Top 10 Most Popular DC Sports Stars

May 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

By DC Staff Writer John Manuel:

The Washington DC pro sports scene has drastically changed in the past 24 months.  Even though its teams have not had the success its fans have waited for, new franchise stars have arrived and now call DC their home.  And with them brings new hope to the Redskins and Nationals.  Some promise to the future of the Wizards and the hope the Capitals can take the next step forward.

Here are my rankings of the top ten biggest stars in DC.  In case you were wondering, Andray Blache finished 178th right behind Leigh Torrance and Jonathan Crompton.

10- Gio Gonzalez:

Gonzalez has been the Nats best starter and possibly their best player this season.  Already showing he is well worth what they gave up.  I may have him too low but he can rise up these rankings in 2013 with a Cy Young on his mantle.  Gio is great for the so/so baseball fan to go see play.  He works fast and will have you on your way home easily in under three hours.

9- Braden Holtby:    

Braden Holtby came onto the DC sports scene quickly this year.

Six weeks ago most of the town barely knew the Caps goalie but after two strong playoff series he became a fan favorite.  Caps fans can look forward to Holtby being the #1 goalie come October unless McPhee makes another move like signing a Tomas Vokoun, but I doubt it.  Holtby's play the past two seasons has earned him the chance to be the full time #1. I expect plenty of Red #70 jerseys to be all over Verizon by next season.

8- Ryan Zimmerman:

Zimmerman is lower on this list than expected due to the influx of new stars more than anyone.  His consistency for the past seven years had made him the Nationals lone star until Strasburg showed up.  And now that he will be here long term he will continue to be a leader and main focal point of the Nationals organization.

7- Brian Orakpo: 

Orakpo's only flaw in not being higher on this list is that he doesn't play offense.  Orakpo has done everything the Redskins have asked, 4-3 D-end, 3-4 outside backer, nickel pass rusher, etc.  There is no way to dislike Brian Orakpo as a person or a player.  And now with Ryan Kerrigan (who could have been 11th) Orakpo's best stat days should be coming as they master the 3-4 outside rush.

6- John Wall: 

Will John Wall rise up this list if the Wizards improve?

One lock for this list is that Wall would be the only Wizard.  His talent and premier position as a point guard should have him higher, but as of now the Wizards blow.  Hard to have Wall higher when tickets for his games are $3.  Five years ago the Wizards would have owned this list…Arenas, Jamison and Butler all would have been on it.

5- London Fletcher:

If this list was Most Respected DC Pro Athlete, London is number one.  Fletcher's popularity in the DC area showed strong this past offseason when the 37 year old was a free agent.  Most 37 year olds don't get resigned but fans were united that the Skins needed London back and he eventually resigned.  Fletcher has personally become one of my top three favorite Redskins even though not being on a team even close to a title.  And I am still pissed about the personal foul on the Tom Brady hit.

4- Stephen Strasburg:

It shows the DC Sports scene has quickly changed when a phenom like Strasburg is four.  The day after his debut after the Pirates he was most likely #1 in this town.  But some injury concerns and the Nationals staff becoming more than just him puts him at four.  Still possibly the most watched and fascinating pitcher in the majors, Strasburg has a long career ahead.  And as the season goes along the shutdown debate will heat up.

3- Alex Ovechkin:      

A couple years ago, Ovi would have been #1 on this list.

Goals and points are down, everyone debates if is still the same player, but I still feel Ovie is a DC sports star.  He is still the best player on the best franchise in DC.  As for production, maybe he won't put up 65 goals again but let’s wait and see what the new coach brings.  He is still exciting and plays hard every night for the best show in town.  May have been number one a couple years ago but I couldn't drop him much.

2- Bryce Harper:

Played in less than 30 games and already the second biggest star in DC and one can argue he is number one.  His hype was huge and so far he has shown more than expected.  Everyone felt he would hit but no one expected the speed and arm strength he has shown in the short time he has been up.  I could write more but would just be repeating my old blog.

