By RanterX on January 26, 2013
We all have our favorite athletes and sports teams that we remain loyal to. But did you ever stop and think where these athletes grew up? Most of the time, their team is nowhere near their hometown. So we decided to take a look at every state and see which ones grow the best professional athletes. Leave a comment below if you think we missed anyone!
Hank Aaron is one of the best MLB players of all time. This state was debatable because Willie Mays also hails from Alabama. Aaron actually succeeded more in football during high school but was denied scholarships because he enjoyed baseball more. The baseball career turned out pretty well, though: he had 25 MLB All-Star Game appearances and three Gold Glove Awards on top of his amazing batting and fielding skills.
Not many pro athletes hail from Alaska but Schilling was an outstanding baseball player. He had six All-Star selections, won three World Series and was even the MVP in the 2001 Fall Classic. He was a clutch in postseason appearances. In 2001, he proved his ability to save the team, ending the season with a 1.12 ERA.
NFL player Randall McDaniel was born in Phoenix and attended Arizona State University. McDaniel was in ASU's first ever Rose Bowl appearance in 1987. He had twelve Pro Bowl selections, nine First-team All-Pro selections and 10 first-team All-NFC selections. To this day, McDaniel is the only player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who was born in Arizona.
If it wasn’t for Michael Jordan shining in the spotlight at the time, there is a good probability that Pippen would have been in his shoes. Pippen was an integral part of the Chicago Bulls' six championships in eight years and the Olympic “Dream Team." Pippen was also the first player to win an NBA Championship and Olympic medal in the same year, twice. His No. 33 has been retired, and Pippen was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Baseball seems to be hit-or-miss for some players. DiMaggio was one of those lucky ones who had a successful career. He won nine World Series and played in the All-Star game 13 times. He still holds the MLB record for the longest hitting streak: 56 consecutive games. His entire 13-year career was played with the New York Yankees and he is also well known for marrying Marilyn Monroe.
Jack Dempsey was the 20th century boxing champion. He won 83 fights in his career, 51 by knockout. Dempsey won the World Heavyweight Championship from 1919-1926, totaling only six losses and 11 draws. To this day, he is still ranked No. 10 on The Ring’s list of all-time heavyweights. On top of that, he remains No. 7 on the list of “greatest punchers” of all time due to his exceptional punching power.
Murphy never won a championship but he sure was a great player. He was an NBA All-Star, made the All-Rookie first team and had his number retired by the Houston Rockets. Murphy also made his name known due to his 14 children with nine different women and allegedly abused five of his daughters. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
White spent his entire NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys. He only had one Super Bowl win but nine Pro Bowl selections and even won the Lombardi Award in 1974. Now he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well as the College Football Hall of Fame.
A lot of famous athletes seem to hail from the state of Florida, but Emmitt Smith takes the cake. In his first full college game, he broke Florida’s single-game rushing record and went on to become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. He is in the Football Hall of Fame, and was featured in eight Pro Bowls after leading the NFL in rushing four different seasons.
Even though Cobb played back in the early 1900s, he still holds the MLB record for most steals of home plate with 54 in his career. He played for 23 years and only batted under .320 in one season. To this day, he is tied for the MLB record of most seasons batted over .400 (three). This is just a small part of Cobb’s career; he had many impressive seasons and earned induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
The Duke was not only an amazing swimmer; he also helped promote the sport of surfing. He was the first Hawaiian to win a medal in the Olympic games before moving to California in order to expand the sport of surfing. Duke is now one of the most well known men from the state of Hawaii and there's a statue of him on the shores of Waikiki Beach.
Killebrew was nicknamed “Hammerin’ Harmon” and remains third on the list of most career home runs in the American League (573). He only made it to the World Series once and the result was a loss to the Dodgers. Killebrew was a very versatile player and played left field, first and third base during his seasons with the Minnesota Twins. He got one AL MVP title and made the All-Star team 13 times.
Butkus is still a legend in the NFL world. He grew up on the south side of Chicago and attended the University of Illinois in Champaign for college. He then continued to maintain loyal to his home state of Illinois where he played for the Chicago Bears for eight years. Within those eight years he had eight Pro Bowl selections, six All-Pro selections and two NEA NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Bird succeeded as a player for the Boston Celtics and as a coach and team president for the Indiana Pacers. He had three NBA Championships with the Celtics and was an All-Star nine different times. In 2012, he won the NBA Executive of the Year award, which is given to the most successful NBA front office executive each season. In 1998, he received the NBA Coach of the Year award and was also inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.
If you’ve ever been to the state of Iowa, you know they take wrestling very seriously. Gable had 15 National Championships, was an Olympic gold medalist and World Championship winner. When he won gold at the 1972 Munich Games, he did not give up a single point. After his athletic career was over, he went on to coach the University of Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling team, where he became a legend after leading them to nine consecutive NCAA titles.
Sanders is frequently mentioned as one of the greatest NFL players of all time, having been named to the Pro Bowl every single season that he played with the Detroit Lions.
