According to baby name data released by the US Social Security Administration late last month, the popularity of the name “Giannis” increased by 135 percent last year — and is up 662 percent since the year 2016.
That was the year when Greek basketball star Giannis Antetokounmpo was en route to his first NBA all-star appearance.
The USA Today newspaper reported that fewer than five total newborns in the US were given the name of Giannis as recently as 2015. However, in 2018, according to the data, there were 61 — including five just in the state of Wisconsin, where Antetokounmpo plays for the NBA team the Milwaukee Bucks.
Sports, music and other aspects of popular culture have long provided inspiration for parents as they name their children.
But in 2018, there was no other name from the world of sports that spiked in popularity quite like “Giannis” — a clear nod to the basketball forward who is the odds-on favorite to win this year’s NBA MVP award.