North Dakota may not get all of the recognition that states like California, Texas, and New York do, but that doesn't mean that a few famous athletes haven't come from our state. Here are five famous athletes who spent time growing up in North Dakota.


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    Phil Jackson - Williston

    Phil Jackson is best known for being the head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers during their NBA title runs, but few people know that he actually graduated from Williston High, where he led the team to two state titles.

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    Roger Maris - Fargo

    Hall of Famer Roger Maris played 12 seasons in the big leagues and held the record for most homeruns in a season, 61, until Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke it in 1998. Maris was born in Minnesota, but moved to Fargo in 1946. He graduated from Shanley.

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    Darin Erstad - Jamestown

    Born and raised in Jamestown, Darin Erstad spent 14 years in the majors. He hit 124 homeruns and knocked in 699 RBIs during his career. Erstad became the head baseball coach at Nebraska in 2011.

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    Travis Hafner - Sykeston

    Born in Jamestown, though he grew up in Sykeston, Travis Hafner has spent the last ten years in the majors, mainly with the Cleveland Indians. Hafner has hit 213 homeruns in his career.

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    Jim Kleinsasser - Carrington

    Jim Kleinsasser spent twelve years in the NFL, all of which he played for the Minnesota Vikings. Born in Carrington, Kleinsasser was twice named the Gatorade Circle of Champions North Dakota Player of the Year. He went on to play four years at UND.