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Best Local Athlete

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Creative Loafing has been presenting Atlanta's Best People, Places and Events since 1972. These are some of the past winners for this category:

Best Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2019
Type of Award » Poets, Artists & Madmen
Picked By » Critics
Martinez

Best Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2019
Type of Award » Poets, Artists & Madmen
Picked By » Readers
Trae Young

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2018
Type of Award » Poets, Artists & Madmen
Picked By » Critics
Joseph Martinez
The way Atlanta sports go, you have to wonder if we deserve Josef Martinez and the entire team of Atlanta United. He's a high-scoring treasure and we're truly blessed he chose us.

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2018
Type of Award » Poets, Artists & Madmen
Picked By » Readers
Matt Ryan

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2017
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Human Missile Crisis aka Nikita Raper

Best (and most unlikely) comeback BOA Award Winner

Year » 2016
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Jeff Francoeur's call up from the minor leagues
Many people had thought Atlanta Braves outfielder JEFF FRANCOEUR’S CALL-UP FROM THE MINOR LEAGUES was either a publicity stunt or a really expensive act of kindness by the down-on-its-luck Bravos. But the Parkview High School graduate surprised fans by matching his career batting average and othermore...
Many people had thought Atlanta Braves outfielder JEFF FRANCOEUR’S CALL-UP FROM THE MINOR LEAGUES was either a publicity stunt or a really expensive act of kindness by the down-on-its-luck Bravos. But the Parkview High School graduate surprised fans by matching his career batting average and other impressive stats (at one point, the former SI cover boy had a team-high batting average). The summer before he was considering retirement after enduring a stint at a triple-A club in El Paso. But he had a good run — until the Braves, being the Braves, traded him. atlanta.braves.mlb.com. less...

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2016
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Julio Jones

Best speed demon BOA Award Winner

Year » 2016
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Candace Hill
Last year CANDACE HILL, then a rising senior at Rockdale County High School, broke the world record to become the world’s fastest girl, running a 100-meter sprint in 10.98 seconds. And while most teenagers are still learning how to drive, Hill is deciding which shoe company would be her best sponsor.more...
Last year CANDACE HILL, then a rising senior at Rockdale County High School, broke the world record to become the world’s fastest girl, running a 100-meter sprint in 10.98 seconds. And while most teenagers are still learning how to drive, Hill is deciding which shoe company would be her best sponsor. (She inked a 10-year deal with ASICS, turning pro and skipping college athletics.) The scholar athlete failed to place for the Summer Olympics in Brazil. But she took defeat and found a lesson, telling FloTrack: “You’re 17. You don’t have to compare yourself to others, because you’re a different age from them and even though you didn’t get the results you wanted, just keep your head held high.” www.twitter.com/candacedasav. less...

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2015
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Freddie Freeman AND Matt Ryan

Freddie Freeman


@FreddieFreeman5


Matt Ryan


@M_Ryan02

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2014
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Queen Loseyateefa

Best athletic redemption story BOA Award Winner

Year » 2013
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Brian Banks
After Brian Banks had verbally committed to play college football with the University of Southern California, he was falsely accused of raping a 15-year-old girl. He received a wrongful conviction in 2002, served a five-year prison sentence, registered as a sex offender, and remained on probation formore...
After Brian Banks had verbally committed to play college football with the University of Southern California, he was falsely accused of raping a 15-year-old girl. He received a wrongful conviction in 2002, served a five-year prison sentence, registered as a sex offender, and remained on probation for an additional five years. This past April, shortly after Banks was exonerated of all charges after completing most of his sentence, the Atlanta Falcons signed the 28-year-old and gave him a chance to fight for a spot on the team's roster. He was cut from the team in late August, but won the respect and admiration of Falcons fans along the way. less...

Best new Atlanta sports legend BOA Award Winner

Year » 2013
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Evan Gattis
How's this for a story? Dallas native Evan Gattis' improbable road to the majors started with a tumultuous college career filled with overwhelming anxiety, self-medication with drugs and booze, and a rehab stint. He quit baseball and went on to become a parking valet, a pizza parlor employee, a ski-liftmore...
How's this for a story? Dallas native Evan Gattis' improbable road to the majors started with a tumultuous college career filled with overwhelming anxiety, self-medication with drugs and booze, and a rehab stint. He quit baseball and went on to become a parking valet, a pizza parlor employee, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. After meeting a spiritual advisor, he decided to give baseball one more shot, and was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 23rd round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. Fast forward after three years in the minors and "El Oso Blanco" is now one of the team's breakout stars and a viable Rookie of the Year candidate. www.twitter.com/BulldogBeing. less...

