Voters at IllinoisTop200 have weighed in on our state's biggest and best athletes as part of the countdown to the Illinois bicentennial.

The Top 200 project lets Illinoisans vote every two weeks on the state’s most inspiring leaders, greatest inventions, top businesses and much more. By the state’s bicentennial on December 3rd, voters will have chosen 10 favorites in 20 different categories--the Illinois Top 200.

The latest vote results are in, and Michael Jordan remains the king of Illinois sports stars. Before you point out that Mike isn't from Illinois, I have to point out that this particular list doesn't require being born here.

The top 5 Illinois athletes as voted by visitors to IllinoisTop200:

  1. Michael Jordan: Jordan is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time. He was named MVP five times in his 15-year NBA career. He led the Chicago Bulls to six championships, including two “three-peats.”
  2. Dick Butkus: The Chicago native played his entire football career in Illinois, from high school to the Chicago Bears. He led the University of Illinois to a Rose Bowl victory, then enjoyed a pro career in which his bone-rattling tackles earned him spots in eight Pro Bowls.
  3. Walter Payton: Payton was a star running back for the Chicago Bears from 1975-1987. “Sweetness” was known for his electrifying runs and amassed multiple rushing records during his career.
  4. Ernie Banks: Banks knocked in 512 home runs and 2,583 hits for the Chicago Cubs between 1953 and 1971. Known as Mr. Cub, he was league MVP twice and an all-star 11 times.
  5. Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Born in East St. Louis, Joyner-Kersee overcame asthma to earn six Olympic medals (three of them gold) and four world championships. Sports Illustrated named her the greatest female athlete of all-time.

Rounding out the top ten are: Red Grange, Bonnie Blair, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, and Jack Johnson.

The nominees who did not make the top 10 were baseball star and announcer Lou Boudreau, tennis great Jimmy Connors, Olympic speed skater Shani Davis, early NBA star George Mikan, heavyweight boxer Ken Norton, WNBA star Candace Parker, major league pitcher Robin Roberts, White Sox slugger Frank Thomas, basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas and major league slugger Jim Thome.

Voting in the next category, groundbreaking women, is underway at The nominees include Jane Addams, Hillary Clinton, “Mother” Jones and Oprah Winfrey.

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