For fans young and old there is undoubtably good and bad memories of their favorite teams. At the core of those memories are the players who made them. Take a look at Christian Peshek and Blaise Mesa's picks for their top five favorite players, and three honorable mentions—because ya know five three sports.
Of the two writers making picks today, Peshek is older and has spent more time cheering on the Blackhawks and Sox than the Cubs and Bulls. Take a look at Christian's picks below:
1) Duncan Keith
Keith has always been and always will be my favorite athlete. He has been with the Chicago Blackhawks for his entire 13 year career. He has helped lead the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup’s, and has been an integral part of the core of the Hawks superstar nucleus. What impresses me about Keith is his motor, which never seems to wane. He may not be the biggest or fastest, but he rarely gets caught out of position, puts up top minutes every night and always plays smart.
2) Ed Reed
Of his 12 NFL season, Reed spent 11 in Baltimore including the 2013 Super Bowl run. He was the best ballhawking safety to ever play the game, and he played with a nasty mean streak. Drafted 24th overall in the 2002 draft, Reed holds many accolades, including being a seven time pro bowler, an NFL player of the year (2004) and an all decade player by two different sources. Reed holds the Ravens records for most interceptions in a career (54) and 1438 interception yards.
3) Jalen Ramsey
As a top five pick in the 2016 draft, Ramsey is one of the most exciting new players in the NFL. Considered a lockdown cornerback in only his second season, Ramsey has a rare blend of size and speed to shut down opposing receivers. In only two seasons, he has six interceptions and 128 combined tackles, and has become a focal point for his Jaguars defense.
4) Mike Brown
Brown was drafted in the second round of the 2000 NFL draft, and immediately became a stud for the Bears. Brown was the Bears version of Ed Reed, and although not as good, he was definitely one of the best to ever do it in a Bears uniform.
5) Brian Urlacher
Too many things can be said about Urlacher, who was the anchor for the Monsters of the Midway in the 2000s. He was the heart and soul of the Bears defense and is one of the best linebackers to play the game, which is shown by his selection into the Hall of Fame. He was a spectacle to watch, and he will never be forgotten as one of the best of all time.
Honorable mentions, Rasumus Ristolainen, Patrick Kane and Matt Forte
Just young enough to avoid all the pain of his hometown club, Mesa skipped most of the 108 years of futility, and picked up at the start of the rebuild. Take a look at Blaise's picks below:
1) Walter Payton
It doesn’t take much explanation as to why Payton tops the list. One of the most complete players in the NFL, and workhorse of the 1985 Bears. Nothing brings more pleasure than watching Payton refuse to go down, while running over defenders for hours on end.
2) Ernie Banks
As a die hard Cubs fan, Mr. Cub should be high on this list. His stance in the box, he swing at the plate and his 512 home runs will live on in Cubs lore. Banks’ statue is as close to front and center as you can make it at Wrigley, and his retired number flag flies the highest.
3) Anthony Rizzo
Nothing like falling in love with the curse killer himself. After 108 years of sorrow, Rizzo was the cornerstone the entire rebuild hinged off of. He has been a ray of hope throughout the rebuild, and for the future. More than his talents on the field, Rizzo is a class act off the field and someone to truly look up to.
4) Kyle Long
Long plays football the right way. Tough, passionate and a true Bear. He played through injury (in a non reckless way), and stuck by the team even during three win season. There's also a no nonsense attitude with Long. Any time you mess with the Bears you might be answering to him. He may have been a risky pick in the 2013 draft, but I’d say he payed off.
5) Bryan LaHair
Everybody remembers their first. When LaHair burst onto the scene he made a splash—and the All-Star roster—before fizzing out, but by then he was the first player I ever grew to like. His first month of the season was highlighted with numerous walk offs, and game winning hits. At times LaHair provided much needed relief from a team that finished fifth in the NL Central with 101 loses.
Three honorable mentions, Edgar Martinez, JJ Watt and Chris Long
Even though he hails from Chicago, Benson has spent his time watching the Knicks and Suns. When not glued to the basketball scene he would be over watching his favorite fighters duke it out in the ring.
1.) Andre Ward
A master boxer that retired last year after going undefeated as a professional. Andre’s last loss was at the age of 12 as an amateur boxer, and he is the last male Olympian to win gold medal for boxing in the USA. While Andre never enjoyed the commercial success a lot of people expected of him, he always got the respect of experts and peers.
2.) Tracy McGrady
Tracy Lamar McGrady was an NBA superstar for half of his career, but the other half of his career he was a shell of his former self unfortunately due to injuries. He first entered the NBA as the ninth overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft. He led the NBA in scoring two straight years and was a seven-time All-star.
3.) Devin Booker
Devin is the current face of the Phoenix Suns, and was drafted back in 2015 with the 13th overall pick. He is most known for his shooting touch, which helped him win the NBA three-point contest during the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend. Devin is currently the youngest player in NBA history to score 60 points. He set that record last season against the Boston Celtics when he dropped 70 points.
4.) Danny Garcia
Danny “Swift” Garcia is a world champion boxer at two different weight divisions. First, he won a world title at 140 pounds (junior welterweight), and later he won a world title at 147 pounds (welterweight). Garcia is from North Philadelphia and is coming off an exciting knockout of Brandon Rios.
5.) Kristaps Porzingis
KP6 is one of the most unique and interesting basketball players to ever live. At 7’3” he is a very tall and lanky player, but his skill set resembles that of a guard. His touch and ball handling make him a nightmare for any player trying to guard him. Porzingis is so special that he is the only player in NBA history with at least 35 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and five three-pointers in a single game. The New York Knicks made the right choice in 2015 with the 4th overall pick.
Honorable Mentions: “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes and Eric Bledsoe