Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

NC's 5 Greatest Athletes

Posted August 11, 2010

North Carolina has produced a lot of great athletes.  Who are the best of the bunch?  A few guidelines - let's confine our choices to athletes who lived in NC most of their lives. Michael Jordan, for example, was born in Brooklyn but grew up in Wilmington. So he counts.

Some of my personal favorites are David Thompson, Michael Jordan, Catfish Hunter, Gaylord Perry, Roman Gabriel and Julius Peppers.

Who are the five greatest athletes in NC history? If you need something to get you started you might want to check out the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.


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  • dbledsoe Aug 16, 2010

    Don't forget Pete Maravich...

  • ECU4lyf Aug 12, 2010

    although he wasn't born and raised here, i'll have to add Jim Thorpe, he did play baseball in Rocky Mount for a period of time.
    Michael Jordon, Sonny Jurgenson, Meadowlark Lemon, David Thompson....just my top 5, there are a lot more that I could add to this list, very hard to sit down and pick 5.

  • gator nation gal Aug 11, 2010

    Besides your picks how about: Don McCauley, Walter Davis, Choo Choo Justice, Catfish Hunter, Billy Ray Barnes.

    Although you may not consider them "athletes" what about the very talented Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal (Harlem Globetrotters)?

    Also, don't forget that Arnold Palmer started making a name for himself at Wake Forest University.

  • go fish Aug 11, 2010

    Michael Jordan, David Thompson, Catfish Hunter, Sugar Ray Leonard, Dale Earnhardt

  • wballanceunc Aug 11, 2010

    I know Josh Hamilton is a feel good story and he is very good but are we ready to add him to a list of "greatest of all time."

  • lynneslaughter Aug 11, 2010

    1. Catfish Hunter 2.Roman Gabriel 3.Richard Petty 4.Enos Slaughter 5. Michael Jordan

  • Kathleen Aug 11, 2010

    Five greatest athletes in NC history:
    Josh Hamilton
    Michael Jordan
    James Worthy
    Buck Leonard
    David Thompson

  • enter capsule Aug 11, 2010

    Mia Hamm, Richard Petty, Sugar Ray Leonard, Josh Hamilton, Jim Hunter.

  • uzzle81 Aug 11, 2010

    Josh Hamilton, Neal Lancaster, Barry Foote, Catfish Hunter, David Thompson. (Notice that Smithfield is represented fairly well in my top 5.

  • normson7 Aug 11, 2010

    I know that it's not a stick-n-ball sport, but what about Richard Petty?




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