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  #11  
Old 03-01-2011, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by LSN80 View Post
The problem with golf is that Woods plays a very one-dimensional sport. What he does, he does very well, but it doesn't require the intense physical endurance, strength, speed and athletic prowess that other sports, especially hockey, do. There are no "offseason training camps" for golfers. Why? Because athletic ability isn't paramount to being a great golfer. For every Tiger Woods who prides themself on appearance and being in exceptional shape, you have a Phil Mickelson, who looks likes like your average joe. While the hand-eye coordination, mental focus, and great swing are nice, they certainly don't require athletic prowess. There are some who ridicule golf as being "not a sport", and while Im not among them, golf certainly isn't on the level in terms of physical ability and athleticism as hockey. And Tiger Woods simply isn't on the level of Mario Lemeiux.
This is about "greatest athlete" not "greatest player". The nod here goes to Lemeiux
That is an irrelevant and incorrect statement. Golf is a one-dimensional sport? I am not buying that for one second. Golf most certainly involves physical endurance and strength, as I have discussed in my previous posts. It is the understatement of the year to suggest that what he does, he does well. He does it better than anyone before him has ever done, and possibly better than anyone after him will do. Athletic ability may not be paramount to being a good golfer, or even a great golfer, but it damn well is paramount to being a legendary golfer, a golfer who has reinvented the sport, the way it is played, how it is perceived, who its audience is, etc,,

There are lots of "average joes" who are professional golfers, but Tiger is hardly any average Joe. And the average Joes are not the ones I am referring to as the greatest of all time. As I said to Big Sexy, this is not a debate about golf versus hockey or golf versus basketball. This is a comparison of athlete to athlete and in such comparisons, Woods stacks up favorably. Golf is absolutely a sport. It may not involve physical contact, violence, etc,, but it darn well necessitates being in tremendous physical condition, technically sound, and capable of strength and endurance while maintaining precision and accuracy.

You are correct, Woods is not on the same level as Lemieux. He is on a level which is higher, and in fact, with all due respect, much higher than Lemieux. The simple fact of the matter is this. Lemieux was a tremendous athlete and a gifted hockey player, but to be frank, I would not even put him in the top five of the NHL alumni, never mind the greatest of all time of all sports. Gretzky was better, as was Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, and Bobby Hull. It is simply incorrect to suggest that Lemieux is the best athlete of all time. That is simply the incorrect and biased perspective of a Pittsburgh sports enthusiast seeing the world through Pennsylvania colored glasses.

And make no mistake about it, I am crystal clear about the distinction between. "greatest athlete" and "greatest player.". In fact, I would respectfully suggest that you are the one who may be a little confused about this. If anything, Lemieux may be considered to be a great player, more so than a great athlete. His skills as a player are not really in question. His skills as an athlete are more debatable. As you said yourself, he never played an entire season ever in his career. He amassed big numbers despite this. This sounds more like a great player than a great athlete to me. Chronic back injuries, non-Hodgkins's lymphoma, these hardly sound like the physical attributes of the greatest athlete ever. Great player, yes. Great athlete, not so much. And greatest ever? Not by a long shot.


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There perhaps hs been no physically gifted player in the history of sports as Mario Lemiuex. He had all the size(6'4, 235) of a plodding power forward, but the speed and grace of a smaller forward. He set the precendent for what a hybrid forward that combines size with speed and grace does to this day, and he's yet to be matched. His hand-eye coordination was second to none, and his endurance level was always top-notch. As for his ability to recover from injury? I'll take Lemeiux playing through a back that made him unable to bend and tie his own shoelaces to score goals like the one I posted then playing through a knee injury. Im not discounting the knee injury, Im just saying Lemeiux's was greater. Ill take Super Mario receiving radiation treatment for cancer one day in 2003 and flying to Philadelphia and playing the same night over any injury Woods played through, winning over a notoriously hostile Philadelphia crowd with a standing ovation. Bear in mind the long-standing hatred between the Penguins and the "Broad Street Bullies", and this makes the feat all the more remarkable.
All well and good, Lemieux was a physically gifted player. But the greatest ever, not even close. His ability to recover from injury, remarkable. It was remarkable because he had to do it every single year. And if someone is experiencing significant physical limitations every single year of his career, I have trouble in considering him the greatest athlete of all time. And as I said to Big Sexy, I am sure we have a little urban legend action here as well, a little embellishment, not to find fault with what you are saying, but I think we need to be careful not to overstate it.



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I'd say this pretty much sums up what Lemeiux did. With the Penguins down 2 games to 1(one game Lemeiux couldnt play) in the 1990/91 Stanley Cup finals, Lemeiux scored perhaps the greatest goal of all time, breaking a 2-2 tie that the Penguins wouldn't relinquish. When most players would wait for help, Lemeiux took on two Minnesota defenseman at once. He pushed the puck through one defender's leg, skated around one and past the other, forced the goalie to commit left, then calmly pushed the puck to his backhand before flipping the puck into the cage and crashing into it himself. Buoyed on by Lemeiux's incredible goal, the Penguins didn't trail again in the series as they bested the favored North Stars 4 games to 2. If that's not the penultimate in leading one's team from behind to victory, then becoming that "predator"(the Penguins won the final game of the series 8-0) you described, I don't know what is. He scored 12 points in 5 games, including 2 goals and 2 assists in the 8-0 route in the finale on Minnesota ice. Lemeiux overcoming adversity in just playing that 4th game is incredible, and his performance is awe-inspiring.
This is an impressive story. I think it establishes something that we all already know. Lemieux was a gifted hockey player capable of scoring impressive goals and leading his team to victory. But does any of this mean he is the greatest athlete of all time? Not a chance. Tiger Woods performed mind blowing acts all the time over his decade and a half of dominance, things that left us scratching our heads in awe. This all comes down to Lemieux being a terrific player, but not necessarily a great athlete, and certainly not the greatest ever.



