Top Ten Athletes from Philadelphia: What They Say About Our City

Vincent HeckCorrespondent IAugust 28, 2010

Top Ten Athletes from Philadelphia: What They Say About Our City

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    In a book by Roger Barker, Ecological Psychology, Barker expressed the theory that social settings influence behavior.Barker stresses the importance of a town’s behavior and environment as the residents’ most ordinary instrument of describing their environment.

    No matter where we go, we can't escape who we are, or where we're from. We talk like our neighborhood, share ideas with our neighborhoods, adapt the same attitudes and views from our neighborhoods.

    When you go to stay places, doesn't everyone in the area seem "weird"?

    This is because, every area has their thing, determined by their environmental settings.

    Weather, people, history, laws, and products, really, anything can change the atmosphere from one city to another.

    While everyone in the area is an individual, collectively, there is an identity.

    So what about Philadelphia?

    We'll observe some of the actions, and abilities of the 10 greatest Philadelphian athletes ever, and determine what some of there personalities say about the city.

10. Jameer Nelson

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    Jameer Nelson was born in Chester, Pa. A city of 36,854. It's the largest suburb of Philadelphia and it attaches directly west to south Philly.

    Nelson brings a quiet, do-your-job blue-collar vibe to the table. Doesn't complain too much, and is consistent with the job he does do.

    He's a hard worker and you always know you've gotten 100 percent from him.

    Nelson represents a group in the city who do that.

    The the toll booth guys, the janitors, the SEPTA employees, etc.

    He doesn't have much of the accolades that the following do as of yet, but he is surely on his way to being able to help a team in that regard.

    Later in his career, or after, he maybe higher up on this list.

    The hard work Nelson does is necessary, and one day he will be noticed for the greatness he shows in those ways.

9. Jamie Moyer

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    Jamie Moyer is from a small town of 4,000 named Sellersville. It's located a couple miles northwest of Philadelphia in Bucks County.

    Jamie is our hometown hero. The everyday man, turned champion on our beloved Philadelphia Phillies.

    Jamie also represents the resiliency of the city. Jameer is the hard worker--Jamie shows you how long we can go.

    Moyer is currently the oldest active player in the major leagues, and has the most wins, losses, and strikeouts of any active Major League pitcher.

8. Eddie George

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    Eddie George, the even-keel warrior known to blow through tackles with ease.

    After winning the Heisman Trophy award in 1995, George went on to win the NFL Rookie of the Year award in 1996. 

    George was the Oilers/Titans' starting tailback through 2003, and never missing a start due to injury.

    He made the Pro Bowl four consecutive years, and assisted the Titans to a championship appearance in Super Bowl XXXIV.

    George was a work horse, carrying the ball over 330 times in five out of eight seasons; so much of a work horse, that his performance started to decline due to the work load he carried in Tennessee.

    When the Titans proposed a pay cut, in true Philly-man fashion, he wasn't having that--they released him.

7. Rasheed Wallace

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    Now we're getting into the edgy side of Philly. The side people usually see first, and often.

    This Philadelphia native is known for his short temper and rigid look.

    Misunderstood by most, you can be sure that those from inner-city Philadelphia can understand his actions best; be it right, or be it wrong.

    Wallace is the side of Philadelphia who would boo the Refs or Umpires.

    Wallace is the side of Philly who would throw snowballs at Santa Claus, and Wallace is the side of Philadelphia that doesn't take no stuff.

    More than that, though, Wallace is just passionate; not mean. Rude? Maybe, but not maliciously rude.

    Like most Philadelphians, he has a good heart, he just loses his cool when something he's so passionate about goes awry.

    To demonstrate, take a look at a famous rant by Wallace:

     "All that (explicative-explicative) calls they had out there. With Mike and Kenny -- you've all seen that (explicative), ... You saw them calls. The cats are floppin' all over the floor and they're calling that (explicative). That (explicative) ain't basketball out there. It's all (explicative) entertainment. You all should know that (explicative). It's all (explicative) entertainment."

    Come on now, Philadelphians, who hasn't gone on those sorts of tirades after dissatisfaction with the refs? Likely, you've said that rant word for word.

    If you're not a swearer, replace those expletives with "freakins", "frickins", "shoots", "stupids" and "craps"--does that sound like you now?

