Top Five: Denver's Most Popular Players

Is Tim Tebow one of the most popular athletes in Denver right now?

Denver has its fair share of popular players, but who are the most popular ones active right now?

Each Monday an SB Nation writer will present a Top Five article for debate. As part of the launch, each SB Nation region agreed to do a Top Five Most Popular Players to open the initial debate. I'm sure there will be much to agree and disagree about after everyone reads the list. Make your opinion heard in the comments at the bottom.

5. Paul Stastny

Son of Stastny. Paul's father, Peter, played for the Quebec Nordiques, the team that became the Avalanche in 1995. Paul has carved out his own name in the NHL since entering the NHL in 2006, though he had been in the Denver scene for a few years as a player on the Denver University hockey team. He finished second in the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2007 for the rookie of the year and quickly became a leader for the team. He led the team with 79 points this past season. With Chris Stewart and Matt Duchene, Stastny leads the young core of the Avalanche. 

4. Ubaldo Jimenez

Had this list been composed before the start of the season, Ubaldo Jimenez would not have made the final cut. But on the heels of throwing a no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves in April and leading the majors in victories and ERA, Jimenez has started Ubaldo-mania in Denver. Andrew Martin of Purple Row believes a cult should be formed around one of Jimenez's pitches. If Jimenez can pull off the unthinkable, win the NL Cy Young for the Colorado Rockies, Ubaldo-mania may hit nationwide.

3. Tim Tebow

For a guy who hasn't played in an NFL game yet, this may be the most contentious of choices. Is Tebow just a college boy who dominated college football, or can he also be an impact starter in the NFL? For now, he's third on the depth chart behind Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn, but it looks ever more likely that Josh McDaniels will use Tebow in multiple roles as a rookie. But he has legions of Gators fans who will cheer for his success in Denver. A Gators fan has captured Tebow's popularity by fusing the Gators logo and the Broncos logo together. The result, which you can check out here, looks like a dragon. Scary, and if Tebow can be scary good, then his popularity will skyrocket. 

2. Carmelo Anthony

Overshadowed in the 2003 draft by LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony has come into his own as the face of Denver Nuggets. Without Melo, the Nuggets were perennial losers. With him, they have become a lock for the playoffs. However, Melo can't carry the team by himself and needs a stronger supporting cast to help bring a championship to Denver. Melo becomes a free agent in 2011, but both sides are working on a contract extension this summer. The Nuggets can't afford to lose the face of the franchise, because no one wants to go back to the pre-Melo years.

1. Troy Tulowitzki

Tulo! Tulo! Tulo! He's so fine you need to say his name thrice! Or you can call him Triple T as his full name is Troy Trevor Tulowitzki. Though he currently is on the DL with a broken wrist, Tulo is a winner. Except for the 2008 season, Troy claims to never have been part of a losing team (his 2006 stint with the Rockies doesn't count since he spent a month with the team). He makes teams be winners. He led the Rockies to the World Series in 2007, and he led the Rockies' late-season run in 2009 to capture the wild card and make the playoffs for the second time in three years. He's a baseball rat and a joy to watch play. Keep leading the Rockies to the playoffs, Troy, and you'll one day be up there with Elway and Sakic.

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