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This sounds like Mario Lemeiux you're describing. You can read my paragraph on his awards and accolades, or I can summarize them again. While the great Wayne Gretzky of the hockey world was surrounded by all-time great hetminder Grant Fuhr in net, superstars Jari Kurri and Mark Messier as linemates, and Paul Coffey on defense, Mario had Tom Barrasso in net, and Rob Brown and Kevin Stevens as linemates. They were solid, yet unspectacular players who thrived with Lemeiux as linemates. Barrasso was protected in giving up 4 and 5 goals a game by Lemeiux leading his team to 5 and 6 in back to back Stanley Cup wins. No player in the history of their sport has been an All-Star in every season they've played, but Lemeiux did exactly that with 13 All-Star nods in 13 seasons.
There is no doubt that Gretzky was surrounded by an all star cast of teammates and future Hall of Famers. I would suggest that it was Gretzky's excellence that made his supporting cast great. If we want to talk hockey players, Gretzky is clearly the best athlete in the history of the NHL, and he elevated the play of those around him. I also think you are not giving sufficient credit to Lemieux's teammates. Plus, you have to look beyond line mates to the rest of the team, and I think you may have conveniently forgotten about a man named Jagr, as well as several other guys.



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And noone transcends their respective sport better then "Le Soixante-six", Mario Lemeiux. With hockey being a world-wide sport, there is perhaps no bigger name. Whether it be his remarkable play through back injuries, his comeback from cancer, his return from retirement to dominate the sport after three years away, or his saving the Penguins from bankruptcy by purchasing them, there is no more diverse sports figure then Mario Lemeiux. Tiger Woods, unfortunately, is known across the globe for the wrong reasons, being it cheating on his wife or going into rehab. While he is a great golfer in a tremendous sport, his being known on an international is due to his vulgar language on the field of play, and his highly publicized sexual life off of it. He may be known on a global stage, but it's for all the wrong reasons.
This paragraph is a surprising combination of fallacy and irrelevance. No one transcends their sport better than Lemieux? Come on now, I know you know better than that. You have displayed far too much sports acumen over the previous thirteen rounds of the SDL to stand behind a ludicrous statement like this. No bigger name than Lemieux? How about Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, any number of Canadiens (all of whom I hate, forever), and several others. His saving of the Penguins from bankruptcy is all well and good, but absolutely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

And Tiger Woods has had an extremely tumultuous year or so, but surely a man in your position, bearing your profession in mind, is not going to throw Tiger's entire career under the bus because of his recent and irrelevant indiscretions. Tiger Woods' designation of the greatest athlete of all time had already been set in stone long before the airing of Woods' dirty laundry. Sure he has become known on a global scale over the last 15 months or so for all of the wrong reasons, but let's get serious, he was already extremely well known on a global scale for all of the right reasons. And these right reasons are what is relevant to the discussion at hand, not how many hookers he slept with or how much profanity he uses on the course. Tiger Woods is not a role model. He may not be a very nice person. Hell, maybe he is a total scumbag, but that matters not to me. The question at hand here is the greatest athlete of all time, not the nicest guy of all time. I will leave the sanctimonious character assassinations until another say, and stay on topic. And if we do this, it is quite clear. Tiger Woods is the premiere athlete of all time, whether you like him or not.


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And this is something Woods is not. Despite maintaining a purposefully private life outside the hockey world, Lemieux still had major endorsements and marketability through Nike and Wheaties. Sports Illustrated featured him on six covers, wrote 205 articles regarding him, and dedicated 10 picture galleries to him. Not bad for America's "distant number 4 sport."

Woods, on the other hand, has LOST said status of being marketable, with Gatorade, AT &T, and General Motors ended affiliation with Woods, costing him billions of dollars. Golf Digest, the leader in Golf coverage, suspended all coverage of him for a time. If anything, Tiger has gone from being marketable to not. If considered a factor, Woods must be considered to be going in the wrong direction. If anything, Woods is going in the wrong direction in this area.
Again, you are discounting 15 years of fact due to 15 months of dirty laundry. Shame on you, that is more TMZ than NHL. Don't try to tell me that Lemieux has the marketability and profile of Woods prior to 12/11/09. And as I said earlier, it is irrelevant anyway. Throw the last 15 months away, and Woods is still the greatest athlete of all time. And let's not forget, people have incredibly short memories, especially as it pertains to professional athletes. What do you think is going to happen when Tiger rights the ship and retakes his position at the pinnacle of the sport. I will tell you what, all will be forgiven and forgotten. Just ask Marv Albert or Kobe Bryant.


