Who’s the hottest athlete in San Diego?

Milton Bradley would be a good choice, even though the Padres’ outfielder is struggling with an oblique injury.

Bradley adds a mustard-and-brown bat to the Padres lineup (mustard-and-brown being the color of the Padres when Nate Colbert and Dave Winfield slugged home runs at spacious San Diego Stadium before the fences were brought in). Bradley makes every hitter before and after him in the Padres lineup better. He hit .364 in July and .315 in August.

Antonio Gates would be a good choice. The three-time Pro Bowler opened the season with seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown in the Chargers’ 14-3 win over the Chicago Bears.

USD quarterback Josh Johnson and USD volleyball player Laurel Abrahamson are a couple of more good choices.

Johnson completed 24-of-28 passes for 403 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions as the NFL prospect led the Toreros to a season-opening 38-17 win over Marist College. Abrahamson is a 6-4 senior that leads San Diego’s only college team consistently nationally ranked. Abrahamson was the West Coast Conference Player of the Week last week for the No. 18-ranked Toreros, an NCAA Sweet Sixteen team last year.

But here’s my choice: Stanford’s Candice Wiggins of La Jolla Country Day.

Candice Wiggins Photo: USA Basketball

Wiggins, a three-time All-American entering his senior year, was added to the USA Senior Women’s Basketball team roster after a summer in which she won gold medals playing for the USA Under-21 national team in Moscow and the USA Pan American Games team in Brazil.

She may next be playing for the U.S. in the 2007 World Championships or the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, even though her competition for final roster spots includes pros from the WNBA.

I still say the Padres are missing an opportunity to recognize Wiggins, daughter of the late Alan Wiggins, a second baseman on the Padres’ 1984 World Series team, at a game for her Padres roots.

It might seem like a sensitive subject since Alan died of AIDS complications from drug use, but Candice doesn’t shy away from the subject. She has said since high school that if she is fortunate enough in her athletic career to gain a platform — such as a WNBA player or Olympic gold medalist — she wants to sponsor anti-drug programs in her father’s memory.


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