What's in a name? Many successful athletes share the same name. Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps. Tim Tebow and Tim Howard. Adrian Beltre and Adrian Peterson.
However, is there one name that has been more perennially dominant than others?
Here is an attempt to answer that question. It is a list of the top ten most successful (male) names in all of professional sports.
It is by no means perfect. There is no way I could get all the stats from every John that has played professional athletics.
The rankings are mainly based on Hall Of Fame status, contribution to their respective sport, records, championships, and gut feeling (so feel free to debate).
Is your name on the list?
These names all have accomplished athletes. However, there just are not enough of them to make it on to the final list.
Barry: Bonds, Larkin, Sanders.
Adrian: Peterson, Dantely, Gonzales.
Alex: English, Ovechkin, Rodriguez
Tim: Tebow, Hardaway, Howard
Wayne/Dewayne: Gretzky, Wade, Rooney
Don: Larson, Drysdale, Mattingly
Reggie: Wayne, Jackson, Miller, Bush
Karl/Carl: Yastrzemski, Malone, Fisk
Messier: Captain of two different Stanley Cup teams.
McGwire: Captured the hearts of baseball fans everywhere with his home runs
Martin: Described as the "Best racer never to win a championship".
Spitz: Greatest swimmer pre-Michael Phelps. Spitz held the record of seven gold medals at one Olympics for over 30 years.
(Marcus) Allen: Solid running back for the Chiefs and Raders.
Coach: Mark Richt
Honorable Mention: Mark Buerle, Mark "The Bird" Fidrych
Parker: Point guard of the multi-championship winning Spurs' teams
Dorsett: Star Cowboys running back of the 1970s
Hawk: Most popular skateboarder of all-time
Gwynn: Greatest hitter of the 90's
Stewart: One of the best NASCAR drivers of the past twenty years
Coached by: Tony Dungy
Honorable Mention: Tony Romo, Tony Oliva, Tony LaRussa, Tony Gonzales
Orr: One of the top Hockey defencemen of all time. Led the league in scoring twice.
Cousy: The Celtics point guard was way ahead of his time.
Hull: The "Golden Jet" had a slapshot that reached 118 MPH.
Gibson: The Cardinals pitcher was a two-time World Series Champion, Nine-time All-Star
Hayes: Dallas Cowboys Wide Reciever won a Super Bowl and two Olympic Gold medals.
Coached by: Bobby Knight
Honorable Mention: Bob Pettit, Bob Sanders, Bob Lanier, Bob McAdoo, Bob Feller, Bobby Labonte
Russell: The greatest defender in NBA history. Won a record 11 NBA championship rings.
Walton: The best big man of the 1970's.
Mazeroski: Ten-time all star, two-time World Series champion, eight-time gold glove winner.
Bradley: Two-time NBA champion. Outstanding college player for Princeton.
(Willie) Mays: One of the best outfielders of all-time. Made "The Catch".
Coached by: Bill Belicheck
Honorable Mention: Billy Martin, Billy Beane, Bill "The Spaceman" Lee
Montana: Cornerstone of the 49ers during the 80's.
Sakic: Leader of the Avalanche dynasty. The former Av holds the record for most overtime goals in the playoffs.
Namath: "Broadway" Joe predicted one of the greatest Super Bowl upsets of all time.
Greene: Defensive tackle for the Steel Curtain. Star of one of the best commercials of all time.
Dimaggio: One of the greatest all-around players of the 1940's. Still holds the all-time hitting streak record at 56.
Coached by: Joe Paterno
Honorable mention: Joe Thornton, Joe Dumars, Joe Frazier, Joe Morgan, Joe Nathan, Joe Mauer
Robinson: "The Admiral", two-time NBA champ.
Cone: Five-time World Series winner, pitched a perfect game.
Ortiz: Fantastic clutch hitter, pivotal part of Red Sox World Series wins.
Beckham: The most popular soccer player of the 21st century.
Winfield: Excellent college basketball and baseball player, multiple all-star games.
Coached by: Davey Johnson
Honorable Mention: Dave Cowens, Dave Bing, Dave Justice, David Prce, Dave DeBusschere
Mikan: The first dominant big man in the NBA.
(George Herman) Ruth: The most legendary athlete, ever.
Brett: The greatest hitting third baseman in history.
Halas: Mr. Everything for the early Chicago Bears.
Forman: 76-5 all-time boxing record, defeated Joe Frazier, purveyor of fine cooking equipment.
Coached by: George Karl
Honorable Mention: Jorge Posada
Stockton: The all-time leader in assists. The Jazz PG perfected the pick and roll with Karl Malone.
Unitas: A dominant Quarterback for the Baltimore Colts. Unitas threw a TD in a record 47 consecutive games.
Elway: Two-time Super Bowl Champion for the Broncos. Top-ten all-time QB.
Havlicek: "Havlicek stole the ball!!!" Hondo was the face of the Celtics between the Russell and Bird eras.
Bench: Catcher for the "Big Red Machine."
Coached by: John Wooden
Honorable Mention: Johnny Pesky, Johnny Damon, John Randle
Thorpe: Often called "The World's Greatest Athlete." Thorpe was an Olympic gold medalist in track, a pro-baseball player, pro-football player, and barnstormed with a pro-basketball team.
Brown: The Brown's running back had an absurd 5.2 yards per carry average. One of the few people to be elected to the Hall of Fame in multiple sports (NFL and Lacrosse).
Bunning: Pitched a perfect game, nine-time all star, and a US Senator.
Thome: Newest member of the 600 HR club, and one of the nicest people in baseball history.
(Jimmy) Johnson: Five straight Sprint Cup Championships.
Coached by: Jim Valvano (Jimmy V). Coached one of the greatest games in college basketball history.
Honorable Mention: Jim Rice, Jimmer Ferdette, Jim kelly
Jordan: The sterling standard of NBA players.
Modano: One of the best American born hockey players of all-time.
Phelps: World record nine Olympic Gold medals.
Irvin: 3x Superbowl champion, member of the Pro Football HOF
Johnson: The best runner of the 90's. Set world records wearing the coolest shoes ever.
Coached by: Mike Ditka
Honorable Mention: Michael Vick, Mike Tyson, Mike Mussina, Mike Lowell, Mike Napoli
Did your name make the cut?
Any beef with the list? Say it in the comments. Please keep it respectful.
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