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The same can be said for Mario Lemieux, to a greater degree. He wasn't surrounded by superstars when winning back to back Cups and winning 6 scoring titles and 3 MVP's, numbers that would have certainly been higher if not for his injuries and stiff competition from elite players such as Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Brett Hull. The reason the Penguins drafted Lemieux number 1 overall in 1984 was they were the worst team in the leaague, and averaging less then 7,000 fans in attendance. Lemieux had a team of mostly nobodies in the playoffs four short years later, and won the Stanley Cup two years after. As for other individual accomplishments, Lemieux became the only player to score five goals five different ways in a single game in 1988(even strength, short handed, power play, penalty shot, and empty net), and setting the all-time record of short-handed goals at 13 in the same year. He scored a goal on his first shot of his first shift, another record yet to be tied. His individual accomplishments with regards to his sport dwarf Woods.
Drifting into the irrelevant again, and the incorrect as well. You under rate his supporting cast. And the 5 different goals 5 different ways is admittedly impressive, but amounts to little more than the answer to a trivia question. I am hardly going to anoint him the greatest athlete of all time because of one game played 22 years ago. A goal on the first shot of his first shift? Call Alex Trebek, because again this is trivia and pertains little to our discussion.

Did you read the list of Woods' individual accomplishments? Take a moment and Google it. No one dwarfs his individual accolades, absolutely no one, and certainly not Lemieux.



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While Lemieux was winning Stanley Cups, overcoming back problems and cancer along with saving the Penguins from bankruptcy by forfeiting $30 million in owed money due to his love for the city, where did Woods go? While Lemieux left the game for some time and returned 3 years later to lead the league in scoring, Woods left the game due to marital infidelities and rehab and has yet to return the same player. Woods last victory in any tournament was two years ago. Here's an excerpt from an article hammerring home my point, with a link to the entire article.
Dirty laundry again LSN, am I reading a post on wrestlezone or the National Enquirer? OK, Lemieux is a saint, saving his team from bankruptcy out of the goodness of his angelic heart, while big bad Tiger was off being a bad boy. Shame on him and good on Mario. Still do not comprehend how this makes Lemieux a better athlete than Woods.

I don't care about marital infidelities of some stranger who I will never meet or know. As I said, he 's not a role model for me, and he's not for my kids, as that honor falls upon me. As I said, Woods may be a dirtbag, but that does not detract from his moniker as the greatest athlete of all time. And that was an honor he earned, on the course, on the links, which is all I care about, prior to his indiscretions.


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This is relevant, because Woods has yet to show that mental focus, killer instinct, or championship pedigree in ANY form that he did before. While Lemieux returned stronger each time, Woods returned with play equal to just another golfer. Hardly what you would look for in "Greatest Athlete." Because that distinction when considering all factors clearly falls upon Mario Lemieux.
Even if I concede that Tiger has lost his mental focus over the last 15 months, or his killer instinct, or his championship pedigree, it doesn't even matter. Tiger had already cemented his legacy as the greatest athlete of all time before this loss of focus, this loss of killer instinct, this loss of championship pedigree. Lemieux and Jordan's careers are over, they no longer have the capacity to show killer instinct, or mental focus, or to secure any further championships or accolades. In answering the question at hand, no one is suggesting that Tiger is still doing what he did before at the same drastic pace as he did. And that's fine. He is still the best ever. And just wait until he rights the ship, as he has done several times in the past. He will build even further upon his already awesome legacy. He does not need to do so, he already is the greatest athlete of all time. But once he does, and trust me, he will, he will eradicate any lingering doubt about the correctness of my selection.

Not Michael Jordan. Not Mario Lemieux. The greatest athlete of all time is clearly Tiger Woods.
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  #12  
Old 03-01-2011, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by hatehabsforever View Post
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Tiger Woods is a tremendous athlete and that a professional golfer can be considered to be the greatest athlete ever. It is not like I am proposing a poker player, or a darts competitor, or a synchronized swimmer, to be the greatest athlete of all time. To suggest that the rigors of playing professional golf at the highest level does not constitute the distinction of a tremendously gifted athlete is incorrect and in fact surprisingly naive coming from you of all people. To play golf the way Tiger Woods has played it takes incredible skill and unprecedented athleticism. You are damn right it is a tough sport to play skill wise, and to play it as consistently as Tiger has for as long as he has, requires the type of physical prowess which can only be associated with the best of the best. There is a reason why John Daly, or Mark Calcavecchia, or Craig Stadler, have not amassed the statistical dominance that Tiger has. They were good golfers, but were unable to sustain the type of career that Tiger has, because they did not have the physical tools, the mental toughness, the psychological fortitude, or the stellar skill level that only Tiger has. If you want to generalize, you are right, the average golfer possesses neither the physical makeup, the mental presence, or the skill level that Tiger does. This is why they are not the greatest athletes of all time, Tiger is. This is not about golf versus football, or basketball, or hockey. This is about Tiger Woods versus the world, and from my estimation, he comes out on top, easily. The suggestion that his golfing ability would not carry over into the ability to play a second sport is totally irrelevant. Very few athletes have excelled in two sports, but that is meaningless to this discussion. And honestly, touting Jordan as a two sport athlete is a huge stretch of reality. His basketball acumen was second to none, but his venture into Double A baseball was lackluster at best, an experimental event, whereby he was cut more slack than virtually anyone before him, as a sideshow.
I never said being a professional golfer at the level of Tiger Woods was easy. It takes a great athlete to do what he has done. I'm merely stating that from a pure athletic standpoint, his attributes fail to match those of elite basketball, football, baseball, or hockey players. I'm not touting Jordan as a two sport athlete, merely stating that to pick up a game after 19 years, especially one as difficult as baseball, and actually look competent was remarkable. Had Jordan dedicated himself to another sport the way he did to basketball there is no doubt in my mind he could have made it professional in different sports because of his athletic prowess. I can't say the same for Tiger.



