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Top 15 Texas Sports Heroes

The Top 15 Texas Sports Heroes

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In Texas, sports are easily considered to be a religion, and the state has seen plenty of great sports figures and teams in the past and in the present. From the Dallas Cowboys, America's most hated team, to the San Antonio Spurs, America's most unheralded team, Texas has a little bit of everything to offer in the sports world. There are many sports heroes in the state of Texas, but these 15 are the best of them all.

15. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker Spurs
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15. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker Spurs
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Another foreign-born player that has thrived for the Spurs, Tony Parker has easily been the best point guard that San Antonio has ever had. A first-round pick in 2001, Parker is one of the main reasons why the Spurs have won four NBA Championships since 2003. During his career, Parker has been a six-time All-Star, a three-time All-NBA Second Team selection and the 2007 NBA Finals MVP.

14. Clyde Drexler, Houston Cougars, Houston Rockets

Clyde Drexler Rockets
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14. Clyde Drexler, Houston Cougars, Houston Rockets

Clyde Drexler Rockets
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A standout player for both the Houston Cougars and the Houston Rockets, Clyde Drexler helped both Houston programs reach the championship game. As one of the leading faces of Phi Slamma Jamma, Drexler teamed with Olajuwon to get the Cougars to the 1983 NCAA Tournament Final. After a trade from Portland, Drexler was reunited with Olajuwon as the Rockets won their second consecutive NBA Championship in the 1995 season.

13. Michael Irvin, Dallas Cowboys

Michael Irvin Cowboys
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13. Michael Irvin, Dallas Cowboys

Michael Irvin Cowboys
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The playmaker for the Cowboys' dynasty in the 1990s, Michael Irvin was the inspirational leader of the Cowboys. In his 12-year career, all with Dallas, Irvin's teams made the playoffs nine times. Irvin was a five-time Pro Bowler and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

12. George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs

George Gervin Spurs
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12. George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs

George Gervin Spurs
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Known appropriately as "The Iceman," George Gervin was the Spurs' first true superstar and helped gain the organization national prominence. In his 12 seasons with the Spurs, Gervin was a nine-time All-Star, a five-time All-NBA First Team selection and a four-time NBA scoring champion.

11. Tony Dorsett, Dallas Cowboys

Tony Dorsett Cowboys
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11. Tony Dorsett, Dallas Cowboys

Tony Dorsett Cowboys
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The winner of the Heisman Trophy in 1976 at Pittsburgh, Tony Dorsett was acquired by the Cowboys in a draft-day trade in 1977 with Seattle and it definitely paid off. In his first season with Dallas, Dorsett helped the Cowboys win their second Super Bowl of the decade against Denver 27-10. Before Emmitt Smith's arrival in 1990, Dorsett was the franchise's best running back in their team's history.

10. David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs

David Robinson Spurs
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10. David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs

David Robinson Spurs
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Before Tim Duncan's arrival, David Robinson was the franchise's best big man. Robinson was able to get the Spurs to multiple postseason berths without much help around him. With Duncan joining the team in the 1997-98 campaign, the Spurs' most successful period in team history began. In his 14-year career, all with San Antonio, Robinson made 10 All-Star Games and won two NBA Championships.

9. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki Mavericks
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9. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki Mavericks
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The greatest player in Dallas Mavericks' history, Dirk Nowitzki is also widely regarded as one of the best international players of all-time. Acquired in a draft-day trade with Milwaukee in 1998, Nowitzki helped turn the Mavericks from a mediocre franchise to one of the best run organizations today. In his 16-year career, Nowitzki guided the Mavs to their only two NBA Finals appearances, earning Finals MVP in their 2011 victory over Miami.

8. Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys

Troy Aikman Cowboys
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8. Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys

Troy Aikman Cowboys
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The most successful quarterback in Cowboys history, Troy Aikman was the starting quarterback for each of Dallas' three Super Bowl titles in the 1990s. One of the most accurate passers in NFL history, Aikman is the franchise's all-time leading passer with 32,942 yards and made six Pro Bowls in his 12-year career, all with Dallas. During their Super Bowl runs, Aikman had a touchdown to interception ratio of 17 to 4.

7. Earl Campbell, Texas Longhorns, Houston Oilers

Earl Campbell Texas
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7. Earl Campbell, Texas Longhorns, Houston Oilers

Earl Campbell Texas
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Before becoming a Hall of Fame running back with the Houston Oilers, Earl Campbell was a star running back for the Texas Longhorns. In college, Campbell was a two-time All-American in 1975 and 1977 and was the winner of the 1977 Heisman Trophy winner. Drafted No. 1 overall in 1978 by the Oilers, Campbell helped Houston reach back-to-back AFC Championship games in 1978 and 1979. Campbell was the NFL MVP from 1978-1980.

6. Nolan Ryan, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers

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6. Nolan Ryan, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers

Nolan Ryan Rangers
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In Nolan Ryan's 27-year Hall of Fame career, he spent 14 of those seasons with two Texas teams in the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. During those years, he never missed a start and made three All-Star teams, two with Houston. Ryan also had three of his seven career no-hitters on Texas teams, two with the Rangers. After his playing days, Ryan returned to the Rangers as President and CEO where he helped Texas reach the World Series twice.

5. Bob Lilly, Dallas Cowboys

Bob Lilly Cowboys
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5. Bob Lilly, Dallas Cowboys

Bob Lilly Cowboys
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The first-ever draft pick in Dallas Cowboys' history, Bob Lilly is the most decorated defensive player in franchise history. Lilly, often regarded as the greatest defensive tackle of all-time, helped the Cowboys win their first Super Bowl (VI) and recorded a 29-yard sack against Miami. In his 14-year career, all with the Cowboys, Lilly started all 196 games he played in and made 11 Pro Bowl appearances.

4. Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Cougars, Houston Rockets

Hakeem Olajuwon Rockets
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4. Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Cougars, Houston Rockets

Hakeem Olajuwon Rockets
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The No. 1 overall pick in the famed 1984 NBA Draft, Hakeem Olajuwon went from the Houston Cougars, his college team, to the Houston Rockets. As a member of the Cougars, Olajuwon guided Phi Slamma Jamma to back-to-back NCAA Championship game appearances in the 1983 and 1984 seasons. With the Rockets, Olajuwon helped Houston reach three NBA Finals appearance, winning their first two NBA Championships in the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

3. Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys

Roger Staubach Cowboys
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3. Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys

Roger Staubach Cowboys
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Roger Staubach has many nicknames, like "Captain Comeback" and "Roger the "Dodger," and he lived up to his monikers as the leader of the Dallas Cowboys. After beating out Craig Morton early on in his career, Staubach led the Cowboys to the postseason seven times in eight seasons as the primary starter. The former Heisman Trophy winner at Navy helped the Cowboys win their first two Super Bowls (VI and XII).

2. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

Tim Duncan Spurs
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2. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

Tim Duncan Spurs
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The face of the San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan has stayed loyal to the Spurs ever since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 1997. In his 17-year career, Duncan's teams have made the playoffs in each and every season, winning five NBA Finals series and appearing in six. Duncan has been a 14-time All-Star and a three-time NBA Finals MVP.

1. Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys

Emmitt Smith Cowboys
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1. Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys

Emmitt Smith Cowboys
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The NFL's all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith guided the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles in four seasons from 1992-95. The most valuable member of "The Triplets," Smith made eight Pro Bowl appearances in his 13 seasons with the Cowboys and rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 11 seasons. Smith was named NFL MVP and Super Bowl XXVIII MVP in the 1993 season.

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+.