The Most Common Names in Sports

James RiggioContributor ISeptember 30, 2010

The Most Common Names in Sports

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    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 29:  Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbarr arrives at the 57th Annual DGA Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 29, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
    Michael Buckner/Getty Images

    There are many sports figures around the globe that happen to have the same name as another athlete. Some spell their names differently, some spell them the same way. Hall of Fame basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the biggest name in sports who shares a name with another athlete. Ironically, they both have another thing in common as they both attended UCLA.

Karim Abdul-Jabbar

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    1 Nov 1998:  Karim Abdul-Jabbar #33 of the Miami Dolphins in action during the game against the Buffalo Bills at the Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart  /Allsport
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Like the basketball player, this Karim Abdul-Jabbar changed his name. A former star running back at Los Angeles' Dorsey High before he played at UCLA, he was born Sharmon Shah. Abdul-Jabbar played in the NFL from 1996 to 2000, most notably with the Miami Dolphins.

Kevin Prince

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    AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback Kevin Prince #4 of the UCLA Bruins at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Sticking with UCLA, its current starting quarterback is Kevin Prince.

Kevin-Prince Boateng

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    MILAN, ITALY - AUGUST 29:  Kevin Prince Boateng of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between AC Milan and US Lecce at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on August 29, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Kevin-Prince Boateng was born in Germany to a Ghanian family. He was one of the stars for Ghana in the 2010 World Cup. He now plays for AC Milan in Italy.

Roy L. Williams

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 26:  Roy L. Williams #31 of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Now with the Bengals, the safety was drafted eighth overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2002 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma.

Roy E. Williams

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    ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 19:  Wide receiver Roy Williams #11 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The wide receiver was drafted seventh overall in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions out of the University of Texas. At one time in his career, he was teammates with Roy L. Williams.

Roy A. Williams

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    CLEMSON, SC - JANUARY 13:  Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels against the Clemson Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum on January 13, 2010 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    A legendary coach in college basketball, this Roy Williams coached at the University of Kansas from 1988 to 2003. He then returned to his alma mater, North Carolina, where he has led the Tar Heels to two national championships.

Larry D. Johnson

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    14 Nov 2000:  Larry Johnson #2# of the New York Knicks walks out on the court during the game against the Seattle SuperSonics at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington.  The SuperSonics defeated the Knicks 96-75.   NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    This Larry Johnson was the top pick in the 1991 NBA Draft after playing at UNLV.

Larry A. Johnson

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    CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 29:  Larry Johnson #27 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball  during the NFL game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    This Larry Johnson most notably was a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. He also has played for the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins.

Steve L. Smith

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Born Stevonne Latrall Smith, the Carolina Panthers wide receiver grew up in Los Angeles and played at Santa Monica City College before moving on to the University of Utah.

Steve Smith

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    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 18:  Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants warms up prior to their NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on October 18, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    This Steve Smith also grew up in Los Angeles. But unlike the other Steve Smith, this one was a top recruit out of Taft High School and moved on to play four years at USC.

Steven D. Smith

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    AUBURN HILLS, MI - JUNE 4:  Steve Smith #8 of the Miami Heat drives against the Detroit Pistons in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2005 NBA Playoffs June 4, 2005 at the Palace At Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The Pistons won
    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    This Smith was another tall guard out of Michigan State who enjoyed a long, successful NBA career.

Stephen J. Jackson

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 26: Stephen Jackson #1 of the Charlotte Bobcats shoots a free throw against the Orlando Magic at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 26, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Magic defeated the Bobcats 99-90 to complete the four game
    Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images

    Jackson is a veteran who has played with six NBA clubs and is currently with the Charlotte Bobcats.

Steven R. Jackson

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Steven Jackson #39 of the St. Louis Rams in action during their game against the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Jackson has been one of the top running backs in the NFL in recent years as a member of the St. Louis Rams.

Steven N. Jackson

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    PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 23:  Steven Jackson #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St Louis Cardinals during the game on September 23, 2010 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    This Jackson is currently a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Eric W. Davis

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    21 Oct 1990: Defensive Back Eric Davis of the San Francisco 49ers during a 27-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Davis spent 13 years in the NFL as a defensive back, most notably with the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers.

Eric K. Davis

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    SARASOTA, FL - MARCH 6:  Former outfielder Eric Davis #44 of the Cincinnati Reds cheers on his team against the New York Yankees during the Grapefruit League Spring Training game on March 6, 2008 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by J. Meri
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    In the mid 1980s some thought this Davis would be the next Willie Mays. Injuries hurt Davis' chances at being like Mays. He finished his career with 282 home runs.

William Felton 'Bill' Russell

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    NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 17:  Bill Russell attends the 57th NBA All-Star Game, part of 2008 NBA All-Star Weekend at the New Orleans Arena on February 17, 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by download
    Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

    No player in NBA history has won as many titles as Russell's 11 with the Boston Celtics.

