19 Big-Name Sports Pros From Long Island

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Sue Bird

Four Olympic gold medals, three WNBA titles, and two NCAA championships at UConn…not to mention this Syosset native is an 11 time all-star that’s been the thunder and lightning of the Seattle Storm since 2002.


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Jim Brown at the Cleveland Browns New Uniform Unveiling. Photo by Erik Drost

The last time the Cleveland Browns won it all they had Jim Brown to thank in 1964. The three time MVP and Manhasset raised fullback is considered one of the greatest NFLers of all time with his nine year, exclusively orange and brown career.


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Wayne Chrebet, former wide receiver for the New York Jets, right, was in attendance at the Super Community Blood Drive on Jan. 14, 2014 at the Super Community Blood Drive in the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, N.J. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Armando Vasquez, NJDMAVA/PA)

Technically a Jersey boy, Chrebet earned his Long Island stripes as a wide out for Hofstra University’s football program (yes that existed) from 1991-94. After going undrafted in 1995, Chrebet walked on to the New York Jets during the team’s training camp at Hofstra. He put up 10 standout years with gang green before being inducted into the Jets’ ring of honor after his 2005 retirement.


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President George W. Bush speaks with Bob Costas of NBC Sports during an interview Monday, Aug. 11, 2008, while attending the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. White House photo by Eric Draper

It seems as if every captivating sporting event in the past 40 years has been narrated by this Suffolk County hall of fame broadcaster. This Commack native’s own trophy case includes National Sportscaster of the Year in addition to more than 20 Emmy Awards. Achieving his own triple crown, Costas is also the only broadcaster in history win an Emmy for sports, news, and entertainment.


Julius Erving

After crossing over from East Meadow to both Roosevelt in Hempstead in adolescence, the four times MVP small forward would later return to the turnpike when he had a stint with the New York Nets at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum from 1973-76. Erving won it all in 1983 with the Philadelphia 76ers, the team he would retire with four years and over 30,000 points later. Dr. J was known for his raucous slam-dunks and inducted into the hall of fame in 1993.


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The NFL Today’s Boomer Esiason during the Super Bowl XLI pre-game show in Miami, Fla. in 2007. (Photo by Staff Sgt Kristi Machado, USAF)

Long before he commanded the morning airwaves on WFAN, Norman Julius Esiason was quarterbacking the New York Jets as well as the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals from 1984-97. Although the East Islip native never won a Super Bowl, he was a four time pro-bowler and won the AFC with Cincy in 1988.


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Mike Francesa at Radio Row (Photo by Thomson200)

If you couldn’t tell by the way he takes ‘cawlers’ on his afternoon show, Francesca is about as Long Island as it gets. After Mike found his years upon years of success on WFAN he remained in Nassau County, relocating to Manhasset. Known best for being a know it all, Mike is arguably the most known voice in sports radio worldwide.


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Alan Hahn. Photo by Nahearon

This St. Anthony’s High School grad and Smithtown native has been the studio face of the New York Knicks on MSG Network for years. Additionally, Hahn had gone back and forth with ex-Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro during their ESPN radio show, ‘Hahn and Humpty’ for some years as well.


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Harris in October 2017. (Photo by Keith Allison)

Born in Islip and later moving to Dix Hills, Harris split his high school career between Half Hollow Hills High School West and Long Island Lutheran School in Brookville. The 2010 high school All-American forward would get drafted by the then Charlotte Bobcats in 2011 before bouncing around the NBA and landing with the Philadelphia 76ers this season.


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UMass Lowell head softball coach and former U.S. Olympic softball player Danielle Henderson during a game at San Jose State University on March 15, 2019. (Photo by Arbor to SJ)

After advancing from Huntington to Commack, Henderson graduated from Commack high school in 1995 before pitching at UMass Amherst the following year. She would go on to toss two no hitters during her four seasons with the Minutemen, boasting a 0.96 ERA her freshman year. Henderson then donned the Stars and Stripes during the 2000 Olympic Summer games in Sydney where she pitched a shutout against Cuba on the way to gold.


