What’s in a name? The better question in 2018 is probably “what is a name?” These days it seems like just about anything can be a name, and professional athletes are leading the charge to prove that. I personally have a very odd fascination with names. I think it’s because I like to write fiction and invent characters with the most ridiculous monikers imaginable. It’s fun, but that doesn’t mean I would ever go that route with one of my actual theoretical children. Every time you hear about a ridiculous baby name, it’s usually from the world of Hollywood. Every list usually opens with Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay’s kid, “Apple” and ends with some obscure TV actress’s kid, “Dandelion Augusta” or something, but pro athletes are often ignored.
When it comes to baby names, the sports world is a hot bed of craziness. Just think about how many famous pro athletes themselves have weird names. Go down the roster of any random NFL team and look at the names. You really expect these guys to just call their kids “Tim” and “Jen?” It’s funny because “Tim” and “Jen” were probably extremely weird names themselves at one point in history, so in twenty years every Kindergarten class might have 4 “Apples” running around in it. Look, I’m not questioning these athletes are parents, and these kids are going to have every advantage in life, so good for them. Hell, I’d change my name to “Tuna Melt” if it meant I could be worth 1/50th what these kids are, but that doesn’t change the fact they have some stupid names.
I hope each and every child mentioned lives a full, successful happy life. I wish no ill will on a single one of them… but we gotta talk about their ridiculous names.
20 Tristan Thompson (Named Daughter "True")
I’ll try my best to keep the tabloid gossip out of this blurb… but Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian naming their baby girl “True” is straight komedy with a “k.” There is nothing more precious than a newborn baby girl, but there is also nothing “true” about this relationship. I’m not sure there is anything “true” about the Kardashian family as a whole, let alone the fact this dude was out at the club while Khloe was about to give birth. Ok, so I already dipped into the tabloid stuff like I said I wouldn’t, but they named their baby, “True!” While I don’t believe Thompson deserves any benefit of the doubt, I would like to think this was just another Kris Jenner marketing stunt.
Then again, “True” follows an alliterative pattern that is similar to his name, not the usual “Kardashian/Jenner K” schtick. Did Tristan somehow get name veto power over a Kardashian sister? Either way, I’m rooting for this child, and I hope she does stay true. Despite being the spawn of two very successful and wealthy people, you have to think there’s gonna be some serious issues between her mother and father. True! What a name. That’s on par with Fox New calling their network “fair and balanced.”
19 Shaquille O'Neal
I’ll be honest, as bizarre as these names are, I almost feel like I probably shouldn’t talk bad about them because they could very well have cultural significance. Hmm, how do I go about discussing these names without potentially offending anyone? I’m gonna just go off the basis that Shaq is Shaq, and the Diesel is a little out there to begin with. This is a guy who does commercials with a CGI soldier that looks like he was digitally rendered the year Shaq left LSU. We’re talking about a guy named “Shaquille” here, so there’s no surprise his kids have uncommon names to say the least. Who ever heard the name “Shaquille” before the Big Aristotle hit the scene? Now there are probably hundreds of kids entering adulthood going by “Shaq.” It’s a cool name.
It instantly grew on us, so who’s to say Shareef, Shaqir, Me’arah, Amirah, and Taahirah won’t either?
I mean, I’m not sure how to pronounce a couple of those, but I bet they sound good when Shaq says em. The article is about athletes who should not name their kids, but the jury is still out on this one. I tell ya what though, I’d like Shaq to name other things. You have a start up app? Let Shaq name it. New restaurant opening? Shaq can probably offer a couple dynamite zingers. We all know he’ll attach his name to just about anything.
18 Antonio Cromartie
This one kinda feels like cheating, but no one has ever written an article about the children of athletes without giving a shout out to the Godfather, Antonio Cromartie. When you have 14 kids with 7 different women – numbers that are still baffling no matter how many times I’ve heard them - you gotta think there are at least a couple ridiculous names in the bunch. Let’s run them down, shall we? He’s got Jurzie, Julian, Alonzo, Karis, Antonio Jr, Jagger, Leilani, Deyjah, Tyler, London, Jhett, J’adore, Jordynn, Jynz. Man, some of those kids got off light. Julian, Alonzo and Tyler must thank their lucky stars every night, while the rest of the J’s must curse their parents.
When you have that many kids, with that many crazy names, I don’t even fault you for having a hard time remembering them all. Ya know what though, as long as he provides, who am I to judge? The man likes making babies. I’m sure deep down he loves and j’adores all of them. He must because, Cromartie had 3 of those kids… after getting a vasectomy! Some dudes are just clearly meant to procreate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re meant to name their creations.
