There's a difference between loyalty to the home team--athletes
imported to play for our local colleges and pro franchises--and
the deep emotional bond we share with hometown heroes, the local
legends we knew back when. They are the boys and girls from next
door, or the next town. We watched them grow up, watched them
play when it was still play. Unfortunately, these luminaries are
almost inevitably dispersed because of sport's mercenary nature,
lured away by scholarships or contracts. Well, we're bringing 'em
all back home for the millennium--not necessarily to where they
were born, but to where they first showed flashes of the
greatness to come. Thus, Broadway Joe is in Pennsylvania, not
Alabama or New York; and the Mailman is in Louisiana, not Utah.
The result: the top 50 from your state and, on the following
pages, a list of those from all 50 states. In short, the ultimate
Lettered 13 times at Manhasset High; All-America at Syracuse in
football and lacrosse in 1956; ran for 12,312 yards in nine years
Led Power Memorial Academy to 71 straight wins; three straight
national titles at UCLA; six-time NBA MVP scored record 38,387
Sugar Ray Robinson
Middleweight was first boxer to win a world title five times;
career record of 175-19-6.
Batted .340 with 493 home runs and 1,995 RBIs in 17 years with
Yankees; played in then-record 2,130 straight games.
ABA sensation wound up leading 76ers to 1982-83 NBA title;
league MVP in '80-81.
From 1963 through '66 went 97-27 with 1.86 ERA and 1,228
strikeouts for Dodgers--then retired, at 30; four no-hitters.
Coached Packers to six conference championships, five NFL crowns
and two Super Bowl titles from 1959 to '67.
Finished season as No. 1 tennis player in the world three times;
won four U.S. Opens (1979-81, '84) and three Wimbledons ('81,
'83-84); played on five Davis Cup champions.
Coached Pitt to two national championships and a 59-12-4 mark
from 1915 to '23.
Back-to-back Wimbledon and U.S. singles titles in 1957-58.
Eastern District High hoops star coached Celtics to eight
straight NBA titles (1959-66); 1965 Coach of the Year went
1,037-548 over career.
Winner of two U.S. Opens, four British Opens and five PGA
Championships between 1914 and '29; had 40 PGA Tour wins.
First baseman was AL home run king four times, including
career-high 58 in 1938; two-time league MVP.
Bears quarterback passed for seven touchdowns in one game in
1943; played in five NFL title games in seven seasons.
In 1926 became first woman to swim English Channel; cut nearly
two hours off men's mark.
Penn State football coach since 1966 has won more bowl games (19)
than any other coach; won national championships in 1982 and '86.
Heavyweight champion from 1926 to '28 after beating Jack Dempsey
in 10-round decision.
Hit .334 over 16 years in majors; managed Giants to 10 pennants
and three World Series from 1902 to '32.
Point guard for Holy Cross's 1946-47 NCAA championship team; led
NBA in assists eight straight times with Celtics.
Won four pennants and three world championships as A's second
baseman in 1910s; batted .333 in 25-year career.
NBA commissioner since 1984; revitalized league with TV
contracts and collective bargaining agreement.
One of four golfers with career Grand Slam; famous for double
eagle on 15th hole of last round of 1935 Masters that forced
Played baseball at Syracuse; was AFL commissioner when it merged
with NFL; owns Raiders.
In Basketball Hall of Fame as player and coach; most career wins
by NBA coach.
Executive director of MLB players' union revolutionized salary
system; steering players toward unrestricted free agency and
Three-time All-America point guard at Old Dominion; youngest
member of 1976 silver medal U.S. women's Olympic team.
New HYDE PARK
First Olympian to win four gold medals in the same event--the
discus--from 1956 through '68; set world record four times.
Knocked out Freddie Welsh for lightweight title in 1917; held
belt for eight years; 85-5-1 career mark.
ABC Sports president created Wide World of Sports and Monday
Two-time national Golden Gloves champ won Olympic middleweight
gold in 1952; became two-time heavyweight champion of the world.
Most wins by a lefty (363); won 20 or more 13 times with Braves;
1957 Cy Young winner; threw 63 shutouts; tossed two no-hitters
after turning 39.
Red Sox leftfielder finished with 3,419 hits and 1,844 RBIs; won
1967 Triple Crown (.326, 44 homers and 121 RBIs).
Won 1968 Olympic long jump with leap of 29' 21/2" beating world
record by nearly two feet.
Yankees lefthander was Cy Young winner in 1961; alltime World
Series win leader, with 10.
Youngest heavyweight champion won title at 20 in 1986; jailed
for rape in '92; regained belt in '96.
Won heavyweight weightlifting gold medal at 1948 and '52
Olympics; set 19 world records in career.
Won three straight NCAA 200-meter backstroke titles; 1984
Olympic gold medalist in 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and
4X100 medley relay.
Revolutionized tight end play by making 331 catches for 5,238
yards over 10-year NFL career.
All-America at Kentucky in 1966; drafted by NBA and NFL; played
nine NBA seasons, then coached Lakers to four titles.
Led Erasmus Hall High to 1961 New York City basketball title;
won '67 NBA title with 76ers; three times All-NBA.
One-wall handball player won 15 National Outdoor titles (nine
singles and six doubles) from 1982 to '94.
Pro guard for 1945-46 and '50-51 league champion Rochester
Royals; coached Knicks to two NBA titles.
Won Indianapolis 500 in 1915; won 2,557 of 2,889 races over
Playground basketball legend; ABA MVP 1967-'68; four-time NBA
All-Star in seven seasons.
Basketball star averaged 18.5 points and 11.3 rebounds for
Nationals and 76ers from 1948 to '64; played in 764 consecutive
Infielder helped Giants win four straight pennants and two
World Series; 1931 NL MVP.
Won four state basketball titles at Christ the King; four-time
All-America led Tennessee to three NCAA championships.
Won four NCAA titles at Illinois; world gymnastics champ twice;
coached men's U.S. Olympic team in 1972, '84 and '88.
Had 100 wins each at three colleges--St. John's, North Carolina
and South Carolina.
World middleweight champion (1947-48) known for three brutal
brawls with Tony Zale; 67-10-6 (52 KOs) for career.
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: COVER ILLUSTRATION BY DANIEL PELAVIN COVER [New York edition]SPECIAL DOUBLE ISSUE THE 50 GREATEST SPORTS FIGURES FROM NEW YORK AND EVERY OTHER STATE 1900 2000
B/W PHOTO: CORBIS/BETTMANN #2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar