Some become legends in their sport thanks to a career of success; others only need one iconic moment to go down in the history books. While many athletes may play elsewhere, they all call somewhere home.
Below we've put together a list of the greatest athlete from every state. States represent where the athlete was born or where the athlete is most closely associated (e.g., Michael Jordan is more closely associated with North Carolina than his birth state, New York).
Take a look below and see the most iconic athlete from your home state.
The most iconic athlete born in each state
The most iconic athlete born in each state
Alabama: Hank Aaron
One thing to know: Known as "Hammerin' Hank," Hank Aaron is one of the greatest baseball players that ever lived, holding the career home run record for 33 years before Barry Bonds broke his mark of 755. Aaron was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama.
Other greats from the state: Bo Jackson, Willie Mays, Charles Barkley, Evander Holyfield, Carl Lewis
(AP Photo/Harry Harrris, File)
Alaska: Lance Mackey
One thing to know: Born in Fox, Alaska, Lance Mackey was the first dog sled racer to win the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod in the same year, and has won both races four times each in his career.
Other greats from the state: Curt Schilling, Mark Schlereth
(AP Photo/Al Grillo)
Arizona: Kerri Strug
One thing to know: Kerri Strug became an instant legend at the 1996 Olympics, when she boldly fought past an injured ankle to perform her final vault, sticking the landing to seal gold for the American team over Russia. She was born in Tuscon, Arizona.
Other greats from the state: Charles Hickcox, Darren Woodson, Sean Elliott, Curley Culp
(Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
Arkansas: Scottie Pippen
One thing to know: Scottie Pippen was a key member of two of the greatest teams the sport of basketball has ever seen: the 90s Chicago Bulls and the original Dream Team. With the former, he won six NBA championships, and with the latter, two Olympic gold medals. He was born in Hamburg, Arkansas.
Other greats from the state: Sonny Liston, Cliff Lee, Lou Brock
(Photo by Icon Sportswire)
California: Tom Brady
One thing to know: While plenty of impressive athletes were born in the sunshine state, it's tough to argue that any has surpassed the accomplishments of Tom Brady. As quarterback of the New England Patriots, he's won six Super Bowls, taking MVP honors in four of those championship games. He's also won three league MVP awards, two of which game a full decade apart. Brady was born in San Mateo, California.
Other greats from the state: Tiger Woods, Joe DiMaggio, Mark Spitz, Barry Bonds, Jeff Gordon
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Colorado: Roy Halladay
One thing to know: "Doc" Halladay became a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2019, and with good reason. As a member of the Phillies, Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in MLB history in 2010, and later that year, threw the second no-hitter in postseason history in Game 1 of the NLDS. He was born in Denver, Colorado.
Other greats from the state: Jack Dempsey, Chauncey Billups, Matt Hasselbeck, Vincent Jackson
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Connecticut: Jeff Bagwell
One thing to know: Jeff Bagwell played all 15 years of his MLB career with the Houston Astros. He was named NL MVP in the 1994 season and was selected to the All-Star Game four times. While he was born in Boston, Bagwell's family moved to Killingworth, Connecticut just after his first birthday.
Other greats from the state: Dwight Freeney, Floyd Little, Marcus Camby
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Delaware: Elena Delle Donne
One thing to know: Elena Delle Donne won the WNBA scoring title in 2015 and was named MVP for her impressive season. She's been an All-Star in six of the seven seasons she's played in the league. Delle Donne was born in Wilmington, Delaware.
Other greats from the state: Delino DeShields, Mark Eaton
(Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Florida: Deion Sanders
One thing to know: "Prime Time" Deion Sanders is the only man in history to have played in both a Super Bowl and a World Series. While he's best remembered for his accomplishments as a running back, his most impressive feat might have come in 1992, when he played in the MLB and NFL in a span of less than 24 hours. Sanders was born in Fort Myers, Florida.
Other greats from the state: Emmitt Smith, Ray Lewis, Steve Carlton, Chipper Jones
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Georgia: Jackie Robinson
One thing to know: Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball when he became the first African American to play in the majors. His contributions to the sport are so appreciated that his number, 42, has been retired across the league. Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia.
Other greats from the state: Ty Cobb, Jim Brown, Sugar Ray Robinson, Bobby Jones, Calvin Johnson, Cam Newton
(AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
Hawaii: Duke Kahanamoku
One thing to know: Duke Kahanamoku first gained notoriety when he qualified for the U.S. Olympic swimming team in 1912, winning a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle. In his post-swimming career, Kahanamoku's surfing exhibitions helped to popularize the sport across the world. He was born in Honolulu.
