08/26/13 1:51 pm EST
As a Philadelphia sports fan my entire life, I have had plenty of opportunities to pick who this person was for me growing up.
There was the hard-hitting but well-spoken Brian Dawkins of the Eagles, that truly left everything he had out on the football field on Sunday’s. He set the tone on defense for a team which reached the Super Bowl in 2004.
There’s the great Chase Utley of the Phillies. He helped win the city its first major sports title after a 25-year drought and defines the word toughness on the baseball field.
Then there was the great Eric Lindros for the Flyers. He led the team to a Stanley Cup in 1997, before they were ousted in four games by the Detroit Red Wings. He was a scoring machine who is already in conversation to become an NHL Hall of Famer, just a few years out of the league.
All were or are still great athletes and at one point or another were considered the best at their respective positions.
But football, baseball and hockey didn’t nearly pique my interest in the way that basketball did when I was growing up. When a little guard from Georgetown first stepped on the court for the Sixers, I knew that there was only one guy to take this title from me. My hero was the man who donned No. 3 on his chest, had a pair of sweet Reebok sneakers on his feet and lined himself from head to toe with tattoos and accessories. My hero was Allen Iverson.