17 Roger Clemens
I’ve already touched on it a little, but I’d like to get on the Clemens clan for a personal pet peeve of mine – naming all their kids with the same letter. Roger and his wife Debra have 4 sons, and they all have “K” names. You wanna know why they all have “K” names? It’s to honor pop’s career strikeouts. Yes, Roger Clemens basically named his kids after a scoring stat. Wade Miley led the league in walks last year, I doubt his kids are all named with the “BB” initials. The Clemens kids are Koby, Kody, Kory and Kacy, so let’s just break that down for a second. Three of the boys have nearly identical names. They swapped out a single letter 3 times to make 3 different names.
One typo and no one knows who is who. That confusion aside, how about giving the 4th kid a straight up girl’s name? I know, I know, it’s 2018, claiming anything is specific to one gender is stale and offensive, but when you see “Kacy,” do you think male or female? That’s a girl name. The name “Casey” is right there! A nice androgynous name that could be easily acceptable as a boy’s name… but no, Roger Clemens was so full of himself, he had to give it a whacky spelling just so he could honor his artificially inflated strikeout numbers. I mean, he could have at least been funny with it and gave Kory a backwards K or something.
16 George Foreman
You all knew this one was coming. I don’t want to grill (heh?) George Foreman too hard here but naming 5 of your sons “George” might be the vainest thing I’ve ever heard. Oh, and then turning around and naming one of your daughters “Georgetta” is nice little cherry on top. Foreman had his reasons for choosing to name 6 kids after himself, but I’m not convinced it wasn’t an insane call on his part. You’re probably wondering how George and his wives even yelled at these kids when they were growing up? Well, all the Georges ended up getting pretty ridiculous nicknames such as “Monk” and “Big Wheel".
Why not just give them their own darn name in the first place? Foreman has 5 other daughters, all of whose names range from normal to “weird ass spelling of normal,” so at least he didn’t decide to have 6 Georgettas running around in the world. Seriously though, George Foreman is one of the most legendary boxers of all time, but if you ask me what he’s best known for, I’m never gonna say “Rumble in the Jungle.” I’m gonna say tiny grill infomercials and psychotically naming all his sons after himself.
15 LaVar Ball
Here we go again with the alliteration overkill. LaVar Ball technically counts as a professional athlete, right? Remember, he did play a couple years in the NFL. Remember? Yeah, no one remembers, but you still can’t take that away from him. Whether you like the guy or hate his guts, you gotta give him some credit for basically making himself into the male Kris Jenner (I swear I won’t mention them again.) I’m not giving him credit for naming his sons, Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo though.
No matter how successful these guys go on to be, those will always be peculiar names.
Look, I actually might like LaVar Ball. I think he’s an obnoxious blowhard with an inflated sense of self-worth and a terrible fashion sense, but he can also be pretty damn funny, dare I say endearing at times. He’s such a self-promoter, that I honestly believe he sent LaMelo and LiAngelo to Lithuania strictly because of the “L” symmetry. I also think he campaigned for Lonzo to be drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers for that exact reason. This dude is obsessed with the letter “L,” and… well that just opens up the doors for the jokes to write themselves. Take your L’s, LaVar.
14 Pete Rose
Pete Rose? Why Pete Rose? Well, because there’s another trend in baby naming that I want to talk about and that’s naming your kid after yourself. Ok, so I went in on George Foreman for this, but I want to single out a guy like Pete Rose here for unfairly naming his son after him. I’m of the opinion that super famous and successful people should never name their kid after themselves, because it sets a ridiculously high standard. How the hell was Pete Rose Jr. ever supposed to live up that name? The guy managed to play Minor League ball and even crack the Big Leagues at one point, but I bet if you asked anyone, he’s essentially a footnote joke in baseball history. It’s all because of who his father was.
I’m not even talking about the off the field embarrassments, I’m talking about the fact this kid basically made it to the top 1% of baseball players on the planet, and STILL will never live down the fact he is named “Pete Rose.” It’s gotta suck at least a little. I bet “Ted Rose” would have happily faded into obscurity, but not Pete. I feel bad for Lebron James Jr, even though he’s going to have a life infinitely more exciting and fruitful than mine. Sure, guys like Ken Griffey and Dale Earnhardt lived up to their names, but that doesn’t change my opinions on this. I’m not backing down off this stance. Oh, and just in case you think this is a ridiculous take, Pete Rose has 2 daughters named Chea and Fawn. There, he named his girls after a seed and a deer.