During his 10 years in Detroit, he never gained less that 1,000 yards in a season. To this day, Sanders still holds 10 Lions team records. He is now a member of both the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame.
Kentucky raises many basketball players but Muhammad Ali is by far the best athlete to come from the state. He began boxing at age 12 and became an Olympic Gold medalist at the young age of 18. During his career, he had 56 wins and only five losses.
Since his retirement, he has devoted his life to philanthropy. He has played a huge role for the Special Olympics and Make A Wish Foundation after his diagnosis of Parkinson's disease in 1984.
Peyton's success as a player can be proven by his outstanding comeback in 2012. As a starter for the University of Tennessee, he won 39 of 45 games, breaking an SEC record. After that, Manning was the No. 1 NFL Draft pick in 1998 where he began his professional career with the Indianapolis Colts. He has been selected to 12 Pro Bowls, and holds numerous NFL single-season and career passing records.
Joan Benoit won gold at the 1974 Summer Olympics, the first year that the women's marathon was introduced. To this day, Benoit still holds the fastest time for a woman at the Chicago Marathon and the Olympic Marathon. She placed first in six of her 11 marathons for the USA and never finished below sixth place.
We have to give a shout out to Michael Phelps for the state of Maryland, but Babe Ruth will always be a the most legendary athlete from the Free State. He won seven World Series and still holds the MLB record for slugging percentage (.690). He's also recognized as one of the top 10 players to ever play in MLB.
At the age of 20, Marciano was drafted into the Army, where he first began to learn the sport of boxing. In 1948, he began fighting professionally and he never lost a match. He defended the World Heavyweight Championship six times in a row, five by knockout. To this day, he remains the only heavyweight to go undefeated and untied throughout his career.
Magic Johnson will always be considered one of the best NBA players ever. He was the first pick in the 1979 NBA Draft, selected by the Lakers. He went on to win five NBA Championships and three MVP awards to go along with 12 All-Star appearances. His career was cut short in 1991 when he was infected with the HIV virus. In 2002, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
McHale won three NBA Championships, made the All-Star team seven times and made the All-Defensive First Team three times. He had a rough start after signing with the Boston Celtics but ended his first season well and made the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team.
Payton is arguably the greatest NFL player of all time. His entire professional career was played with the Chicago Bears, with whom he had the nickname "Sweetness." He led the Bears to a win in Superbowl XX and he had nine Pro Bowl selections during his career. He has been inducted into the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
We do have to note that Jerry Rice was a close second for Mississippi's representative on this list.
Cal Hubbard is the only man who has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was an offensive tackle in the NFL and made the NFL 1920’s All-Decade Team. He wasn’t inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for his athletic ability though. Hubbard was inducted into it due to his umpiring skills and was only the 5th umpire to be given that honor.
Jackson can thank both his playing and coaching careers for his incredible success. As a player, he won the only two NBA championships by the Knicks and made the NBA All-Rookie First Team. As a coach, he has 11 NBA championships, six Eastern Conference championships, seven Western Conference championships and one NBA Coach of the Year award.
Gibson spent 16 years with the St. Louis Cardinals and was an outstanding pitcher. He won two World Series and nine Gold Glove awards during his MLB career. He still holds two MLB records: most strikeouts in a World Series (35) and most strikeouts in a World Series game (17).
Agassi simply dominated the world of tennis in the 1990s and 2000s. His singles career record was 870-274 and he won 60 titles by the time he retired. He has been inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame and is one of only four tennis players to achieve the Career Grand Slam by winning all four major championships. He is a figure known by everyone in the sports world, not just the world of tennis.
Between 1998 and 2011, Miller won 33 World Cup Championships and five Olympic medals in alpine skiing. In his career, he's won 11 Olympic medals (including five gold) and has made the podium 79 times. He's also married to pro beach volleyball player and model Morgan Beck.
We had a hard time debating between Jeter and Shaquille O'Neal on this one. Jeter has been an MLB All-Star 13 times, has won five World Series, five Gold Glove awards and five Silver Slugger awards. That’s quite the array of awards for a baseball player. On top of that, he holds many different records for the Yankees, as well as overall MLB postseason records.
Lott had a lot of success in the NFL and is recognized as one of the best players of all time. He had 10 Pro Bowl Selections, eight First Team All-Pro selections and an astounding four Super Bowl wins.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000 and to this day, he is still tied for the title of most interceptions returned for touchdowns in a rookie season at three.
Kareem is still the NBA's all-time leading scorer. During his college days at UCLA, he won three straight NCAA titles. After being selected No. 1 overall in 1969, he won one NBA Championship with the Bucks and then went on to win five more with the Lakers.
During his career, he had 19 All-Star appearances and six MVP awards among many other achievements. His number has been retired by the Bucks, Lakers and UCLA.
Jordan was actually born in New York but most of his younger years were spent in North Carolina for high school and college. By the end of his NBA career he accomplished five MVP Awards, 10 All-NBA First Team titles and fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances among many other achievements. He is still considered by many to be the best player of all time.
