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Baby Names Inspired by Sports Icons

Hey there sports fan! How important has a sport, player, or athlete been in your life? Did you and your significant other spend your courtship bonding over a sport, team, or love for a particular player? Do you spend hours talking about your favourite team or bemoaning the mistakes of those “could be” epically great players? Do you spend every Sunday watching football, and every other day maintaining the perfect can’t lose fantasy lineup?

Or are you an athlete yourself who wants to bring the love of a particular game, sport, or physical activity in general to the next generation with the naming of your child? You don’t need to be a superstar champion to pick a name that has been awarded with medals, trophies, silver, and gold, you just need a little creativity and inspiration.

Professional athletes are known for their personal drives to succeed and do well, pushing limits, and perseverance, so it’s worth considering a sports themed name for the future pee-wee league great who’s yet to make their major league debut. So are you game for giving 110 percent towards selecting a baby name inspired by the world of sports?

Whether you have Olympic dreams, or picture a bleacher seats parenting existence, selecting a great name from an elite athlete might be just the right fit for you and your child. Strap on your shoes, skates, and under-armor, because here are 25 unique and amazing baby names inspired by the love of all things athletic.

25 Lucky Number Seven

UNSPECIFIED - UNDATED: Mickey Mantle poses for the camera with bat in hand in this undated photo. (Photo by Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images)

Seven may be one of the most significant numbers in sports and can be easily turned into a great unisex name. Who could forget the episode of Seinfeld where George is infuriated when expecting parents “steal” his perfect baby name Seven, a “living tribute” for a hypothetical baby never born, after his own personal baseball idol Mickey Mantle?

Seven has a notable history in a variety of sports. In football, Liverpool has had some of the club’s best players wear this special number, with number seven passed down from Kevin Keegan to Kenny Dalglish to Luis Suarez.

Manchester United fans associate Cristiano Ronaldo as CR7 with his penchant for wearing his own iconic seven. Other successful Manchester United players known for suiting up in lucky number seven include: George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, and David Beckham.

In the National Football League (NFL) number seven was worn by, John Elway who is often noted as one of the greatest quarterbacks in history having played all of his sixteen seasons, including two Super Bowl wins, with the Denver Broncos.

In numerology the number seven represents the seeker, thinker, and searcher of truth. Number seven is said to recognize that nothing is necessarily as it seems.

In traditional Chinese culture it represents the combination of Yin and Yang, complementary, yet opposite forces that form a system where the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. An example of Yin and Yang is how a shadow cannot exist without light. Seven also represents harmony within the ideology of Confucianism as seen in the five elements, metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. In Taoism, seven has a close connection with kindness and beauty.

24 Ali

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, Muhammad Ali was a legend in boxing as heavyweight champion of the world and having won the Olympic Boxing gold medal championship in 1960 as a light heavyweight at only 18 years of age. Having been born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. the boxer changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'” -- Muhammad Ali.

The name Ali is an Arabic name meaning high or elevated.

23 Blue

The color blue is a staple in many team names and team uniforms. Fans of the Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Toronto Blue Jays, Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Winnipeg Blue Bombers, National Hockey League’s (NHL) Columbus Blue Jackets or St. Louis Blues can bleed blue for the sake of their number one team. Alas, the Toronto Maple Leaf fans bleed blue, with good reason for nearly 50 years, as the primary colour of the Leafs' uniform.

Blue is an American originated name that represents the primary color that has been given by many celebrities to their children. Notably Beyonce, The Edge, Cher, Soleil Moon Frye, Geri Halliwell, and Alicia Silverstone have all selected names for their offspring including Blue as a first or middle name.

22 Bo

Bo Jackson is a famous athlete who is one of the remarkable few athletes to be selected as an “All Star” in both of his sports (Baseball and American Football). Many consider him one of the greatest athletes of all time, and he became known to sports fans and the general population with the popular Nike “Bo Knows” advertising campaign.

“Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there.” -- Bo Jackson.

The name Bo is mainly a male name of Swedish or Danish origin coming from an Old Norse nickname (bua) which means “to live.” Bo can be a short form of the names including Robert or Beaufort in men or Bonita and Bonnie for women.