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Of course I described Jordan perfectly, because the second best athlete of all time obviously shares a lot of the attributes of the actual best. Sure, he was tremendously gifted and rarely injured, much like Tiger until recent times. I am unimpressed with such urban legends as the MJ flu fairy tale. I don't doubt that he man was sick with the flu at the time, but here is a classic story which has been embellished so much that it likely is bordering on fiction. Lots of guys play professional sports while they have a cold or flu. Tylenol is a remarkable anti-pyretic. And he had a little help from his friends, a cast of teammates who were capable of picking up some of his slack, although in all honesty, none of them were Jordan-esque. As impressive a fairy tale as that is, if I even grant it due validity, it pales in comparison to Tiger Woods winning a major golf championship on one leg, all by himself, with no teammates, against the best of the world, immediately prior to knee surgery which would sideline him for an extended period of time afterwards. For every athlete, there will be tall tales of such mental and physical triumph over adversity. This is hardly unique to Jordan, and if anything, applies far more to Woods.
Fairy tale my ass. You obviously need to brush up on your basketball history because this is a well documented true story. This wasn't some normal "flu." MJ literally could not move from his bed a mere 24 hours before the game. Tylenol doesn't fix something like that right up. If this was just a little flu then I highly doubt Jordan would have been struggling to breathe, I highly doubt he would have nearly collapsed from exhaustion once the game ended, and I highly doubt he would have needed an IV at the conclusion of the game because of severe dehydration. If this is a fairly tale then so is Curt Schilling and the bloody sock, so is Kellen Winslow in the playoffs, and so is Kirk Gibson's lack of mobility when he hit the homer that won the 88 World Series. The story is very real and very impressive.





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No one is disputing Jordan's greatness. He was, after all, the second greatest professional athlete of all time. He was an incredible clutch performer, but he functioned as such in a team sport. Tiger has been every bit as clutch, but he has been solo. Whenever Jordan was on the floor, his team had a chance to win. Whenever Woods was on the course, he himself, without assistance, was always in the hunt as well.
So being in an individual sport makes you a better athlete? It doesn't work like that. Whether it's a team or individual sport both are clutch players but the better athlete is most definitely Jordan.



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All of this is Tiger personified. He as well always knew when he had his opponents beat, and always managed to get into their heads to ensure this happened. Many a guy has challenged Tiger in his realm, and many of them have gone by the wayside, wilting under the pressure, shirking the moment rather than thriving from it. Jordan was mentally and psychologically tough, but with all due respect, Tiger was that much tougher.
Says who? Jordan was always a feared player especially during his prime. Tiger is supposed to be in his prime right now yet no one seems to fear him anymore.




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There's no denying Michael Jordan's impressive awards and accolades. He has amassed statistics and successes like few before him. A lot of his stats, though, are team stats rather than purely individual ones. His individual stats are numerous as well, but let's face it, they simply do not hold a candle to a list of the championships, titles, individual accolades, etc., that Woods has produced. I originally began with the intention of listing them all, when it quickly became apparent that there are not enough hours in the day to compile a list so comprehensive. I figured that if I added the entire listing of all that Woods has achieved, no one would read the entire post: no readers, no judges, no fellow debaters. If someone wants to see an itemized listing of everything that Woods has done, check it out via Google. Every bit as impressive as Jordan, in fact, far more so.
We can compare awards and accolades all day. It's hard to compare accolades from two sports as different as golf and basketball but both have a very impressive amount. In this situation it's really a wash and you can't pick who is the better athlete between the two based on accomplishments.





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Quite honestly, I would probably rank these two guys fairly equally with regards to international appeal and marketability. Except for one thing. Tiger Woods is far more of a global phenomenon. Michael Jordan is a true legend with tremendous appeal and recognizability, but if you expand beyond the confines of North America, I think Woods would quickly overshadow Jordan. How big is the NBA in Europe, or Asia, or South America or Australia? I don't know for sure, but I imagine that Woods is far more of a household names in such areas than is Jordan.
That is very debatable. Basketball is currently one of the most popular international sports. In fact, next to soccer it is probably the most popular international sport. Far more of a global phenomenon then golf is. The NBA is at an all time high in terms of global popularity and contributions from international players. It all started with MJ. He is one of the main reasons basketball's popularity is where it's at around the world.




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It doesn't really make one a better athlete than the other. I am simply suggesting that international appeal, marketability, and other such things, are typically reserved for the greatest of the great. And there's no one greater than Woods. No one. Because he is the greatest athlete of all time.
Of course there is someone greater. MJ is greater then Woods in terms of international appeal, greater in terms of marketability, and Michael Jordan is also the superior athlete.



