North Carolina is a state that thrives on college basketball (UNC vs. Duke, anyone?) and is moving closer and closer to legalized mobile North Carolina sports betting. It's also home to the Carolina Panthers (who stole headlines this NFL offseason by acquiring the No. 1 overall draft pick), the Charlotte Hornets and the Carolina Hurricanes.
While there's no shortage of a sports scene in the state, North Carolina also has a lot of famous celebrities. Some of them are beloved, some of them less so.
BetCarolina.com decided to take a hyper-localized approach to see which celebrities raised in the state of North Carolina have been discussed the most in the past year and came up with a Top 10. There are some new names in the mix like singer Luke Combs, some familiar faces such as Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry, and a bunch of other entertainers who have made their mark in recent years.
Methodology: BetCarolina.com utilized a weighted system between AhRefs.com Keywords Explorer and Google Trends to look at the most searched North Carolina celebrities over the past 12 months. Once we found both statistics, they were averaged to determine the Top 10. North Carolina celebrity was defined as a person who resided in North Carolina in their formative childhood and teenage years for over 10 years. Celebrity was broken down to include only actors/actresses, singer/songwriters, TV personalities, comedians, dancers, athletes and social media influencers.
Keep in mind: BetCarolina.com keeps a close eye on all things sports betting in the state, and we will soon be home to the best North Carolina sports betting promos.
Most Well-Known North Carolina Celebrities in 2023
Michael Jordan Still Looms Large
At No. 1 on the list is Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who starred at UNC in the early 1980s before going on to become the NBA's GOAT (sorry, LeBron James) with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan has owned the Hornets since 2010, but that is far from his only endeavor off the court in retirement.
As part of the Nascar playoffs, he also has fielded a NASCAR Cup Series team since 2021, built his own private golf club in Florida and helped bring Netflix' award-winning "The Last Dance" to life. Jordan has also made several notable philanthropy donations in recent years to social justice causes and the medical field.
While Jordan slightly outpaced No. 2 Stephen Curry in our rankings, his reign could potentially come to an end in the near future. The Basketball Hall of Famer is currently in talks to sell his majority stake in the Hornets.
Best of The Rest
Curry, the current Warrior who has won 4 NBA titles, came in at No. 2. The Charlotte native is still remembered fondly for his sharpshooting at Davidson, where he guided the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in 2008. Curry's father Dell is also the second all-time Hornets scoring leader, and still calls Hornets games on Bally Sports South. Safe to say, the Curry family is popular in the Queen City.
In the rest of the list, we have actress Hunter Schafer, a scene-stealer on HBO's popular "Euphoria." Additional appearances in this list include rapper DaBaby, former Duke forward Zion Williamson and singer Luke Combs, among others.
And how about some honorable mentions? Falling just outside the top 10 were singer-songwriter Eric Church, actor Ken Jeong, actor Drew Starkey, singer-songwriter Randy Travis and actress Madison Bailey.
Famous People From North Carolina FAQs
Michael Jordan was born in New York, but moved to Wilmington, North Carolina with his family at a young age, and went to high school at Emsley A. Laney in Wilmington. Jordan, who also attended the University of North Carolina, is arguably the most famous person from North Carolina.
While Steph Curry was actually born in Akron, Ohio in 1988, his family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina just one year later. Curry spent a majority of his childhood in North Carolina, and attended Charlotte Christian High School in Charlotte.