How popular is the baby name Kareem in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Kareem.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kareem


Posts that Mention the Name Kareem

Where did the baby name Cazzie come from?

cazzie russell, basketball, baby name,

The jazzy name Cazzie appeared in the U.S. baby name data for the first time (out of a total of three times) in 1967:

  • 1972: unlisted
  • 1971: 5 baby boys named Cazzie
  • 1970: 7 baby boys named Cazzie
  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: 5 baby boys named Cazzie [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted

The influence? Chicago-born professional basketball player Cazzie Russell, who stood 6′ 5″ and who opted for basketball despite the fact that his father (Cazzie Russell, Sr.) wanted him to play professional baseball.

Cazzie was the NBA’s #1 overall draft pick in 1966 and spent a total of twelve seasons in the league.

During his first five seasons (1966–1971) he was with the New York Knicks, helping them win their first NBA championship in 1970.

He played for the Golden State Warriors for the next three seasons (1971-1974), during which time he participated in the 1972 NBA All-Star game alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain.

Sources: Cazzie Russell – Wikipedia, Basketball great Cazzie Russell also starred on the diamond

Where did the baby name Unseld come from?

sports, baby name, 1970s, kareem, unseld, basketball
Wes Unseld & Kareem

The unusual baby name Unseld was a one-hit wonder in 1971:

  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted
  • 1971: 5 baby boys named Unseld
  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: unlisted

Why?

If you remember the image above — which was in the post about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the other day — then you already know: professional basketball player Westley “Wes” Unseld.

Unseld played in the NBA from 1968 to 1981, always for the same team: the Baltimore Bullets, which in 1973 became the the Capital Bullets, which in 1974 became the Washington Bullets. (Today they’re the Washington Wizards.)

Though Wes Unseld was clearly the influence behind the name, it’s hard to connect the appearance of “Unseld” in the data with a specific moment in his career. Wes was an All-Star in 1971, but that wasn’t the first time he was an All-Star. Likewise, 1971 was a couple of years after he won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award.

The surname Unseld can be traced back to the Middle High German word unsælde, which meant “misfortune.” It was a nickname for a sad or unlucky person.

Sources:

  • Wes Unseld – Wikipedia
  • Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

How did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar influence baby names?

sports, baby name, 1970s, kareem, unseld, basketball
Kareem & Wes Unseld

Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played with the Milwaukee Bucks from 1969 to 1974 and with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1975 to 1989. And, like player Hakeem Olajuwon, he underwent a name change during his career.

Abdul-Jabbar was born Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor, Jr., in New York City in 1947. Twenty years later he was a standout player on the UCLA varsity basketball team (1967-1969). During this time period, the name Alcindor started appearing in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1970: 9 baby boys named Alcindor
  • 1969: 7 baby boys named Alcindor
  • 1968: 7 baby boys named Alcindor [debut]
  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: unlisted

It stuck around for four consecutive years, and might have stuck around even longer had Lew not changed his name upon converting to Islam in 1971.

In an essay about his conversion, he mentioned that “Alcindor was a French planter in the West Indies who owned my ancestors. […] Keeping the name of my family’s slave master seemed somehow to dishonor them.” So he “became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (meaning “the noble one, servant of the Almighty”).”

His name change had an immediate effect upon U.S. boy names:

YearKareemAbdulJabbarKareen
1974324812748
1973243852930
19723789877*36**
19714449..
19701243..

*Overall debut
**Gender-specific debut

In 1972, the usage of all three names — Kareem, Abdul, and Jabbar — increased. In fact, Jabbar was the top debut name of the year in 1972. The name Jabarr also popped up that year. Jabar, the best-guess phonetic version, arrived a year early.

Kareen, which had been charting a girl name, debuted impressively as boy name in ’72. And, in a nice show of symmetry, boy name Kareem debuted as a girl name the same year.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the NBA for twenty years, but it wasn’t until decades later, in the 2010s, that the tribute name Abduljabbar finally emerged in the data.

