20 Baby Boy Names Inspired by the World's Best Athletes

Nicole Pomarico | Dec 9, 2019 Pregnancy
20 Baby Boy Names Inspired by the World's Best Athletes
Image: iStock

Baby boy on blanket

New parents have a lot of things they want to cross off their to-do lists before the baby arrives, but one of the hardest decisions to make is what they should name their little one. When it comes to baby names, some parents want to incorporate their own passions and interests into the moniker they choose, and that includes sports. Fortunately, there are a lot of world-famous athletes who are totally inspiring, and using their name can help when the time comes to pick a name for a baby boy.

Although it's impossible to predict if the baby himself will be into sports when he gets old enough to throw a baseball or bounce a basketball, these names are a great jumping off point for parents who want to make sure there's a little extra meaning behind the name they choose. Plus, it makes for a fun story to tell the kiddo when he gets a little older.

From more common names like Tom, Michael, and Peyton to distinctive names like Cristiano and Kawhi, there's something for everyone. So many corners of the sporting world are represented -- and there are so many awesome names to choose from.

While some are certainly more unusual than others, there are a ton of options when it comes to names inspired by some of the world's most talented and accomplished athletes. Read on for some of the best. Who knows? The perfect name could be on this list ... and with names like these, there's no way baby won't be destined to accomplish great things (and maybe break some scoring records along the way, with any luck at all). 


    sleeping baby boy
    Mehmet Hilmi Barcin/iStock

    Whether we're talking about Michael Jordan, the legendary basketball player, or Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, Michael is a strong choice. It's remained popular for years, and it's a true classic. And who knows -- it could push the boy to work hard to reach his goals. 


    baby boy on grass

    Being that Steph Curry is one of the most successful (and talked about) basketball players of our time, why not go for Stephen as a baby name?  And as a bonus? For true fans of the NBA player, Steph is a fully acceptable nickname.

  • KOBE 

    baby boy sucking thumb

    Another one for huge basketball fans. Not only does Kobe pay tribute to the great Kobe Bryant, but it's also an uncommon name. And for parents who want people to know who their baby's namesake is, Kobe doesn't leave much room for debate.


    baby boy laughing

    Looking for another distinctive name that's still related to sports? Yup, this one ought to do it! Not only is LeBron a celebrated basketball player, but we can all agree that he was hilarious in Trainwreck, too. It's a good choice! 

  • TOM

    baby boy with pacifier

    More into football than basketball? Tom -- after Patriots player and Super Bowl champ Tom Brady -- might be a good choice. After all, it's common enough that it's not glaringly obvious that it's related to Tom Brady, but still makes for a cool connection for football fans.


    smiling baby boy

    Thinking about naming baby after a legendary NFL player? Peyton, after Peyton Manning, might just do the trick. This is also a perfect one for parents who are sports fans and who are seeking a more gender neutral name.


    baby boy with blanket over head

    This name is definitely an unusual choice -- chances are high no one else in kindergarten will have this one! Naming a baby Baker is perfect for football fans who want to pay tribute to Baker Mayfield ... or Ronnie Baker, the famous track and field star. 


    smiling baby with blanket

    Why not name a baby boy after Los Angeles Clippers player Kawhi Leonard? It's another unusual, distinctive name, which is what we love about it -- and people will definitely know how mom and dad feel about this NBA star. 


    newborn baby boy

    Any soccer fans in the house? This name is inspired by Lionel Messi, who plays in Europe (and on the Argentina national team, representing his home country). And as a nickname, parents can call him Messi ... because he will be!


    smiling baby boy

    Wanna represent a different legendary soccer player? It would be hard to top Cristiano -- not only is it a one of a kind name, but Cristiano Ronaldo is also one of the most celebrated players of all time. Maybe with a name like that, baby will take after him?


    baby boy grabbing feet

    Another classic name that has a sporty meaning behind it. UFC and wrestling fans will easily recognize that this little man has been named after Conor McGregor. Looking for a name that's less popular? McGregor ought to do it.

  • BRYCE 

    sleeping baby boy

    Looking for a baseball-inspired name? Check out Bryce, after pro player Bryce Harper -- a name that's been decreasing in popularity recently, which should secure the kid from sharing his name with any of his classmates. Harper is also a great choice. 


    sleeping baby boy with teddy bear

    Listen up, tennis fans -- this is a good one. The name Rafael is inspired by Rafael Nadal, the tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in the world. Want to rep one of the greats in a big way? This is a perfect choice.


    smiling baby on bed

    This Brazilian football player's full name is Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, but he typically goes by Neymar to keep it simple. His name is that recognizable, and for parents who choose to name their kiddos after him, it'll be no surprise who baby's name was inspired by. 

  • RORY 

    Sleeping baby with teddy bear

    Any golf fans around? It's totally possible to pay tribute to the sport with a baby name, too -- and what about Rory, after Rory McIlroy? It's definitely not an obvious choice, and gets plenty of points for being gender neutral, too.


    crawling baby boy

    Another one for soccer fans -- this time, for those of us living in the US. Josef Martinez is one of the best known players on the Atlanta United team, so why not throw him a shout out with a baby name? It's also a totally classic name. 


    baby in teddy bear suit

    Sanders is definitely an uncommon name, and it's inspired by a pretty talented guy. Barry Sanders is a former NFL player who was inducted into the Hall of Fame -- Detroit Lions fans know just who he is. Either Barry or Sanders works in this case, but we love the name Sanders for a little boy.

  • HANK

    baby boy in yellow shirt

    Wanting to pay tribute to one of the most legendary players in baseball? Hank is a pretty good name to choose. After all, Hank Aaron was one of the first black players to join an MLB team in the South, and not only was he a prolific player, but he broke down so many social and racial boundaries during his career, too.

  • TONY

    baby boy in hat and bowtie

    Skateboarding fans, there are options here, too! What about Tony, after skateboarding legend Tony Hawk? (Plus, he's pretty hilarious on Twitter, too, just in case anyone needed an extra reason to rep Tony as their baby name of choice.)


    baby boy

    Wanna go all out for the love of basketball? Naming a baby Shaquille ought to do it! After Shaquille O'Neal, of course, the legendary NBA player. No one will wonder who the name was inspired by, and as a bonus, Shaq is a pretty cool nickname. 

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