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The Top 15 Los Angeles Sports Heroes

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The Top 15 Los Angeles Sports Heroes

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In a star-studded city like Los Angeles, sports can take a back seat to the entertainment scene, but some athletes have been able to turn Los Angeles into a viable sports city. From established superstars like Magic Johnson and Sandy Koufax to one-hit wonders like Kirk Gibson and Fernando Valenzuela, these athletes have turned Tinseltown into Titletown. Here now are the top 15 Los Angeles sports heroes.

15. Kirk Gibson, Los Angeles Dodgers

Kirk Gibson Dodgers
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15. Kirk Gibson, Los Angeles Dodgers

Kirk Gibson Dodgers
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Kirk Gibson's tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers may have lasted only three seasons, but he instantly turned the Dodgers into World Series Champions. In the 1988 World Series, Gibson came off the bench to hit a walk-off home run against the Oakland Athletics in Game 1. The momentum from that hit led the Dodgers to a series upset as they defeated the A's in five games.

14. Bill Walton, UCLA Bruins, Los Angeles Clippers

Bill Walton UCLA
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14. Bill Walton, UCLA Bruins, Los Angeles Clippers

Bill Walton UCLA
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Bill Walton sustained the UCLA basketball dynasty during the John Wooden era. From 1971 to 1974, Walton led the Bruins to a men's Division I record 88 consecutive wins, including two national championships. He also won the Naismith Award for the College Basketball Player of the Year in each of his three college seasons. Walton also had a brief stint with the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA.

13. O.J. Simpson, USC Trojans

O.J. Simpson Bills
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13. O.J. Simpson, USC Trojans

O.J. Simpson Bills
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O.J. Simpson became one of the greatest running backs in USC history and college football history, rushing for over 3,000 yards in just two seasons with the Trojans. In 1968, his 1,654 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns were good enough to make him the Heisman Trophy award winner that season.

12. Fernando Valenzuela, Los Angeles Dodgers

Fernando Valenzuela Dodgers
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12. Fernando Valenzuela, Los Angeles Dodgers

Fernando Valenzuela Dodgers
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The only player in MLB history to win the Rookie of the Year Award, Cy Young Award and Silver Slugger Award in a single season, Fernando Valenzuela was a fan favorite throughout his time with the Dodgers. In his 11 seasons with Los Angeles, the eccentric lefthander picked up 141 wins and made six All-Star Game appearances.

11. Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings

Marcel Dionne Kings
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11. Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings

Marcel Dionne Kings
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Marcel Dionne was one of the first superstars in Los Angeles Kings history and one of the best to ever suit up for the franchise. During his 12-year tenure with the team, Dionne tallied 757 assists and 1,307 points, both of which remain franchise records.

10. Don Drysdale, Los Angeles Dodgers

Don Drysdale Dodgers
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10. Don Drysdale, Los Angeles Dodgers

Don Drysdale Dodgers
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Don Drysdale was a mainstay in the Dodgers rotation for 14 years. Over that span, he recorded 209 wins and helped bring the Dodgers three World Series Championships. Drysdale won the Cy Young Award in 1962 and was a nine-time All-Star with the Dodgers.

9. Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles Dodgers

Orel Hershiser Dodgers
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9. Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles Dodgers

Orel Hershiser Dodgers
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Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser had a year to remember in 1988. That season, he was able to keep opposing lineups off the scoreboard. In Game 7 of the 1988 NLCS, Hershiser pitched a complete game shutout to clinch the series. That season, he also tossed a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings in a season.

8. Elgin Baylor, Los Angeles Lakers

Elgin Baylor Lakers
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8. Elgin Baylor, Los Angeles Lakers

Elgin Baylor Lakers
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An 11-time All-Star, Hall of Fame forward Elgin Baylor was one of the best players in NBA history and teamed with Jerry West to form one of the best tandems in NBA history. Baylor's basketball career in Los Angeles continued after his playing days as he served as GM of the Los Angeles Clippers for 22 seasons.

7. Marcus Allen, USC Trojans, Los Angeles Raiders

Marcus Allen Raiders
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7. Marcus Allen, USC Trojans, Los Angeles Raiders

Marcus Allen Raiders
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Originally recruited as a defensive back, Marcus Allen set numerous rushing records with USC and the Los Angeles Raiders. He set a USC single-season mark with 2,342 yards in 1981 and won the Heisman Trophy that same year. Drafted by the Los Angeles (now Oakland) Raiders in 1982, he helped the franchise win Super Bowl XVIII and he was named Super Bowl MVP. Allen is still the team's all-time leading rusher with 8,545 yards.

6. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

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6. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant Lakers
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Kobe Bryant has spent his entire career with the Lakers and could go down as the best player ever to wear the purple and gold when his career is over. In his 18-year career with the Lakers, Bryant has won five championships, has been named to 16 All-Star teams and is a two-time NBA Finals MVP.

5. Jerry West, Los Angeles Lakers

Jerry West Lakers
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5. Jerry West, Los Angeles Lakers

Jerry West Lakers
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Nicknamed "Mr. Clutch" for his knack for coming up big when it mattered most, Jerry West led the Lakers to the NBA Finals nine times in his prolific 14-year career, winning once in 1972. His work as Lakers GM also brought the Lakers unprecedented success with Magic Johnson in the 1980s and Shaquille O'Neal in the early 2000s.

4. Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers

Sandy Koufax Dodgers
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4. Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers

Sandy Koufax Dodgers
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The Los Angeles Dodgers or Major League Baseball may never have a more dominant pitcher than Sandy Koufax. As one of the greatest left-handed pitchers ever, he recorded three Cy Young Awards, three World Series championships and four no-hitters, including a perfect game, with the Dodgers.

3. Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings

Wayne Gretzky Kings
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3. Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings

Wayne Gretzky Kings
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Unquestionably the greatest hockey player ever, Wayne Gretzky spent eight of his 20 NHL seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. Gretzky netted 246 goals during his Kings tenure and led L.A. to its first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in franchise history in 1993. More importantly, he helped popularize hockey in Los Angeles.

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, UCLA Bruins, Los Angeles Lakers

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Lakers
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2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, UCLA Bruins, Los Angeles Lakers

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Lakers
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The NBA's all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spent the final 14 years of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He played a key role in the Lakers' five titles in the 1980s and also helped propel UCLA to three consecutive national championships from 1967 to 1969. During his time with the Bruins, Abdul-Jabbar was known as Lew Alcindor.

1. Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers

Magic Johnson Lakers
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1. Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers

Magic Johnson Lakers
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Drafted by the Lakers with the No. 1 overall pick in 1979, Earvin "Magic" Johnson spent each of 13 years in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers. He led the Lakers to five titles in the 1980s and became the first rookie to be named NBA Finals MVP.

Brian Kalchik is a Detroit Lions writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, and add him to your network on Google+.