9 athletes you probably didn’t know were from New Orleans

New Orleans is known for its incredible music, amazing food and dynamic festivals and celebrations – specifically Mardi Gras. But the city has also produced some legendary athletes. Here are nine sports figures you might not have known hailed from the Big Easy.

Audrey Patterson

Audrey Patterson was the first African-American woman to win an Olympic medal, winning bronze in the 200-meter dash at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. She was a multi-time national and international champion in the 100- and 200-meter races. Patterson founded Mickey’s Missiles, a track club that produced multiple Olympic sprinters, in 1965. She was inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

The Manning Family

Football’s first family. The patriarch Archie Manning spent most of his career as the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints after being drafted second overall in 1971. He was unfortunately one of the lone bright spots on an era of bad teams; the Saints had nine losing seasons with him under center, and reached .500 just once. Luckily, his sons fared much better in the NFL.

Archie’s eldest son Cooper was a star wide receiver in high school but was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which ended his playing days. Peyton Manning assumed his older brother’s jersey number and has become one of the best quarterbacks of all-time. Peyton was the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and led the Indianapolis Colts to a win in Super Bowl XLI. He also led the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl appearances in the past three years. He is a five-time league MVP and holds multiple career and single-season records.

Lastly, the runt of the family, Eli Manning, stepped out from his brothers’ shadows and made his own name. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2004 draft and led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl wins, winning the game’s MVP award both times.

Clyde Drexler

Clyde “The Glide” Drexler is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. A 10-time All-Star, Drexler spent most of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers, setting the franchise’s all-time scoring mark, before winning an NBA title with the Houston Rockets in 1995. Drexler was known as an acrobatic dunker and is one of just three players in NBA history to have career totals of 20,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists.

Mel Ott

“Master Melvin” Ott was the first National League player to surpass 500 career home runs. He was an All-Star for 11 consecutive seasons and won a World Series with the New York Giants in 1933. Ott was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951. He also managed the Giants for seven seasons, and his number “4” was retired by the organization in 1949

Marshall Faulk

A seven-time Pro-Bowl selection and a member of the 1999 Super Bowl-champion St. Louis Rams, Marshall Faulk was one of the most versatile running backs in NFL history. He is the only player in league history to amass 12,000 yards rushing and 6,000 yards receiving. Faulk was a key member of “The Greatest Show on Turf” Rams offense, and totaled a then-record 2,429 yards from scrimmage in 1999. Faulk won the MVP award in 2000, the Offensive Player of the Year award three straight years from 1999-2001 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson was known as “The Little General” during his time with the San Antonio Spurs because of his diminutive stature and leadership skills. He was the point guard on the franchise’s 1999 NBA-title team, and had his number “6” retired by the organization. Johnson went on to become a successful coach. With the Dallas Mavericks, he was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2006 after leading the team to its first NBA Finals appearance. Johnson currently coaches the Alabama Crimson Tide men’s basketball team.

Reggie Wayne

Reggie Wayne spent his entire 14-year NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts, and was a member of the Super Bowl XLI championship team. He ranks seventh in all-time NFL receptions and eighth in receiving yards. Wayne was a six-time Pro-Bowler and is a member of the 1,000-catch and 10,000-receiving yards clubs.

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