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No, I maintain that it is irrelevant. Tiger has consistently displayed mental toughness, but he is, after all, a human being. This has been incredible adversity, both physical as well as emotional and mental. Sure it has been affecting his play. I imagine it will continue to plague him for another while yet. But come on, the man is still only 35 years old. He has plenty of time for an extended bump in the road, and can still overcome it and have continued success on the tour for another considerable period of time. Plus, as I said in my earlier post, even if Tiger does not overcome these difficulties, even if he never resumes his career and decides to throw his clubs away and never play the game ever again, it matters not. If we merely look at Tiger's career from the time he turned pro until 12/11/09, and do not look beyond it, I would still suggest that this time period alone, in and of itself, qualifies Tiger as the greatest athlete of all time. Jordan's career is over, he is not continuing to add to his legacy. Mario Lemieux's career is also over, he is no longer adding to his resume. So even if Woods' career is over too, which I certainly am not conceding, the bottom line is still the same. Tiger Woods is the greatest athlete of all time. He does not need to do anything else to make this statement categorically true. Except for one thing. I predict he will still add to his legacy, and significantly so. If I am wrong about this, he still goes down as the best ever. If I am right, the gap between himself and everyone else grows larger. Either way, the same bottom line, the best ever.
You can maintain it's irrelevant all you want but it's part of his career and a part that isn't very good. If you want to stop Tiger's career at 2009 then that's fine but he is still inferior as an athlete to Jordan. In fact if Tiger's career ended today he wouldn't even go down as the greatest golfer of all time. Tiger Woods has 14 majors through his first 15 professional years. Jack Nicklaus had 14 through his first 15 professional years. If Tigers career ended today I'd give Nicklaus the nod in terms of best golfer. Tiger Woods is a great athlete but Michael Jordan is better. MJ is the greatest athlete of all time and nothing being debated for Tiger or Lemieux is even coming close to proving otherwise.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Sexy View Post
Being a great player is part of being a great athlete. If that wasn't the case then all of the accomplishments we are all boasting about would mean jack shit and the answer to this question would be Bo Jackson hands down.
It's a good thing that I emphasized that being a great player is part of being the greatest athlete, isn't it? I just rightfully pointed out the fallacy that you were solely relying on MJ being the greatest basketball player ever as the basis of your argument that he's the greatest player of all time. There's so much more then that which goes into determining the greatest player. Intangibles that Mario Lemiuex possessed that were greater then Michael Jordan. Lemieux displayed such intangibles in playing through a back injury that prevented him from tying his skates to lead the NHL in post-season points during their first Stanley Cup. With all respect to Jordan's flu-ridden performance, Lemieux's was greater. His goal I posted against Minnesota that gave the Penguins the lead is testament to that. Despite that bad back, Lemieux showed the hand eye coordination to control the puck the entire time. He showed the speed to get past both of them. He showed the agility to put the puck through one defenseman's leg, skate around both, deke the goalie, and flip the puck to his backhand and score. Again, with all respect to Jordan, he never did anything like that, and his body parts were physically healthy. Lemieux's intangibles were greater then Jordan's.

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Even if we are just talking about athlete in the very truest sense of the word and not considering anything else, Jordan still wins. MJ had speed to get by anyone in the NBA, the strength to power his way inside, the endurance to play a full 48 minutes, and a leaping ability that is almost unmatched. Anything Lemieux had in terms of athletics Jordan had it and he had more of it. When it comes to speed, strength, agility, and endurance the only thing Lemieux MAY have is strength. The rest go to Jordan. MJ was athletic enough where he could have succeeded at multiple sports, basketball was just the one he chose. Lemieux wasn't going to be able to succeed at a high level in any other sport.
I should just pretend you didn't write this paragraph. Lemeiux played the game with the strength and power of an NBA center, but the deft and touch of an NBA point guard. He displayed the shooting touch and hand-eye of an NBA shooting guard, and the agility and quickness of a small forward. Endurance may be the only thing Jordan had on Lemieux. Lemieux was the total package, as I attested earlier. While most superstars rest on their scoring laurels, Mario played the penalty kill and set an NHL record that stands to this day in shorthanded goals. The entire article and the specific part of the stats are within. Keep in mind this was done before Lemieux's Stanley Cup days where he played with more complete players, making this all the more impressive.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...s_(individual))

Shorthanded goalsMost shorthanded goals, career: Wayne Gretzky, 73
Most shorthanded goals, career playoffs: Mark Messier, 12
Most shorthanded goals, one season: Mario Lemieux, 13, 1988–89
Most shorthanded goals, one game: Theoren Fleury, 3 (Mar. 9, 1991)
Most shorthanded goals, rookie: Jordan Staal, 7, 2006–07
Most two-man shorthanded goals, career: Mike Richards, 3
This shows his defensive prowess as a forward was second to none as well.
As for the claim that Jordan could have played any sport, this is a humungous fallaccy. Did you foget that Jordan DID play a full season of minor league baseball, with the Birmingham Barons? It was an epic fail, as Jordan hit .202 with 3 HR's. Here are his career stats, all minor league as he attempted to succeed at another sport

http://www.baseball-reference.com/mi...d=jordan001mic

Jordan was entirely unsuccessful at attempting another sport, the only real proof of his ability to do so. His reason for quitting basketball in his prime? His "loss of passion" for the game. How can the greatest player of all time lose passion for the sport he staked his claim in? He can't. Lemieux only left his sport due to health problems, and always returned, even through cancer. Passion is an intangible for making a great player, and no one player in history had the passion for the game Lemieux did. While Jordan was "losing his passion" Lemieux was playing a game in front of notoriously hostile Philadelphia the same night of the day in which he receibed radiation treatment. He scored a goal and added two assists in the game, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd in a Penguins win. I already described him playing through his back problems to score the second most points in playoff history despite missing three games. And Lemieux's passion was on full display when he bought the team out of bankruptcy to avoid the team leaving Pittsburgh, forfeiting 30 million in salary. Passion is apart of being a great player, and noone displayed more the Lemieux in this history of team sports, as evidenced by the above.