Other greats from the state: Michelle Wie, Bethany Hamilton
Idaho: Picabo Street
One thing to know: Born in Triumph, Idaho, Picabo Street fulfilled her hometown's name at the 1998 Winter Olympics, taking gold in the Super-G.
Other greats from the state: Harmon Killebrew, Merril Hoge, Jake Plummer, Heather Moody
(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Illinois: Dwyane Wade
One thing to know: Dwyane Wade won three NBA championships over the course of his 16-year career, all as a member of the Miami Heat — one as the league's leading scorer in 2006, and two more as member of the "Big 3" alongside LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2012 and 2013. He was born in Chicago, Illinois.
Other greats from the state: Anthony Davis, Isiah Thomas, Rickey Henderson, Shannon Sharpe, Dick Butkus
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Indiana: Larry Bird
One thing to know: Larry Bird played all of his 13 seasons in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, winning three NBA championships. He was named league MVP three consecutive seasons between 1984-1986. Bird was born in West Baden Springs, Indiana.
Other greats from the state: Tony Stewart, Chuck Klein
(AP Photo/Paul R. Benoit)
Iowa: Kurt Warner
One thing to know: Kurt Warner didn't make it during his first run at the NFL, going undrafted in 1994 before joining the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League. He would make the most of his second chance, joining the St. Louis Rams in 1998 and leading the "Greatest Show on Turf" of 1999 to a Super Bowl win to cap his MVP season. Warner was born in Burlington, Iowa.
Other greats from the state: Zach Johnson, Shawn Johnson, Dan Gable
(Photo by Elsa Hasch /Allsport via Getty Images)
Kansas: Barry Sanders
One thing to know: Barry Sanders played for the Detroit Lions through the entirety of his 10 years in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl in every season of his career. He won NFL MVP in 1997 and lead the league in rushing four times. Sanders was born in Wichita, Kansas.
Other greats from the state: Gale Sayers, Walter Johnson
(Photo credit JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Kentucky: Muhammad Ali
One thing to know: One of the greatest champions the sport of boxing has ever known, Muhammad Ali was known for his astounding knockout power and his wickedly sharp mind. Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky.
Other greats from the state: Wes Unseld, Phil Simms, Rajon Rondo
(AP Photo/John Rooney, File)
Louisiana: Peyton Manning
One thing to know: Peyton Manning won two Super Bowls — one with the Colts, and one with the Broncos — during his 18 seasons in the NFL, and is remembered as one of the masters of the hurry-up offense. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Other greats from the state: Odell Beckham Jr., Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Maine: Ian Crocker
One thing to know: Before Michael Phelps took the Olympics by storm, Ian Crocker was the world-record holder in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly, as well as the 100-meter freestyle. He won five Olympic medals during his career, and was the first man to break the 51-second mark in the 100-meter butterfly. Crocker was born in Portland, Maine.
Other greats from the state:Cindy Blodgett, Joan Benoit
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Maryland: Michael Phelps
One thing to know: Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, winning 28 medals during his career, 23 of them gold. At the Beijing Games, Phelps broke fellow American Mark Spitz's record by winning eight gold medals at one Olympics. Phelps was born in Baltimore, Maryland.
Other greats from the state: Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken Jr., Kevin Durant, Doug Flutie
(AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)
Massachusetts: Rocky Marciano
One thing to know: Rocky Marciano is one of the greatest boxers of all time, and remains the only heavyweight in history to have retired undefeated as champion. Marciano was born in Brockton, Massachusetts.
Other greats from the state: Aly Raisman, Tom Glavine, Mickey Ward
Michigan: Serena Williams
One thing to know: Possibly the most dominant player the tennis world has ever seen, Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slams as a singles player and 39 overall. While Williams was raised in California, she was born in Saginaw, Michigan.
Other greats from the state: Magic Johnson, Bill Hewitt, John Smoltz, Draymond Green, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Minnesota: Lindsey Vonn
One thing to know: Lindsey Vonn is one of just two women to have won four World Cup overall championships in alpine skiing, and won gold in the downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Vonn was born in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Other greats from the state: Larry Fitzgerald, Kevin McHale
(AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
Mississippi: Jerry Rice
One thing to know: Jerry Rice is widely considered the greatest receiver in NFL history, winning three Super Bowls over the course of his 20 years in the league. Despite the rush of offense the NFL has seen in recent years, Rice still holds records for career receptions (1,549), career receiving yards (22,895), career receiving touchdowns (197), total touchdowns (208), and career all-purpose yards (23,546). He was born in Starkville, Mississippi.
Other greats from the state: Walter Payton, Archie Manning, Brett Favre, Steve McNair
(AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)
Missouri: Yogi Berra
One thing to know: Yogi Berra played 19 seasons in the majors, winning 10 World Series titles as a player and named an All-Star 18 times. Outside of his baseball prowess, Berra is known for his witticisms including "I never said most of the things I said" and "It's like deja vu all over again." He was born in St. Louis, Missouri.
