• January 20, 2022

Who Are The Top 10 Athletes In Philadelphia Over The Last 20 Years?


My Top Ten Over the Past Twenty

The 1993 Philadelphia Phillies, a group of misfits with some sprinkled in talent, with personalities that reflected the fans who rode the wave with them.  1993 marks “twenty years” from the then to the now.  There have been over a thousand athletes to gear up in Philadelphia armor, battling it out on the frozen pond, the brutal grid-iron, polished hardwood and the diamond.  Professional grade or from the college scene, I ask you Philadelphia for your top ten over the last twenty years. I’ve constructed my list on these six categories; statistics, leadership, personality, effort, success and connectivity with the fans.  I’d be shocked if I see any list by any of my fellow Philadelphia fans without the name Brian Dawkins if not you top selection; in your top three.  If you fail to do so, you should not consider yourself a diehard Philadelphia fan.

1. Brian Dawkins-The first name and the only name for the top slot.  He should have never dressed in a jersey that didn’t say Philadelphia on it.  The emotions that went through Lincoln Financial field during his retirement, grown men shed tears as we said our final goodbye to a “legend.”

2.  Allen Iverson- Practice is overrated anyway.  He was undersized in height and weight.  His heart and passion were intangibles that connected us to him.  He welcomed basketball back to Philadelphia and led us to the Finals with a supporting cast of role players.  His reckless abandonment with driving to the basket and cross-over moves made him a legend in this city.

3. Chase Utley– Simply put, he plays the game the way it should be played.  His personality resonates not with words but with the fearlessness on the base paths.  His prime years are behind him and injuries may lead to this being his last year in the red pinstripes.  From 2005-2009 his statistics were paving the way for a future hall of fame plaque; however the effort he plays with is the same effort that has shortened his baseball shelf life.

4. Cliff Lee– I would welcome the argument that Halladay did more as a pitcher in Philadelphia and Hamels was a World Series MVP; but I’m just a huge Lee fan.  His interviews can lead you to question his loyalty at times; but I think too much is taken from his words.   I get fired up when he takes the mound.  His stuff isn’t the best at times, but he gets the nod as my favorite pitcher over the last 20 years.

5. Ryan Howard– MVP and Rookie of the year. His homerun and rbi output made us think of him as the best power hitter in Phillies history when a Hall of Famer in Mike Schmidt also played here.  His recent decline has damaged our memory for how good he was for a five year stretch.

6. Roy Halladay– A perfect game and a no-hitter?  Halladay was everything as advertised when coming to Philadelphia.   Machine like with how he dominated games and the demeanor to which he went about his business.  Unfortunately he was on the wrong side of thirty when the Phillies acquired him.

7.  John LeClair– My one and only Flyers player to make this list.  Lindros and Giroux I’m sure will make the list of some, but LeClair was a guy for me that when I saw get the puck a goal was scored.  Three straight 50 goals seasons, not sure another Flyer will ever repeat it.

8. Brian Westbrook– The guy was electrifying, and could score anytime the ball was in his hands.  He was the Eagles best offensive weapon for years, and single handily saved a season with the punt return in the Meadowlands.

9. Jeremiah Trotter– He was a large man who was hungry for “contact.”  He ran straight into the heart of the opponent’s offensive line, creating room for others around him to make that big play.  He was a sure tackler, and his “ax-chop” celebration was fantastic.  I’ll never forget the hit he made on punter Jeff Feagles on that special teams play.

10. Terrell Owens– His statistics for one season were the best a wide receiver in Philadelphia has ever had.  He did sit-ups and lifted weights on his front lawn, and his touchdown dances were entertaining.  He wasn’t right in the head, we knew that when acquiring him, but he gets the final spot on my top ten.

Jeff Kolsky

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  • Two guys who should have made it didn’t because of their whiny behavior – Eric Lindros and Donovan McNabb. They were great athletes, McNabb had the most success of an Eagles QB ever, but they are not “Philly guys” and that is why they are not on the list and not popular in this town. BDawk and Utley are the ultimate Philly guys. I would have picked Jon Runyan over T.O. because he is another Philly guy and T.O. was just plain crazy.

  • I am glad your list did not include Mcnabb, but jimmy rollins should not only be on that list but no. 1 or 2

  • Lindros belongs there. Leclair was an average forward until he was teamed with Lindros, and reverted to being average once Lindros was gone.
    McNabb should be on the list.
    I think you could make an argument for Jim Thome or Cole Hamels over Roy or Cliff.

  • McNabb, the best QB in eagles history is not on the list, but TO is? This list is a freaking joke brother …

  • Jimmy should have made this list over Cliff Lee. I agree with your first two….then it starts getting shaky…..then downright awful in your last half.

  • How Bernard Hopkins isn’t #1 on this list is beyond me.

    This list basically starts/stops w Hopkins.


    • because boxing is fucking irreleanvant.

      no one gives a damn about some loudmouth creep who beats poeple up.

  • Reggie White, Randall Cunningham, Wes Hopkins, Cole Hamels, and Bernard Hopkins IS top ten…..Cliff Lee and John LeClair sit down immediately, and Iverson is hands down #1 on this list, if some who disagree would take their personal feelings out of it.

  • Out of all the sports listed, boxing is the most taxing on your body. You play basketball. You Play football. You play baseball. You don’t “PLAY” boxing. The title of this article is the top athletes over the past 20 years, and Hopkins, at 48 and STILL kicking ass, has been on top for as long as all the athletes listed here. All these other athletes had windows of time in the past 20 years. Hopkins has been on TOP for that long.