1- Robert Griffin III:      

Never played a professional down.  Never taken a snap in even training camp.  RG3 is already the most popular player.  From the monster trade to get him to being the #1 jersey sales in the NFL for May, he is the biggest thing going in DC.  The Redskins have not had a quarterback in this position since Theismann and I would say this is already bigger.  The August 9th preseason opener at Buffalo will most likely be the most watched preseason game in Skins history.  I may have said Harper is #1 until I saw all the coverage from OTAs. Every question to any player or coach was about RG3 and that sold me on how popular and how intrigued everyone is with Griffin.  Hopefully he lives up to it.

How many of these jerseys do you own?  And do you agree with this list and order?





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  • Parks Smith

    He's not mine but Cooley has got to be on this list. I'd say he trumps both Fletcher and 'Rak in popularity.

    Gio Gonzalez is a breath fresh air. Always smiling, always winning,

    • Steve Shoup

      Parks does Brandon Banks rate above or below Blatche for you?

      • Parks Smith

        Man that's tough… I'd rather get Blatche out of town though…I think

    • Steve Shoup

      I agree Cooley should be on the list, but I'd probably say he should be no higher than 8, as it seems like most fans are jumping on the Davis train.

      Holtby is the one who I think shouldn't be on the list just b/c of the fact that hockey isn't as popular and it is too reactionary to a small sample size. I know Griffin hasn't even played yet, but a franchise QB (even an unproven one) will always win a popularity contest.

      I'd say Ovie doesn't deserve the ranking either since he's a selfish player and overrated, but DC fans are obsessed with him.

  • Steve Shoup

    John we might need to do a bottom 10 list as well, of least favorite players, should be some good names on there.

  • John Manuel

    Bottom 10 all time and current!

  • Megan Shoup

    I disagree steve…Holtby should be on there…this list is current and he's right, you'll see a ton of #70 jerseys at Verizon Center in October! We finally have a #1 goalie again!

    Agree with rest of the list for the most part. Agree that Cooley should be on there because he's still a fan favorite…I'd switch him and Fletcher (even though I love Fletcher too). And then move Cooley to bottom of list (like # 8 or 9). I hope Cooley comes back healthy and Niles Paul proves himself and we can trade Fred Davis like Steve suggested on HogsHaven. I think he's overrated and a moron!

    Would love to see the bottom 10 DC list for sure…SO much material to pick from! Heath Shuler, Adam Archuletta, and Fat Albert pop up without having to even think about it!

  • Ben Fenlon

    Early sleepers for next year's top 10 list… Anthony Davis, Roy Helu Jr, Shaq Cleare, Crazy Joe Patton.

  • http://reaching Bob N.

    list is created by a true Skins fan, besides RGIII, no Redskins should be on this list. Everyone else on this list would be ranked in the Top 10 of their respecitve positions in their respective sports besides Fletcher and Orakpo. And this is why the skins are nowhere close to competing again next year. One player does not make a team. If I could add one to the list for next year, it could be Alex Len. He will be 20, and on everybodies list to be a 1st round NBA draft pick next year.

  • Joe Campanella

    No Graham Gano or AA????

    Honorable Mention to local UMD grad Josh Wilson

  • Rob Yunich

    John, I hate to say this but you're being a bit narrow-minded in this list. Firstly, why is this on the Redskins blog and not on the D.C. blog? Secondly, you can't put RGIII at No. 1 before he's even played a game. Seriously. Secondly, how can you put Harper ahead of both Strasburg AND Ovechkin. Let's try to give people who have actually accomplished something some credit.

    Ovechkin is still No. 1 and Strasburg is probably No. 2. The biggest Redskins star right now, quite frankly, is Mike Shanahan and you also need to include Nick Backstrom and probably Brooks Laich or Mike Green ahead of Holtby.

    Orakpo and Fletcher maybe deserve to be on the list, but not ahead of Chris Cooley, who probably is the most popular Redskins player.

    John Wall probably is No. 3 overall.

    Tirade done.

  • John Manuel

    When I did this list it was all about most popular right now. And no one is talked about more than RG3 and Bryce Harper. As for Cooley I think a lot of fans still root for him including myself but he is not the same in popularity as two years ago. I think the world of Ovie and defend him more than anyone but wait until RG3 actually plays a game, it will be more hyped and watched than any Caps game.