And part two!
Shout out to the pakastallion, blue dodger, swag flu, and darshan for the comments on the last posting and this current one. For all assumptions please see part one (earlier posted article).
Before we get started, let us remind ourselves what we are trying to achieve. Not only are we trying to break down the barriers between sports, but also the barrier between individual and team. We are trying to find those few individuals that have transcended his respective sport and created a league of his own (again men only in this column, but if you know of any women that belong on this list, please comment!). We are looking for those players that always jump to your mind whenever you think of the sport. Simply put: the worlds greatest. Now this will be open up to a large debate (yes, baseball is definitely tricky). However, lets go ahead and shoot for the top 5 in the world’s top five sports (no particular order of importance):
Part II: Team
Let’s be real, this one is a no brainer. Whenever anyone, I said ANYONE, thinks of basketball, Michael Jordan is the man they think of. This is true WORLDWIDE. He was able to grab multiple MVPs, consecutive NBA championships, and become the poster child for the NBA. He was a one-man machine that was able to transform a team from a little above average into title contenders. The man was able to LEAVE the sport, come back and STILL dominate (see three-peat part II). Opponents shivered when they knew MJ was going to be on the court.
Contenders: Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant (and so many more)
This one is tougher, since there are a different players on offense and defense (as oppose to hockey/basketball). But no could ease the fears of fans better than Joe. Every 49er fan (and all other fans as well) knew that whenever the 49ers were down by 0-6 points with only 30 seconds left on the clock, it was way too much time for Montana to comeback and win the game (31 fourth quarter come back wins). Arguably, the QB position is the most important position on a football team. The QB is the leader, is the decision maker, and is always the one the take responsibility for the team. Montana is the epitome of great quarterbacks. He has 4 superbowls and the only player to have 3 Superbowl MVPs. All hail “Joe Cool”.
Contenders: Jerry Rice, Peyton Manning, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor
Pele – Soccer
Pele truly transformed the world of soccer for the better. Not only was he superb on the pitch, but it was Pele that brought notice of the futbol world to the United States. He was the top goalscorer of ALL TIME. He is also the only player in the world to have three World Cup medals. How can we not pick this guy as the best? He was name dropped in “Ghetto Superstar.”
Contenders: Diego Maradona, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Johan Cruyff
His nickname was “The Great One.” I don’t need to say anymore (well one thing…the man’s jersey has been retired by ALL NHL TEAMS…keyword: ALL).
Contenders: Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby
Determining who is the best in baseball is one of the most difficult decisions to make. There have been so many stars that have excelled in the sport, especially with the diaspora of pitchers vs batters. Statistically speaking, Willie Mays would be the greatest baseball player of all time (and the individual that I would pick first on my team if I was GM). However, when we define the best player as one that not only won games for his team, but also increased fans overall, it is the Great Bambino that takes the cake. When people think of one person in baseball, world wide, it is Babe Ruth (except for perhaps Ichiro in Japan). Babe is one of the few persons to actually elevate above the normal human being and seems more like a mythical/legendary figure. Although refuted, let us all be real…the man has a candy bar as well.
Contenders: Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Nolan Ryan, Alex Rodriguez
Honorable Mentions: Sachin Tendulkar (Cricket), Darren Lockyer (Rugby)