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From Hank Aaron To John Smoltz: Top Five Most Popular Athletes In Atlanta Team Sports History

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See which iconic Atlanta sports legends made the list, and which did not.

Welcome to SB Nation Atlanta. To kick off this new site we're going to take a look at the top five athletes in Atlanta (and Georgia) sports history. While our selections and our rankings may be debatable to some, you'll just have to give us your top five in the comments section ... and, hey, what a good opportunity to sign up for the site (especially if you already have an SBN ID).

So here we go:

No. 1: Hammerin' Hank Aaron

Easily the most recognizable figure in Atlanta sports if for no other reason than his iconic home run No. 715 on April 8, 1974. He played a number of years in Milwaukee, but when the team moved to Atlanta to start the 1966 season they couldn't have brought with them a more amazing player. He defined Atlanta sports for decades, and still endures as the most beloved athlete in Atlanta sports history.

No. 2: Herschel Walker

Even if you're from a rival university, you'll have to agree that watching Herschel Walker run through opponents is a great joy. There hasn't been a football player in this area to burst onto the scene with as much success and acclaim since Walker led the Georgia Bulldogs to a National Title in 1980. His legend and impact on UGA football has lasted decades after he left.

No. 3: Dominique Wilkins

The Human Highlight Film dunked his way into the hearts of Atlanta sports fans en route to becoming one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history. Few people know that 'Nique wasn't drafted by the Hawks, but was traded to Atlanta from the Utah Jazz several months after being drafted. Dominique spent 11 seasons with the Hawks before being traded away.

No. 4: Chipper Jones

The player most synonymous with the Braves' success for the pasts two decades is Chipper. He was drafted just a year before the team went from worst to first, and he became the undeniable centerpiece to the middle of the Braves order for a decade and a half. Chipper will retire in a Braves uniform and he will be remembered as one of the rare star players who spent his entire career with one team and one manager. Along the way he became the definition of a team player by switching positions and signing team-friendly contracts.

No. 5:  Glavine/Maddux/Smoltz

Among the contributors to SB Nation Atlanta, each of these pitchers was listed by different folks in their top five, so it is only appropriate that we include all three. The 11 seasons that Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz were together produced five Cy Youngs and spoiled Atlanta fans forever. The combination of three Hall of Fame pitchers staying together on one team for so long may never be seen again.

There you have it. By the way, the next player on this list (after of course Dale Murphy) might just be Michael Vick. How strange is that?

If you liked this list, check back every Monday for more debatable top lists, and check out this feature from Jacob Peterson on the 10 most important numbers in Atlanta sports history.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.