Dec 6, 2021 - Sports

Border battle: Which city has the best athletes?

Chet Holmgren, Larry Fitzgerald, Paul Molitor and Jalen Suggs
Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photos: Brian Rothmuller, Al Bello, Ron Vesely and Fernando Medina/Getty Images

In the rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul, the saintly city has a leg up when it comes to producing athletes.

Thought bubble: St. Paul has long been able to thump its chest and point to Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield, Jack Morris, Matt Birk and Joe Mauer.

  • And in the past year, it's strengthened its standing as gymnast Suni Lee won an Olympic gold medal and Jalen Suggs took Gonzaga to the NCAA title game before being drafted 5th overall by the Orlando Magic.

Yes, but: Minneapolis may have the state's greatest athlete of all time: Larry Fitzgerald, who ranks second all-time for receptions and receiving yards in the NFL.

  • It also produced hoopers Alan Anderson, Devean George and Khalid El-Amin as well as hockey hall of famer Reed Larson.

Plus, Chet Holmgren is already making waves in college basketball and could be the No. 1 pick in next June's NBA draft.

  • Is he the next Kevin Durant? If so, he could tip the scales toward the west side of the river.

Zoom out: Which suburb has produced the best athletes?

  • Wayzata touts football's Barber brothers and James Laurinaitis, while Apple Valley has got the NBA's Jones brothers, Gary Trent Jr. and Olympic gold medal wrestler Gable Steveson.
  • How about hockey hotbed South St. Paul, which produced Phil Housley, Justin Faulk and Alex Stalock?
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