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Presidient George W. Bush talks with Sarah Hughes, olympic gold medalist and figure skater (center, left), her mother, Amy Hughes (far left), and her coach Robin Wagner in the Oval Office Friday, April 12, 2002. White House photo by Eric Draper

Hughes took home the gold in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games before finishing even her term at Great Neck North High School in 2003 when she would then call Yale University her new academic home. Following the gold, Hughes began giving free figure skating lessons to inner city children in Harlem and has been an outspoken advocate from breast cancer awareness.


Steve Janaszak

Do you believe the backup goalie is just as important as any other teammate? Yes! The native Minnesotan decided to call Babylon home after playing a role in the greatest sporting event in the 20th Century when the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey team defeated the Soviet Union and winning gold at Lake Placid. After a four-year career in the NHL, nowadays Janny spends more time saving money than he does pucks as an investment manager.


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Steven Matz on July 7, 2018. (Photo by D. Benjamin Miller)

The New York Mets southpaw ace spent his high school career pitching and holding down first base for Ward Melville High School where he would go toe to toe with fellow current major leaguer for the Toronto Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman of Patchogue-Medford High School. Matz was drafted by the Mets in 2009 and got his call to the majors in 2015 where’s he has been since.


Charlie McAvoy before game 6 of 2017 Bruins Senators playoff series in 2017. (Photo by Puffycoombes)

Drafted by Beantown in 2016, this Long Beach native earned his stripes in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs when he heroically and selflessly blocked a potentially game tying shot against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round.


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Adolfo Consolini and Al Oerter, 1960 Olympics. (Photo by Angelo Cozzi)

Born in 1936 and standing at a towering 6’4’’, this New Hyde Park native is one of few to claim four Olympic gold medals in the history of the games. He was active in Olympic discus from 1956-1968, where he won gold once every four years for the red white and blue. Oerter also carried the Olympic torch in 1996 before passing in 2007 at age 71.


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Rob Scuderi holding the Stanley Cup.

Scuderi started his career in black and gold while playing with the St. Anthony’s Friars, continuing to wear those colors with the 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2012 the defenseman and Syosset native would trade that gold for grey when he joined the Los Angeles Kings, raising the cup for a second time personally but also a first time ever for the west coast franchise.


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Chris Weidman at the weigh in for UFC 131. (Photo by Peter Gordon)

This fighter is the pride of Long Island as well as Hofstra University, where he had wrestled from 2006-07 after transferring from Nassau Community College. Weidman became an MMA sensation after his second round KO of 2-1 favored Anderson Silva in 2013 where he was crowned UFC Middleweight Champion. He currently runs an MMA gym just around the corner from his alma mater. Weidman is also an avid Islanders fan, making multiple appearances during the team’s 2019 playoff run at the Nassau Coliseum.


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Jay Wright speaking at the Sports Leadership Seminar at the Pentagon, May 2014. (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)

You can thank this now national champion for Hofstra University’s last two appearances in the NCAA tournament in 2000-01. Before being snatched by the Villanova Wildcats the following year, Wright was leading Hofstra to victory in the America East Conference. When the two teams met for an out of conference game at the Nassau Coliseum in late 2017, Wright had nothing but love for the Pride of Long Island.


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Yaz at the plate. (Photo by Steven Carter)

Carl grew up on the East End playing sandlot ball before playing more competitively at Bridgehampton High School. From there he would go onward to victory at the University of Notre Dame before being drafted to the Boston Red Sox organization in 1959. When he reached the big leagues in 1961, Yastrzemski was filling the large cleats of Ted Williams in front of the Green Monster. He silenced any doubters in 1967 by winning the American League’s Triple Crown and later joining the coveted 3000 hit club and retiring as an
18 time all-star in 1983. Yastrzemski was inducted into Cooperstown in 1989, having won just about everything but the World Series with Boston. The Suffolk County Baseball Coaches Association named an MVP award after Yastrzemski, which Matz had won.