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Top 20 Most Common Names in Sports

So what’s in a name? In the greater scheme of things does a surname have any significant relevance when we talk about or judge athletes on pure merit? There is a common thread to the most popular names in sports and you don’t have to have a PhD in sociology to identify what it is. For all that is changing in America culturally, the sporting landscape remains dominated by an Anglo-Saxon heritage from centuries ago.

Outside of this domain the names Garcia and Martinez are in the top 20 for the general American demographic, but not when it comes to professional sports. Why is this exactly? Is systemic bias an issue when analyzing the merits of a sportsman or woman? If a College is looking at a talented baseball player, would they base their decision on whether or not the kid is a blue eyed, blonde haired Alex Smith versus a Latino Javier Hernandez?

What we know for sure is that bias exists everywhere we look. Whether its based on gender, personality type, brands or race – the institutions that have been built generations ago were designed to fall in the favor of their heritage and belief system. Part of it might be conscious, but a lot of the time the prejudices we carry are instinctive.

The good news though if you’re a supporter of an NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB franchise or across any other sport for that matter is that popular names become interchangeable. Any Denver Broncos fan can hold onto their Anderson jersey, likewise the Cavs faithful if they somehow went out to purchase a Jones kit. History and statistics tell us this carousel will come back around again and again.

Standing out from the crowd with these surnames is hard to do, but some have excelled more than others. Here are the top 20 most common names in sports.

20 Walker

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

19 Green

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

18 Martin

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

17 Robinson

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

16 Thompson

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

15 White

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

14 Taylor

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

13 Harris

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

12 Moore

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

11 Anderson

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

10 Thomas

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

9 Jackson

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

8 Wilson

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

7 Miller

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

6 Davis

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5 Brown

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

4 Jones

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

3 Williams

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

2 Johnson

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

1 Smith

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

By far the most common surname in the English language and the Western world, it’s no surprise Smiths continue to dominate the field from all corners of the sports world. Forget past athletes from generations ago, just turn on a television or read a post game review online and they are everywhere! Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., Kansas City QB Alex Smith, Cavs forward J.R. Smith, Orlando Magic center Jason Smith, Nashville Predators right winger Craig Smith, Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith – you get the idea.

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Top 20 Most Common Names in Sports