Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The "best all-around athletes" list are always "subjective." Sport fans have their "favorite's." Michael Jordan fans say he's the greatest - Jim Brown fans will claim he's No.1. I'm sure you have your own list, your own "best" athlete ever in the history of sports.......

Here's ESPN's "TOP TEN" list. See if you agree with their selection.

Lou Gehrig/MLB - called the "IRON HORSE." Columnist Jim Murray once wrote "Gehrig was a symbol of indestructibility - a "Gibraltar" in cleats. A reference to Gehrig's football skills. Before Yankee fame, he played football at Columbia. He was strong and tough enough to play fullback and linebacker. He was also Columbia's ace pitcher.

Gordie Howe/NHL - On ice, Howe could do it all. Skate-shoot-pass-fight and score. As an 18-year-old-rookie in 1946 he played his first game in the NHL. He played his last game in 1980 as a 52 year-old icon. Among Howe's accomplishments, most lifetime goals (1,071), most lifetime assists (1,518), most All-Star appearances (29), and most MVP awards (7). Gordie Howe use to work out with the Detroit Tigers. He loved taking batting practice with them. Tiger officials (and Al Kaline) say if Howe had put the effort into the American pastime, he would have been great at it.

Michael Jordan/NBA - Super quick on the floor - great jumper, could high-jump six foot without even trying, pausing in mid-air to slam home "dunks." Jordan had the ability to see things on the court no one else could - he was an incredible defender. After basketball, at age 32, he went to baseball's minor leagues to play. His fans say he's the "greatest" athlete of all time.

Jackie Robinson/MLB - Broke baseball's color barrier in 1947. Robinson's on and off the field career, "legendary." First UCLA athlete ever to letter in four sports. As a Bruin, Robinson was an All-American running back. In basketball he led the Pac-10 in scoring - and in 1940 was NCAA champion in the long jump. In MLB he hit for power, hit for average, and stole bases with the best. We could say more about Jackie's strength, speed, stamina and extraordinary character but certainly you know it already. If you don't, "shame on you."

Rafer Johnson/Olympics - Won Silver in 1956 games despite an injured knee. Won Gold four years later in Rome. In college he set a "decathlon" world record as a freshman. Rafer played on UCLA's basketball team - under legendary coach John Wooden.

Wilt Chamberlain/NBA - Only center in NBA history to lead in assists. Chamberlain was big-fast-and agile. Did you know he was also a track and field star at Pennsylvania State? He set records in the 110-meter hurdles and shot-put. After retiring from basketball the "Dipper" as his friends called him, transformed himself into a world-class volleyball player. He also ran marathons, and had a reputation with the "ladies." Chamberlain also turned down offers to play pro football and box professionally.

ESPN rounds out their "top ten" list with -

Bo Jackson who played in MLB and the NFL and starred in both pro sports.

Dave Winfield who made his mark in MLB but was also a great basketball player. He was drafted by both the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Stars. He was also drafted by the NFL Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. No other athlete has ever been drafted in all three pro sports.

In the runner up #2 slot, ESPN picks Jim Thorpe - called by King Gustav V of Sweden, "THE GREATEST ATHLETE IN THE WORLD." Thorpe could do it all in track and field, baseball, and football. In 1950 Thorpe was named the best athlete of the first half of the 20th century.

The No.1 spot (according to ESPN) belongs to Jim Brown - Legendary NFL running back - called the NFL's "greatest" running back of all time. Brown's playing credentials/awards with the Cleveland Browns (1957-1965) would fill a book. Brown was also an All-American lacrosse player - star basketball player at Syracuse, and finished fifth in the 1956 national decathlon championship. Jim Brown was offered a baseball contract by the New York Yankees. His friends called him "Soul Brother" - very close friends, "Sex Machine." After his NFL years Brown made his way to Hollywood and became a movie star. He's still a "star" at age 76.

Jim Brown - "OUR GREATEST ATHLETE?"...Maybe, maybe not. But I'm sure we can all agree, the athletes named deserve to be on everyone's "best" list.
Be sure to check out other great articles at The Baseball Page, Where Baseball Lives.
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