13 Iman Shumpert
Iman Shumpert may not ultimately be a name that a child will have to live up to, but I can’t let the man slide for naming his DAUGHTER after himself. Dude, come on. I can understand a guy named “Albert” naming his little girl “Allison” or something but going with the exact same name for father and daughter is just weird. That’s not to say “Iman” doesn’t sound like a name that can go either way. It does for sure. It means “faith” in Arabic. There was a famous female model that went by that name professionally… but I’m pretty sure her dad didn’t pick that name for her.
Maybe I’m expecting too much from a guy who has had some of the downright strangest hairstyles in NBA history, but I’m still shook up about this one. I hope she goes by a nickname while still be respectful and honourable of her father’s name. Imagine dating a girl, and then meeting her father with the same exact name. That wouldn’t rock your entire world? Why aren’t more parents thinking as deeply about this type of minutiae like me?! Just to give you an idea of the type of father Shump is, he delivered little Iman with his bare hands at his own home, so maybe I should have a little more “faith” in his parenting choices.
12 Richard Sherman
I’m actually torn on this one. I might have to flip a coin on whether I think this is a cool name or not. Richard Sherman has a young son named… Rayden. On one hand… what? On the other hand, Mortal Kombat. That’s who the mind immediately flocks to, Raiden from Mortal Kombat. This just might be a badass name. Also, the spelling allows for the kid to go by, “Ray” which may be his saving grace if he grows up hating his name. In the age of (insert random consonant here)aiden’s, Rayden might be my favourite of the bunch.
But seriously, every other boy named in the past 5 years has been named “Jackson” or some spin on the name Aiden – Jaiden, Kayden, Brayden, Quaiden – ok, I made that last one up, but don’t tell me you haven’t noticed the “_aiden” takeover. There are approximately 423 different Aiden variants running around pre-schools as I write this. Still, where the heck did “Rayden” come from? I can only theorize Sherman was playing Mortal Kombat when he was struck by a Raiden lightning bolt that brought this name to the forefront of his brain. Perhaps he was even performing a “Babality” finishing move. Great, all I wanna do is play Mortal Kombat now.
11 David Beckham
That David Beckham is one suave son of a bitch, isn’t he? The guy managed to become a mega-star in a country that – no matter what anyone tells you – doesn’t care a lick about soccer… um, excuse me football. Already one of the most famous people in Europe, and world renowned from a young age, you just knew he was gonna have some kids with weird names. Once he tied the knot with an international pop star, they essentially sealed the “dumb kid name” deal. On the surface, these might not seem like the weirdest names in the bunch, but just remember that names like “Brooklyn” and “Romeo” weren’t exactly topping off baby name charts back when those kids were born.
Naming a kid after a New York borough might be one of my least favourite trends there is.
I’m still waiting for some nut job celeb to call their baby daughter “Staten Island.” Beckham and Posh Spice went on to have another son named “Cruz,” because appropriating one of the most widespread Spanish surnames was super cool at the time I guess. They also have a daughter named “Harper,” which I’ll allow. I won’t allow her middle name though – “Seven.” They straight up STOLE George Costanza’s baby name! Look, I gotta rip on these names a bit, because I’m jealous as hell of the Beckham-Spice kids’ lives.
10 Cam Newton
Well, we’ve reached yet another pet peeve segment – naming your kids after royalty and/or something implying they are “God’s gift” to the Earth. Cam Newton is no stranger to “look at me” type antics, so there’s zero shock his kids have incredibly obnoxious names. I’m not sure you’re even ready for these names… Chosen and Sovereign-Dior. If that doesn’t make you cringe, you are a better man or woman than I. What are two things Cam Newton loves? Why supreme over confidence, and horrendous fashion, so why not name my daughter Sovereign-Dior.
Yes, she is the supreme power, but also hyphenated with a super ritzy fashion brand. I didn’t want to use this word, but I hate this name. You can’t even shorten it. What can you call her, Sov? Sovereign-Dior makes “Chosen” seem almost normal. Everyone thinks they have the most special child in the world, but calling your son “Chosen,” is about as douchey as you can get. I’m trying to stay a bit impartial and just judge names on the surface, but I really don’t think I’m a fan of Cam Newton. I used to be, but these days he’s tough to root for. Take a step back and think about your kids for a second before you think about giving them names like this.
9 Jay Cutler
Remember earlier when I mentioned how popular the name “Jackson” has become? Well, Jay Cutler and his reality TV star wife, Kristin Cavallari decided to one-up that by tossing a trendy “x” in there to make “Jaxon!” Yeah bro! What up, Jax?! Thing is, that’s gonna be like the name “Michael” by the time he’s in his 20s, so I guess I can’t get on them too hard for it. I can get on them for naming their daughter, “Saylor” though. Saylor? That’s not a name, that’s a profession. Granted, they went with a super hip spelling on this one as well, but “Saylor James Cutler,” is a tough pill to swallow.
