Once upon a time Detroit touted some of the best and most exciting athletes in the world. Today, I compile a fun list of top athletes in the present and past. You can argue for your favorite athlete to make the list. But you must remove an athlete off the list to make your case.
FIVE MOST EXCITING ATHLETES IN DETROIT HISTORY
ISIAH THOMAS: The speed dribble. The late historic shots. They were all fantastic parts of Zeke’s game. My favorite Thomas move was watching him dribble drive through the lane, disappear amongst the trees and re-emerge with a finger roll basket.
SERGEI FEDOROV: Steve Yzerman may have been the better player, but there was something about Sergei skating at full speed with his hair flying and his eyes setting up a poor defenseman.
BARRY SANDERS: Barry might disagree. But I swear no NFL linebacker, lineman or defensive back blasted him with full force. You can’t tag what you can’t catch.
DENNIS RODMAN: Fist flying. Heart pumping. Arms raised. Dives into the crowd. Pistons Coach Chuck Daly often told Rodman don’t think when you are on the court. Just use instinct.
THOMAS HEARNS: Hearns’ fights were always special and filled with electricity and non-stop, heart-pounding action. Somebody was going to be carried out of the ring on Goof Ball Street. And sometimes it was our hero from Detroit’s East side. How many one-round knockouts did we see at old Olympia Stadium?
THE ALL STEADY TEAM
AL KALINE: How many players could make digging a ball out the right field corner at Tiger Stadium and throwing a strike to second or third base an art form? Kaline did. He was the poster child for old school baseball.
JOE DUMARS: The man never dunked. But he sure could shoot and defend. After giving Michael Jordan hell on the court, Joe always shrugged and said “I didn’t do anything. He still scored 30 points.”
NICK LIDSTROM: For 15 minutes in my life I thought Lidstrom was overrated. Then I spent the next two weeks focused on him and saw all the unspectacular, underrated and unappreciated things he did with his stick and body to keep offensive players at bay.
MICKEY LOLICH: He spent much of his career playing second fiddle to hurler Denny McLain who won 31 games and mesmerized the media by playing the organ. In 1968 Lolich was demoted to the bullpen, but recovered to win 17 regular-season games and three World Series games, including Game 7 on short rest.
LOU WHITAKER: He was known as “Sweet” Lou. He also did everything with an understated grace, from hitting a baseball to firing a strike to first base after receiving an underhand flip from Alan Trammell.
ALL CURRENT TEAM
CADE CUNNINGHAM: Here is the scary thing. He is still developing as a player. He controls the game like a vet, can penetrate and dish with the best of them. And he’s embraced Detroit. Who has a pair of Buffs because of Cade?
MORITZ SEIDER: Don’t let the Carrot Top looks fool you. This man can hit and he already is one of the best defenders in the NHL.
AMON-RA ST. BROWN: He makes being a possession receiver cool. He is not fast but is shifty and strong. Who needs a tight end to bail you out when Jared Goff has this man?
DYLAN LARKIN: He’s not big, but he stands up for himself in addition to firing the puck all over the ice for goals and assists.
DOMINIK KUBALIK: We haven’t talked about dominant wingers for a while for the Red Wings. Now we can.