Can You Guess Which States Produce the Most Professional Athletes?
Sports fans place a lot of focus on professional athletes. We talk about what type of training they perform, their sports supplements, their latest flings and more. Well, today we have a bit more discussion for you!
We are going to take a look at professional athletes in the United States as a whole to answer the question: “Which states produce the most professional athletes?” We will review some statistics and then break down which states produce the most professional athletes overall, dictate which states are in the lead in specific sports and offer a brief description of a few of the most prominent professional athletes in each state. While these guys used athletic aids like football gloves and compression gear, their amazing talent also helped them secure a spot in professional sports. Without further ado, here are the states responsible for producing the majority of professional athletes:
Not only is Washington, D.C. home to our nation’s capital, it's also home to our professional sports capital. That’s right, Washington, D.C. is responsible for pumping out the most professional athletes in the United States. Washington, D.C. produces about 53 professional athletes per 100,000 residents. According to the latest U.S. Census, Washington, D.C. is inhabited by about 700,000. The stats dictate that our nation’s capital has produced about 360 professional athletes! If you’re wondering who some of these guys are, let’s talk about the most successful athletes from D.C.
Robert Griffin III is one of the most successful quarterbacks in professional football today. He is currently playing with the Baltimore Ravens, but up until recently, he was playing with the Washington Redskins near his home in D.C. At the young age of just 28 years old, he has caught plenty of attention in the professional league, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year and becoming a hot commodity on the football field.
If you watch professional basketball, chances are you hear the name Kevin Durant often. Kevin is one of the most decorated players in professional basketball today. He has earned Rookie of the Year, league MVP, finals MVP and has been to the championship finals several times over. He is a regular on the all-star teams to boot. What most people don’t know is that while growing up in D.C., his main motivation was to get out of there. “I wanted to get out. I didn’t want to be around. No disrespect to anybody back at home, but my mom, she wanted me to see the world. She wanted me to see a different part of the country, and she didn’t want it to be a quick flight, either,” Durant told the Washington Post. Regardless of his motivations, they have served to earn him his spot as one of the top forwards in the league. With so much talent at a young age still, he is on a path that will lead to the hall of fame for sure.
Bryce currently plays professional baseball as a right fielder for his hometown team–the Washington Nationals. Bryce entered the professional league at just 19 years old. That same year he hit 22 home runs! Maybe it’s something in that D.C. water.
Mississippi is also another major breeding ground for our nation’s professional athletic talent. Mississippi generates an average of about 30 professional athletes per 100,000 residents. Given its population of nearly 3 million residents, the numbers are pretty staggering. Mississippi is definitely a football state, however, given that 20 out of those 30 professional athletes that the state produces are football players. Let’s look at some of the most prominent professional athletes from Mississippi.
Brett hails from the small town of Gulfport, Mississippi. As a son of a prominent football coach, Brett has been garnering attention for his football ability since he’s been wearing youth football gloves. He became one of the most notable quarterbacks in the professional football league. As a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, Brett earned the title of MVP three times and won a Super Bowl championship. In 2016, Brett Favre set another record for giving the longest speech at his hall of fame induction ceremony.
A native of Starkville, Mississippi, Jerry Rice is another example of the state’s ability to pump out excellent football players. Jerry is arguably the best receiver in the history of our professional football league. Rice has had some great stats in his 20-year career, he’s caught 1,549 passes and rushed for 22,895 yards. His efforts as a receiver resulted in a whopping 197 touchdowns or roughly 10 touchdowns per season! Jerry is one of the most decorated players in the history of the league. He is the victor of three Super Bowls, a Hall of Famer, played in 13 Pro Bowls and named all-star in 10 different seasons.
Jerry’s feats on the gridiron have even inspired Capitol Hill to proclaim September 30th as Jerry Rice Day! Jerry cites his humble hometown of Starkville as a motivating factor in all of his success. He mentions that regardless of his accomplishments, he always remained hungry and wanted to keep improving. Good for you, Jerry!