Bad enough the girl’s name immediately puts you in mind of Popeye, but she also got a blatant boy middle name. You can’t spin “James” off as a girl name no matter how hard some people try. They also have a third child named, “Camden,” which basically seems like “Joe” compared to his siblings. He didn’t get a cool misspelling of his name unfortunately, but I bet he’ll be thankful for that down the line. He can also shorten his name to “Cam.” I just hope he doesn’t grow up to name his kids “Sovereign-Dior” and “Chosen.”
8 Nick Swisher
I decided to research Nick Swisher on a whim, because I just assumed this hyperactive man-child would have some wild names up his sleeve. Guess what? He also has a “Sailor.” What the heck is going on here? Is “Sailor” a popular name that I’m not aware of? When did modern parents become so nautical? At least he and his actress wife, Joanna Garcia, had the decency to spell it correctly, but I still don’t understand how this is a name. I especially don’t understand how it’s a girl name. I guess it’s just another classic case of “anything goes” these days.
The Swishers also have another daughter named “Emerson,” which is a last name masquerading as a first name, but still not on the level of “Sailor.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of it either. “Emerson” sounds like a really snooty rich girl from the late 1800s. I’m pretty sure Jane Austin created this name in one of her novels. Sailor and Emerson make me think this famous couple has a thing for New England. Perhaps they hopped on a schooner to Boston one day to look at the campus of Emerson College. What? It’s possible.
7 Jason Lee
Jason Lee, the actor? That dude probably can’t even throw a baseball, why is he on the list? Well, skeptic, Jason Lee was a legendary skateboarder, so this totally counts. Skateboarding is a sport. It’s actually more than a sport, it’s an extreme sport! Since Jason Lee is a crossover star, you’ll probably find him on most lists that highlight crazy celebrity baby names because he named his son, “Pilot Inspektor.” This is like “Saylor/Sailor” but ten times worse. I’m not sure a “pilot inspector” is technically a profession, but I assume someone has to observe the person flying planes at some point, no?
Maybe pilot inspectors are readers in Hollywood who specialize in green-lighting TV shows? Who knows, it doesn’t even matter, this name is certifiably insane. That random “k” in “Inspektor” is so crazy, it sounds like a fake name for a Mixtape Rapper. Check out Pilot Inspektor’s EP dropping soon! Pilot was Lee’s first child. He proceeded to have three more, and thankfully chilled out on the names a little by calling them Casper, Sonny, and Alberta respectively. If given the choice between being named after a friendly ghost, one of Don Corleone’s sons, a Canadian province, or a Pilot Inspektor(!) I’m sure those other kids are satisfied with the hands they were dealt. I’m not even gonna lie, while writing this I kinda fell in love with the name “Pilot Inspektor.”
6 Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson has a great life. He’s one of the most famous and successful golfers in the world and he just so happens to be the son-in-law of Wayne Gretzky. So, while he may be married to the Great One’s daughter Paulina, that doesn’t mean he’s the great one when it comes to naming his kids. When I hear the names “River” and “Tatum,” I think of two promising former child actors whose lives tragically unraveled from the fame – River Phoenix and Tatum O’Neal. Now, that could just be because I’m an old soul, but I tend to think most people associate those names with the respective actor, especially “River.” To me these are names with bad juju attached to them.
I wonder if they have plans for a “Shia,” “Lindsay” and a “Corey.” Even if you want to overlook that fact, or have never heard of the actors mentioned, the name “River Jones Johnson” is just flat bizarre. “River Jones Johnson” sounds like a villain in a straight to DVD 90’s action movie. Also, I’m pretty sure celebrities have now named their children after every body of water except “pool” and “swamp,” and I wouldn’t be shocked if those are out there too. Here’s hoping one of the Sailors and River can be friends someday.
5 Dwyane Wade
I think it was pretty much a guarantee that Dwyane Wade’s kids would have some off the wall names given the crazy spelling of “Dwyane.” He has 3 kids - Zaire Blessing, Zion Malachi and Xavier Zechariah, and quite frankly I’m pretty torn on these. Xavier obviously starts with an “x” but it does follow the same “z” sound as his siblings. I’d be a hypocrite if I said I dug the alliteration here because I’m already on record with hating families who do this kind of thing… but I kinda maybe sorta dig these names?
The one name in the bunch that is throwing me for a loop is Zaire’s middle name.
