Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By ART REGNER  |  Last updated 8/13/13
If there's one debate all sports fans love to engage in, its the "best of" argument. Whether its the best team ever, best athlete ever, best game ever, best play ever, best uniform ever -- best, best, best, best, best -- its a never-ending list, which is also totally subjective. With Miguel Cabreras beyond-description heroics on the baseball diamond, its made me take a step back and ask myself this question: Is Miggy the best Detroit athlete of my lifetime? It's a question I posed to several of my colleagues at Michigans football media day on Sunday, and once we started hashing over names, Cabrera was certainly a dominate part of the conversation. But he was not a consensus pick. Thats because there's no right or wrong answer. Thats why sports debates are -- shall I say it? -- the best. After Sunday, much to the dismay of my family, I spent a great deal of time compiling a list of Detroits top-five pro athletes of my lifetime. Remember, Im ancient enough to recall Gordie Howe and Al Kaline as players. But they were at the end of their careers, so their legendary status was well established before I came onto the scene. This is about players whom -- when I'm an old, graying dude -- I'll sit on my porch and yell at the neighborhood kids, You think so and so is good?! Let me tell ya, I saw the best! Also keep in mind, this isn't a list of my favorite Detroit athletes. A former Red Wings player who wore No. 91 on his back would be at the top of the list, or a close second to Sweet Lou. Im pretty sure I cant prolong the hype anymore, so here are Detroits top-five pro athletes of my lifetime (as it stands now): 1. Miguel Cabrera: Miggy is unbelievable. Hes been a big-time player since he arrived in the big leagues, and his performance in a Detroit uniform has been astounding. Your browser does not support iframes. 2. Nick Lidstrom: This was a tough one for me because I saw almost every game Lidstrom ever played in for the Red Wings. Like Cabrera, Lidstrom's talent defies logic. After his rookie season, Sydney Crosby was asked what surprised him most about the NHL. He replied, How Nick Lidstrom controls a game. Nothing else needs to be said. 3. Barry Sanders: I have a feeling Barry would be at the top of this list if he would have played longer. Football is a brutal game, but somehow Barry dominated at running back without ever sustaining a prolonged injury -- despite the shortcomings of the Lions' front office. Barry made the impossible possible. It ended too soon. 4. Tommy Hearns: When he burst onto the scene as the "Motor City Cobra," Hearns was the talk of Detroit. He never really looked like a boxer, but his lanky frame contained a wallop, and his intense competitive spirit is the embodiment of Detroit. Love Ya, Champ! 5. Steve Yzerman: Most of us forget that Yzerman played on a bad to non-existent knee for most of his Hall of Fame career. Overcoming several severe injuries and modifying his game for the good of the team are reasons why Stevie is a players' player. His laid-back persona was a perfect disguise for his take-no-prisoners approach to the game of hockey. HONORABLE MENTION: Isiah Thomas -- Zeke is one of my guys, but the first five were just a bit better -- although that could change tomorrow. UP-AND-COMING: Calvin Johnson -- Thus far, Megatron has been spectacular. If he remains healthy, it will be a tough call not to have Calvin on the list. There it is. Let the debate begin, but please keep it in perspective. Like I said earlier, it's subjective; this is my list. The ultimate judge in my mind is the eye test. And in my eyes, Miggy's at the top of list.
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