Where did the baby name Labradford come from in 1987?

Basketball player LaBradford Smith
LaBradford Smith

The long name Labradford, which first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1987, saw its highest usage in the late ’80s and early ’90s:

  • 1993: unlisted
  • 1992: 7 baby boys named Labradford
  • 1991: 18 baby boys named Labradford
  • 1990: 17 baby boys named Labradford
  • 1989: 13 baby boys named Labradford
  • 1988: 14 baby boys named Labradford
    • 5 born in Kentucky specifically
  • 1987: 5 baby boys named Labradford [debut]
  • 1986: unlisted

Where did it come from?

College basketball player LaBradford Smith.

From 1987 to 1991, the Texas native attended the University of Louisville, where he “would make Louisville history as the only four-year player to start every game.” The 6-foot-3 guard finished his college career as Louisville’s all-time leader in assists, free-throw percentage, and three-pointers. He also ranked fifth on Louisville’s all-time scoring list.

He was selected in the 1st round of the 1991 NBA draft by the Washington Bullets (which was being coached by Wes Unseld at the time). His NBA career only lasted three seasons, though.

What are your thoughts on the name LaBradford?

P.S. Several of LaBradford’s five older siblings also had successful college basketball careers. His sisters Audrey and Annette, for instance, both played at the University of Texas on the 1985-86 national championship team (which was also the first women’s team in NCAA history to record a perfect season).


Image: Screenshot of televised NBA game (Mar. 1993)

3 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Labradford come from in 1987?

  1. I think it would be very hard to keep myself from calling him Labrador. But I think the “Franco-fying” of African-American names with various French-inspired prefixes and suffixes in the 20th century is very interesting. I wonder if there are any good scholarly articles about that.

  2. From a visual standpoint I don’t mind LaBradford, but without the capitalized B my mind immediately turns it into Labrador. The capital B also helps to indicate the correct pronunciation which I would think is helpful from a practical matter.

  3. @Ellyn I agree. I wish the SSA accepted diacritics, although maybe it would just encourage people to name their kids even worse than they already do. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out what a name really is, like I saw in the deep data for girls’ names the other day “Male,” and I am pretty sure that is a homophone for “Emily,” and would be written M’alé (no matter how wrong those diacritics are in reality) if the parents had their way.

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