21 Brady

Oct 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady smiles from the bench during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady is one of the premier quarterbacks in NFL history having won four Super Bowl championships. Brady has won two Most Valuable Player awards during his time with the New England Patriots and earned the title of the youngest quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to Super Bowl victory in 2002.

Becoming a Patriot fan favourite, fans and sports casters alike have, joined “Brady-Mania.” Although he’s now in his late thirties, Tom Brady has expressed an interest in remaining a NFL quarterback well into his forties.

“Football is unconditional love.” -- Tom Brady.

Brady is a Gaelic baby name meaning "spirited."

20 Cristiano

Whether you love him or love to hate him, even people who have never been football (or soccer) fans know who Cristiano Ronaldo is, as he’s considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. He has had unparalleled successes with the teams Manchester United and Real Madrid. He is a forward who serves as the team Captain for Portugal.

In 2015, Ronaldo scored his 500th senior career goal, and was named the world’s best paid athlete by Forbes in 2016.

“Your love makes me strong. Your hate makes me unstoppable.” -- Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano is the Italian and Portuguese version of the name Christian, derived from Latin meaning “follower of Christ.” This Latin word has been borrowed from the Greek word “Khristos” which means “anointed.”

19 Danica

As the most successful woman in the history of stock car racing, who wouldn’t want to name their daughter after the American driver, model and spokesperson, Danica Patrick? She has broken records including in 2013 when she became the very first female NASCAR driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole, where she turned the fastest qualifying lap on record in nearly 25 years.

“No matter how good you are, how brave you are or anything, it comes down to that car so many times. Not every time, but so many times.” -- Danica Patrick

The name Danica is a Slavic baby name which means "Morning Star."

18 Dodger

You don’t have to be a baseball fan to know that this is a cool name. Whether you’re playing homage to the team’s original Brooklyn home in the MLB from 1884-1957 or are celebrating the LA Dodgers, this boy’s name is bound to please.

The name of the Brooklyn Dodgers is said to have originated from the maze of trolley tracks in the Brooklyn borough around the stadium. It was said people were dodging out of the way of trolleys on the way to games and the shortened nickname version of Trolley Dodgers.

Artful Dodger (AKA Jack Dawkins) is a pickpocket and the leader of the gang of child criminals in the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist.

17 Gareth

Gareth Bale is a famous Welsh football player who plays for both the Spanish Club Real Madrid and on the Wales national team. He is best known for his ball striking from distance, swerving free kicks, and the way he is able to get around defenders while keeping his pace.

His fellow players applaud his skills boasting his, “tremendous speed, great crossing ability, a great left foot, and exceptional physical qualities.”

“Work hard. Train Harder.” -- Gareth Bale.

Gareth was a knight of the Arthurian legends and means "gentle."

16 Hawk

Tony Hawk is responsible for bringing the sport of skateboarding to mainstream sport culture. Nicknamed “The Birdman,” Hawk is considered the most successful and influential pioneers of modern vertical skateboarding.

He is the first skater to land a “900,” a boarding trick featuring two and a half mid-air revolutions and inspired many kids to take up boarding. Hawk has also been known for his philanthropic endeavours, most notably The Tony Hawk Foundation which builds skateparks in underprivileged neighborhoods.

"You might not make it to the top, but if you are doing what you love, there is much more happiness there than being rich or famous." -- Tony Hawk.

The name Hawk is a nature based boy’s name, after the small to medium sized bird of prey.

15 Jackie

Jackie Robinson, who wore number 42 for The Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the very first African American to play Major League Baseball outside of a segregated black league. He became a living inspiration for racial equality changing baseball forever.

Today each year on April 15, an annual day in his honor, every player in Major League Baseball wears number 42 to celebrate Robinson.

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” -- Jackie Robinson.

The name Jackie is a baby name of English origin, originally derived from John, meaning "God is gracious."

Other notable people with the name Jackie: Jackie Chan, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and Jackie Collins.

