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Alexander: The definitive list of area’s all-time best

By in Press Enterprise on July 12, 2017

By Jim Alexander

We’ve nibbled around the edges of the issue before in our Top Ten lists. Best area players in a particular sport, best athletes to have been born in this area but not grown up here, best this, best that, etc.

But this is the definitive list: The Top 10 athletes, regardless of sport, to have hailed from our corner of the universe. The guiding principle: Everyone was a star in high school, so the determining factor is what you did afterward.

Let the arguments begin.

1. Cheryl Miller (Riverside Poly, USC): Not only the best women’s basketball player of her era but a transformative player, as a four-time All-American and three-time Player of the Year, an Olympic gold medalist (1984) and a member of the Naismith, FIBA and Women’s Basketball halls of fame. And what kinds of standards would she have established had a pro career been an option? The WNBA didn’t arrive until a full decade after she’d left college.

2. Landon Donovan (Redlands East Valley): If Donovan doesn’t return from Germany to the U.S. to pursue his career, does Major League Soccer survive? He is still the best player American soccer has produced, although Christian Pulicic may be about to strip him of that title. He is MLS’ all-time leading scorer and a six-time league champion, and his World Cup goal to beat Algeria in 2010—one of 57 in 157 national team matches—is still the most significant World Cup moment in U.S. history.

3. Ronnie Lott (Rialto Eisenhower, USC): No one played safety like Lott, whose 14 NFL seasons of excellence (mostly with the 49ers, but also with the Raiders and Jets) earned him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.He had 63 career […]    

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