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Old 07-14-2009, 10:55 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Earnie Shavers View Post
Comparing achievements in different sports and different eras is really difficult.

I’d vote Jordan for a mix of his achievements + the wide appeal of the sport (e.g. vs the unknown cricket of Bradman or limited appeal boxing of Ali) + the massive cultural effect. Sure, that’s a credit to Nike and NBA marketing as much as it is to him (and his rise was timed perfectly with the rise of globalization), but there was no athlete in the world that came close to him in the 90s, fame and adulation wise, and his appeal went really wide, well beyond existing basketball fans.

Boxing had a Jordan, but boxing never was and never will be a wide appeal sport and Ali wasn’t exactly universally popular at the time.

Jordan wins for both dominating a sport with wide, global appeal, with multiple wins across three peak competitions (college, NBA, Olympic – not to mention the shopping list of personal achievements and records within those competitions), and because of how that dominance was translated into a sporting cultural force unseen before or since.

I think Ali is getting overlooked just because of the passage of time. In the 70's, boxing, specifically heavyweight boxing was hugely popular worldwide (you'd think someone with a screen name like Earnie Shavers would acknowledge that ). And Ali was the face of it, he was by far the most recognizable athlete on the planet, was a polarizing figure to an extent with his antics and anti-war stance, but everyone knew him and had an opinion of him. The Ali/Frazier/Foreman battles were massive events worldwide (Thrilla in Manilla, Rumble in the Jungle), had the internet and ESPN been around, Ali's popularity would have eclipsed that of 90's Jordan tenfold.
He's still one of the world's most recognizable figures 3 decades after retiring and while being ravaged by Parkinson's.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:57 PM   #32
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While Wayne Gretzky didn't make hockey as popular as basketball, he totally put it on the map for a lot of people, especially in the U.S. Jordan turned a sport that was already popular into something bigger, no doubt, but it's hard to give him credit for the nature of the sport itself, something fast-paced and high-scoring for the MTV crowd that was growing up at the same time.

The difference between Jordan and Gretzky is that the latter's stats completely annihilate those of his predecessors and contemporaries in the sport. While Jordan's skills were greater than everyone around him, I don't think the margin was that great. Plus Gretzky was competitive without being an asshole.

Go look at the list of the records Gretzky broke (40 regular season records, 15 playoff records), note his 4 championships, 9 MVPs and 10 scoring titles, and then come back here and try to tell me why it's Jordan.
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:16 PM   #33
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It's apples and oranges, obviously, because they played two completely different sports. I would probably put Gretzky at #2, though.

But would Gretzky be able to go and play at the professional level in a different sport and not make a complete ass of himself? No.



And then if we're gonna go down that route, Bo Jackson would have to be in the discussion. But I suppose that's more a "Best Athlete" as opposed to "Best Sportsman" thing.
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:25 PM   #34
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And if we're doing the multiple sport thing:

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Old 07-14-2009, 05:15 PM   #35
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:31 PM   #36
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Dennis Compton
Played cricket for England
5807 runs at an average of 50
17 International Hundreds and 28 50's
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Served in the British Army in WW2
Played Football for England
Played for Arsenal and won the FA Cup and the League title

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Old 07-14-2009, 05:37 PM   #37
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:47 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by lazarus View Post
While Wayne Gretzky didn't make hockey as popular as basketball, he totally put it on the map for a lot of people, especially in the U.S. Jordan turned a sport that was already popular into something bigger, no doubt, but it's hard to give him credit for the nature of the sport itself, something fast-paced and high-scoring for the MTV crowd that was growing up at the same time.

The difference between Jordan and Gretzky is that the latter's stats completely annihilate those of his predecessors and contemporaries in the sport. While Jordan's skills were greater than everyone around him, I don't think the margin was that great. Plus Gretzky was competitive without being an asshole.

Go look at the list of the records Gretzky broke (40 regular season records, 15 playoff records), note his 4 championships, 9 MVPs and 10 scoring titles, and then come back here and try to tell me why it's Jordan.
Can you please provide some actual stats, and half-explain them for me mate? I'd love to actually see what the hell you're all talking about.
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:45 AM   #39
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Sounds exactly like baseball.

Did I mention that Michael Jordan is the correct answer to this question? I can't remember.
Yedah sorry, as someone who has followed Basketball fairly closely my whole life, and someone who loved and admired MJ, The fact of the matter is, he did not DOMINATE the sport in the way Bradman has dominated cricket. There are players over time that have matched or better his stats. MJ's ranking goes up because of his sheer athleticism and his propensity to do the impossible, but honestly, if you look at stats, like most american sports love to do, Wilt Chamberlain is a big chance.

The reason Bradman is the obvious choice is that there is NO-ONE in the 200 year history of the sport he played that has come anywhere near close to his stats.

A batting average of 40 is seen as great. An average of 50 is seen as incredible, hall of fame stuff. An average of 60 is nera impossible, and only a handful have ever come close. Bradman averaged 99.94. No-one in the history of any sport (not even Federer, Jordan, Ruth, Woods) has been so dominant.

When the Australian cricket team were on the way back from England on a tour in the late 1920's, he wanted to meet Babe Ruth. They stopped the boat in the US, and Ruth showed him how to hit a baseball. Bradman proceeded to hit some 36 pitches in a row over the fence. The quote from Ruth "I thank God he was born in Australia, because if he was born here, no-one on earth would know my name".

End of discussion
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Old 07-16-2009, 04:43 AM   #40
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Thank you. There really is no story.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:43 AM   #41
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So have we concluded on Sir Donald Bradman as the worthy holder of the title of the "Greatest Sportsman of All Time"?
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:35 AM   #42
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"A miracle has been removed from among us. So must ancient Italy have felt when she heard of the death of Hannibal" - R.C. Robertson-Glasgow upon learning that Bradman had retired.

You have to admit, that's pretty badass.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:50 AM   #43
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If I understood the quote correctly the Poms took a very deep breath and were very relieved after Bradmans retirement.

I suggest that we put together a short list of the great sportsmen from each popular and then produce a poll.

Cricket - Sir Don Bradman
Basketball - Micheal Jordan
Tennis - Roger Federer
Ice Hockey - Wayne Gretzky
Football (Soccer) - Pele

etc. etc.

This is not a definitive list just an example, we can go from there.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:07 AM   #44
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As far as motorsport goes this guy must be up there

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Old 07-16-2009, 08:14 AM   #45
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He'd be up there most definitely.

IIRC he only lost one race in the '04 season. Champ.
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