Where did the baby name Ginobili come from?

© 2005 Sports Illustrated

The eye-catching name Ginobili has appeared just once in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 2007: unlisted
  • 2006: unlisted
  • 2005: 7 baby boys named Ginobili [debut]
    • 6 born in Texas specifically
  • 2004: unlisted
  • 2003: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Professional basketball player Emanuel “Manu” Ginóbili (pronounced MAH-noo jih-NOH-blee), who was born in Argentina and played in the NBA for sixteen seasons — all with the San Antonio Spurs (2002-2018).

In fact, the year after the name Ginobili made its single appearance in the data, the name Manu saw peak usage.

Here’s how one reporter, writing in mid-2005, described Manu Ginóbili:

He is a 6-foot-6, 205-pound can of Red Bull — instant energy, all the time. That’s what makes the Spurs guard so effective, what fixates your eyes on him pinballing around the court, what places Ginobili in the company of the most stylish players in the NBA.

It seems that the 2004-05 season was a particularly good one for Manu: he played in his first All-Star game in February of 2005, and the Spurs went on to win the NBA championship four months later. (Over the course of his career, he was an All-Star twice and an NBA champion four times.)

What are your thoughts on Ginóbili as a first name? How about Manu?

Sources:

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