Kevin Payne is a very wise and astute sports executive, who has dealt with the Washington media for years and years and doesn’t say things by accident. So I’m pretty sure the D.C. United president knew exactly what he was doing when he said this to Steven Goff about the newly re-signed reigning MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario:
“As far as I am concerned,” Payne said Tuesday, ”Dwayne is the most accomplished professional athlete in Washington, D.C. — actually by a pretty considerable margin.”
Now, a lot of D.C. sports fans would probably not say that. Or even list the four-time MLS Cup winner in their top two. But Payne’s words prompted SB Nation DC to launch an investigation into the question, pitting the resume of DeRo against that of Alex Ovechkin.
Do you take Alexander Ovechkin, who’s won two Hart Trophies, two Richard Trophies, an Art Ross Trophy, three Ted Lindsay/Lester Pearson Awards (all as a Capital), as well as gold medals at both the World Championships and World Junior Championships with Russia?
Or do you throw your support behind De Rosario, who won the MLS MVP Award in 2011 with D.C. United, has won four MLS Cups with two different franchises and won a CONCACAF Gold Cup and U-20 championship with the Canadian national team?...
You know what? We’re going to agree with Payne and say De Rosario has a slight edge over Ovechkin right now.
Interesting. Me, I’d take a different angle. I’d say at one time — a time which, admittedly, feels like an eternity ago — Ovechkin was very clearly one of the two best professional hockey players in the world. As amazing a career as he’s had, the same probably can’t be said for DeRo.
Regardless, Payne went even further this week when talking to Sebastian Salazar of DCUnited.com. Key quote:
Dwayne has credentials that nobody else in this market has. The one guy I can maybe think of — in the greater market — that perhaps you could make an argument about is Ray Lewis. Obviously among active players there’s no one else who has won the number of things that Dwayne has won. And I’m not talking about the individual accolades, although no one else has won those either. The team success, there's not too many pro athletes anywhere in America who have four championship rings and two championship game MVP awards. That’s pretty substantial bragging rights for us, relative to our local brethren.
Whether or not you agree, I love the moxie. Also, De Rosario is currently the only Washington athlete with a huge billboard located at 20th and I, as seen above.