Two of Pensacola’s Most Famous Sons – 2024 Guide

The city of Pensacola, Florida has had plenty of famous sportsmen and women over the years. This western city finds its name in the top 100 cities in the list of America’s best Cities which includes factors like international real estate, tourism, and economic development firm apart from its contribution to sports.

About Pensacola’s Sports History


Basketball is one of the most famous sports in Florida and when you dig into the gaming history of the place, you will see a lot of things that have helped the game evolve. Also, the sport has a long-standing tradition in Florida. It has played a major role in helping the area’s culture to evolve and diversify. Also, the place is home to the prevalence of other games like swimming, wrestling, football, and many others.

But, that’s the base and the current scenario is different and changing. The place is home to famous players who are nothing short of idols to the players and people of this place. The likes of former four-weight boxing world champion Roy Jones Jr. as well as former Olympic champion sprinter and the fifth fastest man to have ever lived, Justin Gatlin, both hail from the city. But in 2024, there are two men shining brighter than most.

Florida’s rich sporting history goes without saying. The Miami Dolphins and Miami Heat are two of the most recognizable franchises in American sports. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl as recently as February 2021. But none of those household names have ever embarked on a campaign quite like this man…

Let’s learn about two of the most famous sons of this place and their record speaks for themselves.

Roman Reigns


This is a name that needs no introduction. It is a household name and is known for its dominance in WWE Smackdown. He stays in the heart of people who have a thing for wrestling. His fighting skills are top-notch and worth a sight for sure.

The curtain came down on WrestleMania 39, the biggest event of the year for Vince McMahon’s professional wrestling behemoth WWE, on April 2nd. And it did so with Pensacola’s own Roman Reigns standing tall for the third consecutive installment of the ‘Grandest Spectacle in Live Entertainment’. The Tribal Chief stunned fans worldwide as he defeated 2024 Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes in the main event inside Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium to ensure that his record-breaking reign as Undisputed WWE Universal Champion continued.

The Head of the Table’s reign of the Universal Championship is now over 950 days long. He unified that title with the WWE Championship when he defeated former UFC star Brock Lesnar in the main event of last year’s WrestleMania, and he has held both straps ever since. Reigns hasn’t been pinned or submitted since December 2019 and he may very well be the greatest professional wrestler that’s ever lived.

While learning about your favourite sports people, it is pretty obvious that you’ll love other details about them, too. Roman Reigns’s real name is Leati Joseph Anoa’i who is currently with the SmackDown brand of WWE. It is one of the most integral company for wrestlers. He is the current world champion.

He was born in May 1985 into a decorated Samoan family. Interestingly, the family has a storied history in the pro wrestling world. His father was also a professional wrestler along with other members of his family who have helped in getting the family name attached to the wrestling field.

Did you know that he was initially a footballer and not a wrestler? His football career ended when he was released at the end of the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos season in 2008. He made his roster debut in 2012 in the trio which split in 2014. And that’s when his journey as a single wrestler started.

Should he be in the main event the show next year, he will tie Hulk Hogan’s record for most WrestleMania main events. As well as that, there are only three men that have held the company’s world title for longer than Reigns: The aforementioned Hogan, Pedro Morales, and Bruno Sammartino (twice).

Josh Donaldson


MLB has had a number of talking points already in 2024. The Luis Arraez trade from the Minnesota Twins to the Miami Marlins was one of them. Last year, Pensacola’s own Josh Donaldson was writing some headlines of his own, some to be proud of, and some he’d like to forget.

He made his MLB debut as a catcher in 2010 with the Athletics. While progressing with his team, he switched positions to third base and worked up to make his position as an All-Star in the 2014 season of MLB.

He was born in Pensacola and played varsity baseball while attending school. His mother moved him to the Faith Academy where he competed in various games like football, basketball, and baseball.

In May 2021, he scored his 2,000,000th run in the history of MLB and scored on a ground-rule double hit. However, in May 2024, he was suspended for one game as he was known to have made disrespectful comments in an interview in 2019.

Well, coming back to the game, in last August he hit a walk-off grand slam against the Tampa Bay Rays, becoming just the third man in New York Yankees franchise history to do so. However, at the opposite end of the spectrum, he finished the 2022 campaign after connecting with just 75.5% of pitches inside the strike zone, the lowest percentage in the entire league.



Apart from its rich culture, Pensacola is a place that has had a great history in terms of various sports, too. These people have contributed immensely which makes them deserving of the appreciation that they have brought to sports and its advent in this Floridan city. Apart from these people, there are other sportspeople whose contributions are worth noticing.

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