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9 Great Athletes You Didn't Know Were From Michigan

By: Megan Sauer




The state of Michigan is often overlooked when it comes to athletics. In every division year after year,sportscasters place betson teams like Alabama, Oregon, and Florida to steal away titles that rightfully belong to Michigansports teams.It seems as if praise for our teams fizzles quicker than it generates because even when our teams are doing well, everyone sits back and waitsfor our inevitable demise.

Fear not, sports fans. There are stillplentyof reasons to support the Great Lakes State. With athletes representing the Mittenfar and wide, how could anyone NOT be a fan ofMichigan sports? To reviveyour faith in Michigan athletics, here are 9 great athletes who started their monumentalathleticcareersin thegreat state of Michigan.


1. Earvin "Magic" Johnson

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Earvin "Magic" Johnson, although best know for his professional career as a point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, hails from Lansing, Michigan. He attended Everett High School and then went on to play for Michigan State University. As a Spartan, he won the NCAA Championshipsand was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 1979. As a consensus first-team All American, he was drafted as a first round pick for the Lakers, and in 1981 signed what was the highest playing NBA contact of all time. He retired in 1991, butreturnedtocaptureanOlympictitle asa member of the "dream team" in 1992.Today hestill holds the highest average for assists per game in the NBA.

2. Kirk Gibson


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Kirk Gibson, also a graduate of Michigan State University, is a two-time World Series Champion from Pontiac, Michigan. His athletic career, however,wasn't sparked by a love of baseball.Initially, Gibson was All-American widereceiverfor the Michigan State Football team, but when his football coach, Darryl Rogers, suggested he should play collegiate baseball, he decided to give it a shot. After achieving a .390 batting average with 52 RIBs and16 homeruns in his first season, he was drafted as a first round pick for the Detroit Tigers baseball team. As a Tiger, Gibson wasnotoriousfor stealing bases and hitting homeruns to clinch wins for his team. He won his first World Series as a Tiger in 1984. Despiteall of hisremarkableaccomplishmentsasa Tiger, Gibson is best known for his single appearance in the 1988 World Series as a Los Angeles Dodger, whenhe overcame injuries in both legs to hit the winning homerun in the first game in the series against the Oakland Athletics. The Dodgers went on to win the series, givingGibsona second World Series title.



3. Floyd Mayweather


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Floyd Mayweatherwas born into a family of boxers in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1977.With an undefeated professional record, he is now considered the greatest professionalboxer of his time. Among some of major career achievments are three Golden Glove Championship titles in 1993, 1994, and 1996, and a 1996 Olympic bronze medal.


4. Serena Williams


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One of all-time greatest women's tennis players in the world, Serena Williams, was born in Saginaw, Michigan. Since her 1995 professional debut, she has won the French Open three times, and the Australian Open, the US Open, and Wimbledon six times. She also won a total of 13 major tournaments from 1999-2012 when she played doubles along side of her sister, Venus Williams. Today, Serena is best known for her high risk style and powerful serve, both of which are said to be thegreatestin all of women's tennis history.


5. Michael Phelps


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Shortly after his first Olympics in 2000, Maryland-native Michael Phelps relocated with coach Bob Bowman to Ann Arbor, Michigan. The transition ignited his career, as he went on to win eight medals in the following 2004 Olympics.Phelps now has over 20 Olympic medals, 18 of which are gold. He completed his fifth Summer Games in Rio and is currently the most decorated Olympian of all time.

6. Derek Jeter



Barton Silverman, courtesy of the New York Times

Before Derek Jeter was a five time World Series Champion, he grew up in Kalamazoo, Michiganand signed a letter of intent to play ball for the University of Michigan. He played with the New York Yankees for 20 seasons andacquired a plethora of accolades for which he is now considered one of the best professional baseball players of his time.He is the Yankee's all time career leader in at bats, plate appearances, hits, doubles, stolen based, and plateappearances. He retired in 2014, but is still the all time MLB leader in hits by a short stop.

7.Meryl Davis and Charlie White


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IcedancersMeryl Davis and Charlie White grew up ten minutes partin Royal Oak, Michigan. The 2014 Olympic Gold Medalists are the United States' longest lasting ice dancing team, and currently hold the world record for the high score in the short dance and in the total programs' score. With the conclusion of theirStars On IceTour, both will hang up their skates tocompletetheir respective degrees at the University of Michigan.

8. Jordyn Weiber


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As a member of the USA's gymnastics "dream team," JordynWeiberfrom DeWitt, Michiganwon a 2012Olympic Gold medal in the team competition. She also was the 2011 World Champion in theindividual all-around event as wellas a the team event asmember of the United States' gymnastics team. She retired in 2015 to complete her collegiate education at UCLA.

9. Tom Brady


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Tom Brady grew up in San Mateo, California as an avid 49ers fan, but that all changed when he was recruited to play quarterback for the University of Michigan. After winning two bowl games as a Wolverine,Brady went on to lead the New England Patriots tosixSuper Bowls. Bradyhas thrown more passing yards and touchdowns than any quarterback in post season history, and is considered by many to be among the best quarterbacks of all time.Among his outstanding number ofachievements in his 17seasonsof professional footballare two league MVP awards, 13 division titles, and four Super Bowl titles.