In a cybertour of the major professional sports cities in America, we are exploring the most recognizable athletes and coaches in each city. This stop brings us to the Bay Area, where we combining everything that San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose have to offer in the world of sports. Sadly enough though, they don’t have much to offer. It was hard picking a top five most recognizable for this cultural melting pot, but it had to be done. Here it is, let the debate begin.
Michael Crabtree – Yes, a man who has never played an ounce of professional sports is one of the Top 5 most recognizable players in the Bay Area. I don’t know if that speaks more to Crabtree’s tremendous college career, or the lack of great sports in the Bay Area, but either way, Crabtree belongs on this list. First, he is the biggest name on his new team. While there may be better and/or more proven players for the 49ers, most people don’t know who they are. So Crabtree gets the nod for the city of San Francisco.
Al Davis – Okay, so I’m kind of cheating here by putting an executive on the list, because I haven’t done it for other cities. But it was so hard to come up with 5 guys for this list, that I included Davis because at least he used to be the coach, and sometimes I’m not so sure he isn’t still pulling the game-time strings in Oakland. Needless to say, everybody in the Bay Area knows who he is. He is the guy running one of the worst sports franchises in America. In his defense, he had built the Raiders up to a tremendous franchise during his prime years, but those days are long behind him. Nevertheless, Al Davis remains very relevant in pro sports.
Monta Ellis – I had to get basketballer up here, and this was the best I could do. He may not even be the best player on his team, but he is probably the most well-known guy on a team full of not-so-well-known players. Ellis a budding young star for the Golden State Warriors, and if he can stay on the court long enough, he’ll be a budding young star for the entire NBA. He’s an electric, undersized combo-guard that knows how to put the ball in the hole. His approach to the game is very Allen Iverson like, except he may even have a better outside shot. So while his stardom may not be as prominent as some of the other guys at his position, the 23-year old still has plenty of time to grow into his game and his eventual popularity.
Frank Gore – Gore is not a household name, but maybe he should be. He was unheralded out of high school, and he ended up a star at Miami University. He was unheralded out of college, and he ended up beast of a running back for San Francisco. So maybe it’s time we start to give Gore his due, huh? Whether he is the biggest name out there or not, Gore is one of the league’s most exciting running backs. He has a power and explosion that is beyond deadly on the football field, and when he gets in the open-field, there’s not a defender in the NFL who knows how to bring him down. Gore’s rise to fame can only be hampered by his own team’s lack of success, but if he keeps doing what he’s doing, eventually the 49ers will get it right, and he’ll get his props.
Joe Thornton – Yes, I’m giving some love to the NHL! How can I not put Joe Thornton on the list. He was the leading scorer on a 1st place San Jose Sharks team. Sure, they were inexplicably ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Western Conference’s 8th seed, but they are still a very good team, and as long as he is in the fold, they will remain a good team.