Here we go again with the “God’s gift” names. Yeah, we get it, your kid is a blessing from God. Everyone’s damn kid is a blessing, it’s implied, that’s not a name. Please, for the love of said God, stop giving kids these types of names. It doesn’t matter if it’s a first or middle name. I don’t care if you name your Goldfish “Lord Supreme,” it’s ridiculous and needs to stop. And if you do insist on using a name like that, at least give it to your daughter, not your son.
4 Manny Pacquiao
Surely Manny Pacquiao agrees with my stance on not naming your kids after—oh man, he has a daughter named “Queen.” Manny, no! I feel like the justification here is that Pacquiao is essentially royalty in his home country of the Phillipines. I’m pretty sure his net worth is more than the entire country, so I guess when you have that going for ya it gets to your permanently concussed head. No, ya know what, that’s not an excuse. There’s never a reason to name your kid “Queen Elizabeth.” Again, these names are the worst. He also has a daughter named “Mary Divine Grace” because subtlety is apparently not his thing, but at least she can go by “Mary.”
On top of that he has 3 sons, named Israel, Emmanuel (hey look, another Junior who will never live up to the name) and Michael. Michael?! You name your daughter “Queen” and have the audacity to give your son the most normal, common name on Earth? Weak. “Hi, these are my children, royalty, country name, Junior, Jesus’s mom, and… Mikey.” I get a kick out of the families that have one weird named kid and one white board snoozefest named kid, but I also think it’s really unfair. You gotta give all your kids a puncher’s chance.
3 Kerri Walsh And Casey Jennings
Wanna truly prove to people that you’re all about that “yeah brah” beach life? Well, pro volleyball players Kerri Walsh and Casey Jennings did just that by naming their kid, “Sundance.” I guess when you spend most of your waking hours in the sun, it kinda makes sense, but it also makes me think of boring indie movies. It actually sounds like a female Native American name to me, not a little boy. Naturally, just to make Sundance feel worse about his corny name, they have another son named… Joseph.
Stop doing this! Just to toe the line between normal and nuts on the name spectrum, they also have a daughter named “Scout” – must be big “To Kill a Mockingbird” fans. I’m sure you’re thinking, “at least Sundance can go by Sunny or something,” but that doesn’t make it any better. Imagine introducing him to people? “This is my son, Sundance.” And if his grandfather is still around, “This is my son’s son, Sundance.” “Sundance” is just such a lame name. My guess is Kerri Walsh came up with it when she got a bit too much sun during her pregnancy and was a bit jealous of her Olympic partner Misty May-Treanor’s stint on “Dancing with the Stars.”
2 Kenny Anderson
I won’t dive too deep into Kenny Anderson’s marriage history, but let’s just say he has a lot of kids and a lot of baby mamas. When you have numerous women in on the naming process, I could understand how you end up with some normal names and some… let’s just call them “not so normal” names. Kenny has a “Danielle,” a “Kenneth” (Junior!), and a “Devin.” Those are some strong, normal names, right? Well, then he also has a “Lyric” and a “Jazz.” Ok, he’s gonna have to explain those. He was clearly listening to music when each of those daughters were born. We know “Jazz” isn’t based off the Utah Jazz, because he never played there, but maybe he always admired Stockton and Malone?
Either way, Lyric and Jazz are weird names, but guess what? They aren’t even the weirdest of his progeny. In 1992 Kenny’s then girlfriend Spinderella (of Salt n Pepa fame) gave birth to their daughter, “Christenese.” Christenese… which means? How do you even pronounce that? I don’t want to speculate too much, because for all I know it could have a really deep meaning, but it sounds like a religion mixed with a nationality. I bet the Christenese would make delicious cuisine. It’s no shock she goes by “Christy,” because that is one of the oddest names on the list.
1 Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson has a famous foundation that helps children, so I’ve got nothing but respect for the man… I just don’t think he should be allowed to name children. On the surface his two daughters “Lydia” and “Genevieve” seem to have perfectly acceptable names. They sound like fine respectable young ladies. It’s when you look at Genevieve’s initials that you notice where the weirdness comes into play. Now Johnson has claimed it’s just a coincidence that Genevieve Marie was named with the initials “GM,” but many suspect it was actually a wink to General Motors.
I totally believe it. I think this was premeditated, and I think it’s comical. Now I can’t fault the man too much for giving a shout out to a company that has helped him become one of the best NASCAR drivers ever… actually, I can. Come on, Jimmie! What are you doing? I see right through you. I can't kill Roger Clemens for the "K" thing and not acknowledge this. At least “Marie” is as safe a middle name as he could have possibly picked. Others on this list probably would have opted for “Melon” or something. Well folks, there ya have it. We may have found the weirdest inspiration for a kid’s name on a list full of weirdly uninspired kid names.