14 Jordan

Michael Jordan is a former American basketball player who played 15 seasons with the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. Jordan, who made the number 23 a lucky number for many b-ball fans, has been credited with popularizing basketball for generations in the 1980s and 1990s and is often considered the world’s greatest basketball player.

He has received five MVP awards, and is considered a very successful business man. Jordan is a known philanthropist contributing to charities including: the Boys and Girls Club of America, The Kids Wish Network, and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” -- Michael Jordan.

The name Jordan is a masculine and feminine name originating from the famous river that flows between the countries of Jordan and Israel. The river’s name is Hebrew and means, "to descend" or "flow down." In the New Testament of the Bible John the Baptist baptizes Jesus Christ in the river Jordan.

13 Larisa

Larisa Latynina is a former Soviet gymnast who won a staggering 14 individual Olympic medals and four team medals during her career. Her record for 18 total Olympic medals stood for 48 years until it was surpassed by Michael Phelps, although to date her individual event medals record remains unbroken. Larisa is often credited as being the driving force to help establish the Soviet Union as world leaders in the field of gymnastics.

“I am quite happy that there is a man in the world who can overcome my record, finally.” --Larisa Latynina

The Name Larisa is Russian and is believed to come from the ancient city of Larisa in Thessaly which meant citadel or fortress.

12 Lee

Bruce Lee was a martial arts and action film star who is credited with helping to change the way Asians were portrayed in film. He is often considered one of the most influential martial artists of all time, known for his fitness, martial art skill, and dedication to spirituality and philosophy.

Both Bruce and his son Brandon became famous, not only for their martial art skill, but for their untimely deaths. Bruce Lee died from swelling of the brain caused by hypersensitivity to aspirin when he was only 32 years old and Brandon Lee died from an accidental gunshot wound when filming the movie The Crow.

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” -- Bruce Lee

The name Lee, which is often a surname, has several meanings. The Celtic and American meaning is "healer," while the Latin meaning is "Lion," and the English meaning is a "meadow" or "wood."

Other notable people who share the name include: Lee Daniels, Lee Majors, Spike Lee, and Harper Lee.

11 Lionel

Having been voted as footballer of the year four times, Lionel Messi has led Barcelona to many successes. Messi is the only football player to date to have won five FIFA Ballons d’Or (four of these were awarded consecutively), and is known for his records in play making and goal scoring.

“I prefer to win titles with the team ahead of individual awards or scoring more goals than anyone else. I'm more worried about being a good person than being the best football player in the world. When all this is over, what are you left with? When I retire, I hope I am remembered for being a decent guy. “ -- Lionel Messi

Lionel is a boy name used mostly in English and French languages and is derived from Latin, meaning "young lion."

10 Lottie

Charlotte “Lottie” Dod was an English athlete who competed in many sports including: golf, field hockey and archery, although is best known for tennis. She won the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Championship five times in her career, and holds a record to this day for being the youngest ladies’ single tennis champion at age 15.

Lottie comes from Charlotte which is derived from the male name Charles. The name is of French origin and means “free man.”

9 Mia

Mia Hamm is a retired professional soccer player. Mia was a founding member of the Washington Freedom, is a two time Olympic gold medalist, and winner of the FIFA Women’s Cup.

She was named FIFA’s World Player of the year for two consecutive years, 2001 and 2002, and has been named one of the 125 best living players, in a list as selected by soccer legend Pele. She has been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and the World Football Hall of Fame.

She is the author of the book Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and has been credited by The Washington Post’s columnist Michael Wilbon as “Perhaps the most important athlete of the past 15 years.”

“The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.” -- Mia Hamm.

Mia is currently a name on the top 10 most popular baby names and is often a short form of the name Miriam, with the original Hebrew form of the name being Mary. In Italian the word mia means "mine."

Other notable people who share the name include: Mia Farrow, Mia Tyler, and MIA (rapper).

8 Pele

Pele is a retired Brazilian Football player and global ambassador for the sport. He is considered the greatest player of the 20th century having scored 1281 goals in 1363 games. He is known for connecting the phrase “the beautiful game” with the sport and is a global icon of football.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” -- Pele

The name Pele is of Hebrew origin and means "miracle" or "wonder."