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2013
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Wild Cherri

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2012
Type of Award » Consumer Culture
Picked By » Readers
Chipper Jones

Local athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2011
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Matt Ryan

Best local athlete you've never heard of BOA Award Winner

Year » 2010
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Evander Kane

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2010
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Jason Heyward
Runner-up: Matt Ryan

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2009
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons

Runner-up
Chipper Jones

Best local athlete BOA Award Winner

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons

Best underrated local athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2009
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Ilya Kovalchuk
Since being drafted first overall in 2001, hockey player ILYA KOVALCHUK has put together the longest sustained run of excellenceξ — 38 or more goals every season since 2002, exceeding 50 goals twice — by an Atlanta athlete since Greg Maddux and Dominique Wilkins were in their prime.more...
Since being drafted first overall in 2001, hockey player ILYA KOVALCHUK has put together the longest sustained run of excellenceξ — 38 or more goals every season since 2002, exceeding 50 goals twice — by an Atlanta athlete since Greg Maddux and Dominique Wilkins were in their prime. Overshadowed or forced to share the spotlight at various points in his career with superstars Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa, Kovalchuk put together arguably his most impressive campaign last season when he was the team's sole source of offensive firepower, scoring 43 goals and netting a total of 91 points — the second-highest total of his career. Kovalchuk's sustained level of dominance in his sport place him on a tier far above any other current local athlete, including Braves all-star Brian McCann and Falcons star quarterback Matt Ryan. Keep your fingers crossed, though — 2009 was the last year in his contract and it's unknown if he'll renew with the team. thrashers.nhl.com. less...

Best underrated local athlete BOA Award Winner

Ilya Kovalchuk

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2008
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Turner Field (Permanently Closed)

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Jeff Francoeur

Best Athlete(s) BOA Award Winner

Year » 2007
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk
When the Atlanta Thrashers debuted in 1999, General Manager Don Waddell said he had a five-year plan to get the team to the playoffs. So he was off by a couple of years. The Thrashers had their best season yet last season, led by two forwards: MARIAN HOSSA and former No. 1 pick ILYA KOVALCHUK. Both camemore...
When the Atlanta Thrashers debuted in 1999, General Manager Don Waddell said he had a five-year plan to get the team to the playoffs. So he was off by a couple of years. The Thrashers had their best season yet last season, led by two forwards: MARIAN HOSSA and former No. 1 pick ILYA KOVALCHUK. Both came on strong at the end of the season to lead the Thrashers to their first-ever playoff appearance. Hossa, who came to Atlanta in a trade for Dany Heatley, scored a franchise-record 100 points. And Kovalchuk had 42 goals and 34 assists. The Thrashers were 38-10-7 when Hossa notched a point, and 36-12-6 when Kovalchuk hit a goal or had an assist. Next goal for the team: actually win a playoff game. less...

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2007
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Turner Field (Permanently Closed)

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2006
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Michael Vick
Atlanta Falcons player www.atlantafalcons.com

Best Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2006
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Andruw Jones
It wasn’t so long ago that ANDRUW JONES walked into the office of Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz without his agent and agreed to a long-term contract that gave the Braves a significant hometown discount. His reward? Now that the contract is ending next year, Jones was placedmore...
It wasn’t so long ago that ANDRUW JONES walked into the office of Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz without his agent and agreed to a long-term contract that gave the Braves a significant hometown discount. His reward? Now that the contract is ending next year, Jones was placed on waivers this year to test the trade waters. We’ll agree with Jones that it was “rude” and that the Braves would never have placed Chipper Jones or John Smoltz on waivers. We also understand the realities of a budget forced on the team by out-of-town ownership. The pity is that we’re about to lose Andruw just as he hits his prime. He’s developed into one of the most dangerous power hitters in the game, and just happens to be the sweetest-fielding centerfielder since Willie Mays. Enjoy him while you still can. Without Andruw patrolling the outfield, Turner Field just won’t be the same. less...

Best Local Professional Athlete BOA Award Winner

Michael Vick

Best Local Professional Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2005
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Andruw Jones
The man who defies a traditional spelling of his first name finally is having the kind of year that shows off his natural talents. ANDRUW JONES’ near-perfect fielding percentage and highlight-reel catches have been the norm in center field since he was promoted to the big leagues a decade ago.more...

