s Latin for “great” and “larger”.
3 Venus & Serena
While both Venus and Serena are names that could have been listed on their own, I thought it would be cute to actually add them as an idea for twins! Both Venus and Serena as two of the most known names in tennis, especially given their past rivalry with each other.
They have won plenty of awards on their own, including 23 Grand Slam single titles for Serena and seven Grand Slam single titles for Venus, but their biggest rivalry has undoubtedly been with each other. Although they have played together on countless occasions, they have also competed against each other, even in Grand Slam matches, with Serena taking all the wins.
Still both these names would be way too cute for twins, especially for any tennis aficionado. Even on their own, either one of the names would be great for a future athlete as well, especially since Venus ranks at #3,937 and Serena at #371 in 2017.
The very first Owen to pop into your head will probably be Owen Wilson. He is great and all, but as far as athletes go, there was also Owen Hart.
Although he tragically died in 1999 during a live pay-per-view event when he fell onto his chest, Owen Hart was a Canadian-American professional wrestler with the ring name “The Blue Blazer”. The youngest son of Stu Hart, a WWE Hall of Famer, he also held many titles, such as being a two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion and a USQA Unified World Heavyweight Champion.
Some will argue that wrestling is not a sport, but the fact remains that wrestlers certainly train just as hard and aren’t immune to injury themselves.
As far as “true” athletes go, there was also Jesse Owens, who in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, secured four gold medals, while representing the United States in men’s track and field.
Since 2011, Owen has also been rising among baby names for girls, most recently ranking at #1, 589 in 2016. For men, the name ranks at a whopping #30 as of 2017!
Since around 2001, Bronson has steadily been climbing the baby name popularity chart, currently landing in the 838th position in 2017 for boys. For girls, it comes in at #7,244. If we analyze this name, it either means “son of a dark man” in English or according to other sources, it means “strong” and “fierce one”.
And despite being attributed to many girls, this name definitely has spurred some strong athletes! First, there’s Josh Bredl, more famously known as his ring name Bronson Matthews. He’s an American professional wrestler who started out playing college football, only to then move on to become an American professional wrestler. In 2015, he won the WWE’s sixth season of Tough Enough.
The second strong one with this name is Bronson Arroyo. He won his first championship while playing with the Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2006, he was awarded a Gold Glove Award in 2010.
Sources: Babycenter.com, Nameberry.com, BabyNameWizard.com and Census.gov, BehindTheName.com.