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From TMZ: U.S. Olympian Destinee Hooker -- I'm PROUD of My Name ... 'People Can Be Childish'

Courtesy TMZ Courtesy TMZ

U.S. Olympic volleyball star Destinee Hooker knows people are amused by her name ... she knows some people laugh ... but she doesn't care ... she believes it's a "blessing."

Hooker -- who's CRUSHING it London right now (indoor team is undefeated!) -- tells TMZ, "When it comes to my name, I honestly find nothing wrong with it. I love my name."

Still, Destinee admits she's not deaf to the jokes ... "I have been dealing with it since I was a child. People can be childish."

There was almost no Destinee Hooker at all ... the 24-year-old tells us she nearly died at birth, and when she survived, her father was inspired to give her the name "Destinee."

"Since I was a blessing, [my father] spelled it uniquely. So I am thankful to be here and glad my Dad gave me the name."

Desintee adds, "No reporters have asked me about my name. You are the first :) thank you for asking by the way."

You can watch TMZ weeknights at 11:30 on WTNZ Fox 43.

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