This state is also up there on the list of major breeding grounds for professional athletes. Louisiana has produced about 26 professional athletes per 100,000 residents. With a population of about 4.7 million people, that is a sizable portion of professional athletes. A massive portion of those athletes are football players–about 18 of every 26 professional athletes coming from Louisiana. So, who are some of these athletes, you ask? Let’s take a look.
The New Orleans native blazed the gridiron with his incredible speed: He ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash and covered the entire length of a football field in just over 10 seconds! He played and made a major impact on the Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams football teams. Marshall has earned just about every award you can think of on the football field. His list of accolades includes Super Bowl champion, league MVP, 3-time Offensive Player of the Year and 7-time Pro Bowl player, just to name a few.
If you’ve been watching professional basketball since the Dream Team era, you’re probably familiar with Clyde Drexler. Although he played for the Portland Trailblazers, Drexler is a native to New Orleans. Drexler is considered one of the all-time greats in our professional basketball league and was a part of the legendary 1992 Olympic Dream Team alongside greats like Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. Clyde made his mark on the court with 10 All-Star appearances and the 1995 championship.
Missouri is another hub for talent with a focus on baseball. Missouri produces 9.8 professional athletes out of every 100,000 residents. Out of those 9.8 professional athletes, 9.4 of them go into professional baseball. Missouri is home to 6.1 million residents, which means they pump out a massive amount of baseball players. It’s no wonder the St. Louis Cardinals have the second highest amount of World Series victories within the professional baseball league. Who are some of these baseball studs from Missouri? Let’s find out.
This St. Louis native grew up idolizing the hometown Cardinals team. He watched and played baseball his whole life and is now a professional baseball player. Although he is a fan of the Cardinals, he occasionally plays against them on the Washington Nationals team. Scherzer is a phenomenal pitcher, and just the sixth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a single season. He is one of the few pitchers to ever throw an immaculate inning (consecutively struck out all the opposing players at bat without a single hit recorded). While still a young athlete at the age of 33, Scherzer has carried on the St. Louis tradition of excellence in professional baseball via his status as a 3-time All-Star player and ties the professional league record for most strikeouts in a single game (20).
Ryan Howard spent the majority of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies. With 12 years in the league, he has amassed an impressive 382 home runs. He was also a World Series Champion in 2008, a 3-time All-Star and the recipient of a league MVP award. He is also the fastest player to reach the 100- and 200-home run milestones in the history of the league. There must be something about St. Louis that produces sluggers.
Last, but definitely not least, on the list is Ohio. Ohio produces just over 22 professional athletes per 100,000 residents on average. With a population of 11.6 million residents, it’s safe to say they’ve got their own little professional sporting dynasty going on. A majority of these professional athletes are actually football players,10 out of every 22 professionals coming from Ohio. Let’s take a look at some of their greatest:
Charles Woodson was a phenomenal football player, to say the least. His legacy began before he played professional ball. He was the first and only defensive back to win a Heisman trophy in college football. His professional career was about as successful as they come. He earned a Super Bowl championship, 9 Pro Bowl appearances, Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year, to name a few. Charles has often stated, “I didn’t choose football, football chose me.” Considering he was known for showing up late to practice and having a less-than-stellar work ethic, chances are he was right!
We cannot talk about professional athletes from Ohio without discussing King James. The Akron native was one of the few basketball players to go into the pros straight out of high school. He is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the absolute best players in the league today. So how did he get such a title? LeBron is a 3-time finals champion (also winning the finals MVP concurrent with each of those victories), he’s also a 4-time league MVP, Rookie of the Year and a 14-time All-Star, to name a few.
One of the greatest aspects of LeBron’s game is his approach to fitness. LeBron stays in shape and works hard all year round. While training at such a high intensity, recovery is always a challenge but with the help of compression gear and his passion to play, LeBron can recover very quickly. Another major strength of LeBron’s game is his low-post ability. His size and strength give him the ability to maneuver his way to the basket, steamrolling his opponents along the way.