Boost in Babies Named After Kobe Bryant, Many of Them Girls

Americans called their babies Kobe in increasing numbers in 2020, many of them girls, as the name enjoyed a surge of interest apparently spurred by the death of basketball star Kobe Bryant.

The Los Angeles Lakers legend was among nine people killed, including his 13-year-old daughter Gigi, when the helicopter they were flying in crashed in Calabasas, California, on January 26, 2020.

Bryant's death prompted a nationwide outpouring of emotion, which data released by the U.S. Social Security Administration suggests translated into a desire by many American families to honor the sporting giant.

In 2020, 1,500 baby boys born in the U.S. were named Kobe, representing 0.082 percent of the total male births, while 55 girls also took the name.

The name jumped from 556th most popular in 2019 to 239th the following year. Kobe was also high on the list in 2001, when 1,552 boys were called Kobe, making it the 222nd most popular.

Bryant was officially enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month.

During two decades in the NBA, Bryant won five championships with the Lakers, two NBA Finals MVP awards and one regular season MVP crown. An 18-time All-Star, he led the NBA in scoring in 2006 and 2007 and ranks fourth in the NBA's all-time scoring list.

The newly released Social Security Administration baby name list shows Liam, Noah and Oliver were the first, second and third most popular names for boys in the U.S. for the second year running. Liam has topped the list since 2017.

For girls, Olivia, Emma and Ava make up the most popular three names. They have been in the top three in one order or another since 2016.

Names that appear to be falling out of favour include Sophia, Isabella, James and Logan, which have all either dropped down or out of the top five for boys and girls altogether in the last year or two.

The names showing the biggest increase in popularity are Zyair for boys and Avayah for girls. They rose from 1,558th to 968th and 2,477th to 930th, respectively. Jaxtyn, Jakobe and Kylo, and Denisse, Jianna and Capri also enjoyed an impressive climb up the rankings in 2020.

The names Vivaan, for boys, and Yaritza, for girls, registered the steepest falls among new registered births last year.

Kobe Bryant attends a screening
Kobe Bryant attends the LA Community Screening Of Warner Bros Pictures' "Just Mercy" at Cinemark Baldwin Hills on January 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The star died in a helicopter crash weeks later. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images