Other greats from the state: Tom Watson, Jake Arrieta, Max Scherzer, Carl Edwards
Montana: Phil Jackson
One thing to know: Phil Jackson won two NBA championships as a player with the New York Knicks in 1970 and 1973, and would go on to become one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport, leading the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers to a combined 11 titles. Jackson was born in Deer Lodge, Montana.
Other greats from the state: Ryan Leaf, Pat Donovan, Bill Linderman
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Nebraska: Bob Gibson
One thing to know: Bob Gibson played 17 seasons in the majors, winning two World Series titles and two Cy Young awards. He's one of just 17 pitchers to record more than 3,000 strikeouts in their career. Gibson was born in Omaha, Nebraska.
Other greats from the state: Joba Chamberlain, Wade Boggs
(Photo by Louis Requena/MLB via Getty Images)
Nevada: Andre Agassi
One thing to know: Andre Agassi won eight Grand Slam titles as a singles player, as well as a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics. He's one of just five men's players to have won a career Grand Slam in the Open era. Agassi was born in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Other greats from the state: Steven Jackson, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Bryce Harper
(Photo credit HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
New Hampshire: Jenny Thompson
One thing to know: Jenny Thompson competed at four different Olympics Games, winning 12 medals through her career, eight of them gold. While Thompson was born in Massachusetts, she spent the majority of her childhood in Dover, New Hampshire.
Other greats from the state: Bode Miller, Brian Wilson, Greg Landry
(Photo by Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
New Jersey: Shaquille O'Neal
One thing to know: Shaquille O'Neal won four NBA championships during his 19-year career, dominating underneath the basket as few players ever have in history. Since his retirement from basketball, O'Neal has found success as a commentator as a part of the "Inside the NBA" crew on TNT. He was born in Newark, New Jersey.
Other greats from the state: Derek Jeter, Mike Trout, Joe Theismann, Dennis Rodman, Michael Bradley, Victor Cruz
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
New Mexico: Mike E. Smith
One thing to know: Mike E. Smith has been one of the best jockeys in the world for nearly 30 years, with an astounding 26 Breeders' Cup wins. He's best known for riding Justify to a Triple Crown victory in 2018, where he became the oldest jockey to ever win the Triple Crown at age 52. Smith was born in Dexter, New Mexico.
Other greats from the state: Holly Holm, Arian Foster, Tommy McDonald
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
New York: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
One thing to know: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was named an All Star in 19 of his 20 NBA seasons, winning six titles during his career with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. He was born in New York City.
Other greats from the state: Lou Gehrig, Sandy Koufax, Julius Erving, Jon "Bones" Jones
(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
North Carolina: Michael Jordan
One thing to know: While Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, his family moved to North Carolina when he was just a toddler, and is considered a native of the Tar Heel State. Jordan is either the greatest or second-greatest basketball player who has ever lived depending on who you ask, but his talent and superstardom broke new ground for the league.
Other greats from the state: Sugar Ray Leonard, Madison Bumgarner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale Earnhardt Sr.
(Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
North Dakota: Roger Maris
One thing to know: Roger Maris played 12 seasons in the majors, winning three World Series in his time with the Yankees and Cardinals. In 1961, he set the single-season home run record with 61 four-baggers on the year, a high mark that would stand until Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa broke it in 1998. Maris was born in Minnesota, but his family moved to North Dakota when he was just four years old.
Other greats from the state: Carson Wentz, Jim Kleinsasser, Rick Helling, Chris Coste
(Photo by Ray Matjasic/Sporting News via Getty Images)
Ohio: LeBron James
One thing to know: LeBron James has been the best basketball player on the planet for nearly 20 years, and to some has surpassed Michael Jordan as the greatest of all time. After initially leaving his home team of Cleveland to take his talents to South Beach, James returned to the Cavaliers to bring the city a championship in 2016. While he plays for the Lakers now, he'll always be "just a kid from Akron."
Other greats from the state: Simone Biles, Jack Nicklaus, Cy Young, Pete Rose, Cris Carter
(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
Oklahoma: Mickey Mantle
One thing to know: Mickey Mantle played his entire career with the New York Yankees, winning seven World Series titles with the team. He also won the batting triple crown in 1956, leading the majors in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Mantle was born in Spanivaw, Oklahoma.
Other greats from the state: Jim Thorpe, Blake Griffin, Matt Kemp
(Photo via Bettmann via Getty Images)
Oregon: Danny Ainge
One thing to know: Before he was the mastermind general manager in Boston, Danny Ainge played 14 seasons in the NBA, winning two championships with the Celtics in 1984 and 1986. Ainge was born in Eugene, Oregon.
