Top 10 Detroit Sports Icons from 1990 to Present
In the next week or so I will begin to unveil my top 10 Detroit Sports Icons from 1990 till now. This list is comprised of sport figures that was a part of any of Detroit's four major sporting teams, the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons. Players, coaches and front office personel were selected based on their personal statistics and achievements, character, loyalty, and of course, the love that their respective fans had for them.
10. Bobby Higginson Tigers 1995 - 2005
Following the 2004-2005 season in which an elbow injury forced him to miss the majority of the season, Higginson decided to retire at the age of 35. Higginson was one of eight players to be named “Tiger of the Year” more than once and a true, Detroit Sports Icon.
9. Darren McCarty Red Wings 1993-2004, 2007-2009
McCarty makes this list because he truly represented the city of Detroit through his character and tough style of play. He was certainly a fan favorite for the duration of his career and will be remembered as a vital role for three of the last four Wings Stanley Cup Championships.
8. Grant Hill Pistons 1994-2000
Despite only playing six seasons for the Pistons, Grant Hill will be remembered as a Piston at the end of his playing career.
Despite his individual success Hill never made it past the first round of the NBA playoffs until 2010 when the Phoenix Suns went on to make it to the Western Conference Finals where they lost in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Beyond his statistical success on the court, perhaps what Hill will be most remembered for is his “iconic” roles in McDonalds and Nike commercials – not to mention the Sprite ad campaign where we find how Hill became such a good basketball player, “Grant Hill drinks Sprite!”
7. Herman Moore Lions 1991-2001
Typically when people think of the Detroit Lions they think of Barry Sanders. Often overlooked is Herman Moore who played with the Lions all but Sanders' first two seasons in the NFL. Moore was always a solid a great receiving threat for the Lions and certainly was an asset to the team his entire career.
After being selected in the first round (10th overall) by the Lions in the 1991 NFL Draft, Moore took away some of the focus on Sanders. Perhaps one of his greatest feats was in 1995 when him and other Lions receiver, Brett Perriman, became the first receiving tandem to have 100 receptions each in a season. Moore also holds several Lions receiving records including receiving touchdowns, receptions and yards.
Moore was always a reliable target and never benefited from a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback, though quarterback Scott Mitchell had a decent level of success. Whether it was a tough catch in traffic or a simple streak down the field, Moore was sure to make the catch and move the ball down the field. In his career he kept to himself and was a humble player. Moore never became a "cocky" or "selfish" receiver as most NFL receivers are today. He's an unknown great of the game and probably will never receive the recognition he deserves.
6. Brendan Shanahan Redwings 1996-2006
Shanahan was a fan favorite immediately after being traded to the Wings for Keith Primeau, Paul Coffey and a first-round draft pick. "Shanny" was an integral part of the Wings back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in '97 and '98, notching over 50 points in each of the two seasons.
Shanahan's continued success in Detroit saw yet another Stanley Cup in 2002 when he and the Wings, which had atleast eight future hall-of-famers, won their third Stanley Cup in five years.
In his nine seasons with Detroit, Shanahan tallid 309 goals, 324 assists, 633 points and atleast 17 Gordie Howe hat-tricks (it is hard to tell since it is not an official stat, but this is according to The Hockey News)
Despite leaving Detroit for the New York Rangers in 2006 and ending his career in 2009 with the New Jersey Devils, Shanny will always be remembered wearing the winged-wheel on his sweater and is likely to be wearing it in the hall-of-fame as he is a shoe-in to be a first ballot choice.
5. Joe Dumars Pistons 1985-1999 (player), 2001-present (President of Basketball Operations)
Joe Dumars may just deserve being on the list due to his long tenure with the Pistons, but he could be on this list as just a player or as a front-office man due to the success he has reached.
As a player, Dumars won two championships (1989 and 1990; sure '89 doesn't technically count for the sake of this list but come on!). Dumars was selected to the NBA all-star game nine times in the 90's and named to the NBA all-defensive team five times.
Accumulating 16,401 points, 4,612 assists, and 902 steals in 1018 games played Dumars is certainly a Detroit sports legend. Dumars is second in Pistons playoff history in points (1,752) and games played (112) to Thomas (2,261) and Bill Laimbeer (113) respectively.
With Isiah Thomas retiring in 1994, Dumars grabbed control of the Pistons, assisting the likes of Grant Hill and Jerry Stackhouse in reaching their levels of success in the NBA.
Dumars was hired as President of Basketball Operations prior to the 2001 season in hopes that he could turn the team around. Despite a questionable draft pick of Darko Milicic being his first move in office, Dumars was able to succesfully turn his old team around on his way to winning the NBA Executive of the Year award in 2003. Dumar's Pistons went to the Eastern Conference Finals six consecutive seasons, 2003-2008, won the 2004 NBA Championship and went to the Finals again in 2005 though they were defeated by the Spurs.
4. Scotty Bowman Redwings 1993-2002
It is no secret that Scotty Bowman is perhaps the greatest coach in all of sports history. Winning a NHL record nine Stanley Cups and recording the most wins as a coach in leage history as well (1,244), Bowman would likely appear on top of most people's list of greatest coaches.
As the coach of the Redwings Bowman led the team to three Stanley Cup Championships ('97,'98 and 2002), made the playoffs in each of his nine seasons and won six division titles.
Redwings faithful will always remember Bowman lacing up his skates after the teams sweep of the Flyers in '97 and skating around the ice.
Bowman retired on top after the Wings won the cup in 2002 but remained with the team in the front office. Bowman joined his son Stan in Chicago in 2008 and was a part of the 2009 Chicago Blackhawks that won the Stanley Cup, earning his 12th Stanley Cup as a coach or team managment. Despite being a member of a Wing rival and assisting them to the Cup, Wings fans will always remember coach Bowman and cherish the memories of what he brought to Hockeytown.