The man who defies a traditional spelling of his first name finally is having the kind of year that shows off his natural talents. ANDRUW JONES’ near-perfect fielding percentage and highlight-reel catches have been the norm in center field since he was promoted to the big leagues a decade ago. But Jones’ hitting — 50 homers as of mid-September, more than any player this season — elevates him to godlike status. And get this: The 28-year-old four-time all-star is now paced to top 600 dingers before he reaches the ripe old age of 40.
www.atlantabraves.com.

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Best Local Professional Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2005
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Michael Vick
Atlanta Falcons Quarterback www.atlantafalcons.com

Best Local Professional Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2004
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Michael Vick - Atlanta Falcons quarterback

Best Local Amateur Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2004
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Dwight Howard

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2003
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Michael Vick

Best Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2003
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
Michael Vick
The legend of MICHAEL VICK began Dec. 30, 2001, in a game against the Miami Dolphins. The stat line wasn't that impressive - 214 yards passing, 63 rushing, and three turnovers - and his team lost. But after the game, the Dolphins could talk only about him. He escaped blitz after blitz and made the kindmore...
The legend of MICHAEL VICK began Dec. 30, 2001, in a game against the Miami Dolphins. The stat line wasn't that impressive - 214 yards passing, 63 rushing, and three turnovers - and his team lost. But after the game, the Dolphins could talk only about him. He escaped blitz after blitz and made the kind of flat-footed 60-yard passes to which Falcons have grown accustomed. The promise Vick showed that day matured into playoff payoff in January when he and the Falcons handed the Packers their first-ever post-season loss at Lambeau Field. To get an idea of how good this guy is, the New Orleans Saints upgraded their defensive speed this season just to combat Vick. With those feet, that arm and those moves, he's just sick. But after breaking a bone in his right leg during a pre-season game, the question is, how soon before he regains that magical form? less...

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2002
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Readers
Braves Chipper Jones

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Year » 2002
Type of Award » Cityscape
Picked By » Critics
John Smoltz
JOHN SMOLTZ achieved this year what only one other pitcher has done in baseball history: He appeared as a reliever in the All-Star Game, after making previous all-star teams as a starter. It's no surprise. Smoltz had always been the best athlete among the Braves' big three starters (Smoltz, Glavine andmore...
JOHN SMOLTZ achieved this year what only one other pitcher has done in baseball history: He appeared as a reliever in the All-Star Game, after making previous all-star teams as a starter. It's no surprise. Smoltz had always been the best athlete among the Braves' big three starters (Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux). But a bad elbow was threatening the former Cy Young winner's career until the team opted to convert him to closer. Smoltz proceeded this year to set the National League record for saves. Dozens more Atlanta athletes can run faster or jump higher than Smoltz. None have made a switch so successfully from top performer at one skill in their 20s to top performer at another in their 30s. less...

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Chipper Jones Atlanta Braves third-baseman

Best Local Athlete BOA Award Winner

Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Forward, Atlanta Hawks www.nba.com/hawks Wait'll you see this guy play. He's 6-foot-9 of elegant athleticism. He's the kind of all-around player who can put the ball on the floor, shoot down low and from the outside, battle big men for rebounds and sell jerseys. The Hawks traded for the 25-year-oldmore...
Forward, Atlanta Hawks www.nba.com/hawks Wait'll you see this guy play. He's 6-foot-9 of elegant athleticism. He's the kind of all-around player who can put the ball on the floor, shoot down low and from the outside, battle big men for rebounds and sell jerseys. The Hawks traded for the 25-year-old last spring, six years after he'd graduated from Wheeler High in Marietta. Abdur-Rahim gives the Hawks a large small-forward or a fast power-forward, with a great all-around game. He averaged 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds last year (typical for his five-year career), but also had plenty of assists, steals and blocked shots. By all accounts he's a wonderful teammate, who works out during the off-season, which means he's likely to be fit in training camp. Joining two other young stars - Jason Terry and Theo Ratliff - as well as veteran winner Toni Kukoc, Abdur-Rahim instantly upgrades the young team to playoff caliber. He give the Hawks their first bona fide superside since Dominique was traded. less...

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After Dark
After Dark
Cityscape
Cityscape
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Consumer Culture
Index
Index
Oral Pleasures
Oral Pleasures
Poets, Artists & Madmen
Poets, Artists & Madmen