Number of babies named Kobe rose 201% in 2020; Serena, Marshawn also on list for top sports names

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, including the helicopter's pilot, were killed in Calabasas in January 2020.

Late NBA icon Kobe Bryant is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential athletes of all time. Given that a person’s name is arguably the most important aspect of their existence, it may come as no surprise that the basketball legend’s legacy will live on through thousands of American children.

The betting site, BetSperts, revealed that between 2020 and 2021 that Kobe — 17,071 — was among the most popular sports-related names for newborns in the United States, according to KTLA News.

On Jan. 26, 2020, Bryant and several others, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were killed in a helicopter crash in California. Many believe the tragic accident largely accounts for the tributes.

Kobe Bryant
Data on the most popular sports-related baby names given to newborns between 2020 and 2021 revealed that more than 17,000 children were named after NBA great, Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter accident in January 2020. (Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)

BetSperts noted that in 2019, 499 newborns were named after the Los Angeles Lakers superstar. The number skyrocketed by 201% following his death in late January of the following year.

Using data from top maternity and parenting resource, BabyCenter, CNN reported that the popularity of the name “Kobe” increased by slightly less, at 175%, while that of “Gianna” saw a 216% increase in 2020.

In fact, former Los Angeles Lakers star and family friend Pau Gasol and his wife, Cat, paid homage to the Bryant family by naming their first-born daughter Elisabet Gianna Gasol in 2020.

Linda Murray, BabyCenter’s global editor-in-chief, said at the time, “2020 has been an especially emotional year for families, filled with stress, loss, and uncertainty. Parents are seeking comfort by naming their babies after people they admire, especially those who’ve passed on.”

Bryant’s moniker also ranked high on the BetSperts list of notable “Sporting moments which inspired baby names in the U.S.,” only trailing professional golfer Tiger Woods. Woods’ name peaked in popularity in 2010 — a 225% increase — following headlines of a vehicle crash and an adulterous affair that damaged his reputation in 2009. Interestingly, behind Bryant in third place is Venus Williams — a 115% percent increase in name popularity from 2007 to 2008 — after capturing her fourth Wimbledon title in 2007.

Other athletes who were the inspiration for baby names between 2020 and 2021 include Serena Williams, Marshawn Lynch, Lebron James and Floyd Mayweather.

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