There is no denying that Alabama is a sports-mad state. But it remains one of only four in the entire country that does not have a pro sports major league franchise to support. There are a number of reasons why that is still the case. But will anything change in the near future when it comes to pro sports in Yellowhammer State?
Birmingham, Alabama, is actually one of the four biggest cities in the US that doesn’t have a pro team. So it doesn’t seem as if it is a case of being too small. Gambling in Alabama is still an ongoing issue – but what pro sports league could make Sweet Home Alabama more than a catchy song?
College Sports Rule
Ask any football fan in Alabama whether they need an NFL team and you will probably get blank looks at the very best. With the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers, the state has two of the country’s biggest and most well-known college football programs.
With those two schools attracting around 100,000 paying spectators for every single game – as well as the millions watching at home – it is questionable whether a pro football franchise would even get a look in. Alabama’s love of college football is not going to change any time soon.
Minor League Pro Teams
When we say ‘pro sports’, we should clarify that we really mean major league sports organizations. Although there is no NFL, NBA or NHL team in the state, there are plenty of minor league teams that enjoy a good local following. These may be professional – but they are further down the sports hierarchy.
As to be expected, it is Birmingham that has the most of these level teams in Alabama. The Barons are for the baseball fans, the Squadron plays in the NBA G League, and Birmingham Legion competes in soccer’s USL. Other smaller cities are also represented, but any new pro team would probably choose the Magic City.
There was a time that there seemed to be real interest in the NFL expanding into Alabama. But nothing ever really came from the rumors – and it doesn’t seem as if the league will be awarding any new expansion franchises at all in the near future. It looks like Birmingham might have missed its chance.
There is more of a fashion for franchises moving these days. Las Vegas is now home to the Raiders, while the Rams returned to Los Angeles to attract the money and players that brought them the Super Bowl. Birmingham just doesn’t seem to have the same kind of attraction – so that doesn’t seem likely either.
Who are the most successful athletes from Alabama state?
Alabama actually has produced a lot of successful athletes. That is the reason why this state truly does deserve a pro team in any of the mentioned sports. The question is – who are the most popular athletes of all time from Alabama? We are sure that you will get surprised after reading the list below. Let’s go!
One of the most popular athletes of all time comes from Leeds in Alabama. Charles Barkley chose to play college basketball in the team called Auburn Tigers and that is when he started his career. By the Philadelphia 76ers, Barkley was drafted fifth. After he played in some of the most popular basketball teams such as Philly, the Phoenix Suns, and the Houston Rockets where he was voted some of the most prestigious awards such as NBA MVP in 1993, NBA All-Star from 1987 to 1997, and NBA First Team from 1988 to 1991 and again in 1993.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that he won Olympic gold medals with the US Men’s Basketball team in the years 1992 and 1996. Throughout his career, he was popular for his 34 number on the dress. With this dress, he was retired by the 76ers and the Auburn Tigers. One of the most interesting facts about this personal life refers to his love for gambling activity. He is a passionate gambler and he has spoken about that a lot. If you share the same interests as the famous Charles Barkley, you can start your gambling in Alabama adventure at sportsbettingsites.com
The second successful athlete comes from Alabama state that we want to introduce you to is Hank Aaron. He is very popular since he was the one who hit the second-most home runs in MLB history. He was born in Mobile city and at a young age, he played for the Clowns in Indianapolis. This is a team included in the Negro League. It is worth mentioning that Aaron joined the Braves organization, and after that, he was a part of Milwaukee and later of Atlanta.
In his MLB career, he was voted as an All-Start 25 times. Additionally, he won the World Series in the year of 1957. When it comes to the National League home run leader awards he got them in 1957, 1963, 1966, and 1967. Despite the mentioned, Aaron holds the MLB record in RBIs which is 2,297. Another MLB record refers to the Extra Base Hits which is 1,477 and the last one refers to the Base Hits – 6,856. In his career, he wore the dress with the number 44 and he retired with it from the Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers. Finally, one more interesting thing regarding Aaron is the fact that he is also a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Terell Owens comes from Alexander City and he was a native player primarily in his high school at Benjamin Rusell High School. After that, he continued his career that the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. The instant success of this young athlete was the moment when he was drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft in 1996. Terrel Owens was a six-time Pro Bowler in the years from 2000 to 2004 and again in 2007. Also, he was one of the players who was chosen as a First Team All-Pro. He was also elected to the San Francisco 49ers’ Hall of Fame.
Baseball is a Non Starter
As we have already mentioned, Birmingham has the Barons who compete at the Double-A level in the Southern League. There are also the Montgomery Biscuits and the Rocket City Trash Pandas. Apart from having some of the best names in the sport, baseball doesn’t look like awarding a major league franchise here either.
There has been a lot of controversy in recent years over the proposed plans to cut the number of minor league teams in the US. Major League expansion has been mooted – with 32 teams the goal. But there is no specific timetable for that to happen and Alabama would seem to be down the list of priorities.
Missed the Boat with Soccer
When US sports fans think of expansion, it is usually to do with the big four. But with hockey, football, basketball and baseball all very unlikely to come to Alabama, it has been soccer that has been making waves in the state in recent years. The only problem is that the game might have missed its chance to become a major league sport in Alabama.
Major League Soccer has been expanding at an incredible rate in the last decade or so, as the game’s profile has grown in the States. Alabama is home to a number of exceptional teams in the lower leagues, but MLS is just about full now. Unless there is some restructuring of the league, Major League Soccer is not happening.