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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)
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Poets, Artists & Madmen
Poets, Artists & Madmen