Other greats from the state: Steve Prefontaine, Ndamukong Suh, Tonya Harding
(Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Pennsylvania: Wilt Chamberlain
One thing to know: Wilt Chamberlain holds a wide range of NBA records, but is probably best known for being the only player in history to score 100 points in a single game. Chamberlain was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Other greats from the state: Kobe Bryant, Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Ken Griffey Jr., Honus Wagner, Arnold Palmer
(AP Photo/Paul Vathis)
Rhode Island: Nap Lajoie
One thing to know: Nap Lajoie was one of the early greats when it came to baseball sluggers, leading the early iterations of the American League in batting average five times. He remains 13th on the all-time hits list with 3,243. Lajoie was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
Other greats from the state: Bill Osmanski, Davey Lopes, Miguel Cotto
(GHI/Universal History Archive via Getty Images)
South Carolina: Joe Frazier
One thing to know: "Smokin'" Joe Frazier reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion for four years, including a gold medal win at the 1964 Olympics. He's likely best known for his trilogy of epic fights against Muhammad Ali. Frazier was born in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Other greats from the state: Dustin Johnson, Roddy White, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Jermaine O'Neal, Khris Middleton, Kevin Garnett
South Dakota: Brock Lesnar
One thing to know: Brock Lesnar became one of the biggest draws in the UFC during his reign as heavyweight champion in the company. He has also worked as one of the most dominant wrestlers in WWE for nearly 20 years. Lesnar was born in Webster, South Dakota.
Other greats from the state: Adam Vinatieri, Dallas Clark, Becky Hammond, Terry Francona
(Photo by John Palmer/MediaPunch/IPx)
Tennessee: Wilma Rudolph
One thing to know: Wilma Rudolph was one of the stars of the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy, taking gold in the 100- and 200-meter individual events as well as the 4x100-meter relay. She was born in Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee.
Other greats from the state: Reggie White, Mookie Betts, Pat Summit
Texas: Nolan Ryan
One thing to know: Nolan Ryan played 27 seasons in the majors, finishing his career with 5,714 strikeouts — nearly 1,000 more than any other player in history. He was born in Refugio, Texas.
Other greats from the state: George Foreman, Lance Armstrong, Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ben Hogan, Eric Dickerson
(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)
Utah: Steve Young
One thing to know: Steve Young played 13 of his 15 NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, winning three Super Bowls and two MVP awards during his time in the league. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Other greats from the state: Denise Parker, Byron Scott
(Photo credit D. ROSS CAMERON/AFP/Getty Images)
Vermont: Hannah Teter
One thing to know: Hannah Teter won gold in the women's halfpipe at the 2006 Winter Olympics, followed by a silver medal at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. She was born in Belmont, Vermont.
Other greats from the state: Carlton Fisk, John LeClair
(Photo via AP)
Virginia: Arthur Ashe
One thing to know: Arthur Ashe became the first black player selected for the U.S. Davis Cup team in 1963. Through the course of his career, he would lift the trophy at the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, and the Australian Open. The main stadium at Flushing Meadows Park, host of the U.S. Open, is named in his honor. Ashe was born in Richmond, Virginia.
Other greats from the state: Sam Snead, Allen Iverson, Lawrence Taylor, Moses Malone, Michael Vick
Washington: John Stockton
One thing to know: John Stockton played 19 seasons as point guard for the Utah Jazz, making 10 All Star Games and leading the Jazz to the NBA Finals twice in 1997 and 1998. He was born in Spokane, Washington.
Other greats from the state: Hope Solo, Drew Bledsoe, John Elway, Apolo Anton Ohno
(Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
West Virginia: Randy Moss
One thing to know: Randy Moss led the NFL in receiving touchdowns five times during his 14 seasons in the league, and set the single-season record for receiving touchdowns in 2007 with 27. He was born in Rand, West Virginia.
Other greats from the state: Jerry West, Mary Lou Retton, Mike D'Antoni
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images)
Wisconsin: J.J. Watt
One thing to know: J.J. Watt is one of the most imposing players in the NFL, having taken home honors as the best defensive player in the league three times in his career with the Houston Texans. In addition to his success on the field, Watt has earned praise for his good works, raising millions of dollars in aid after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of the south in 2017. Watt was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Other greats from the state: Colin Kaepernick, Phil Kessel, Danica Patrick, Eric Heiden
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Wyoming: Boyd Dowler
One thing to know: Boyd Dowler won five NFL championships as a wide receiver with the Green Bay Packers, including the first two Super Bowls to ever be played. He was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Other greats from the state: Chris Cooley, Lance Deal
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