On most teams, you can look at a team’s leading scorer and that is usually the team’s best player. That is simply not the case in Philly. Coming into the season, any Sixers fan knew that the only way this team could compete with the NBA’s best is to play solid defense and play team basketball. Andre Iguodala has been at the center of that exact philosophy. He can score as well as getting his teammates involved and the 8 year veteran has turned into one of the premier defenders in the NBA. His amazing athletic ability and his lockdown defense land him at #15 on BLN’s 2012 Best Athlete in Philadelphia.
Canada prides itself as being the birthplace of hockey. They provide 50% of the players to the NHL, the best professional league in the world. Growing up in a small town in Canada you grow up playing hockey. After school heading to the closest pond, shoveling the snow off the ice and playing till dusk. Hockey is in your DNA, it is piped into your blood. Born in Regina, Saskatchewan Canada, our #16 Best Athlete in Philly, is Canadian through and through. #16 on our list is Flyers left winger Scott Hartnell.
It is very unusual that a broadcaster can sum up a fan bases feeling's towards a player with just 6 words. But we are not talking about just another broadcaster or just another player. It was the legendary Harry Kalas whose 6 words hit the nail on the head and described exactly how we phans thought about Chase Utley. During a game on August 9, 2006 against the Braves, Utley came all the way home to score from 2nd base on a ground ball that stayed in the infield. Harry amazed by the hustle and smart baseball could say nothing but “Chase Utley, You are the man!” His chronic knee problem may have dropped him significantly down the rankings but Chase “You are the Man” Utley still makes our list at number 17 on our countdown.
One of my favorite sports quotes of all time is from a 1920’s baseball star named Roger Horsnby.
“People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
It feels like forever ago that I watched painfully from below Harry the K’s as Ryan Howard made the last out of Game 5 in the NLDS vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. Ages ago that I walked out of CBP trying to figure out how a team that won 102 games in the regular season couldn’t score a single run in a decisive Game 5. So what have I been doing for the last 4 months? I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing; I’ve been staring out the window waiting for spring!
Philadelphia is a sports city. If we compiled a list of the greatest Philadelphia athletes of all-time it would be quite the list. Decorated with greats like Dr. J and Steve Carlton, Steve Van Buren and Bobby Clarke. When composing our list of the city’s top 20 athletes right now we don’t take into account what they did years ago or what they might do in the future. We go by the impact they are making for their team in our city right now as we read this or what they just did in the most current season. #18 on our countdown, in his second stint in Philadelphia, is making good on his return. Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jason Babin comes in at #18.