This is an opinion piece.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, what better time to talk about professional athletes we love. Before we get into the list, it is important to note that the athletes named are stars in American sports.
10. Dwayne Wade, Chicago Bulls
Although Wade or “D-Wade,” which he is commonly referred to, is now a member of his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls, he has had a strong following throughout his career. He is best known as a member of the Miami Heat. Wade won three NBA titles with the Heat. Most NBA fans will forever remember Wade in his prime in Miami.
9. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
He was one of the NBA’s most loved players for much of his career due to his outstanding ability and athleticism. Although he never won a championship, fans idolized KD and it was fair to say many wished he would one day bring a title to OKC. Instead, after blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 conference finals to Golden State, Durant signed a deal with the same Golden State team that ended his season. Many of Durant’s fans and admirers began to resent him. That being said, Durant is still loved by some fans, many of them Warriors’ fans.
8. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Newton is one of the NFL’s most exciting players in terms of style of play. Many fans love Newton for his bubbly personality and his on-the-field celebrations. He has not yet joined the elite class of quarterbacks in the NFL, and he has not won a championship yet.
7. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Trout makes the list even in a time when baseball is lacking in superstars.
Trout is certainly a superstar, as he is widely regarded as the best player in baseball. Trout has already won two MVPs and is considered a five-tool player, which is proven by his jaw-dropping statistics.
6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Many will argue he is the best quarterback in the game today based on his ability to win games through his huge arm and ability to extend plays. Rodgers has a Super Bowl, but hasn’t been able to win another due to some struggles around him.
5. Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
Curry is one of the most electrifying players in the NBA for his ability to blow the game open in a moment’s notice. As the league’s best shooter, Curry can get hot quickly and not look back.
4. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Watt has burst onto the scene in the NFL as one of the toughest players in the league. A punishing defender and an MVP candidate when healthy, Watt is loved by the younger fanbase more than most for his ability to connect with young fans through his work ethic and raw talent.
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Although many people cannot stand Brady and the Patriots, and many people consider him a cheater, there is no athlete more beloved by his fanbase, as well as many others outside Boston. Many people respect Brady for his lack of flashiness and his ability to be counted on late in games when his team needs him.
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Similar to Brady, many despise James for a variety of reasons, but he is also adored by just as many, if not more, people. He has won three championships in his career and several MVP awards. James was loved in Cleveland his first go-round. When he left for Miami, many had lost all respect for James. However, James returned to the city he calls home.
1.Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
“Gronk” is the most beloved athlete in American sports today. Although he is hurt a decent amount of the time, he is the most dominant tight end in football when he’s on the field. Gronk is much more admired for what he does off the field. He is the ultimate party boy whom most people would want to hang out with.