Is Chipper Jones of DeLand the best athlete of all-time from Central Florida (radius expanded 60 miles from Orlando)?
In terms of a pro career, YES - though it's a near tie with NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis of Lakeland.
In terms of athleticism, no, that distinction goes to Daytona Beach's Vince Carter.
When you really start to expand the rankings, it really gets difficult because there are so many phenomenal athletes to choose from.
Let's start with the Top 6 Professional Careers... My rankings are as follows:
1. Chipper Jones, DeLand (1996-2012, .303 BA, 2,726 hits, 468 HRs, 1,623 RBI, World Series Champion - Hall of Fame)
2. Ray Lewis, Lakeland (1996-2012, 2,061 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 31 interceptions, 17 forced fumbles, 2x Super Bowl Champion - Hall of Fame)
3. Tim Raines, Sanford (1979-2002, 2.94 BA, 2,605 hits, 170 HRs, 980 RBI, 808 SB, 3x World Series Champion - Hall of Fame)
4. Warren Sapp, Apopka (1995-2007, 573 tackles, 96.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles, 4 interceptions, Super Bowl Champion - Hall of Fame)
5. Tracy McGrady, Lake Wales (1997-2013, 18,381 PTS, 19.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.4 APG, 7x NBA All-Star - Hall of Fame)
6. Vince Carter, Daytona Beach (1998-current, 24,686 PTS, 17.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 8 x NBA All-Star)
Honorable Mention: Zack Greinke, Deacon Jones, Jim Courier
Now for the Top 6 Male Athletes:
1. Vince Carter
2. Tim Raines
3. Ray Lewis
4. Warren Sapp
5. Deacon Jones
6. Chipper Jones
These lists sparked come controversy.
I heard back from some folks on Twitter who had some solid criticisms.
All good points... Dawkins was a monster athlete. So was Sammie Smith. Johnny Damon had a fantastic career. Jason Varitek did too. Amar'e Stoudamire, Chris Johnson, and Brandon Marshall all enjoyed successful careers.
The list goes on and on!
If you have more to add, or disagree and want to talk some smack... write to me at @DavidBaumannORL on Twitter!
David Baumann is a Sports Columnist for 407area.com and can be heard Tuesdays 7-9pm on EK Sports, 96.9 The Game. He can be seen Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 pm on Spectrum Sports 360, Spectrum channel 13 and in HD on 1013.
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