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News Flash: Mario Lemieux didn't win a Cup until he was surrounded by great players and he never won one without those guys. In fact the first year the Penguins won the Cup Lemieux missed most of the regular season with a back injury. The team was carried by two future HOFers in Ron Francis and Larry Murphy, a great player in Mark Recchi, and a rookie in Jaromir Jagr. All of those guys were around for both of the Penguins Stanley Cup Wins. In fact I'd say Lemieux had just as much if not more help then MJ did and while Mario won two Cups, Jordan won 6 NBA titles.
Another part completely full of egregious errors in fact on your part. error on your part. Recchi was apart of the first Stanley Cup team, not the second. As you said, Jagr was a rookie. While he had his phenomenal moments, his playing time and production became limited come playoff time. Francis played the entire time Lemieux was injured during the first Cup run as a Hartford Whaler, another error. He played only the last 14 games as a Penguin, scoring only 2 goals, so his contribution was minimal that year. http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...y.php?pid=1767

As for Jordan, he was seconded by Scottie Pippen, who took the pressure off of Jordan by being that second major scoring threat. He had Horace Grant, an NBA All-Star, and four time all NBA defensive team. He had monster center Bill Cartwright, solid power forward Will Perdue, rookie Stacey King, steady point guard and clutch shooter John Paxson and NBA leader in 3 point field goal percentage in two of their 3 championship runs in B.J. Armstrong. Further, he had the greatest NBA coach of all-time in Phil Jackson as head coach. With Jackson, Jordan won all 6 of his titles. Without him, he won none, and his team was bounced from the playoffs for three straight years by the Detroit Pistons before the Bulls dynasty began. It was under Jackson's leadership that the Bulls found a way around the Pistons shutdown "Jordan rules". In contrast, Lemieux won his Cups with 2 different coaches in Scotty Bowman and Bob Johnson. Lemieux elevated the players around him moreso then any player in the history of sports. He made career role players look like superstars. If anything, due to the supporting cast and the coaching, Jordan had MORE support then Lemieux did. Lemieux showed he didnt need the necessary guiding Jordan did, making his leadership skills greater. Yet another intangible that makes him a greater athlete then Jordan ever was.

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Bullshit. See above for part of the reasoning. Scottie Pippen is no more mentioned as a great in the NBA then Francis is in the NHL. In fact if I was going to make a cross sport comparison Pippen to Francis would be nearly perfect. Don't forget about Joe Mullen who is another HOFer that was on those Penguins team. That's 3 current HOF guys right there Lemiex had. Actually he had 4 in Bryan Trottier but he was past his prime at that point so I'll throw you a bone. MJ never had all that help.
The Pippen/Francis correlation is speculation of yours, nothing more. Although since Pippen played with the Bulls the ENTIRE time during the Jordan championship runs, and is also a Hall of Famer, it's an easy jump to make that Pippen's contribution was more important then Francis'. Mullen was 33 and at the twilight of his career, and he faded down the stretch so much to the extent that he lost both his assistant captaincy and spot on Mario's line to plugger Bob Errey. I see only three names there, two of which I already accounted for, and the third you conceded. While the names you mentioned were fading, Jordan was surrounded by players in the prime of his career. With roster sizes being far larger in the NHL, there's more room for impact players. So you're correct, Jordan didn't have the support Mario did. With respect to team size and coaching, Jordan had more.

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So all of Jordan's game winning shots have nothing to do with him being a great athlete? All of his gravity defining dunks mean jack shit? All of his gutsy performances and all the times he carried the team on his back purely because he was just better and more athletic then anyone out on the court is nothing to you? Trust me, Lemieux was a great player and great athlete but he can't touch Jordan in either regard.
I believe that my statement about Jordan were that he was the "greatest basketball player of all time", "my favorite basketball player ever" and he's the "second greatest athlete of all time". One of your problems is that you look at everything in absolutes. If someone doesn't agree with you, they're automatically bashing your choice. Quite the opposite here. What Jordan did was stuff of legend. My parents couldn't drag me to bed as a yoiung kid during the NBA finals. I watched Jordaan game in and game out in the NBA finals become a lving legend, and at times, carry the team on his back. But in mentioning backs, Lemieux carried the team on his back, literally, as he rebounded from back surgery to become the second leading scorer in NHL playoff history in 1991 with 44 points, 3 behind Gretzky's record despite missing three games. There's no doubt with his career PPG record that he would have broken Gretzky's record had he not missed three games. And yet the game after missing game 3 of the NHL finals due to his back injury, he scored the incredible goal I posted a video of. His team never trailed again in the series after said goal. If that's not the definition of carrying a team on his back, nothing is. Jordan was a tremendous athlete, the greatest basketball player of all time, but not the greatest athlete. That distinction belongs to Mario Lemieux.

