Before his induction into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday night, the three-time Super Bowl winner said he thinks the values that led him to be a successful quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys came from spending his formative years in Oklahoma.
Aikman moved from California to Oklahoma at age 12 and he went to junior high and high school in Henryetta before playing for the Sooners his first two years of college. He says he learned the value of integrity, how a handshake is as good as a contract and "a lot of things that tend to stick with you for the rest of your life."
"I've lived in Texas now longer than anywhere and then California and then Oklahoma, but yet Oklahoma is what I consider home," said Aikman, who moved on to play for UCLA before a 12-year career in the NFL.
"It's the people that I feel that I probably identify with the best."
Among those he admired were fellow inductees Pete Incaviglia, whose NCAA records of 48 home runs in a season and 100 in his Oklahoma State career still stand 25 years later, and former Oklahoma defensive lineman Ricky Bryan. Incaviglia was a college contemporary of Aikman, and he grew up admiring Bryan's abilities before deciding to play for the Sooners himself.
Incaviglia was unable to attend the ceremony and Bryan was inducted posthumously, after his death in July 2009.
Two-time Olympic softball gold medalist Michele Smith and former big-league baseball player Don Demeter were also enshrined.
Aikman was injured during the Sooners' run to the 1985 national championship -- the same year Incaviglia hit 48 homers -- and then transferred to UCLA after he was replaced as the starting quarterback in what became a wishbone system.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the school and the people. It's just a shame that the football side of it didn't work out," Aikman said. "But I've got nothing but great memories."