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The Talon

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The Talon

The Talon

Top Ten Athletes in Philadelphia History


Philadelphia is one of the biggest sports cities in the area, and it’s easy to see with the Eagles, Sixers, Phillies and Flyers fans galore, and many great athletes have been compiled into the history books of the city. Here’s the top ten greatest Philly athletes of all time.


10: Bobby Clarke

A career Flyer, never playing for any other teams in his career, some consider Bobby Clarke to be the greatest of all time when it comes to hockey. With 358 career goals, he has the most games played and shorthand goals in the regular season for the Flyers, and most seasons, games, goals, seasons and assists in the playoffs, as well as most assists in a single game. He played from 1969 to 1970, and his iconic number 16 was retired by the Flyers on November 15th, 1981.


9: Reggie White

Reggie White may have played for the Eagles, but he still had that dog in him. He was a bad man through and through, ending up in the nightmares of quarterbacks everywhere with 1,112 career tackles, 198 career sacks, 33 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions and 2 touchdowns. His number would go on to be retired by the Eagles, solidifying his legacy as an Eagles great. Although he was in Philadelphia for a good time, he wasn’t there for a long time, only playing in Philly from 1985 to 1992.


8: Bernie Parent

Going back to hockey, we have in my opinion the greatest Flyer of all time, Bernie Parent. Parent holds many records for the Flyers club, with the most regular season ties, shutouts, minutes played, playoff records for shutouts and highest save percentage, and single game playoff records for most saves and most shots. Parent would have his iconic number one retired on October 11th, 1979. Parent was also responsible for bringing back to back Stanley Cups to Philly in 1974 and 1975.


7: Chuck Bednarik

Going from the greatest Flyer of all time to the greatest Eagle of all time, Chuck Bednarik. Some of the hits he would give out on the field would probably send some O linemen to an early grave, and all of the blocks he would give out would make the likes of Aaron Donald look like a preschooler trying to push over a brick wall. Concrete Charlie brought home 2 NFL Championships to the Eagles, getting his number retired by the Eagles and entering the Football Hall of Fame in his first year of Eligibility.


6: Paul Arizin

Getting into Basketball for the first time on this list, but technically Paul Arizin was a Warriors great, as before 1971 the Warriors were based in Philadelphia, before moving to San Francisco, when the Syracuse Nationals relocated to Philadelphia and became the 76ers of today. Arizin played for the Warriors from 1950 to 1962, helping to bring a championship to Philadelphia, and getting a decades worth of all star appearances. Recently, Arizin was named to the NBA Top 75 team.


5: Mike Schmidt

The only baseball player on this list, Mike Schmidt is head and shoulders above all others when it comes to greatest Phillie of all time. Schmidt played only for the Phillies during his career, playing from 1972 to 1989, and getting a .267 batting average. In his career, Schmidt got 2,234 hits and 548 home runs. Schmidt would have his signature number 20 retired by the Phillies, and would also be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Phillies wall of fame. Schmidt would also get ten Gold Gloves in his career.


4: Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson’s influence on the 76ers, as well as the sport of basketball could not possibly be overstated. While he didn’t invent the crossover, as you could go back to the 60’s and see Oscar Robertson doing it, Iverson definitely popularized it, breaking the and only Michael Jordan’s ankles on March 12th, 1997. Allen Iverson also had an MVP, a NBA top 75 placement, a retired number, and a legacy as one of the greatest NBA players to never get a ring. At number 4, it’s The Answer.


3: Charles Barkley

While The Round Mound of Rebound may not have ever been the skinniest guy on the court, that did not at all speak to his resounding elegance. Charles Barkley got an MVP, his number 34 retired by the 76ers as well as the Suns, and would along with Iverson join the conversation for greatest NBA players without a ring. Barkley would also become a renowned fighter, which would be great if he didn’t do it in the middle of basketball games. Charles Barkley would be the greatest basketball player in Philly history, if it weren’t for…


2: Wilt Chamberlain

The GOAT of centers Wilt Chamberlain is the reason why you cannot inbound over the backboard and the reason why the lane is a lot wider than it was before. Chamberlain also set the records for most points in a game and most rebounds in a game. Chamberlain would even bring a championship home to Philly, and combining all these things makes him the greatest Philly basketball player of all time.


1: Joe Frazier

And finally at number one, the GOAT of Philly sports, Joe Frazier. Frazier had a record of 32 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw, with 27 of his wins coming by knockout. Smokin’ Joe’s most famous accomplishment to most would probably be winning by decision over the one and only Muhammad Ali in the “Fight of the Century” on March 8th, 1971 at Madison Square Garden. Frazier was also inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame and Olympic Hall of Fame, and would be given the Rocky Marciano award in 1976.

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About the Contributor
DJ Staples, NBA Columnist
DJ Staples is a second-year communications and journalism student and a member of the Class of 2026. He enjoys playing video games and collecting shoes.