    His mouth is rough, his look is rough, but his heart is big. And so is his game.

6. Mike Piazza

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    Mike Piazza, was born in a rough suburb of Philadelphia, Norristown, Pennsylvania, (where I went to High School) just a hop,skip, and a jump from West Philadelphia,  and was raised in Phoenixville, (Where I'm currently typing this article now.)

    Piazza was drafted by another Philly guy, and friend of the family, Tommy Lasorta. It was probably  the best homer pick anyone has ever made as Piazza went on to become a 12-time All-Star, and is thought of by many as the best-hitting catcher of all time.

    Piazza holds the record for home runs hit by a catcher with 396, with a career total of 427.

    He had at least one RBI in 15 consecutive games for the New York Mets in 2000, the second-longest RBI streak ever.

5. Bernard Hopkins

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    This tough Philadelphian, had a rough beginning to his career. Since 1992, however, he made a surge towards greatness, winning 20 of straight fights.

    After a loss to Roy Jones Jr., and a short hiatus from boxing, Hopkins took the IBF middleweight by storm.

    After which he went on to defeat big names such as, Keith Holmes, Felix Trinidad, and Oscar De La Hoya.

    Hopkins overall record stands at:

    51 Wins (32) KO's 5 losses 1 draw 1 no decision.

4. Joe Frazier

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    Smokin' Joe Frazier, is Philadelphia guy who is considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time.

    Frazier was the first of only five to defeat the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali.

    Some consider Frazier, really the only one to beat Ali, because that was when Ali was at his best. (Although that's a bit faulty because Frazier later lost twice to Ali.)

    Nonetheless, Frazier was a superb warrior, and tough man, with heart. A quality that has been attributed to Philadelphians for years.

    Frazier's over all boxing record was:

    32 wins (27) KO's 4 losses and 1 draw.

3. Marvin Harrison

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    Marvin Harrison, the silent striker.

    He may not seem like much of a talker, as he represents the laid back Phliadelphian, but his body of work represents a Philadelphia guy thoroughly.

    Harrison is hard working and resilient, and it shows through in his numbers.

    Harrison has, in a span of 190 games, 1,102 receptions, 14, 580 yards and 128 touchdowns.

    This 10 time pro-bowler, currently is a part of some 20 different all-time NFL records, including:

    Most consecutive seasons with at least ten touchdowns and most consecutive seasons with at least 14 touchdown receptions, which he shares with 49ers great, Jerry Rice.

    Ask anyone you who knows Harrison professionally, and they will tell you he brings a blue collar work ethic to the sport of football.

2. Kobe Bryant

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    Ah, this guy needs no introduction -- needs no explanation.

    No statistics needed here, you and everyone else knows, that this guy is the "it" of today.

    While Bryant was born in Philly, he spent most of his youth in Italy.

    Bryant and his family moved back to the greater Philadelphia area just in time for high school, before being drafted straight from high school to the then, Charlotte Hornets. 

    Some may argue, "he didn't grow up in Philadelphia and he doesn't contain any Philly traits."

    I'd like to beg to differ.

    It's commonly known knowledge that your parents have a lot to do with who you turn out to be, and Bryant's father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, is a full-blooded, pure, Philadelphian.

    There is no way you are raised by Philadelphia parents and you don't get some of that on you.

    If anything, he's stubborn, he's vicious on the court, he's passionate, and he's ambitious.

1. Wilt Chamberlain

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    Count to 100 right now. How long does it take? Go by twos if you'd like.

    Hall of Famer, Wilt Chamberlain is the only man to reach the century mark in a game—individually.

    The Los Angeles Clippers struggle to do that as a 12 man roster.

    Chamberlain holds numerous records throughout the NBA, has won two NBA titles, four regular-season Most Valuable Player awards, the Rookie of the Year award, one NBA Finals MVP award, and was selected to 13 All-Star Games and ten All-NBA First and Second teams.

    The game of basketball may have been created in Massachusetts by a Canadian man, but it's clear, that here in Philadelphia, we have played a large part in changing the face of the game.

    Also, for the other sports, Philadelphia, has made it's mark in the wide world of sports, and I'm positive, our talents, in and out of athletics will always shine through.