Bring Out the Champion in Him with These Sporty Baby Boy Names!

Sports fans love their teams, and one of the ways they show their passion is by choosing baby boy names for their children after their favorite sporting heroes.

Check out BabyNamesPedia’s baby name list inspired by the sporting greats. We’ve got all the bases covered!


We’re pretty sure you’ll recognize this as National Football League (NFL) legend Peyton Manning’s first name. But Payton works too if running back Walter Payton was your hero.

Interestingly, Arizona Cardinals cornerback, Patrick Peterson, named his daughter Paityn. Whether or not it was inspired by Manning, Paityn is a charming name for a little girl. By the way, Paityn means ‘warrior town’ while Peyton means ‘peacock town.’


Nolan is a Celtic name that means ‘descendant of Nuallain,’ while Nuallain itself is a diminutive of Nuall, which means ‘famous, champion.’  If your eyes glazed over all that, no sweat, just take your inspiration from the baseball great, Nolan Ryan, or third baseman, Nolan Arenado.


Trust the French to score in style! Rocking the cool factor is Thierry, a French variant of the more English-sounding Terry. Talented goal scorer Thierry Henry is a famous namesake. This name has Old French roots and means ‘ruler of the people.’


Inspired by slam dunk pro Julius Erving, Irving is a Celtic name that means ‘green river.’


Jerry Rice is widely regarded as one of the greatest wide receivers in football history. How about sharing that honor with your little one? Jerry is also the pet form of the Germanic name, Gerald, which means ‘spear, rule.’


Swiss tennis player Roger Federer needs no introduction. Backed by at least 20 Grand Slam titles and still outgunning younger players as he nears his 40s, Roger is a living version of his name meaning, which is ‘famous warrior.’


A contraction of Boden, Bode is a Scandinavian name meaning ‘sheltered.’ Bode Miller is one of the best alpine ski racers of all time.


A diminutive of Henry, Hank might sound both calm and responsible to some. Retired baseball legend Hank Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth in career home runs, and hopefully, your little one would have the same drive!


Kobe may mean ‘tortoise’ from its roots in Swahili, but former LA Lakers pro basketball player Kobe Bryant was anything but!


A variant of the more traditional-sounding Jacob, Jacoby shares the first name of the Yankees’ center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury. It means ‘holder of the heel.’


Equally at home with baseball and football, Bo Jackson was a legend in the ‘80s and ‘90s during the golden decades of mass media.

If you want baby boy names after All-Star players, Bo could be your choice. This name has Old Norse roots and means ‘to dwell, to have a household.’


American rock star tennis player, Andre Agassi, was the draw of the sport in the ‘90s. A name with an attitude, Andre has Old Greek origins and means ‘manly.’


As one of the greatest clay-court players of all time, Rafael Nadal has an impressive 17 Grand Slam titles to his name—despite being plagued by tendinitis in his wrists. In Hebrew, the name Rafael means ‘God has healed.’



It doesn’t matter what sport you love, you’re likely to find a Michael who’s a real inspiration. There’s the basketball legend Michael Jordan, swim shark Michael Phelps, and the man with the golden shoes, Michael Johnson, to name a few. It’s a Hebrew name that means ‘who is like God.’


For basketball fans who feel that the name Michael may be a tad too common, Jordan could work as an option too. This Hebrew name means ‘flowing down.’


Also from Celtic roots, this name means ‘red king.’ Irish professional golfer Rory McIlroy showed passion in the sport at a young age. Who knows? Your little one might decide to tee up too!


Looking for unique baby boy names? Seve, a diminutive of Severin, could be a pretty good choice. Severiano Ballesteros was a celebrated golfer widely regarded as the best that continental Europe has ever seen.


Austrian slalom skier Marcel Hirscher took the winter sports world by storm. His name means ‘war-like, dedicated to Mars.’


An exotic variant of Luke, Luka is inspired by the Old Greek description of ‘a man from Lucania.’ It’s a name with a personality and, hey, it’s a fit moniker for the Croatian soccer player, Luka Modric.


Belgian cycling great Eddy Merckx, who had eleven Grand Tour victories to his name, was nicknamed ‘The Cannibal’ for his penchant for winning. His first name is from Swedish roots, which aptly means ‘unresting.’


Wayne is an Old English name that means ‘cart maker.’ It’s also the name of talented Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky.


Multiple Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens is considered one of the most successful track and field athletes of the 20th century. His first name is of Hebrew roots, meaning ‘God’s gift.’

The Ball’s in Your Court

An inspiring moniker goes a long way. The intention to strive hard in life and be the best may start from the little things.

So why not gift your little one a name that connects him to someone legendary right from the get-go? That would be a slam dunk!