Playing in the largest sports market in the world heaps plenty of pressure on today’s athletes.
New York fans and media are amongst the harshest in the world where everything one does on and off the field, court, or rink is magnified ten-fold.
When the Big Apple is in a championship drought like it currently is, that pressure for each team’s major stars only intensifies. New York hasn’t experienced a title since the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.
That’s seven years of losing for eight major franchises in the New York City area.
There is no shortage of talent when looking at the city’s biggest stars, which includes a crop of youngsters that will only continue ascending throughout the next decade.
Can some of these names provide a parade down the Canyon of Heroes?
Time will only tell.
In the meantime, we at Metro attempted to play Nostradamus and predict New York City’s top 20 athletes of the 2020s.
Metro’s Top-20 Athletes of the 2020s
Pete Alonso- Mets, 1B
The young Mets slugger will only build off his stellar 2019 debut in which he set an MLB rookie record with 53 home runs. This decade could see the first baseman become the greatest slugger in franchise history.
Jacob deGrom- Mets, SP
The 2020s will be the decade in which deGrom solidifies his case as a Hall of Famer. The two-time defending NL Cy Young Award winner is one of the very best pitchers in the game.
Gleyber Torres- Yankees, IF
Coming off an age 22 season in which be belted 38 home runs and put together a strong postseason showing, there is no limit on Torres’ ceiling.
Gerrit Cole- Yankees, SP
With a record-setting contract in hand, Cole will not only have to be one of the best pitchers in baseball, but he’ll have to deliver a World Series title (or two) back to the Bronx.
Aaron Judge- Yankees, RF
The original young slugger was outshined by Alonso last season, but if he can stay healthy — and if an automated strike zone is introduced — Judge will make a triumphant return as one of the game’s premier sluggers.
Mathew Barzal- Islanders, C
At 22 years old, Barzal is already one of the more gifted playmakers in the NHL. As the Islanders continue their ascent, he will be the poster child of their success.
Noah Dobson- Islanders, D
He’s been tabbed as the next great defenseman for the Islanders. At 19 years old, he’s already looking the part in limited play at the NHL level.
Kieffer Bellows- Islanders, F
The 21-year-old goal scorer is ripping it up in the minors. Could he be the sniper the Islanders so desperately need for their Stanley Cup hopes?
Artemi Panarin- Rangers, LW
Panarin has gotten off to a blistering start in New York. As the Rangers improve, his numbers will only get better.
Kaapo Kakko- Rangers, RW
Great expectations have been saddled upon the No. 2 pick of the 2019 draft. If he meets them, he and Panarin will be the next great duo in hockey history.
RJ Barrett- Knicks, SG
As the Knicks continue to rebuild, Barrett has shown flashes of star potential. His game needs plenty of development, but the Knicks look to have got something right here.
LaMelo Ball- Knicks, PG
If the Knicks come away with a top-two pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, they’ll have an opportunity to take Ball — considered the most talented of the three brothers. He’ll also provide the Knicks with a franchise point guard, which is something they haven’t had in decades.
Giannis Antetokounmpo- Knicks, C
The Knicks can only strikeout so many times in free agency, right? With short-term contracts on the books, they’ll have enough to make a serious run at Antetokounmpo.
Kyrie Irving- Nets, PG
If he ever returns from a shoulder injury, the Nets will have one of the best point guards in basketball for the first half of the decade.
Kevin Durant- Nets, SF
Brooklyn is also playing the waiting game with Durant, who is recovering from an Achilles injury. When healthy, he’s an MVP-caliber talent that will help the Nets reach new heights.
Daniel Jones- Giants, QB
The Giants are proving the naysayers wrong when it came to drafting Jones so early in the spring. The QB is coming off a promising rookie campaign where he will only grow under the right coaching and with proper weapons to utilize.
Saquon Barkley- Giants, RB
Alongside Jones, Barkley provides the Giants with a wonderful core to build its offense around. He’s one of the most explosive running backs in football and the right scheme will magnify his talents.
Isaiah Simmons- Giants, LB
The Giants have an opportunity to select Isaiah Simmons, a linebacker, out of Clemson with the No. 4 pick in the draft this spring. He is believed to be a freak athlete that could transform an inept Giants defense.
Sam Darnold- Jets, QB
This will finally be the decade when Jets fans can stop hearing the phrase: “The Jets haven’t had a franchise quarterback since Joe Namath.” Darnold is the guy.
Jamal Adams- Jets, S
As long as the Jets don’t trade him, they’ll have one of the top defensive backs in all of football.