Calvin Johnson could be the next face of Detroit sports. I'm not speaking in present-tense terms either...he could very easily be mentioned with names like Joe Dumars, Steve Yzerman, Dave Bing, Barry Sanders, Al Kaline ... legendary Detroit sports figures.
Lofty assertions, I know, especially for a second year player, but Johnson has as much natural talent as any athlete in any sport who has played in Detroit. He could revolutionize the wide receiver position in the NFL.
There's only one problem: Lions fans know virtually nothing about the guy.
The blame for this lies directly on the Detroit sports media, our conduit to the players we root for and admire. The focus of sports writing is still on the game recap, which doesn't account for the fact that this is not 1954. Most of us have televisions...maybe even several of them. We can all watch the games (except in rare circumstances).
Now, Johnson is reportedly a soft-spoken guy, possibly making it difficult for reporters to get much information about who he is. But this is the Internet age, folks: it's not hard to Google someone and find out interesting info, then ask questions about it.
In about three minutes of browsing, I found that, as an undergrad at Georgia Tech, Johnson helped build solar latrines in Bolivia to improve sanitation. He seems like an interesting dude, and it would be cool to know more about him. Here's a starting point for those lucky enough to get access to Johnson and other athletes:
Has there ever been a better catch in the history of football than this?
Did you ever for a second believe that Matt Millen was not drafting you in 2007?
Seriously...how did you end up going to Bolivia?
With your athletic ability, I'm sure you excelled in other sports. Did you ever consider playing something else? One where this couldn't happen to people?
Favorite Detroit area place to hang out and/or eat? Does food in Michigan compare to food in Georgia?
Is there a more badass nickname in sports than MegaTron?
Rookie quarterbacks sometimes struggle with accuracy. With you as the primary target, how inaccurate can Matt Stafford be this season?
You majored in management and building construction in college ... do you have career aspirations beyond football in that field?
Can a championship team be built around a wide receiver?
If you win a Super Bowl in Detroit, should Lions fans forget about 0-16 forever?