Baby names can come from a number of different sources, from names that have been in your family for generations to something you picked at random from babynames.com. And if you're a sports fan, there are plenty of amazing and distinctive athlete names that you could give your baby. Because why not give the kid a connection to something legendary right from the start?
There are plenty of ways to pick a baby name, from paying an agency top dollar to select the perfect name to sitting back and letting the Internet decide for you. But for most parents, picking a name involves selecting something meaningful. And if you're a sports fan, chances are there are plenty of athletes that are meaningful to you. Sports can inspire us, can lift us up, can bring us together. And it's natural that people might want to give their child a connection to that, especially if it's something that has been a positive force in your life.
Plus, a lot of sports stars have really cool names. Like, really cool.
Of course, the world of sports is also vast, and trying to wade through all the different players, past and present, is time consuming. So I've taken the liberty of collecting some of the more distinctive athlete baby names for you here. From sports legends to athletes whose names simply stand out, here are 16 names — male, female, and gender neutral — that could be perfect for your future first-round draft pick:
Serena Williams is a goddess among mortals, and has a gorgeous name to boot. You cannot go wrong naming your daughter after her — or after her sister Venus.
Mia Hamm was one of the first female soccer stars, inspiring girls across the United States to take up the game, and she remains a legend to this day. Why not give a girl a little bit of that spark by passing on the name?
Althea Gibson was the first black player to cross the color line in international tennis. She was not only an incredible players, but a trailblazer. And her name makes a great girl's name.
If baseball is more your sport, you're in luck. Even though women haven't played professional baseball in over half a century, one of the sports legends, Roger Maris, has a last name that works perfectly for a girl. And how could you go wrong giving a child a connection to America's pastime?
Sheryl Swoopes was one of the original super stars of the WNBA and one of the best female basketball players to grace the sport. So if you're looking to name your daughter for a legend, Sheryl is a great choice of name.
NASCAR racing might be a male-dominated sport, but women are making waves, including Danica Patrick, who won third in the 2009 Indy 500, the highest place finish for a woman in the race. Plus, she has a great name.
There have been a few football players named Deion — both Deion Sanders, pictured above, and Deion Jones. So if you're a football-loving household, it might be time to make the name part of the family.
Muhammad Ali is a legend for a reason, and either his first or last name could work as a baby name, though Ali is more distinctive to the boxer himself. But either way, there's a proud history of Muslim-American athletes in this country, and sports fans should feel free to take advantage when naming their kids.
Rod Carew is a former baseball player and coach who made it into the Hall of Fame in 1991. He was also a Panamanian immigrant, a former Marine, and a cancer survivor. So as someone who was not only an incredible athlete but a man who could defy the odds and stand strong, he makes a pretty excellent namesake.
If you're looking for something a to name your son stand out, Bjorn will certainly do the job. Bjorn Borg was one of the greatest tennis players the sport has ever seen, and his name is definitely something distinctive.
Another popular Muslim name, Kareem is most famous in the sports world as belonging to Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the legendary basketball player. It's a name that any kid could be proud of.
If you're looking for something particularly off-beat but that still has a history to it, Zelmo Beaty was a basketball player in the 1960s and '70s who played for both the NBA and its then-rival, the ABA. His name is also pretty wild.
At first glance, Picabo may sound like a boy's name, but it comes from the female Olympic skier Picabo Street, so it definitely works for either. And your kid would probably be the only one, male or female, in their class with the name.
Boxing champion Evander Holyfield was such a force to be reckoned with he earned the nickname "The Real Deal." The name could work for either a boy or a girl, and it definitely packs a punch.
Magic Johnson might have one of the most recognizable names in basketball, and his name could also be a recognizable one for either a son or daughter.
In the sports world, Lennox is most associated with boxer Lennox Lewis, but outside of sports you can find plenty of men and women with the name. It's originally a Scottish surname, and its popularity is on the rise, so if you're a boxing fan but want a name that doesn't make your inspiration obvious, Lennox is a great choice.
Images: Wikipedia Commons (3)