MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Fore!
Dozens of athletes have traded in their flip flops for cleats, moving beyond the Grand Strand to professional leagues.
Among those are football and basketball players, along with dancers and surfers.
Here are 15 professional athletes with ties to the Myrtle Beach area, presented in no particular order:
- Darius Leonard
Leonard, who attended Lake View High School, is now a linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts. In March, he and his wife, Kayla, created the Maniac Foundation to help improve children’s health and get them involved in math. The foundation targets families in Indianapolis and Lake View.
Leonard also played for South Carolina State University. He was named the MEAC defensive player of the year in 2016 and 2017, received a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2018 and 2020 and was a Second-Team All-Pro selection in 2019.
- Jordan Lyles
The Hartsville High School graduate is currently is a pitcher for the Texas Rangers. He previously played for the Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers.
- Dusty Button
Button was born in Myrtle Beach before moving to New York City at the age of 16 to train at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theatre. She went on to train at the Royal Ballet School in London and join the Birmingham Royal Ballet. She became Red Bull’s first ballet athlete and has performed with groups such as the American Ballet Theatre, The Mongolian National Ballet and Broadway Underground.
- Hunter Renfrow
The Socastee High School graduate played for Clemson University before going on to become a wide receiver for the Las Vegas Raiders. He was a two-time national champion at Clemson and played for the Oakland Raiders. He’s held youth football camps at Socastee High School.
- Ramon Sessions
Sessions was born in Myrtle Beach. The former professional basketball player has played for teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards, New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings.
He’s spent more than a decade holding an annual basketball camp in the Grand Strand. He was first drafted in 2007 and remained in the NBA for more than a decade.
- Cam Richards
Richards, a pro surfer, is from Pawleys Island. Videos of him riding waves can be seen on his Instagram, which has more than 37,000 followers.
- Bryan Edwards
The Conway High School graduate recently began his career as a wide receiver with the Las Vegas Raiders. He was selected by the team in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
- Levon Kirkland
The retired NFL player was born in Lamar. Kirkland played for Clemson University before continuing as a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Kristy McPherson
McPherson, who is from Conway, currently plays on the LPGA Tour. She appeared the Golf Channel’s “Big Break” in 2006.
- John Abraham
The retired NFL player graduated from Lamar High School. The defensive end played for teams such as the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Jets.
- Clint Newton
Newton, a retired rugby player, was born in Myrtle Beach. He’s played for teams such as the Newcastle Knights, Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers. He represented the U.S. in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup campaign. His sister, Kristie Newton, is a professional golfer.
- Brandon Frye
Frye, a retired offensive tackle, was born in Myrtle Beach. He played for the Houston Texans, the Miami Dolphins and the Seattle Seahawks.
- Everett Golson
Golson, a former CFL player, was born in Myrtle Beach. He played for Notre Dame before transferring to Florida State.
- Tarron Jackson
Jackson, who played for Coastal Carolina University, was drafted to the Philadelphia Eagles this year. The defensive end graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
- Dustin Johnson
Johnson, a PGA Tour player, attended Coastal Carolina University. He won $15 million in the FedEx Cup and has chosen not to attempt to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.