Texas is the second-largest state in the United States and there are plenty of reasons to love it. it is home to rodeo fans as well as country music. If you have ever been to Texas, you should know that it is a city that is all about sports. May it is professional football, basketball, hockey, or anything else, Texas has been breeding sports players since it came into existence. Each of these players has one way or the other contributed their share to make Texas as famous as we see it today. So let’s take a look at some legends that Texas has created.
Emmitt James Smith III is an American Professional Football Player who was involved with the National Football League for 15 consecutive seasons as a running back during the 1990s and 2000s. He was mostly associated with the Dallas Cowboys. Plus, he is a three-time Super Bowl champion and tends to be the league’s all-time leading rusher. A key factor that differentiates Emmitt Smith from other Texas-born legends is that he was selected in the first round of the 1990 NFL draft.
He ran a total of 18,355 yards during his professional career and broke Walter Payton’s record as well. At the moment, he is the only running back to have won a Super Bowl championship, the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the NFL rushing crown, and the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award all in the same season.
When it comes to his playing style, Smith was described as someone who was effective but not dazzling. He was not that fast or deceptive but effectively followed his blockers and could not be stopped. He was also known as an athlete that had powerful legs, spectacular balance, and excellent vision.
George Foreman is an American Professional Boxer who was known as “Big George”. With hands of steel, Foreman defeated most of his opponents during his professional career and lost only 5 times. Furthermore, he is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. George Foreman was someone who had quite a disturbing childhood.
Growing up, he took up amateur boxing and made his way to the 1968 Summer Olympics, where he earned his first and last gold medal. Then, after turning professional the next year, he won the world heavyweight fight against Joe Frazier who was undefeated at the time. It was a stunning second-round knockout. Moving on, he was able to defend his belt twice before being defeated professionally by Muhammad Ali in the all-time legendary and iconic Rumble in the Jungle match in 1974.
George Foreman has earned several accolades during his lifetime. He was ranked amongst the 10 best heavyweights 17 times, the third-most in history, and inducted in the hall of fame, etc. After his loss to Jimmy Young in 1977, George Foreman hung his boxing gloves and now lives as a successful entrepreneur.
Nolan Ryann is a former American Major League Baseball player and a pitcher who has pitched for the New York Mets, Houston Astros, California Angels, and Texas Rangers during his 27-year long professional career. It was in 1999 that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Ryan got his reputation from throwing right-handed pitches that clocked above 100 miles per hour. Unlike many others, Ryan maintained his velocity during the entire career. Furthermore, Ryan has a lifetime record of 324-292 and was also an eight-time MLB All-Star.
Nolan Ryan is the only player to have played in more seasons than any other player in modern major league history. He ranks first all-time in strikeouts, no-hitters, and the fewest hits allowed per nine innings. He is also ranked fifth in innings pitched, seventh in shutouts, and is tied for 14th in wins. Although critics have tried to balance his positive and negative statistics over the years but failed. His accomplishments and performance on the ground overtook any flaws and made them look dry, forcing the critics to accept that he was the best of his time.
Lance Armstrong is a professional road racing cyclist. Known for winning the Tour de France seven consecutive times, he was and is the most successful cyclist in the world. While winning the Tour de France seven times was one thing, he recovered from testicular cancer, which earned him even more respect in the professional world.
However, Armstrong’s reputation was tarnished when he was involved in a doping scandal and raised several doubts about his achievements all from 1998 to Tour de France titles. Although Lance Armstrong had a very successful career but he was mostly surrounded by doping allegations. The investigations became serious when his former teammate Floyd Landis whose 2006 Tour de France victory was nullified that several cyclists consumed performance-enhancing drugs including Lance Armstrong.
Talking about Armstrong’s physical attributes, he was recorded with an anaerobic capacity of 83.8 mL/kg/min, which is much higher than the average person but lower than the Tour de France winners. While he was at his peak, his heart rate was recorded at 32-34 beats per minute with a maximum heart rate of 201 bpm.
