New Jersey has produced a plethora of outstanding athletes, some more than others, and producing a list of the most notable athletes from each of the state's 21 counties was no simple assignment. Scroll through the slideshow to see our list, and let us know who we left off and who we got right in the comments.
The most famous athlete in New Jersey is without a doubt Joe Namath, who played quarterback for Rutgers University and began his professional football career with the NFL's Super Bowl II Champion New York Jets. He is considered by many to be the greatest quarterback never to win the Heisman Trophy. Namath is also known for saying "I am" when asked if he would sign with the Los Angeles Rams after they moved to L.A.. The NFL banned him from football for one year because he had tested positive for marijuana use.
Other notable athletes from New Jersey include Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Christie, Diana Taurasi, Lauren Jackson, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Misty May Treanor.
Of the 21 counties in New Jersey, Hunterdon County has the highest number of athletes on its roster with five. Ocean County comes in second with four athletes, followed by Burlington County with three athletes. Other counties with two or more athletes include Atlantic, Bergen, Camden, Cape May, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren.
Baseball's Mike Trout (Millville), soccer's Carli Lloyd (Delran), football's Joe Flacco (Audubon), and track's Carl Lewis are all South Jersey natives (Willingboro).
Other notable South Jersey natives include actor Charlie Sheen (Edenville), basketball players Walt Bellamy (Camden) and Al Harrington (Haddonfield), baseball players Gil Hodges (Cedar Grove) and Vince Coleman (South Amboy), football player Eric Dickerson (Hamilton Township), tennis player Venus Williams (Ventnor City), and gymnast Mattie Larson (Woodbury).
South Jersey has produced many other notables including actors John Travolta, Robert De Niro, and Sylvester Stallone (Pompton Lakes), singer Janet Jackson (Philadelphia), rock musicians Bruce Springsteen (Springdale), Steven Van Zandt (Brick), and Billy Joel (New York City), tennis players Monica Seles (Vineland), Andy Roddick (Pennsauken), and James Blake (Atlantic City), and football players Tony Dorsett (Wallington), Mel Blount (Brooklyn), and Lawrence Taylor (Jersey City).
In addition, South Jersey is the home of two Presidents of the United States: Thomas Jefferson (Port Republic) and George Washington (Mount Ephraim).
Here are the top eight most renowned sports jersey numbers.
Athletes Rochester, like other cities, has its fair share of renowned (and not-so-famous) athletes. Walter Hagen in golf, Johnny Antonelli in baseball, Brian Gionta and Ryan Callahan in hockey, Thomas Bryant in the NBA, Abby Wambach in soccer, and Jon "Bones" Jones in mixed martial arts are among the greatest names. Many more people could be listed.
Rochester has a reputation for producing some outstanding athletes. In sports such as ice hockey, basketball, and football many local players have made names for themselves at the college and professional levels.
In boxing the largest audience usually watches the events held in Las Vegas, but you can find fans in every state in the Union watching their favorite boxers on TV. Youngsters in Rochester especially like to watch heavyweight champion Michael Tyson fight because he's from there. Local heroes Joe Louis, James Jeffries, and Henry Armstrong are also revered.
In addition to these great athletes, Rochester is home to several prominent figures who aren't actually from Rochester but who still deserve recognition: humorist Dave Barry, actors John Larroquette, Bill Moseley, and Frank Sinelli, musicians Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, and others.
Of course, not everyone who lives here becomes an athlete or celebrity. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, managers, bankers, marketers, salespeople, drivers--these are just some of the other jobs available in Rochester.
Although the NBA abandoned New Jersey a few years ago, it does not mean the state has ceased producing many of its greatest players. Some of the sport's luminaries learnt to play on our playgrounds and for our high school teams. Of course, ranking them is nearly impossible. You could argue that there has never been a better player than Michael Jordan but then again you could say the same about Moses Malone, Bill Walton, and Al Jefferson.
The top five players from New Jersey are:
1. Walt "Clyde" Frazier - The first player taken in the 1969 NBA Draft (the year before the draft started), Clyde Frazier played only three seasons before being killed in a car crash at the age of 26. He remains one of only two players who have ever scored 2,000 points in a career. Without a doubt, he is the best player produced by New Jersey sports teams.
2. Larry Hughes - One of the most underrated players in NBA history, Hughes was an all-star guard who led his team to the playoffs every season he played for the New Jersey Nets. He also won an Olympic gold medal with the United States national basketball team in 2004. The last time anyone from New Jersey made the All-Star Game was in 2003 when Hughes was selected as a reserve.