What popularized the baby name Keyshawn in the 1990s?

Football player Keyshawn Johnson
Keyshawn Johnson

The baby name Keyshawn jumped into the boys’ top 1,000 for the first time in 1996:

  • 1998: 192 baby boys named Keyshawn [rank: 800th]
  • 1997: 194 baby boys named Keyshawn [rank: 771st]
  • 1996: 187 baby boys named Keyshawn [rank: 783rd]
  • 1995: 37 baby boys named Keyshawn
  • 1994: 8 baby boys named Keyshawn

The same year, several similar names (Keyshaun, Keyshon, and Keysean) made their debuts in the U.S. baby name data.

What was influencing all of these names?

Wide receiver (Joseph) Keyshawn Johnson.

A few months after being named the most valuable player of the 1996 Rose Bowl, he was selected first overall in the 1996 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.

During his 11-season professional football career, Johnson was invited to the Pro Bowl three times — twice while he was playing for the Jets, and once while he was with the Buccaneers. He was also part of the Buccaneers team that secured the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl win in early 2003.

What are your thoughts on the name Keyshawn? (How about KEY names in general?)

P.S. One of Keyshawn Johnson’s namesakes, KeeSean Johnson, born in late 1996, is currently a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills.

Sources: Keyshawn Johnson – Wikipedia, KeeSean Johnson – Wikipedia, SSA

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