The Most Well-Known Athletes From North Carolina in 2023

The Most Well-Known Athletes From North Carolina in 2023
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Few states produce the level of high-level athletic talent that North Carolina has over the years, ranging from NBA legends Michael Jordan and Steph Curry to NFL mainstays like Daniel Jones and Keenan Allen. At, we took a break from North Carolina sports betting and wanted to take a hyper-localized approach to see what athletes that were raised in the state are being discussed the most in the past year – ultimately concluding they would be the most well-known athletes. utilized a weighted system between Keywords Explorer and Google Trends to look at the most searched North Carolina athletes over the past 12 months (August 2022 to August 2023). Once finding both statistics, they were averaged to determine the Top 10. "NC athlete" was defined as a person who was born or resided in North Carolina in their formative childhood and teenage years for over 10 years. 

Michael Jordan Soars To No. 1

RankCelebrityHometownSearch Volume
1Michael Jordan, Basketball HOFerWilmington2.4M
2Stephen Curry, Warriors guardCharlotte1.6M
3Zion Williamson, Pelicans forwardSalisbury550k
4Chris Paul, Warriors guardWinston-Salem512k
5Daniel Jones, Giants QBCharlotte326k
6John Wall, NBA guardRaleigh266k
7Seth Curry, Mavericks guardCharlotte204k
8Brandon Ingram, Pelicans forwardKinston149k
9Keenan Allen, Chargers WRGreensboro120k
10PJ Tucker, 76ers forwardRaleigh103k

Strong NBA Contingent From North Carolina

It’s been 20 years since ‘MJ’ last logged a minute in the NBA, but the former Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards superstar is still the most popular athlete in the Tar Heel State. Jordan, who finished his NBA run with six titles, five MVPs and 14 All-Star appearances, beat out Curry, Zion Williamson and Chris Paul for the No. 1 spot in 2023.  

Each of the four generated north of 500,000 in search volume over the last calendar year, with Jordan leading the pack at 2.4 million. The three that trailed the former Charlotte Hornets owner and Hall of Famer finished with search volume totals of 1.6 million (Curry), 550,000 (Williamson) and 512,000 (Paul) — illustrating how much of an impact the 60-year-old Wilmington native still has on American sports.  

The rest of the NC top 10 included Jones (326,000 search volume), John Wall (266,000 volume), Seth Curry (204,000 volume), Brandon Ingram (149,000 volume), Allen (120,000 volume) and P.J. Tucker (103,000 volume). Others that just missed out on this year’s list were pro tennis player John Isner, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr., Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager, retired NFL running back Todd Gurley and current NFL running back Javonte Williams of the Denver Broncos. 

Stick with for more research items such as this, plus the best North Carolina sportsbook promos.



Christopher Boan is a lead writer at specializing in covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

Cited by leading media organizations, such as: