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ucme's avatar

The greatest US sportsmen,your choices?

Asked by ucme (46714points) February 23rd, 2010

Past or present.Ali,Ruth,Nicklaus,Jordan?Very subjective I know but nontheless interesting.Kind of a bar room good natured debate.Whoever your pick is, did or have you ever seen them perform, I mean actually live in the flesh as it were? What makes them great,other than their talent? Do they have to be an ambassador in their field, an impeccable role model. Or is it purely what they achieve in their sport that counts for you?

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11 Answers

bhec10's avatar

Michael Johnson or Carl Lewis perhaps?

TooBlue's avatar

Billie Jean King.

TooBlue's avatar

Or is this question limited to males?

ucme's avatar

@TooBlue For sure, it is what it is.Anticipated someone would have an issue with it.Let it ride.Feel free to add women if you wish.I really don’t care either way.

john65pennington's avatar

Leave Tiger Woods out of the list.

ucme's avatar

@john65pennington Well History will certainly remember him as a great golfer,but I know what you mean.

john65pennington's avatar

ucme,,,thats a shame. he had the world in his hands(golf hands)and just screwed up his professional world and his personal world. his wife is gorgeous, but that apparently was not enough for him. tough cookies!

BoBo1946's avatar

Jacobus Franciscus “Jim” Thorpe (Meskwaki: Wa-Tho-Huk) (May 28, 1888–March 28, 1953[1]) was an American athlete. Considered one of the most versatile athletes in modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon, played American football collegiately and professionally, and also played professional baseball and basketball. He subsequently lost his Olympic titles when it was found he had played two seasons of minor league baseball before competing in the games (thus violating the amateur status rules).

Thorpe was primarily of Native American ancestry. He was raised as a Sac and Fox, and named Wa-Tho-Huk, roughly translated as “Bright Path”. He struggled with racism throughout much of his life and his accomplishments were publicized with headlines describing him as a “Redskin” and “Indian athlete”. He also played on several All-American Indian teams throughout his career, and barnstormed as a professional basketball player with a team composed entirely of Native Americans.

Thorpe was named the greatest athlete of the first half of the twentieth century by the Associated Press (AP) in 1950, and ranked third on the AP list of athletes of the century in 1999. After his professional sports career ended Thorpe lived in abject poverty. He worked several odd jobs, struggled with alcoholism, and lived out the last years of his life in failing health. In 1983, thirty years after his death, his medals were restored.


lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Howie Long.I have my own reasons for this,none of which have to do with sports:)

rooeytoo's avatar

The first thought that came into my mind, even before I read your entire question was Michael Jordan. Saw him play many times and it was always a treat. I also would think about Roger Federer. He and Michael make their extraordinary skills look so easy and smooth which is the mark of the truly exceptional.

It doesn’t seem fair that more is expected of them in their private lives as well but it is a fact. And I do feel that they have at least as much of an obligation to be good humans and citizens as an average person on the street. Which means don’t break the law of the land and stay within the bounds of moral behavior as accepted by the majority. I don’t think that is too much to ask of anyone.

@TooBlue – Billie Jean is a good choice too. I didn’t think of her initially because I never considered her ability to be spectacular, her greatest contributions, I think, were her off the court successes. But good on ya for tossing in a female! I am sort of embarrassed that I can’t think of one myself. Although the young woman from Australia who just won the half pipe in Vancouver seems pretty damned good and Karrie Webb the golfer and Lynn Beachley the surfer, all excellent athletes.

gq @ucme


Michelle Kwan

The 1980 Miracle Men’s Hockey Team who won the United States its first and only Olympic Gold medal in Men’s Hockey.

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