It is no secret that Raptors-fever has hit Canada hard over the last month or so. Fans, players and whole cities across the country have gone into overdrive to prepare for a potential historic Raptor’s win in the NBA Finals this week. However, there is nobody more focused on the win than this parents-to-be, since the "Kawhi Leonard" baby name is likely to rise in popularity if Raptors manage to take home the championship.
The Toronto team will be looking to take home a win in Game 6 against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, after narrowly losing out in Game 5 by just one point. A Raptors win would take the overall score to 4-2 and make basketball history as Raptors would become the first non-US team to ever win an NBA Final.
It is not unusual for musicians, sportsmen and other popular culture influences to provide inspiration to parents when naming a child. But spikes in popularity of names, particularly basketball player’s names, have become increasingly noteworthy in recent years.
In 2018, the popularity of the name ‘Giannis’ increased in the US by an astounding 135% and is up to a whopping 662% from 2016. This spike is surely thanks to NBA star and Milwaukee Bucks forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was en route to his first all-star appearance in 2016.
In a similar fashion, fans are expecting that the name ‘Kawhi’, inspired by Raptor’s Kawhi Leonard, will blow up in 2019/2020. The #2 player is a firm fan-favourite in Canada for his phenomenal basketball skills and just for being an all-round ‘fun guy.’
One baby in Cambridge has already been confirmed to have taken on the famous Kawhi name, and basketball fans on Twitter are pretty confident that he won't be the last.
Many new-parents and parents-to-be are also taking to Twitter and confirming that Kawhi is a strong contender for the name of their new child, with several fans even confirming that their baby will take the name Kawhi - boy or girl!
A number of new parents also saw this excitement as the perfect opportunity to share some adorable photos of their new babies who, naturally, have also taken the popular Raptor's player's name.
That said, there are a number of parents waiting to see if the Raptors can actually take home the NBA Final championship first, before they officially commit to using Leonard's name for their newborn.
Whatever happens in the next two NBA Finals games, it is clear that Canadians are super-proud of the Raptors, and Kawhi in particular. That said, if the team were to take home a win on Thursday, we can be fairly certain we'll be coming across a lot more 'Kawhi's' in the future!