    I love Philly and its sports. This is just spade calling. Stand up, B-Hop!

  • Have to agree, Bernard Hopkins HAS to be on this list.

  • There is NO WAY the writer of this article is from Philadelphia or has EVER lived in Philadelphia. NO WAY

  • White, Dawkins, Allen, Vincent, McNabb, Westbrook, Recci, Pronger, Iverson, Hopkins.

    • Reggie White’s last year hear was ’92 so cross him off.

      Recchi? No way. I like Mark Recchi, but his most meaningful years were elsewhere and he never came close to drinking from the Stanley Cup as a Flyer. Lindros and Leclair are higher on the list than Recchi. At least they took a mediocre team with mediocre goaltending and mediocre defense to the finals.

    • It’s obvious you have never lived in Philadelphia either you Canadian POS. I’m surprised you didn’t add Nick Foles or Kolb to your list.

      1. Rocky (real or not, he’s the symbol of all Philadelphia sports)
      2. Dawkins
      2b. Iverson
      4. Jimmy Rollins
      5. Hopkins
      6. Chase Utley
      7. McNabb
      8. Doc Halladay (no way Cliff Lee is more popular than the Doc)
      9. Brian Westbrook
      10. David Akers

      • Birdo…..Rocky is a 37 year old character and this is last twenty years. If you want to go all-time he probably makes the top ten. All-time I would say:

        1) Dr J
        2) Ashburn
        3) Clarke
        4) Schmidt
        5) Frazier
        6) Wilt
        7) Parent
        8) Carlton
        9) Bednarik
        10) Reggie

        Guys like Dawkins and Iverson clearly wouldn’t make the list. And this is based on popularity not quality. Clearly I wouldn’t put Ashburn ahead of Carlton or Schmidt or Bednarik ahead of Reggie. And let’s not forget that Regggie (although the greatest D lineman of all time) only gave us half his career before God money called him to GB. IMO, Doc does also happen to be he best as well as most iconic.

  • 1. Rocky (real or not, he’s the symbol of all Philadelphia sports)
    2. Dawkins
    2b. Iverson
    4. Jimmy Rollins
    5. Hopkins
    6. Chase Utley
    7. McNabb
    8. Doc Halladay (no way Cliff Lee is more popular than the Doc)
    9. Brian Westbrook
    10. David Akers

    • I remember Akers as a choker. He lost two of the last three playoff games he played in pretty much single handedly. No way he’s on the list.

      • Everyone talks about McNabb and how the D let us down that day in the 08 NFCC. Akers left eight points on the field!! And we lost by seven. And Vick probably doesn’t throw that pick against GB if we are down by one instead of four after Akers missed a chip shot. Even Andy who never really hung guys out like that was pissed!

  • Paulman’s List

    1) Micky Morandini – There has to be an Italian on this List

  • Chase Utley for HOF.. Are you Kidding me Author Jeff Kolsky..
    There is a huge Difference between Good PLayers and Great Players over a long period of time, but to be a HOF type of Player, a Player has to be Excellent for at least 10 Years of Play, and help lead his Team to the Playoffs/Championship..

    For this list and keeping it within a 20 Years time Period (1993-2013)
    I only consider Dawkins,McNabb,Iverson,Rollins,Utley as worthy as being on the list.. (Hamels not consistent enough, Doc & Lee have not had long enough careers in Philly, just as TO hasn’t. Flyboys have underachieved for the last 25 Years and no one else is really worthy from the 76ers

    • One of the very few times I agree with Paulman. I can count these occurences on one hand.

      • Somene make note of this please…

        • Coming from the guy who put a fictional movie character as his #1 athlete.

          • Is Rocky the symbol of Philadelphia sports, yes or no?

            • Yes he is and it’s a damn disgrace. Only in my beloved city would a fucking fictional boxer be elevated to deity status while simultaneously having the world reputations as a storied boxing town. So yes Bird you are correct. But damn do I hate this fact. SMDH

              • LOL, no doubt coldbrewski, at least you acknowledged it

  • 1- Iverson
    2- Dawkins
    3- Hamels
    4- Westbrook
    5- Rollins
    6- McNabb
    7- Howard
    9- Utley
    10- Lidge

    Halladay would be next, but not before Lidge who was a major part of actually winning a ring.

    • Hamels at #3 Seems awful high to me…

      1) Dawkins (Just represented the City/Fans/Franchise better than Iverson did)
      2) McNabb (Love him or Loathe him, Led the Eagles to many W’s and PLayoffs
      3) Iverson (A great Talent and Tough little guy, His off the Court isues knock him down
      4) Rollins (Helped start the turn-around of the Phils Franchise when he cared)
      5) Utley (Was a Top 3 PLayer in all of MLB, before PED’s caught up with him)
      6) Westbrook (A very good Player, who was very versatile and a great locker room leader and very active in the Community

      This is it

      Hamels,Lidge,Giroux & Howard do not belong on this list for they too inconsistent, or only Played a Couple of Seasons in Philly..

  • Tra Thomas should be on the list ahead of Trot and T.O. And if T.O. makes the list so should Ricky Watters.

    Thomas anchored the offensive line, starting at left tackle in 165 of 166 games over his 10 years. Made 3 pro bowls and was an All Pro.

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