Paul (Bear) Bryant, Football coach
The Bear was an all-state tackle at Fordyce High before playing
at Alabama and winning six national titles and a then Division
IA-record 323 games there as coach. He earned his nickname as a
teen by wrestling a trained bear in a Fordyce theater to impress
Bill Dickey, Baseball player
The lefthanded-hitting Hall of Famer raised in Kensett caught for
the New York Yankees from 1928 to '46, playing on seven World
Series winners and batting .313 for his career. He also set a
standard for durability, catching more than 100 games for 13
Dizzy Dean, Baseball player
A star on St. Louis's Gas House Gang teams, the righty from Lucas
went 30-7 for the 1934 Cardinals, and he and brother Paul won all
four games in that year's World Series. He led the National
League in strikeouts for four years before an arm injury cut
short his career.
Sonny Liston, Boxer
Liston KO'd Floyd Patterson in the first round of their 1962
heavyweight title bout and held the belt for 17 months before
losing it to Cassius Clay. Raised with 25 siblings outside Little
Rock, Liston was stalked by controversy; he died at 38 of an
apparent drug overdose.
Brooks Robinson, Baseball player
The Little Rock native defined defensive excellence at third base
with his dazzling and consistent play, winning 16 Gold Gloves in
23 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. Robinson was the American
League MVP in 1964 and the World Series MVP in '70.
Scottie Pippen, Basketball player
Michael Jordan didn't win any NBA titles until the Bulls drafted
the 6'7" Hamburg native out of Central Arkansas in 1987. Chicago
then won six championships as Pippen averaged 17.6 points, 6.5
rebounds and 5.3 assists in the two stars' 10 seasons together.