Maris was actually born in Minnesota but his family moved to North Dakota when he was very young. He was originally recruited by the University of Oklahoma to play football but dropped out during his first year and signed a minor league baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians.
He spent four years in the minors before hitting the big leagues. By the end of his career, Maris had three World Series Championships and seven All-Star titles.
Over the span of 18 years, Nicklaus won 18 professional major championships. He won the “Career Grand Slam” of golf by winning all four professional major championships. Only four other golfers have accomplished this.
This is just the start of his achievements; there are many more that could be listed but let’s just say that information alone makes him Ohio's greatest athlete.
Thorpe is one of the most versatile athletes of all time. He was inducted into the Pro and College Football Halls of Fame and was an Olympic athlete. He won gold medals at the 1912 Olympics for the pentathlon and decathlon. However, he lost those titles for violating the "amateurism" rules because he was being paid to play two seasons of semi-pro baseball before the Olympics. Then 30 years after his death, the IOC restored his Olympic medals.
Ainge played basketball, baseball and football during high school. He started all four seasons he played basketball at BYU. While in college, he was selected in the amateur baseball draft by Blue Jays while he was still in school. He went on to play four years in the major leagues and then got drafted into the NBA.
From there, he went on to win two NBA Championships and earned one All-Star appearance.
Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain and Dan Marino are the runners up here, but Joe Montana is the representative for Pennsylvania.
He won four Super Bowls, and had eight Pro Bowl selections during his NFL career. The Associated Press named him Male Athlete of the Year in 1989 and '90. He's recognized by many as the greatest quarterback of all time and he was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 2000.
Let's just say that if you want your kid to be a professional athlete, don't move to Rhode Island. This was the hardest state for which to find successful athletes. Lajoie achieved the AL Triple Crown in 1901 and led the AL in batting average for five different seasons. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.
This one was tough between Garnett and Joe Frazier but Garnett gets nod. He only has one NBA championship but has been selected as an All-Star 15 times.
When he was drafted into the NBA, he was the first player to be drafted directly out of high school in 20 years. He still holds many franchise records from his 12 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Dallas Clark is one of the very few athletes who came to mind when thinking about South Dakota. He played football at the University of Iowa and was then drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2003. He won one Super Bowl and earned one Pro Bowl selection.
Reggie White was born and raised in Chattanooga and then went on to play football at the University of Tennessee. He won a Super Bowl with the Packers and is wide recognized as a top 10 NFL player of all time. White is in the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, as well as the Packers Hall of Fame. He made 13 Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the '80s and 90s.
This one was tough with Nolan Ryan, Michael Johnson, George Foreman, Sammy Baugh and Ernie Banks as options but "Mean Joe" Greene is the pick. He spent 12 seasons with the Steelers and is recognized as one of the greatest NFL players of all time. Greene won four Super Bowls and earned 10 Pro Bowl selections while he was with the Steelers.
Young is a descendent of Brigham Young so it only made sense that he would attend college at BYU. After two years in the USFL, he entered the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft of USFL & CFL players. After a rough start with the Buccaneers, he was traded to the 49ers where his career took off. He won three Super Bowls, earned seven Pro Bowl selections and was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year twice.
Fisk hasn't exactly kept himself out of trouble with the law but he really was a great baseball player. He never won a championship but was an All Star 11 times and won a Gold Glove award in 1972. Nicknamed "Pudge," he played with the Red Sox for 12 seasons and the White Sox for 12 seasons. He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. Currently, Fisk holds the record for most seasons as a catcher with 24.
Lawrence Taylor spent 12 years with the New York Giants with whom he won two Super Bowls. He was invited to 10 Pro Bowls and received numerous Defensive Player of the Year awards. He is also widely recognized as the greatest NFL defensive player of all time.
He found himself in the spotlight after being accused of sexual misconduct with a 16-year old girl.
Elway played all of his 15 NFL seasons with the Broncos and won two Super Bowls. Elway was invited to nine Pro Bowls and his team won the AFC Championship five times during his career. The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted him in 2004 and he's now the Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Broncos.
Moss was drafted to the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft after playing for Marshall University in his home state of West Virginia. He went to seven Pro Bowls and broke a ton of records. He was a headache and a hero for the Vikings before joining the Patriots, with whom he broke the single-season receiving touchdowns record and played in a Super Bowl.
Heiden is another athlete who participated in a unique sport but dominated at it. In 1980, he won five gold medals at the Olympics in Lake Placid. On top of that, he won seven World Championships and broke six records over the span of his career.
Gardner was an Olympic wrestler (Greco-Roman Wrestling) for the United States in Athens and Sydney. During the 2000 Summer Olympics, he defeated Alexander Karelin. At the time, Karelin had been undefeated for 13 years. In Sydney, he won gold and in Athens he won bronze. In 2001, he also won gold at the World Championships.
One more claim to fame for Gardner is that he was a contestant on the 11th season of 'The Biggest Loser.'
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