No matter which is your favorite game, you’re sure to find inspiration in these sports baby names that celebrate some of the greatest athletes of all time and their dedication to excellence. Player-inspired names offer your child a role model and remind them of your passion for the game.
Althea Gibson won titles and broke barriers as the first Black female tennis player to win a grand slam (after the French Open in 1956). She went on to win ten more grand slam titles, cementing her place in history as one of the greats. The name Althea comes from Greek, and means “with healing power”. Some prefer the shortened version of this name, Thea.
Looking to the current crop of tennis champions, there’s international sensation Naomi Osaka, a four-time grand slam winner and the first Asian player to be ranked number one. As a Japanese unisex name, Naomi means “straight and beautiful”. In Hebrew, it means “pleasantness” and is the name of Ruth’s mother-in-law in the Old Testament. In French, it’s Noemie, and in Italian, Noemi.
Name your own daughter after the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali, a professional boxer in her own right. Of Arabic origin, Laila means “night” and “holy”. Variations include Leila and Layla.
Eager to instill a love of the water in your daughter? Name her after champion swimmer Dara Torres. Known as the fastest American swimmer, she enjoyed the longest Olympic career in her sport, earning a total of twelve medals. She is part of an elite group of athletes who have medaled in five different Olympic games. With Hebrew and Irish origins, Dara means “pearl of wisdom”, “gift”, or “oak tree”. In Slavic, it means “gift”. Variations include the Irish boys’ name Darragh, and Daria of MTV program fame.
Chamique Holdsclaw enjoyed a long and successful career in the WNBA playing for the San Antonio Silver Stars, Los Angeles Sparks, and Atlanta Dream. She was on the United States women’s team that brought home gold from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Chamique is a name you won’t hear often, as precious as your little one.
From the Latin for “berry”, as in the small black ones you grind over your food, Pepper is also the name of an old pre-game exercise in baseball in which the batter “peppers” or “sprinkles” balls to his teammates.
Pay homage to track and field superstar Jesse Owens. In a feat of greatness that has never been equaled, he set three world records and tied another at the 1935 Big Ten track meet. He went on to win four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics. Of Hebrew origin, this name means “gift”. When used as a name for girls, it is usually spelled, Jessie.
Name your baby boy after Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal, winner of a whopping 20 grand slam titles. From its Spanish origins, this name means “God has healed”. The traditional spelling of the Hebrew name is Raphael.
A French name meaning “ruler of the people”, Thierry is the first name of the international soccer star and coach Thierry Henry.
A colt is a young horse, of course, but it’s also the name of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy.
With ties to Spanish, Hebrew, Mt. Carmel, and NBA Lakers player Carmelo Anthony, there are more than enough reasons to select this moniker for your son.
Name your little baller after the man widely viewed as the greatest basketball player of all time by using his last name as your son’s first. Michael Jordan played 15 seasons in the NBA, winning six championships for the Chicago Bulls. The name’s Hebrew origins signify “flowing down”, and it has long-standing as one of the most popular unisex names starting with J.
As a boys’ and girl’s name of Scottish origin, this name means “elm grove”. It can also call upon the renown of British and Canadian heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, gold medalist at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and winner of many other championships.
A British boy’s name meaning, “of the brook”, as a girl’s moniker this name offers a fresh spin on Brooke. Brooks Robinson was an MLB player who played a record-setting 23 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, earning a reputation as the greatest third baseman in MLB history.
Pay homage to the world-renowned fighter Muhammad Ali with this name, which comes from the Arabic or Swahili and means “supreme” or “exalted”. As a girls’ name, it is also a shortened form of the names Alison and Alice.
Give your own little fighter this name of British origin that means “fighting man’s estate”. Made renowned by football star Peyton Manning, this name is popular for both boys and girls.
From the English, this is a shortened form of the name Augustine, which means “great” or “magnificent”. Popular as a unisex city name, you can also use this one after NBA Denver Nuggets player Austin Rivers. The game is a family affair for Austin and his dad, former player and coach Doc Rivers.
Choosing a sports name of special meaning to you will give your child a permanent reminder that you are his or her number one fan.
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