Celebrity Names Blog

Laila Ali's Baby Name: A Knockout?

Laila Ali's Baby Name: A Knockout?
Diane Cohen/Fame Pictures

Laila Ali welcomed her first daughter in the wee hours of Monday morning. The boxer and her husband, ex-NFL star Curtis Conway, reached a unanimous decision on their baby girl’s name agreeing on Sydney J. Conway.

Sydney, which is of Old English origin, means "wide island." Its popularity is also vast. Since 1995, it has steadily appeared on the Top-50 baby names list -- most recently in the 48th position. The unisex name is also often spelled Sidney, though it's not nearly as popular as Laila's pick of Sydney.

The most famous celebrity offspring with the name is Sydney Simpson, the now-grown daughter of O.J. Simpson and his late ex-wife Nicole Brown. Samantha Harris, who like Laila appeared on Dancing with the Stars (as a host when Laila was a contestant), used it for a middle name for her daughter Josselyn Sydney Hess.

Speaking of middle names, Laila -- whose father is boxing legend Muhammad Ali -- has not yet revealed what Sydney’s middle initial "J" stands for. However, she also has a son named Curtis Muhammad Conway Jr. and they call him C.J. for short. Perhaps they’ll call Sydney “S.J.”?

The name Sydney also falls into the category of place-derived names –- in this case, a nod to Australia's largest city. Paris Hilton, Kobe Bryant, Brooklyn Beckham and Bronx Wentz were all named after cities. More common names that are also the names of cities are Charlotte, Austin, Savannah, Vienna and Jackson to name a few. 

Which names, that are also the names of big cities, are you a fan of? Share your favorites below.

--S.B.

Comments

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April 5, 2011 2:11 AM
By Wiley (not verified)

Texas is interesting with most of the big cities being names: Dallas, Houston and Austin. San Antonio isn't directly, but Antonio or Antony/Anthony is a name. And smaller cities like Tyler and Paris are names as well.

April 5, 2011 6:59 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

As an australian I really don't like the name Sydney. Its not entirely that its a place, as I like both Adelaide and Victoria, its more that to me its a mans name. I do find it interesting that what is popular in one country, is unusable in another. In a rapidly shrinking world. Its worth investigating these differences, as we or our kids could end up living or working internationally in the future.

April 5, 2011 11:51 AM
By Grace (not verified)

Why do people choose names that are so popular? Sydney is the 48th most popular name? Why do that to your kid? Unique is the way to go.

April 5, 2011 11:56 AM
By Dapperdame (not verified)

I'm not a fan of Sydney. Vienna is likely the only city name I would consider as a first name for a child. Cairo is appealing to me too, but I'm unsure if I would seriously consider it.

April 5, 2011 3:38 PM
By Top 10 Name of the 70s (not verified)

"Why do people choose names that are so popular? Sydney is the 48th most popular name? Why do that to your kid? Unique is the way to go."

If "unique" means bastardising the English langauge and condeming your child to a lifetime of having to spell their name or correct pronunciation then kill me now!

As for Sydney - I concur with the other Aussie above. It has never really been popular as a modern name here in Oz. Still has that old man "Sid" whiff about it.

I am not a big fan of surnames/place names/professions/concrete nouns for children!
It makse me laugh whe people get "kreative" with proper nouns - eg "Montanna", "Dhakotah", "Parys" or worse - as I saw the other day - "Summah"

Blerk!!

April 5, 2011 6:17 PM
By Sydney (not verified)

Having had the name Sydney since 1945, I can tell you that I've enjoyed watching it become popular. Now I can find pens, key chains, etc. with MY NAME on it, and spelled correctly at that. AMAZING . . . only took 66 years.
Ilove my name . . . and everytime I tell someone new my name, they always say "I LOVE THAT NAME"
So that's my take.

And by the way, I am a Sydney J as well . . . and the J is for JOYCE.

April 5, 2011 10:06 PM
By Julie (not verified)

I would hazard a guess that actress Sydney Poitier, (daughter of Sidney Poitier,) is probably more famous than Sydney Simpson.

"Why do people choose names that are so popular? Sydney is the 48th most popular name? Why do that to your kid? Unique is the way to go."

My daughter's name was #71 the year she was born. We choose it because it's a timeless/classic name that is easy to pronounce and spell in most European languages. It's also happens to honor numerous relatives...

Popular ≠ bad

April 6, 2011 11:14 AM
By mk (not verified)

"Why do people choose names that are so popular? Sydney is the 48th most popular name? Why do that to your kid? Unique is the way to go."

You should choose a name you like and is meaningful to you.

Being listed as the 48th most popular name doesn't even mean that it's that popular when you look at actual % (and it can vary by area). My name was the 8th most popular for my year, and I have met very few people who share my name.

June 18, 2012 2:23 AM
By Marianna Urban (not verified)

I would consider as a first name for a child. Cairo is appealing to me too, but I'm unsure if I would seriously consider it.

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