Source: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Wikipedia

P.S. Ahmad Rashad, father of Condola, is another public figure who adopted an Muslim name in the early ’70s.

A Tale of Two Q(u)adrees

Qadree Ollison was born in New York on September 8, 1996. Quadree Henderson was born in Delaware just four days later, on September 12. Both of their first names are pronounced kwah-dree.

Just to give you an idea of the rarity of these names in the U.S., here’s the popularity graph for Qadree:

And here’s the graph for Quadree:

Both Qadree Ollison and Quadree Henderson ended up becoming talented football players. Both also decided to attend the University of Pittsburgh. So, by a curious twist of fate, they found themselves on the very same college football team.

Here’s how Ollison described the experience:

I don’t know if you’ve ever met somebody with the same name as you, but it was kind of awkward, where you’re like, ‘What’s up bro, I’m Qadree’ and he’s like, ‘What’s up bro, I’m Quadree.’ And it’s like you’re talking to yourself kind of, hearing somebody else say the same name right back to you.

Here’s how Henderson described the confusion:

If me and Qadree are standing next to each other and the coach says, ‘Quadree’ we’ll both turn back and have to make eye contact with the coach and he’s like, ‘Not that Quadree, the other Qadree.’

Another fun quote from Henderson:

I always make fun of him, and tell him he needs a ‘u’ in his name for the ‘qua’ part. I tell him I’m the real Quadree because I have a ‘u’ in my name.

Where did their unique names come from? Ollison’s mom “just wanted something different,” while Henderson’s mom “said [the name] comes from Muslim descent, and it means warrior, strong and not scared of anything.”

(This makes me think their names are based on the Arabic name Qadir, which means “capable, powerful,” and — along with Hakeem, Kareem, etc. — is one of the 99 names of Allah.)

These days, Qadree Ollison is playing for the Atlanta Falcons (NFL) and Quadree Henderson is playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL).

Sources:

How did “Jeopardy!” influence baby names?

jeopardy, game show

Last week, Becca commented with some interesting Jeopardy! contestant names (e.g., Hobie, Dorcas) and mentioned J! Archive, which lists tens of thousands of Jeopardy! contestants going back to 1984, when the show premiered.

I skimmed through all the contestants from 1984 to 2015 (as we don’t have baby name data for 2016 yet) and spotted hundreds of unusual names. And it looks like at least two of them got a boost thanks to the show:

Alancia

The name Alancia was a one-hit wonder that popped up in the U.S. baby name data in 2000:

  • 2002: unlisted
  • 2001: unlisted
  • 2000: 9 baby girls named Alancia [debut]
  • 1999: unlisted
  • 1998: unlisted

One-time player Alancia Wynn, a family practice physician from Virginia, was on Jeopardy! in October of 1999.

Brannon

The name Brannon saw an increase in usage in 1998:

  • 2000: 116 baby boys named Brannon
  • 1999: 118 baby boys named Brannon
  • 1998: 158 baby boys named Brannon [peak]
  • 1997: 113 baby boys named Brannon
  • 1996: 114 baby boys named Brannon

One-time player Brannon Denning, a graduate student from Connecticut, was on Jeopardy! in September of 1998. (Looks like Brannon Denning is now a law professor at Samford University.)

Alaric & Ezgi …?

These two names may have gotten a slight boost as well, though it’s hard to tell.

  • Alaric, in 2005. One-time player Alaric Smith was on the show in October of 2005.
  • Ezgi, in 2015. One-time player Ezgi Ustundag was on the show in October of 2015.

Ezgi is a female name that means “melody” in Turkish.

Anjali (false positive)

“Kids Week” contestant Anjali Tripathi was on the show in September of 1999. The same year, the baby name Anjali more than doubled in usage:

  • 2001: 222 baby girls named Anjali
  • 2000: 230 baby girls named Anjali
  • 1999: 202 baby girls named Anjali
  • 1998: 93 baby girls named Anjali
  • 1997: 80 baby girls named Anjali

But this was a suspiciously steep rise. And it was accompanied by the debut of an alternate spelling (Anjalie). And usage didn’t drop back to normal levels the next year, as one would expect. These facts pointed me to something more high-profile than a Jeopardy! contestant.

