It’s not uncommon for there to be more than one person in a group—whether a class, a club, or a company—with the same name; and having rarely been in any group where I was the only Michael (or some derivation thereof), I’m saying this from firsthand experience. 

With the recent trade of offensive guard Shaq Mason to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, though, where he joins outside linebacker Shaq Barrett on Florida’s favorite Gulf Coast football team; the Bucs now have two players, born less than a year apart—each with a pair of Super Bowl rings—who were both named after the same two NBA Hall of Famers, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon.  To wit, Shaquil Akeem Barrett (born 17 November 1992, in Maryland) and Shaquille Olajuwon Mason (born 28 August 1993, in Tennessee).

Back in early 2016, Vice was the first to report on the rise of the name Shaquille in athletes, with three Shaqs having joined the ranks of the NFL the year before (in addition to Mason and Barrett, there’s also Shaq Thompson of the Carolina Panthers), and one on his way (Shaq Lawson, now of the Buffalo Bills).  None of the Shaqs was aware of the others prior to Vice’s reporting, nor were Mason and Barrett aware that their middle names also shared a common origin.

The funniest part of that Vice article (to me) came when author Peter Axtman began discussing trends in baby names, and not only did Mason quip that “It’s a huge possibility that if I was born five years later, I might have been Kobe,” but Barrett’s father, Steve, said of his son, “If he was born five years later, he probably would have been Kobe.”

I guess timing really is everything.

Get into it!

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