Ben Hogan was an American professional golfer who is regarded as one of the greatest golf players in the history of the game. He is known for his profound influence on the golf swing theory and his legendary ball-striking ability. During his career, Hogan won nine professional major championships that tied him with Gary Player for fourth all-time. Furthermore, he was one of only five players who won all four majors including, the PGA Championship, the Masters Tournament, The Open, and the U.S Open.
Hogan is described as one of the greatest ball strikers who ever played golf. Even though he had a record of 64 PGA tour victories in his hat but his ball-striking ability took the top spot. He was also known to out-practice his opponents and was known to have invented “practice”. Although Hogan’s swing was arguably the best at the time, it did not come easy. Hogan stated that he enjoyed hitting balls for hours during the day and never got tired. He used many theories and techniques until he reached his greatest period of success.
Mike Modano is an American former professional ice hockey player who is the all-time goal-scoring and points leader amongst American-born players in NHL history. He is credited with popularizing hockey in Texas and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2017, he was named amongst the 100 Greatest NHL Players. Mondano played for Dallas for roughly around 20 years and won a Stanley Cup as well. He has scored over 1000 points during his career. In 2011, Modano announced his retirement from hockey at a press conference in Dallas. Today, Modano is remembered as the be3st hockey player to come out of or pass through Texas.
Michael Shawn Hickenbottom usually referred to as Shawn Michaels from his ring name is an American retired professional wrestler. He was regarded as one of the best wrestlers in history. He wrestled consistently during his WWF career but retired in 1998 due to a back injury. Over the years, Michaels has earned many positive reviews on his matches from the critics. He was described as one of the greatest wrestlers in history.
His famous fight against Ric Flair was named Match of the Decade by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. After giving the fans what they wanted and especially WrestleMania, he was being termed, Mr. WrestleMania. Furthermore, Shawn Michaels was a rival to Bret Hart and was named one of the best rivalries in WWE history. 8 years after retiring, he returned to the ring and received a huge amount of criticism both from the fans and media.
Today, he continues his journey by opening a wrestling academy and has published many books associated with wrestling. In the end, he was a two-time AWA world tag team champion, four-time world champion, three-time WWF champion, world heavyweight champion, and much more.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin is described as one of the greatest athletes from Texas and most influential wrestlers of all time. In total, Steve Austin held 19 championships including a six-time WWF Champion, a two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion a four-time WWF Tag Team Champion, and a one-time Million Dollar Champion in WWE.
While in WCW, he was a two-time WCW World Television Champion, a two-time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, a one-time WCW World Tag Team Champion, and a one-time NWA World Tag Team Champion. During his professional career, Steve Austin was regarded as the greatest wrestler even though the likes of Hulk Hogan still existed. He shared the stage with Dwyane Johnson, Ric Flair, John Cena, and The Undertaker.
Initially, during the early years of his wrestling career, Steve Austin was a technical recruiter. However, he had his neck injured in 1997 and changed his style to the brawler. In the ring, he was described as someone who would always cuss and defy the company rules. He came up with the famous idea of celebrating in the ring by drinking and pouring beer.
Texas was and is home to the greatest football players in history and Earl Campbell was no exception. He was one of the very few players who showcased class and excellence at every stage of his career from high school to the pros. While he was enrolled and playing for John Tyler High School, he led them to the state championship and was named the national high school player of the year as well.
While he was at the University of Texas, he won the Heisman Trophy as a senior and was selected as the No.1 NFL draft pick. Furthermore, he was a five-time Pro Bowler and was twice named the league MVP. While his records and accomplishments were one thing, his tough and strong all-out physical dominance was another.
When it comes to rodeo, Trevor Brazile is the best Texas has witnessed. Brazile held the record for the most PRCA world champion titles with winning his 25th in 2019. He also holds the record for the most World All-Around Cowboy Championship titles at 14. In addition to that, in 2008, he also became the first PCRA cowboy to cross the $3 million mark in career earnings. He is the only Texas athlete whose components could not even come close to what he has achieved in his career.
This concludes our list of the top 10 Texas-born athletes of all time. Considering the athletes above, it can be said that Texas goes a long way when it comes to breeding and producing some of the best talents out there. From Emmitt Smith to George Foreman, Texas has made a name for itself in almost every sport.