Is Pele on the list of greatest athletes?
The question is simple, but the answer will require much thought? An athlete is described as someone who is skilled in sports or physical activities. It’s been said repeatedly, the greatest athletes in the world are in the NBA. But what about soccer players who need to develop incredible endurance. Maybe it’s a tri-athlete who has to swim, cycle and run a mini-marathon. Athleticism consists of speed, vision, strength, stamina and the ability to think on the fly — most times ahead of the opponent. What athlete in history has exhibited these attributes to the fullest?
Give me your greatest athlete in any sport, past or present. Why are they the world’s greatest. I’ll drop a few names to push it along.
Wilton Norman Chamberlain will be forever known for his accomplishments on the hardwood, but the iconic 7-footer was more than an offensive juggernaut.
Chamberlain excelled in track and field, he high jumped 6 feet, 6 inches, ran the 440 yards in 49.0 seconds and the 880 yards in 1:58.3, put the shot 53 feet, 4 inches, and broad jumped 22 feet. Chamberlain was also an avid volleyball player and ran in several marathons.
If speed kills, then Floyd Mayweather is its messenger. The 8-time world title holder is a perfect 44 for 44 in what has become a stellar career. Mayweather’s blend of speed, agility and the ability to see a punch before it’s thrown is the reason “Pretty Boy” has remained untouchable.
LeBron James has the in-game dominance of Michael Jordan, the size and skill of Magic Johnson and the unselfishness of Larry Bird. Batten down the hatches because we have yet to see the best of this young man. At 6’8 250 lbs., James is a 747 in full flight. Those who attempt to deter his destination, go the way of fowl sucked into a jet engine. While James continues to carve out a Hall of Fame career in the NBA, many wonder what James would’ve become in the NFL. James was an all-state wide receiver. A broken wrist cut his football career short, and possibly our first glimpse at a simultaneous career in the NFL and NBA.
Muhammad Ali was a lightning bolt during a time when the world simply needed a glimmer. The young man from Louisville, KY. anointed himself as The Greatest before anyone believed him. In the ring, Ali’s bite was as bad as his bark. After taking a chunk out of the opposition Ali barked more knowing there would be another challenger to boxing’s ultimate alpha dog. Ali’s bite came in the form of a snapping jab. The same jab Sonny Liston ate on that historical night in Miami and failed to see more than a year later. The same jab which left golf ball-sized knots on the face of Joe Frazier in Manila. Ali’s jab was viper-like — striking before the opposition could defend it. Ali’s stamina and ability to absorb an inconceivable amount of punishment was clear in his battle with George Foreman in Zaire in 1974. For close to four rounds, Ali allowed Foreman to pummel away at his midsection — while he continued to jab away at the champion. In the eight round, a punch weary Foreman was felled by a five-punch combination from Ali. It was one of the great strategical plans in boxing history.
Nearly a half century after his retirement, Jim Brown may still be the baddest man on the planet. Brown took the Cleveland Browns and literally carried them to the 1964 NFL championship. Brown’s dominance in the NFL was comparable to Chamberlain on the hardwood or Ali in the ring. Brown never missed a game due to injury and delivered more punishment than he received. Brown’s love for physicality stems from his first passion which was lacrosse. At Syracuse, Brown excelled at basketball, track and lacrosse. He is remembered by many to be the greatest lacrosse player ever.
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Happy Birthday to the diva of all divas!!!