Thursday, September 19, 2013

Super Star naming: the rise, and the fall

A lot of times, the rise of a super stars name is actually part of a general naming trend.  For instance it was already becoming popular to name a girl Brittany before Brittany Spears came along.  But with a little bit of work, you can sometimes isolate the trend of naming kids after super stars.

Prepare for the Kobe Invasion
Ken Pomeroy,, 15 September 2013 (hat tip: MR)
There are many ways to measure one’s legacy, but in my opinion one of the best is by how many people name children after you. Shaquille O’Neal’s ultimate mark on humanity isn’t his four NBA championship rings, his two scoring titles, the critically-acclaimed rap album “Shaq Diesel”, or defeating Charles Barkley in the world’s first and only five-hole golf match. It’s the amount of college-aged kids currently named Shaquille or some derivative.
We are in the midst of the Shaq Boom. Based on the number of college basketball players that participated in at least 10% of their team’s minutes
Unfortunately, a world full a Shaqs is not in the making.
But very quickly it became lame to name your kid Shaq...Shaq dropped out of the top 1000 in 1997, never to appear again. Based on this information, it appears the number of Shaqs should peak this season or next, and by 2019 we may be completely Shaq-free again. That will give way to the Kobe Generation...
As the post title indicates, it is Kobe who replaced Shaq, and Kobe who will have the greater impact.  Lebron has not yet made an appearance.  Maybe all the people in Cleveland legally changed the names of their kid when he moved to Miami.

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