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And you watch these Jordan highlights. Notice the ridiculousness of the mans athletic ability. Notice the creativity in the air.
I watched the video, and remember many of the plays. While remarkable, they don't compare to the Lemieux's combination of strength, precision passing, hand eye coordination, agility, and speed. Lemieux simply is the more complete athlete.

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I've seen Gretzky do similar and even more impressive things. Same goes for a guy like Ovechkin.
Gretzky wasn't the complete package that Lemieux was. He had hand eye coordination and intelligence that was second to none in the game. But he lacked the same agility and speed that Lemieux did, and he wasn't the defensive player Lemieux was. In short he wasn't the complete player Mario was, making him a lesser athlete. Comparing Ovechkin to Lemieux is a joke. Crosby would be a better comparison, and he's not in Lemieux's league. Ovechkin is a one trick pony with speed, agility, and a fantastic shot, but he lacks the other intangibles Lemieux had, such as on-ice vision, precision passing, clutch performances, and overall passion. I could say the same about Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Kevin Durant, among others, with regards to Jordan.

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What? Are you seriously going to sit there and blatantly type something like that. Lemieux returned in 2000-2001 played in 43 games and had 35 goals, 41 assists, and 76 points. He finished tied for 29th in scoring. I don't know where you're getting your stats from but that's the second time you've provided completely false numbers. http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/pl...ints/year/2001
As the mistakes you made regarding Jordan being able to succeed at any sport, and the blatant factual errors regarding Recchi and Francis, I simply made a mistake. My intent was to note that Lemieux lead the league in points per game upon his return. It wasn't even close, as it was a .28 gap, and that was over his own teammate! You made your share of egregious errors and blatant fallacies in this very post, so pointing out a simple mistake of mine is a double standard. We all make mistkes here. Here's irreconcilable proof of Lemieux leading the league in PPG, something Jordan failed to do upon his return.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/pl...ints/year/2001

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You've shown absolutely nothing but false stats and a highlight reel. Best athlete, best player, combination, however you want to cut it Michael Jordan is superior to Mario Lemieux in every aspect.
Ive shown how Lemieux carried the team on his back upon his return from back surgery. Ive showed the passion he's unwaveringly had for the game, something Jordan never displayed. I showed how he was the only player in the history of sports, including 13 All Star selections in 13 seasons. Ive shown how the combintion of his speed, agility, strength, speed, on-field vision, and hand-eye coordination combined to make him the greatest athlete of all time, both through factual and video proof. Ive shown how Lemieux's passion for the game while at the top of his game was superior to Jordan's. Ive shown how, with all things considered, all of these combined make Lemieux the greatest athlete of all time, even over the remarkable Michael Jordan.
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Originally Posted by hatehabsforever View Post
That is an irrelevant and incorrect statement. Golf is a one-dimensional sport? I am not buying that for one second. Golf most certainly involves physical endurance and strength, as I have discussed in my previous posts. It is the understatement of the year to suggest that what he does, he does well. He does it better than anyone before him has ever done, and possibly better than anyone after him will do. Athletic ability may not be paramount to being a good golfer, or even a great golfer, but it damn well is paramount to being a legendary golfer, a golfer who has reinvented the sport, the way it is played, how it is perceived, who its audience is, etc,,
Golf is a one dimensional sport. Agility, speed, and strength are some of the qualities that golfers are not required to possess. Just because Tiger is in good shape and strong doesn't mean other golfers are, nor is it a prerequisite. While it requires incredible concentration, hand-eye coordination and patience, it doesn't include many of the other intangibles that other sports do. While other sport players ainvolve true tests of endurance, golfers have caddies who carry their bag and hand them their clubs. In what other sport is that present? Im not denying that Tiger isn't the best of the lot, but to compare what he does with the athleticism of other sports is absurd. As for the part in bold, it's quit important. In other sports, athletic ability is paramount for ALL involved. As you yourself acknowledged, it's not in golf.While Tiger is a legendary golfer in the "sport" of golf, it hardly makes him a great athlete. Even if he has re-nvented the game and has numerous accomplishments, it makes him the greatest golfer in the world, not the greatest athlete.

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There are lots of "average joes" who are professional golfers, but Tiger is hardly any average Joe. And the average Joes are not the ones I am referring to as the greatest of all time. As I said to Big Sexy, this is not a debate about golf versus hockey or golf versus basketball. This is a comparison of athlete to athlete and in such comparisons, Woods stacks up favorably. Golf is absolutely a sport. It may not involve physical contact, violence, etc,, but it darn well necessitates being in tremendous physical condition, technically sound, and capable of strength and endurance while maintaining precision and accuracy.
Im not arguing that Tiger is an average Joe. My point is that golfabers on the whole are average Joes. Just because Tiger is in great shape and strong doesn't make him a better athlete. this may not be a competition of basketball versus hockey versus golf, but it is a competiton of greatest athlete. There are limitations that the sport of golf possesses in comparison to other sports such as basketball and hockey that can't be overcome, no matter how great the golfer is. I do believe that golf is a sport, but the endurance and strength you speak about in Tiger Woods do not compare favorably to hockey, and specifically, Mario Lemieux. It's a complete fallacy that goldf requires great physical conditionin, because many golfers are anything but. just because Tiger is in great shape doesn't translate to him being a great athlete. As for the parts I outlined in bold, they are required to a much greater degree in hockey, and none demonstrated them collectively better then Mario Lemieux. At 6'4 235, few were stronger. His endurance is evidenced no better in that he played in every situation, including the power play and the penalty kill. Can you name another hockey player who has scored a goal five different ways? The answer is no, because Mario Lemieux is the only one to score a power play goal, shorthanded goal, penalty shot, even strength, and empty net goal in the same game. This is a testiment to both his endurance and precision. Endurance that he was capable of scoring in five completely different ways entailing completely different responsibilites, and precision in his ability to succeed in executing these in five different ways in the same game.