7 Peyton

Peyton Manning is a retired American Football player who played in the NFL for 18 seasons and is considered to be one of the best quarterbacks of all time. His playing career ended after securing a victory in Super Bowl 50 while playing for the Denver Broncos.

He holds a number of NFL records including having won two Super Bowls within his career for two different franchises.

“The most valuable player is the one who makes the most players valuable.” -- Peyton Manning.

Peyton is an American baby name which means "royal."

6 Rafael

 

Rafael Nadal is a Spanish tennis player who is currently ranked as number four in the entire world having won 14 Grand slam singles competitions. Known as the greatest clay court player in the world he has been given the nickname “The King of Clay”. In 2008 he won the Olympic gold medal in singles.

“My motivation and aspiration is the same, being number one or being number five. So that's the truth. And my goal is the same - it's to always be happy playing, it's to enjoy the game and improve always.” Rafael Nadal

Rafael is a Hebrew name in origin and means, "God has healed."

5 Rory

Rory McIlroy is an Irish professional golfer who was ranked number one in the world in the Official World Golf Ranking for 95 weeks. He has golfed for Europe, Great Britain and Ireland, and at the Ryder Cup in 2010, 2012, and 2014 he played for Europe against the United States and won all three matches.

“You know I need that cockiness, the self-belief, arrogance, swagger, whatever you want to call it, I need that on the golf course to bring the best out of myself. So you know once I leave the golf course, you know that all gets left there.“ -- Rory McIlroy

Rory is a Goidelic name in an Anglicised form meaning, "red king."

4 Ruth

Babe Ruth (George Herman “Babe” Ruth) was an MLB baseball player with a professional career that lasted 22 seasons. He began his baseball career as a left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but earned his fame as a home run hitting slugger and right fielder for The New York Yankees.

Known as the first real slugger the “sultan of swat” earned numerous league records including leading the league in slugging percentage, home runs, on base percentage, runs scored, and runs batted in. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. The New York Yankees retired his jersey, number three, in 1948.

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” -- Babe Ruth

Ruth is a Hebrew name derived from the word re’ut, meaning, "friend." This name belongs to a central character in the Old Testament, a woman who was the ancestor of King David.

3 Sachin

Sachin Tendulkar is a former Indian Cricket player and team captain and is often regarded as one of the greatest batsman of all time. He retired in 2013 after playing his 200th and final Test match. During his career he played 664 total matches and scored 34, 357 runs.

“And that is the reason why this victory is great, because different players have made contributions to the win.” -- Sachin Tendulkar

The name Sachin is a name meaning "pure" in Sanskrit. This name is also another name of the Hindu God Shiva.

2 Usain

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican Olympic sprinter who broke records in both the 100 meter and 200 meter races. He has won triple Olympic gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He is regarded as the fastest person ever timed. Bolt intends to retire after the 2017 World Championships which will be held in London.

“A lot of legends, a lot of people, have come before me. But this is my time.” Usain Bolt.

The name Usain is Jamaican in origin and means small beauty.

1 Wayne

Wayne Gretzky is known as “the great one.” This hockey legend has remained a marker within the NHL for his spirit, determination, and passion for the game. Gretzky learned to skate and play hockey in the backyard rink his father built for him.

At 23 years of age he hit the 1,000 point mark, after only six seasons in the NHL. Gretzky is known for being one of the first Canadian “team playing” forwards and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of fame in 1999 for his record breaking achievements during his impressive hockey career.

Gretzky made the number 99 iconic in hockey, was a part of four Stanley Cup winning teams, and held an amazing 61 league records. He later went on to manage the Phoenix Coyotes, and has since entered the wine business. He remains a larger than life hockey legend.

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” -- Wayne Gretzky

The name Wayne is of English origin and means "craftsman" or "wagon driver."

Other Notable people who share the name include: John Wayne, Wayne Rooney, and Wayne Brady.

Resources: Huffington Post, MLBCommunity, Baseballhall.org, Los Angeles Dodgers

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