Top five most successful sports cities

As a continuation from yesterday’s piece, I thought it might be interesting to reflect back on the last 15 years of sports champions. More specifically, I am ranking the top ten sports cities in the US since 2000. This includes the five largest sports leagues in America, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS. The rankings will mainly rely on championships won by a single city but I will also take into account appearances in the finals as well. Let’s see if your city cracked the top five.

#5 Chicago: 3 total titles in 6 total appearances
Chicago actually has fewer titles than San Antonio but gets the nod for the extra finals appearance and diversity across more than one sport. Chicago is home to the two-time finalist Fire of the MLS in 2000 and 2003. The Bears also claim the Windy City as home. Even though this NFL team hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1985, they did make it to 2007 Super Bowl. Despite the Cubs century long struggle to win the World Series, the White Sox claimed a title in 2005. The other two titles came from the NHL side. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2013. Chicago has seen championship berths from the spread out across these 15 years. The Bulls, despite all the success in the 90s, have not made it to the finals since the turn of the century.

#4 Miami: 4 total titles in 6 total appearances
Florida’s major city clocks in at number four largely due to the success of the Miami Heat during this decade. The Heat made it to a NBA-record four straight NBA Finals, winning the middle two. The Heat also locked up a championship back in 2006 as well over the Dallas Mavericks. So yes, most of the credit goes to the NBA team but the baseball team based in Miami has a World Series title as well. The Marlins, who back then were only the Florida Marlins but still played in the city, won the 2003 World Series over the New York Yankees. The titles from two different sports gives Miami a boost. Now if only the Dolphins could help the city out. Soccer could be springing up as well soon as David Beckham seeks to set up a MLS expansion team. For now though, Miami is nowhere close to jumping over the top three cities on the list.

#3 Tri-State: 6 total titles in 15 total appearances
This seems like it is cheating a little bit but it is hard to differentiate New York and New Jersey. Despite being called the New York Giants, Jets and Red Bulls, all of these teams play in New Jersey, along with the Devils. Either way, The Giants locked up two Super Bowl titles in 2008 and 2012. The Red Bulls made a Cup run in 2008, falling short to Columbus. The Yankees won two World Series titles in 2000 and 2009, the 2000 one over the cross-town rival Mets. The Yanks also made the 2001 and 2003 Series. On the ice, the Devils have two Stanley Cups from runs in 2000 and 2003 to go along with losses in the 2001 and 2012 final. Even the Nets, who back then played in Jersey, made consecutive title appearances in 2002 and 2003. Worth noting, New Jersey based teams have accounted for 4 titles in 9 appearances while New York teams only have 2 championships in 6 showings. Looks like Jersey is holding up their end of the deal…

#2 Boston: 9 total titles in 18 total appearances
You know a city is dominant when they have more finals appearances than there are years in our criteria. Boston’s 18 championship runs is one less than the number one team on this list. The cities 9 titles are incredible though. The largest contributor has been the Patriots, with Super Bowl victories in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2015 and losses in 2008 and 2012. The Red Sox have held up their end of the bargain as well, delivering 3 World Series titles in 2004, 2007 and 2013. The Celtics and Bruins even locked up a title each in 2008 and 2011 respectively. The little known fact is that Revolution actually have contributed the second most title appearances, with five. The issue is that they have come up short every time in the MLS Final. Still Boston’s titles are very impressive. They just couldn’t edge out number one.

#1 Los Angeles: 14 total titles in 19 total appearances
Wow. 14 titles in 15 years. It’s no wonder stars love going to Los Angeles. With teams in every one of the sports being considered but football, LA probably solid chances of succeeding but still 13 championships in 15 years in unprecedented. The LA Galaxy have brought home 5 MLS Cups in 7 attempts in 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2014. The Lakers have the same numbers with their titles coming in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010. The Kings have been stellar of late, nabbing two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. The Anaheim Ducks grabbed a trophy on the ice in 2007. The Anaheim Angeles added a World Series title in 2002 as well. When one city has three different teams winning titles in a single year (2002), there is really no discussion. This city has truly become Titletown since the year of 2000.

Disagree with the list, tell me who you think should have been included and who should have missed the cut.

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Is it time for Kobe to give it up?

It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers are bad this year. LA is tied with Utah as the second worst team in the Western Conference. The Lakers are 6.5 games out of a playoff spot already, missing its coveted rookie Julius Randle and allowing the most point per game by any team in the league. It has been a rough year. Through all of its previous struggles, LA still has had its Golden Boy, Kobe Bryant. But the Golden Boy is starting to fade.

Bryant’s scoring, rebounding and assist numbers are pretty much on par with his career averages but his shooting is worse than ever. Kobe has been accused of being a bit of a ball hog in his time in the NBA but now more than ever he is taking even more shots. Maybe that is a product of the mostly average, if not mediocre supporting cast Bryant has played with this season. It should not mean that Bryant needs to be taking 22 shots per game. That is three more than Kobe has average throughout his career up to this point. That is not a huge difference, but it hasn’t led to any more production from the Lakers’ guard. He is shooting at a miserable career low 37.2% from the field. Bryant is only one of two players in the league taking at least twenty shots a game. The other is LaMarcus Aldridge and he is shooting converting on 45.1% of his attempts, well above Kobe’s conversion rate. Kobe is making the same number of shots he always has on even more attempts. Maybe it’s time to start spreading the ball around a bit more.

Several of Bryant’s teammates have that idea themselves. Lakers’ point guard Jeremy Lin told the press after Kobe missed his second game winning shot in a week that he, Lin, would like to have the opportunity to take a buzzer beater. Another Laker, Nick Young actually has had some success taking crucial late-game shots and has expressed that he would like a couple more touches himself. Clearly, I am not the only who thinks taking the ball out of Kobe’s hands might be worth some consideration.

It’s not as if the 18-year veteran is the picture of perfect health either. The Lakers have begun sitting Bryant just to rest him and he is still not completely back to the form he had prior to tearing his Achilles tendon. Slowly but surely, Kobe is seeing his game decline. He might have finally topped Michael Jordan on the scoring list but that is not a testament to his current skill. He simply played long enough to hit that mark. It definitely underlines his longevity in the league but that tenure has to be reaching an end.

The Lakers have looked better without Bryant in some games this year, including a win this week over Golden State. Los Angeles showed the opposite though tonight in a twenty-point loss in Chicago. The truth is that having the third all-time scorer no longer makes a major difference. The Lakers are not any better with Bryant in the lineup than they are without him in the lineup. But at the same time, sitting Kobe does not benefit them either. Sure, he can score, but he cannot score as effectively anymore which, in many ways, mitigates the scoring capabilities Bryant brings. He could try becoming more of a distributor but that seems incredibly unlikely because of his confidence in his shot as well as the marginal talent around him. This year will be just a year for the Lakers to see if there is anyone on the current roster to keep past this season.

I think Kobe should just retire following the end of this season. He might be under contract for the following season as well but, his game is deteriorating and it does not seem too likely that the Lakers will be making any shocking turn around next season either. This team is going to need to build through the draft and hope it can land a big name star in the 2016 free agency class. I think Kobe should just go out before it gets even uglier than it already has become. It definitely will not be getting any better. I know this guy is an incredible competitor but even the best have to know when it is time to hang them up and step away for good. Kobe won’t be doing himself or his team any good coming back for another year. That’s my take on the aging Lakers’ star. Let me know if you share my opinion.