Many athletes aspire to create a legacy for themselves. Athletes compete for their entire careers to win championships and to be remembered for their abilities on the field. For some, a place in the hall of fame for their respective sport is reward enough. Meanwhile, some have their jersey numbers retired or a stand of the stadium renamed in their honor. But which sports stars are best remembered by having streets dedicated to them?
Betting.com analyzed over 6.5 million streets across the United States, cross-referencing against a seed list of over 2,000 athletes across all major sports in the US. The data was broken down by sport and state to produce a list of the most commemorated streets in America.
Top five all horses, Secretariat best remembered
Long held to be the greatest racehorse of all time, the most remembered sporting star is the 1973 American Triple Crown winner Secretariat. With 247 streets named in his honor, the horse is over twice as popular as the second-place equine, and long-time stable mate, Riva Ridge. Despite being the only horse in the top five not to complete the Triple Crown, he is still remembered fondly by the American people, with 119 roads named in his honor. Three more horses close out the top five, with War Admiral edging ahead of Seabiscuit to finish in fifth place behind Affirmed and Seattle Slew.
Only four members of the top ten are human: Hogan, Palmer and Snead all represent golf with appearances in the top ten. Winning a combined 208 PGA Tour titles between them, as well as 25 major championships, means their names live long in the memory of all golfers. With 122 streets dedicated to the three at golf courses all over the country, they continue to dominate the sport.
Golf dominates the human top ten
With seven of the top ten comprising golfers, it leaves little room for anyone else to break into the best-commemorated list. NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt finishes fifth, his name immortalized after his fatal accident at Daytona in 2001. 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus is sixth with 17 roads, with three of those dedicated to him in Alaska – a state more known for its snow than sunshine.
Jim Brown is the sole football player to break into the top ten, with his work in the civil rights movement cementing his legacy. Mickey Mantle leads the way for the MLB, with the 7-time World Series winner claiming two streets for each of his wins.
Most commemorated sports
Boasting stars such as Secretariat and Riva Ridge, it’s unsurprising that horse racing is the most commonly featured sport. Over 36% of all sporting streets are named after horses, while football ranks second, taking 28% of the streets – no doubt helped by the extensive college sports network. Baseball takes bronze, with players like Babe Ruth (eleven streets) and Jackie Robinson (nine streets) helping boost the total to outscore the high individual scores that earned golf fourth place overall.
Jim Brown isn’t the only notable name to have streets dedicated to him. Joe Montana can visit a street bearing his name in Missouri, while long-time coach and pundit Jimmy Johnson can be seen on 7 street signs across the states of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
In the NBA, greats such as Jerry West and Charles Barkley have streets named after them, while Larry Bird has earned street names in his native Indiana as well as Rhode Island.
Six streets can be visited that have been named in honor of boxing legend Muhammed Ali, with most in his native Kentucky and New Jersey, where he lived in the early 1970s. Gymnastics star Mary Lou Retton’s five Olympic medals earned her streets in Texas and West Virginia, while in Tennessee Mark Spitz Drive honors the 11-time Olympic medal-winning swimmer.
Texas hosts the greatest number of sporting streets
|State||Sporting Streets||% Sporting Streets|
Host to 206 streets, Texas commemorates more sports stars than any other. The most popular star in the state is Riva Ridge (13 streets) followed closely by Texas native Ben Hogan (10 streets). Second place North Carolina holds the memory of Dale Earnhardt close with 8 streets named after the man from Kannapolis.
Florida has 20 of their 114 roads dedicated to Secretariat, the horse accounting for 18% of all sporting streets in the state. When you consider all the horses listed, they account for close to 50% of Florida’s total – unsurprising seeing as the Florida Derby is often seen as the forerunner to the world-famous Kentucky Derby.
Tennessee has the most varied list of streets in the top five states, with its top athletes only earning three street names each and racehorse Affirmed coming out at the top.
Host of the most famous horse race on earth, Kentucky sporting streets are unsurprisingly dominated by horses. Secretariat (17 streets) and Riva Ridge (11 streets) both make double figures, with horses overall making up close to 50% of the streets.
Betting.com analyzed over 6.5 million streets across the United States, cross-referencing against a seed list of over 2,000 athletes across all major sports in the US. The seed list was pulled from Hall of Fame inductees as well as notable championship or medal winners to give the most comprehensive list possible. This gave a dataset of over 1,700 streets named after athletes. The data was broken down by sport and state to produce a list of the most commemorated streets in America. Results were analyzed to remove as many duplicate results as possible where athletes share names with other people of note.