A while back I did my top ten most hated athletes, here are my favorites. Honorable mention: Tim Tebow (if he’s a Pat, I will die), Floyd Mayweather Jr, John Starks and Patrick Ewing
10. Latrell Sprewell, G, Knicks- Spree was most famous for choking his coach in Golden State. But I will always love Spree for going to the Knicks and team with Allen Houston to make a deadly 1-2 combo. Spree was so important to the Knicks, that he helped bring them to the NBA Finals in the lockout year, maybe the last time I was able to enjoy Knicks basketball. Patrick Ewing was close to being on this list, but his prime was when I was too young to appreciate it.
9. Leon Washington, RB, Jets- I first knew of Leon when he was a big recruit on the cover of SI going to FSU. Leon is a big play waiting to happen, a stud in the open field, and one of the most exciting players I have ever seen in a Jet uniform. I honestly believe that if he was healthy this year, that maybe Shonne Green wouldn’t have broken out, but that Leon wins us that game in Indy.
8. David Wright, 3B, Mets- A new addition to the list. Wright is everything you would want in a franchise player. Great hitter, gold glove D, a leader, and one of the classiest guys in baseball. Wright is the type of guy who will lead the Mets to a World Series at some point in his career. The only way I see his career ending is in the Hall of Fame.
7. Sean Avery, LW, Rangers- Avery is a prick. Any hockey fan of any other team hates him more than any player in the league. He is the prototypical guy for the phrase- you hate him when you play against him, but you LOVE him when he is on your team. Avery is just such an asshole that I would pay just to see him get into people’s heads on the ice. Plus, he can score and has offensive skills, perfect for New York.
6. Wayne Chrebet, WR, Jets and Hofstra Football- My favorite football player growing up. I love that this underdog of a football player did everything for the Jets. He was the most exciting player on the team. My favorite Chrebet story, my Dad is really good friends with the ex Special Teams coach of the Bucs. When we went to their training camp in Florida, he got us right near the players. I wore my Chrebet jersey and yelled shit at Keyshawn Johnson cause he hated Wayne when they were on the Jets. Chrebet is also a Hofstra grad, which now makes him even greater in my eyes.
5. Mike Tyson, Boxer- I never have shy about saying how much I love Mike Tyson. He is such a beast in the ring and such a weird person that I have always been intrigued by him. I don’t care if he bit a guys ear off, he was the best boxer in his prime. He would have knocked out anybody. What puts him over the top was the documentary called Tyson. If you watch that, and don’t feel somewhat sorry for him after that, then you have absolutely no compassion.
4. LeBron James, F, Cavs and future Knick- I knew about LBJ when he was a soph in high school. I found out the same way everybody else did, first online then the Sports Illustrated cover. From then I was hooked. I watched his high school games on ESPN. I have his high school jersey. He had more hype on him than anybody ever. And he has exceeded that hype, something one could never have predicted. He is unreal, and he will be number 2 on this list if he becomes a Knick. If he is a Knick, then he will be only matched by one player.
3. Karl Malone, PF, Utah Jazz- Few people know that my favorite basketball player was Karl Malone. I loved the Mailman. His game was what I thought my game was when I was younger. I hated Jordan for beating Utah. When I was in second grade, I had this figure of Karl Malone, one of those figure with the big heads. I brought it into school everyday and put it on my desk and wouldn’t let anybody touch it. He was the basketball player that I wanted to be.
2. Mike Piazza, C, Mets- Piazza, like Malone, was the guy I tried to be as a baseball player. I think I was like him in a lot of ways. I could hit, I could block the shit out of the ball, but I couldn’t throw anybody out if they stole. I always wanted to be a catcher watching Mike. He was the best hitting catcher ever. He lead my Mets to the best season I ever watched, 2000. He hit the most emotional homer I ever watched, first post-9/11 homer against the Braves. Piazza is the greatest Mets player I ever watched.
1. Ken Griffey Jr., CF, Mariners- I have a poster of him over my bed in my dorm room. My book mark for the books I read is his card. The first ever team I played on, t-ball, was the Mariners. From then on, I followed Junior religiously. You ask any one of my friends, and the one thing that pisses me off is when somebody rips on him for getting hurt. I will defend him forever. The guy is the greatest player I will ever see, the one guy who did it all clean. My favorite sporting event I went to was when he was on the Reds. My parents bought me tickets for the game at Shea. They got it front row right next to the right field foul poll. Griff was playing right. I was 5 feet away from him. I was 5 feet away from my favorite athlete ever.