10 Best Professional Athletes Born in Georgia

Ricky FrechCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2011

10 Best Professional Athletes Born in Georgia

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    Georgia is a state with quite a few athletes that could represent it on this list. The state isn't quite up to the same level of Florida or California in sheer numbers, but it can more than hold it's own.

    With that said, this list boasts one of the strongest top 10s that I've put together. How strong is it? Read on to find out.

Honorable Mentions

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    Chone Figgins (MLB), Forrest Griffin (UFC), Jeff Saturday (NFL), Josh Smith (NBA), Frank Thomas (MLB) and Hines Ward (NFL).

No. 10: Calvin Johnson

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    Born

    Newnan 

     

    Sport

    Football

     

    Position

    Wide Receiver

     

    Notable Achievements

    1-time Pro Bowler, 1-time All-Pro, 2006 Biletnikoff Winner

     

    It was a tough decision to put Johnson over Hines Ward, but in the end I went with his potential over Ward's body of work. On athletic ability alone Calvin Johnson is one of the best receivers I've ever seen.

    He's already put up 270 catches and 33 touchdowns. If he can keep that pace he should be well on his way to having better career numbers than even Hines Ward.

No. 9: Dwight Howard

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    Born

    Atlanta

     

    Sport

    Basketball

     

    Position

    Center

     

    Notable Achievements

    3-time Defensive Player of the Year, 5 time All-Star, 5 time All-NBA team.

     

    Already in his young career Dwight Howard has shown that he's the best center in the NBA. His defensive ability cannot be matched on the low blocks, as his three straight DPOTYs attest.

    This past year he's also begun to add some offensive moves to his repertoire, making him a better all-around player. If he can keep up this pace and maybe add a championship or two he could move up this list in the future.

No. 8: Hulk Hogan

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    Born

    Augusta

     

    Sport

    Wrestling

     

    Notable Achievements

    12-time World Heavyweight Champion, most iconic wrestler of all time

     

    Let's be honest, even if you don't care a lick for sports entertainment, you know who Hulk Hogan is. The man put pro wrestling on the map in the 80s and early 90s.

    There simply aren't many young boys out there who grew up during that time that weren't "Hulkamaniacs." Even though his sport is fixed, you simply can't leave out the Michael Jordan of the WWE.

No. 7: Champ Bailey

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    Born

     Folkston

     

    Sport

    Football

     

    Position

    Cornerback

     

    Notable Achievements

    10-time Pro Bowler, 6-time All-Pro, 2-time Defensive Back of the Year.

     

    There probably hasn't been a cornerback better than Champ Bailey in the last decade. In his prime he could easily completely shut down his side of the field and at 33 he's still one of the best shut down corners in the NFL.

    His 48 career receptions put him among the best and are more than good for a spot on this list.

No. 6: Sugar Ray Robinson

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    Born

    Ailey 

     

    Sport

    Boxing

     

    Notable Achievements

    1950s "Fighter of the Decade," 173-19-6 career record.

     

    Read that again, 173-19-6. That number blows my mind to think that someone could be that good for that many fights.

    I'm not the biggest boxing fan, but when Muhammad Ali calls you "his idol" and Sugar Ray Leonard says you're "the best ever," it's safe to say you're a pretty good boxer.

    Robinson was the man who popularized the term "pound-for-pound" because, regardless of weight class, he could beat anybody. 

No. 5: Walt Frazier

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    Born

    Atlanta

     

    Sport

    Basketball

     

    Position

    Point Guard 

     

    Notable Achievements

    2-time NBA Champion, 7-time All-Star, 6-time All-NBA team, 7-time NBA Defensive Team.

     

    When most people think of the 1970s Knicks teams that won a few championships they think of Willis Reed and his heroic game 7 performance. But did you know Frazier had 36 points and 19 assists in that game?

    Frazier was the ultimate floor general with his elite quickness, floor vision and size. He was also a superb defender, turning the steal into an art form. In 1987 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, making him a lock for this list.

No. 4: Jackie Robinson

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    Born

    Cairo

     

    Sport

    Baseball

     

    Position

    Second Baseman

     

    Notable Achievements

    6-time All Star, 1955 World Series Champ, 1949 NL MVP, broke the color barrier in professional baseball becoming the first black MLB player of the modern era

     

    Almost everyone in the world knows Jackie Robinson. His bravery in the face of racism made him the face of a race when he first entered the majors.

    Add to that the fact that this first ballot Hall of Famer had his number retired by the entire MLB and you have a man more than worthy of this spot.

No. 3: Bobby Jones

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    Born

    Atlanta

     

    Sport

    Golf

     

    Notable Achievements

    Winner of 13 Majors, 1930 Grand Slam champion.

     

    Bobby Jones was never a professional golfer, but even as an amateur, he routinely beat the pros of his era. His professional career as a lawyer forced him to compete on a part-time basis and he retired at 28.

    But he was still able to accomplish more than many other pro golfers do in an entire career. Oh, and he also helped design the course at Augusta and co-founded the Masters Tournament. 

No. 2: Herschel Walker

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    Born

    Wrightsville

     

    Sport

    Football

     

    Position

    Running Back

     

    Notable Achievements

    2-time Pro Bowler, 2-time All-Pro

     

    Walker was one of the greatest college running backs to ever pick up the football. As a result, he left college early and joined the USFL.

    He dominated that league for three years until it folded and then went to the NFL, where he just kept racking up yards.

    Upon retiring he had accumulated over 18,000 total yards from scrimmage, good enough for second place on that list at that time.

    We can't ever truly know how good he would of been had he gone straight to the NFL after college, but he still ranks as one of the best ever at his position.

No. 1: Ty Cobb

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    Born

    Narrows

     

    Sport

    Baseball

     

    Position

    Outfielder

     

    Notable Achievements

    Set 90 MLB records during his career, voted into the baseball Hall of Fame's inaugural class.

     

    Ty Cobb was by far the best hitter of his day. He captured at least 11 batting titles, posted a batting average over .400 three times, has the second most hits ever and the second most runs scored.

    And that's only the tip of the iceberg that is this man's career. If you want to keep going he's not only a great hitter, but a great runner with 892 steals (third best all time) and 54 steals of home (most all-time).

    I could literally go on and on, but I think you get the point. He's one of the best baseball players ever and more than deserves the top spot on Georgia's list.