With young superstars dominating the New York sports market, who is truly at the top, claiming the title of King of New York?

Kristaps Porzingis is lighting up Madison Square Garden. Aaron Judge was a finalist for AL MVP. Odell Beckham Jr. is still dominating radio waves in a year where he’s not even on the field.

New York City sports has an interesting crop of young superstars that could easily own this town: Own it in the way that Derek Jeter did in the 90s and 2000s, and the same way that Mark Messier and other larger-than-life stars did before him.

With the question of who will be the next “King of New York” burning in all of our minds, I assembled an elite (pun very much intended) group comprised of our ESNY team to debate this issue. We laughed, we argued, and at one point, we even descended into Tebowmania. Read our conversation below and enjoy.

Note: This the content has only been adjusted and edited for formatting purposes. And shoutout to Kate Feldman of BP Mets for inspiring this type of format.

Justin Birnbaum [8:02 PM]
This all started the other night when Collin Loring brought an interesting question to the table in one of our Slack channels.
With Porzingis on fire, revitalizing the Garden, and Aaron Judge potentially going to be the AL MVP, does Odell Beckham belong in the same company?

Basically, who is the King of New York? Who has the most upside? And do the second-tier guys like Syndergaard, Tavares, and Frank’s trio from the Rangers belong in the discussion?

Nicholas Durst [8:03 PM]
Not only is Odell Beckham Jr. the biggest star in New York sports, but he is the second biggest star in North America behind LeBron James. His popularity cannot be matched.

Frank Curto [8:03 PM]
I don’t think he does.
Are we talking popularity or achievement?

Justin Birnbaum [8:03 PM]
All things considered.

Benny Tomko [8:04 PM]
Not even close. Now, he is at a disadvantage because he is not in control of his quarterback’s abilities. But, I need to see more from him both on and off the field to even kind of consider him as “king of New York“ status.

Frank Curto [8:04 PM]
In terms of popularity he is the King, but producing on the field, I say no.

Nicholas Santuccio [8:04 PM]
I️ have to agree with Durst. Beckham had been out for weeks with a broken ankle and still dominates the airwaves for better or worse.

Justin Birnbaum [8:04 PM]
On one hand, Beckham easily has the most prevalent signature play of the three.

Nicholas Durst [8:05 PM]
Achievement wise, Beckham has the best stats ever by any wide receiver through three seasons and he missed four games his rookie season!

Benny Tomko [8:05 PM]
I don’t even think he has the edge in popularity anymore. Judge is all things New York right now and has been for the last several months.

Justin Birnbaum [8:05 PM]
But at the same time it’s like Benny said, if you’re not a quarterback can you really claim that top spot?

Nicholas Durst [8:06 PM]
Beckham Jr. is the most popular football player since LT! There is a reason why he signed the biggest shoe deal ever for a football player with Nike (five years/$25 million). You don’t see any QB getting that type of deal.

Benny Tomko [8:06 PM]
It’s one of the only positions in a sport where you absolutely rely on someone else to have a great game before you can have one.

Danny Small [8:06 PM]
I think labeling Beckham the “King of New York” is tough because he’s the type of guy people love or hate. He might be the most interesting storyline in New York sports, but I can’t call him the King. Like Benny and Justin said, it’s hard for a non-QB football player to take that spot.

New York Giants

Frank Curto [8:07 PM]
That goes for any sport. It’s more than individual skill when your talking teams. Odell, individually, is great, but hasn’t done anything yet in my eyes.

John DaSilva [8:07 PM]
Odell has the ability to be king of one-handed catches, but he will lose popularity if he continues having temper tantrums with kicking nets and doing touchdown celebrations mimicking dogs using the fire hydrant.

Nicholas Durst [8:08 PM]
What do Judge, Porzingis, Beckham Jr. and whoever else you want to consider the King of NY have in common? All have won no championships. So I don’t get the argument that Odell hasn’t won anything.

Frank Curto [8:08 PM]
Wouldn’t it be necessary to first identify what we all think makes one the King of New York?

Justin Birnbaum [8:08 PM]
Frank makes a good point.

Nicholas Durst [8:08 PM]
The fire hydrant celebration was stupid but all the other celebrations were fine. If he didn’t play in NY, would there always be a camera on him scrutinizing his every move?

Danny Small [8:08 PM]
I think right now if you are ranking them all things considered (popularity, individual success, team success, etc.) Judge has to be No. 1.

Frank Curto [8:09 PM]
I agree Nick. Judge had a great rookie year, but its one year only. Porzingis and Beckham have not won anything either.

Nicholas Durst [8:09 PM]
If he won a cup, the King of NY would be the King of the NHL = Henrik Lundqvist.

Justin Birnbaum [8:09 PM]
Hank had the opportunity to own this town, but the Rangers never came through.

And now he’s well past his prime.

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