The Giants will retire Eli Manning's No. 10 jersey this season. Who is the best athlete to wear that number, other than him?
John Schmeelk: How can you choose anyone other than Walt "Clyde" Frazier. No. 10 is retired in the Garden rafters for a reason. Frazier helped lead the Knicks to two world championships in 1970 and 1973. He was named to seven All-NBA Defense first teams. He made the All-Star team seven times and was a four-time first team All-NBA selection, while being named to the All-NBA second team twice. He was also named a Top 50 All-Time NBA player in 1996.
Frazier also played his best in the biggest moments. In Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals with Willis Reed hobbled by a knee injury, Frazier was dominant. Although everyone remembers Reed's two made shots to start the game, Frazier swished and dished his way to 36 points, 7 rebounds, 19 assists and 6 steals helping key to the Knicks' victory. It was one of the best Game 7s of an NBA Finals ever played.
Aside from Frazier's exploits between the lines, he was also an icon off the court. Dubbed "Clyde," he was a regular of the New York night-life and became a cultural icon. He is still a big part of the Knicks family as their long-time television color analyst.
You'd also have to name the Yankees player who had his number retired in Monument Park: Phil Rizzuto. Rizzuto won the AL MVP in 1950, went to five All-Star games and helped the Yankees win seven World Series championships. He also served in the US Navy from 1942-1945. HOLY COW! He would later become one of the voices of the Yankees as a broadcaster.
In New York, there are two other No. 10s besides Eli Manning: Walt "Clyde" Frazier and Phil Rizzuto.
Dan Salomone: While we're in the thick of the European Championship, look no further than that other sport known as football. No. 10 is and was worn by royalty in the soccer world, from Lionel Messi to Pele to Diego Maradona. Now, it will forever be remembered by the Giants, starting September 26, when Manning will be inducted into the Giants' Ring of Honor and will have his No. 10 jersey retired during a special halftime ceremony when the Giants host the Atlanta Falcons.
"It's a great honor and just an unbelievable feeling," Manning said. "I don't know what the emotions will be that day. I know they'll be high, though. To have that feeling and that final goodbye, a true goodbye to the fans, and to thank them for supporting me during my 16 seasons here, it's going to be special. I think it's an opportunity for me to thank everybody here – teammates, coaches and the organization – for believing in me, for bringing me to New York and for giving me a chance to have success. It'll be an awesome day to be here and a great celebration."
Lance Medow: Let's turn to the other form of football and go with, arguably, the greatest soccer player of all time: Pele. The best way to describe his resume is ridiculous. He scored a Guinness World Record 1,279 goals in 1,363 games and is the only player to win three FIFA World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970). He was so good that he nearly averaged a goal a game in his career. If that's not impressive enough, he's also the youngest goal scorer in the history of the World Cup at age 17 and youngest winner. Pele scored twice in the 1958 Final to help Brazil capture its first ever World Cup and is one of only three players to have scored in four World Cup events.
Pele put soccer on the map not just in Brazil, but the rest of the world. All eyes were on him when he took to the pitch because he was above and beyond the rest of the players. Pele had a knack for making the spectacular seem routine. He is the all-time leading scorer for his native country with 77 goals in 92 games and, with respect to the club level, he tops the list for Santos with 643 goals in 659 contests. Pele posted a record 92 hat tricks in world football and was just as good as a facilitator as he was a scorer (he collected the most assists in World Cup history with 10). From playmaking ability to individual accolades to his impact on soccer, both on and off the field, you won't find a more accomplished athlete to showcase No. on his jersey.
Photos from the career of two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning