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More than 10,000 American families have a child named Kobe

Feb 16, 2010, 11:30 AM EDT

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]

  1. Dave Ellis - Feb 16, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    I’m a post-WW2 baby, born in ’48. In my classes of about 30 kids all thru grade school, it happened that there were eight Davids & one girl I knew named Davida. A teacher could holler: “DAVID !!!” & half the class would flinch. I knew several Dwights as well.
    No doubt the names were a result of the hero-worship at the time for General & later President Dwight(David)Eisenhower.
    Just depends on who the current hero of the day is, I think.
    There’s also lotsa Brads, Angelinas, Brittanys, Johnnies, etc, kids running around right now, too. Probably some Danicas, also.

  2. Ben D - Feb 16, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    I agree with previous poster! I forgot Eisenhower was also accused of rape but forgiven and honored as a “hero” for producing entertaining policies?

  3. dsims7_2000 - Feb 16, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Cute, but I would put his name with Dwight Eisenhower. I can think of 10+ more individuals in sports are more deserving, 99-the great one comes to mind, Jack in golf, steve largent in football, or the General David Robinson in B-Ball!

  4. David M - Feb 16, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    This is pathetic. Why are you naming your kid Kobe? Because you want him to grow up to be rapist? Or because you want him to devote his life to throwing a ball through a hoop instead of learning something useful for society or himself?
    The fact that our heroes are sports figures and actors rather than political leaders, scientists, writers, or teachers has a lot to do with what is wrong with this country.

  5. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 16, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    did Kobe sex u up too ruff………

  6. BC - Feb 17, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    I had a steak named Kobe the other night…

  7. Reuben Vanhouten - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    “What good fortune for those in power, that people don’t think!” — Hitler