Turns out the very successful Hindi coming-of-age romantic comedy Kuch Kuch Hota Hai had been released in 1998. The movie featured not one but two main characters named Anjali.

More names!

Here are the rest of the names that caught my eye, sorted by year:

  • 2015: Chandreyi, Dava-Leigh, Desta, Ezgi, Kynan, Mags, Praggya, Rook, Tiombi
  • 2014: Ben-Hur, Dinu, FeiFei, Gudrun, Ilissa, Kenesha, LaWanda, Leszek, Mariusz, Myfanwy, Osei, Shloka, Sirena
  • 2013: Arne, Berek, Diva, Kelton, Kinu, Nilai, Nishanth, Ramsin, Rhea, Salvo, Shuli, Sonrisa, Tahne, Twyla, Waymond, Xan, Yellowlees
  • 2012: Anshika, Benton, Bing, Deniz, Injee, Jessamine, Jia-Rui, Mithun, Pian, Shaanti,
    Vamsi, Vinayak
  • 2011: Bhibha, Boomie, Cosi, Gabor, Gitta, Idrees, Karawan, LuEllen, Milind, Raphie
  • 2010: Huat, Kemi, Marianthe, Raghuveer, Shaama, Surabhi
  • 2009: Ariella, Claxton, Cyn, Daphna, Drusha, Hayes, Henok, Jove, Lysette, Nirav, Ranjan, Seyi, Shyra, Tui (TOO-ee), Wright
  • 2008: Anurag, Babatope, Delano, Elza, Gilah, Kew, Murtaza, Naren, Srinivas, Vibin, Zia
  • 2007: Arlynda, Bethlehem, Clé, Haritha, Khoa, Kai-Ning, Kizzle, Lateefah, Lenzy, Marvene, Mehrun, Ssezi, Tigger, Toho, Tope
  • 2006: Dianisbeth, Iddoshe, Karmie, Lizard, Nemanja, Nissan, Oz, Ozgun, Papa, Pinki, Raena, Reda, Sioux, Tawney
  • 2005: Alaric, Corinth, Jayanth, Kem, Kingslea, LeeAundra, Ruchi, Ruvani, Vanamali
  • 2004: Denele, Kermin, M’Liss, Nithya
  • 2003: Alicen, Amasa, Eok, Freya, Nulty, Snowden, Vane
  • 2002: Anagha, Dileep, Gadi, Hikma, Jara, Kirik, Kunle, Manoj, Muzy (MYOO-zee), Omid, Quyen, Rafi, Seveen, Shasa, Tana, Umiko
  • 2001: Aki, Babu, Gosia, Marek, Mittie, Neha, Ulhas, Vinita
  • 2000: Akshai, Arrington, Celiane, Cinnamon, Iyesatu, Jeeks, Manx, Meri-Jane, Mitali, Sabin, Tarun
  • 1999: Ajuan, Alancia, Anjali, Chacko, Davine, Happy, Mihee, Seale, Wellington, Yancy, Yoni
  • 1998: Ardys, Brannon, Creswell, Kemp, Melizza, Sinan
  • 1998: Boze, Jolyn, Rokshana
  • 1997: Akiva, Atish, Breck, Brick, Davia, Girish, Mita, Murat, Pooja, Sahir, Tanis, Vartan, Zinie
  • 1996: Myretta, Rima, Ulf, Vandana
  • 1995: Albina
  • 1994: Graydon
  • 1993: Bronwyn, Ferris, Leif
  • 1991: India, Kareem
  • 1990: Ardwight, Avrom, Murdock, Peji
  • 1989: Darbi, Ouida
  • 1988: Blaze, Cigus, Doak, Scooter
  • 1987: JoFrannye
  • 1986: Chub, Zanete

Which of the above names do you like best?

P.S. Thanks again, Becca!