William E. 'Bill' Russell

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    14 Jun 1998:  Bill Russell #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in action during a game against the Colorado Rockies at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  The Rockies defeated the Dodgers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Laforet  /Allsport
    Vincent Laforet/Getty Images

    This Bill Russell was a longtime shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1970s and 80s. He later managed the club in the late 1990s.

Jason X. Williams

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    IRVING, TX - 2009:  Jason Williams of the Dallas Cowboys poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Irving, Texas. (Photo by NFL Photos)
    NFL Photos/Getty Images

    Williams is a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys and was selected by the team in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Jason C. Williams

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    BOSTON - MAY 28:  Jason Williams #44 of the Orlando Magic reacts against the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 28, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
    Elsa/Getty Images

    This Jason Williams is a veteran NBA point guard who played at the University of Florida.

Jason 'Jay' D. Williams

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    CHICAGO - JANUARY 13:  Jay Williams #22 of the Chicago Bulls smiles during the NBA game against the New York Knicks at the United Center on January 13, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls won 101-94.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agree
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Not wanted to get others confused, the former Duke star became Jay in the NBA. Unfortunately, his career ended too soon as he was never able to full recover from a motorcycle accident. But Williams, who was an excellent student, has become an ESPN basketball analyst and a motivational speaker.

Jayson Williams

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    17 Mar 1999:  Jayson Williams #55 of the New Jersey Nets looking on during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Nets defeated the Mavericks 88-87.
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    This Williams played in the NBA in the 1990s. But he is now in prison for his role in the death of limousine driver.

Alberto 'Jimmy' Fontana

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    PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 28:  Alberto Fontana of Palermo celabrates their second goal during the UEFA Cup first round, second leg match between Palermo and West Ham United at Stadio Renzo Barbera on September 28, 2006 in Palermo, Italy. (Photo by Phil C
    Phil Cole/Getty Images

    Alberto 'Jimmy' Fontana was the starting goalie Italian Serie A side Palermo even after his 40th birthday. Now 43, he is retired. Fontana used the nickname 'Jimmy' after Italian singer Jimmy Fontana and so he would not be confused with Alberto Maria Fontana, who ironically is also a starting goalie in Italian soccer.

Pak Nam-Chol

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    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 15: Pak Nam-Chol of North Korea in action during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group G match between Brazil and North Korea at Ellis Park Stadium on June 15, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Stuart Fr
    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    Pak Nam-Chol was both No. 4 and No. 14 on North Korea's 2010 World Cup roster. Only No. 4 (pictured) appeared in one of the three games the North Koreans played in.

Chris B. Young

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    PHOENIX - AUGUST 30:  Chris Young #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks at bat during the Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on August 30, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 7-2.  (Photo by Christi
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    This Chris Young is the Arizona Diamondbacks' starting center fielder.

Chris R. Young

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    PHOENIX - APRIL 06:  Starting pitcher Chris Young #32 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on April 6, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    At 6-foot-10, this Chris Young might be confused for a basketball player. But he is actually a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres.

Chris L. Young

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    DENVER - OCTOBER 31:  Safety Chris Young #32 of the Denver Broncos waits for the start of the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons on October 31, 2004 at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado.  The Falcons won 41-28.  (Photo by Bria
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    This Chris Young was a defensive back for the Denver Broncos from 2003 to 2005.

Jose A. Reyes

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    MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 26:  Jose Antonio Reyes of Atletico Madrid in action during the La Liga match between Atletico Madrid and Real Zaragoza at the Vicente Calderon stadium on September 26, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Having played with many top clubs in Europe, Jose Antonio Reyes is now with Atletico Madrid. He has appeared 21 times for the Spanish National Team, including in the 2006 World Cup. He did not make the team in 2010 when Spain won the World Cup.

Jose B. Reyes

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 18:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets in action against the Atlanta Braves during their game on September 18, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    This Jose Reyes is the New York Mets' staring shortstop.

Derek L. Anderson

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    MIAMI - MAY 10:  Derek Anderson #5 of the Miami Heat points toward the bench after extending a commanding lead with a three-point basket in the second quarter against the New Jersey Nets in game two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2006 NBA
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    This Derek Anderson played basketball at Kentucky and then in the NBA with seven teams from 1997 until 2008.

Derek M. Anderson

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Derek Anderson #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to the sidelines during the NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals def
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The veteran NFL quarterback is now with the Arizona Cardinals.

David E. Andersen

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    ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 20:  David Andersen #13 of the Houston Rockets against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 20, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph,
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Andersen used to be with the Houston Rockets, but now plays for the Toronto Raptors.

David K. Anderson

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    NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 21:  David Anderson #89 of the Houston Texans in action during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on August 21, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    This David Anderson is a fifth-year wide receiver with the Houston Texans.