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Kobe, Gianna Jump As Popular Names For 2020 Babies

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Much like the Lakers legend soaring to make a poster-worthy dunk, the name Kobe has leaped in popularity among new parents this year.

BabyCenter released its top baby names of 2020 Wednesday, and says the name Kobe was far and away the biggest riser for boys in 2020. The name climbed 379 spots to number 216.

Kobe Bryant LA Mural
(Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

"The tragic loss of beloved basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in January 2020 inspired many new parents to name their children in their honor," according to online media firm BabyCenter.

The name Gianna also saw a big increase in popularity, moving up 52 spots to No. 24 for girls. One of those new baby girls was born to one of Bryant's closest friends, former Laker Pau Gasol, who named his daughter Elisabet Gianna in honor of the 13-year-old basketball phenom whose life was taken too soon.

"2020 has been an especially emotional year for families, filled with stress, loss, and uncertainty," Linda Murray, BabyCenter's global editor in chief, said in a statement. "At a time like this, parents are seeking comfort by naming their babies after people they admire, especially those who've passed on."

Sophia and Riley continue to be popular names for girls. For boys, Liam was most popular for a second year in a row, and Mateo joined the top 10 most popular names for the first time, bumping out Muhammed.

With a vice presidential candidate now in the political spotlight, the name Kamala is up 100% in popularity since last year, according to BabyCenter. The name Liberty, chosen by Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, also jumped 69 spots.

Two girls names dropped in popularity, possibly because of their more frequent use. Karen -- which BabyCenter noted has become shorthand for a woman acting in a rude, entitled and often racist manner in public -- plunged 153 spots in popularity rankings. Alexa also fell by 121 spots this year, undoubtedly because it's the name of Amazon's AI assistant.

"Having a child and a virtual assistant with the same name could prove confusing around the house," BabyCenter said.

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