Feb 16, 2010, 11:30 AM EST
Interesting statistic from the Riverside Pres-Enterprise: There are more than 10,000 children in the U.S. named Kobe, and while the popularity of naming your kid after the Lakers’ star has waxed and waned over the past 10 years, it’s currently on the rise. Kobe was the 403rd most popular name for a baby boy in 2008, up from No. 472 the year before and a low of No. 544 in 2005, the year after sexual assault charges against him were dropped by Colorado prosecutors. But here’s the intriguing thing: Naming your kid Kobe seems to cross all racial, economic and professional lines.
The more than 10,000 American families who named a son or daughter Kobe in the past 13 years represent a diverse ethnic and geographic background. There’s a hoops-crazed pastor in Orlando, an aspiring rapper in Pittsburgh, a women’s basketball star turned elementary school principal in Georgia and two pro beach volleyball players in Santa Barbara. Their admiration for Bryant is the common thread tying them together.
Of course, epicenter of the trend is the Los Angeles area, where the influence of the Lakers is greatest. In one Highland neighborhood alone, two 8-year-olds are both named after Bryant, as are two boys in the same first-grade class at Riverside’s Collett Elementary School.
The Press-Enterprise has an ongoing series featuring families who have named their child Kobe, among them pro beach volleyball’s Dax and Jen Holdren of Santa Barbara.
“My wife and I went back and forth for I don’t even know how many months on names,” said Dax, a former Olympian. “We were shooting names down left and right, and then one night we happened to be lying in bed watching a Lakers game and we said, ‘What about Kobe?’ It was kind of a cool name, so we went with it.”
Kobe Clay Holdren has the bloodlines to be a volleyball star one day, but for right now his heart lies on the hardwood as much as the beach. The 12-year-old is an avid Lakers fan with posters of Kobe Bryant throughout his room.
Dax and Jen have a second son named Ellis, though friends thought the couple ought to have chosen a different name.
“When we found out we were going to have a second child, a couple of my buddies were harassing me that I should name him, Shaq,” Dax said. “They even started calling him Shaq when he was little.”
Chances are that Bryant’s middle name — Bean — is not catching on with as much fervor.
The overall top baby name of 2008? Jacob. No. 2 is Michael, which all just shows a lack of imagination on our part. I believe that all babies should be named after Charles Dickens characters. That should liven things up.
More stories from families who named their children in honor of Kobe Bryant [Riverside Press-Enterprise]
Naming kids Kobe becomes common [Riverside Press-Enterprise]
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