A recent review on the local sports station of the most popular or recognizable sports figures in Atlanta got me to thinking, so I thought I would give my thoughts on a few of the big cities, including those that have my favorite teams (Dallas, etc.).
So here is my top 5 for Atlanta, the only rule is they have to be a current player, coach or currently in the sports arena. So Hank Aaron, Herschel Walker and Deion Sanders would not be options for Atlanta.
5. Roddy White - Wide Receiver (Atlanta Falcons)
This was the hardest one to choose as there are a lot of players that could be #5 (Jason Heyward, Tim Hudson, Joe Johnson, Mike Smith, Paul Johnson, etc.). I selected Roddy mostly due to him showing up all over the place now, including a lot of national radio and tv spots. It doesn't hurt that his hair would be hard to miss.
4. Josh Smith - Forward (Atlanta Hawks)
Due to basketball players not wearing hats or helmets they are easy to recognize. Josh or J-Smooth is recognizable to the sport's fans in Atlanta, unfortunately mostly it is for whining or seeming to quit at times while playing. He could be one of the best forwards in the game, and he still has the chance to do it, hopefully it just does not happen after he is traded from the Hawks. He also loves his jump shot more than any one man should.
3. Matt Ryan - Quarterback (Atlanta Falcons)
Matt might be higher on this list and as his career continues as a Falcon he will be become more recognizable than now. He is by far the face of the franchise and is in a handful of local commercials. Matty Ice will be in the top 2 on this list when his career gets towards the end.
2. Mark Richt - Head Coach (University of Georgia-UGA)
This one seems easy to me to be high on the list in these parts. Whether it is for him winning in the early 2000s to his current place firmly on the hot seat, Richt is very recognizable even to the novice sports fan and women in this market. It does not hurt that he has been in this position for over 10 years now.
1. Chipper "Larry" Jones - 3rd baseman (Atlanta Braves)
Unfortunately he is #1 for not just his play on the field, he is by far one of the best switch hitters and 3rd baseman to ever play the game. When he finally retires after the 2012 season he will be a first ballot hall of famer and his #10 will be retired by the Braves. He is also known for his affairs with Hooters girls and a few children out of his marriage. With all that being said Chipper was an easy choice for #1 in the ATL.
More cities to come....look forward to hearing your top 5!!