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Who Are The Most Name-Dropped Athletes in Music History!

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To find out which of our favourite footballers, golfers, and boxers have been name-dropped the most in music history, Top Rated Casinos analysed thousands of lyrics by the likes of Drake, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, and more!

© Ovidiu Hrubaru

The research revealed that basketball legend Kobe Bryant is the most name-dropped athlete of all time! Appearing in a whopping 1,147 songs, fans don’t hold back their love for the talented and caring star who was lost way too soon.

In second place is Lionel Messi. Known as the ‘Messiah’ and one of the best players football has ever seen, that’s more than enough reasons why 553 songs mention him.

When you think of basketball, one of the first names that spring to mind is Michael Jordan. That’s why he makes an appearance in 439 lyrics – the third most name-dropped athlete.

Other sports royalty includes boxer Mike Tyson (407), footballer Cristiano Ronaldo (280) and recently passed footballing legend Diego Maradona270 songs pay homage to the Argentinian magician.

Completing the top ten name-dropped athletes are:

  1. George Best (football) – 269 lyrics
  2. Muhammad Ali (boxing) – 236 lyrics
  3. Neymar (football) – 230 lyrics
  4. Tiger Woods (golf) – 221 lyrics

Flipping the results, in 20th place is George Herman Ruth Jr., or as he’s more commonly known: Babe Ruth. Nicknamed ‘The Sultan of Swat’, Babe was a pioneer for baseball’s popularity with 107 songs showing their respect to him.

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps follows in 19th place with 112 lyric mentions. Further famous athletes include Magic Johnson (114), Steph Curry (119), N’golo Kanté (160) and David Beckham (182).

Which Sport is the Most Name-Dropped?

Top Rated Casinos also totalled the scores for each athlete and sorted by sport to reveal which sport includes the most name-dropped athletes!

Whilst basketball tops the list for individual stars, as combined numbers football comes out on top. Worldwide stars like Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Beckham can be thanked for a total of 2,738 lyric appearances.

Basketball doesn’t trail by much though in second place, as the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe, Steph Curry and more contribute to a combined 2,123 name drops.

Boxing claims third place (729), followed by American football (524), athletics (399) and baseball (280), to name a few. 

The table below shows combined totals of all sports considered in this study:

SportCombined number of name-drops
American Football524
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