If there’s one thing you need to know about Philly, it’s that we have some of the most passionate sports fans in the world who somehow balance being our team’s biggest fan and biggest critic. It’s what makes the sports scene here unique. Philadelphia has produced some of the greatest athletes in the world. Here is my list of the top Philly athletes that either played for a Philadelphia team or were from Philadelphia.
Wilt Chamberlain is a total stand-out when it comes to the game of basketball, and Philadelphia is proud to claim him as one of our 76’ers. At 7 feet tall, “Wilt the Stilt” towered over the court in the 1960’s as arguably the most dominant basketball player of all time. Chamberlain’s spectacular scoring feat of 100 points in one game shines on as one of the giant’s most memorable highlights.
Smokin’ Joe Frazier, one of the best boxers in the 1960’s and 1970’s, came from a tough Philadelphia neighborhood. In his prime, Frazier rivaled Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Known for his powerful left hook, Frazier took down Muhammad Ali in “The Fight of The Century,” won an Olympic gold medal, and claimed the undisputed title of Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1970-1973.
Known internationally as the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant began his basketball legacy at Lower Merion High School, just outside of Philadelphia. He represented the heart and soul of the L.A. Lakers franchise as he played his incredible 20-year career with the team since 1996. Known for coming up clutch with his renowned jump shots and fadeaways, Bryant’s contributions won the Lakers five NBA championships.
The best third baseman ever to play the game, Mike Schmidt represented the Phillies from 1972-1989. Schmidt held such a firm grip on his game that he won the National League Golden Glove Award ten times and helped the Phillies win the 1980 World Series.
As team captain, Bobby Clarke led the Philadelphia Flyers to victory in the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975. He and his infamous Broad Street Bullies took their aggression out on the unstoppable Soviets and fans all over the US rejoiced.
A Philadelphia native, Dr. J joined the 76ers in the NBA in 1976, and led them in a very memorable 12 seasons, bringing the 76ers to the NBA Finals four times, and leading the 76ers to win the 1983 NBA Championship.
One of the great pitchers of the 1970’s and 1980’s, Steve Carlton joined the Phillies in 1972 and led the league in many pitching categories as he was ranked fourth in lifetime strikeouts. Although his career ended in 1988, we are reminded of his amazing legacy with his statue outside of Citizens Bank Park.
Despite Allen Iverson’s conflict with practice, this man was “The Answer” that the Philadelphia 76ers needed back in the 1990’s. Iverson played an electric game and gave everything he had out on the court. Iverson played with swift and effective footwork, despite his undersized 6 foot body for the league’s “high” standards. This man won the league’s MVP in the 2000-2001 season and was rated the 5th greatest shooting guard of all time in 2008 by ESPN.
As one of the best shortstops in Phillies history, Rollins earned the role of leadoff hitter, which he kept for roughly ten years. Rollins won the title of the National League MVP in 2007, and also played a crucial part in winning the 2008 World Series for Philadelphia.
Six time safety for the Pro Bowl, and most importantly, Brian Dawkins is the Philadelphia Eagles’ Weapon X. Fans loved Dawkins because he embodied the Philadelphia spirit by being ruthless on the field and giving it all he had every game. Dawkins racked up nearly 900 tackles, 34 interceptions, 32 forced fumbles, and 21 sacks in his 13 seasons playing for the Eagles. This man played like a beast.
Post contributed by: Nick Ringle