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Lemieux was a tremendous athlete and a gifted hockey player, but to be frank, I would not even put him in the top five of the NHL alumni, never mind the greatest of all time of all sports.
Lemieux was a tremendous athlete, and I already listed one of the ways how. Another is his incredible goal scored in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals where he split two defensemen by putting the puck between a defenseman's legs, speeding up to pass both, all while fooling the goalie with a deke right whie switching the puck to the backhand and scoring all in one motion. This was truly the definition of speed, agility, precision, hand-eye coordination, and endurance, all in one play. How about Lemieux returning from radiation and playing the same night, likely zapped of strength, and scoring a goal and adding two assists to receive a standing ovation in front of a hostile crowd with which the Penguins are bitter rivals. The coup de gra is Lemiuex returning from a 3 and half year retirement to assist on a goal on his first shift, while adding a goal and an assist in the same night. If that's not the epitome of athleticism, the subject of this debate, I don't know what is. Let's not forget that Lemieux is the only player to score a goal on his first shit on his first shift. These are things that cannot be taught, as they are exhibits of pure athleticism. Ive yet to see ANY example of a solo act with these combined factors from Tiger Woods, which is further proof that Lemieux is the greater athlete.

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Gretzky was better, as was Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, and Bobby Hull. It is simply incorrect to suggest that Lemieux is the best athlete of all time. That is simply the incorrect and biased perspective of a Pittsburgh sports enthusiast seeing the world through Pennsylvania colored glasses.
The debate comes down to Lemieux and Gretzky over greatest player, make no mistake. While Gretzky is the all-time leader due at 1.92 to Lemiuex's 1.88 points per game, Lemieux held a 2.0 to 1.92 lead over Gretzky before he returned from his retirement. The assumption that this is a "Pittsburgh bias" is based sorely on opinion, as your entire post has been thusfar. There is no factual information to back this up. And again, there is a distinction between greatest athlete and greatest player. Orr may have been a great defenseman with speed, agility, and playmaking ability as well as a shot, he pales in comparison to Lemieux in this category. Lemeiux almost doubled Orr in points as Orr had only 915 ppoints in comparison to Lemieux's tally of 1723. Even though Lemieux played slightly more games, Orr's 1.33 PPG pales in comparison to Mario's 1.88. While statistics aren't a be all, end all, they dp contribute to the story. Before you dismiss this with the casual "He was only defensman", he was the first defenseman ever to lead his team in scoring in 69/70 with 124. Orr also invented the notion of "jumping into the play" when it comes to defensemen, so he was like a fourth forward at many times. Despite all of this, Orr holds no NHL records, and the only thing he had on Lemieux was speed. Lemieux was more agile, a better puck handler, had a harder and more precise shot, and was a better passer and stronger player. A smilar assessment can be made of Gordie Howe, Despite playing in far more games then Lemieux(1767 to 915) he only outscored Lemieux 1865 to 1723. One doesn't hve to do the math to show that Lemieux's points per game were FAR greater then Howe's. While stats aren't the end all-be all, they do tell a good prt of the story. In the cases of Orr and Howe, the numbers are clearly in favor of Lemieux. Factor in that both played their careers healthy while Lemieux played with injury and cancer, and there is simply no comparison over the greater athlete is. In the case of Gretzky, Lemieux was the better athlete. There were things agility, speed, and stature wise that Gretzky could simply not do. He wasn't fast, agile, or strong. He may have been more adeot at reading plays, anticipating plays, and fooling goalies, he simply wasn't a greater athlete then Lemieux. While Gretzky holds more records over Lemieux, their averages in points, assists, and goals are virtually equal. Even if Gretzky was the better player, Lemieux was without a doubt the greater athlete.

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And make no mistake about it, I am crystal clear about the distinction between. "greatest athlete" and "greatest player.". In fact, I would respectfully suggest that you are the one who may be a little confused about this. If anything, Lemieux may be considered to be a great player, more so than a great athlete. His skills as a player are not really in question. His skills as an athlete are more debatable. As you said yourself, he never played an entire season ever in his career. He amassed big numbers despite this. This sounds more like a great player than a great athlete to me. Chronic back injuries, non-Hodgkins's lymphoma, these hardly sound like the physical attributes of the greatest athlete ever. Great player, yes. Great athlete, not so much. And greatest ever? Not by a long shot.
This is where we entirely disagree. Because of Lemieux's injuries and cancer, he had to rely on "intangibles" outside of simply being a great player. I keep going bck to the example, but it's a valid one. His ability to perform the wizadry he did while unable to tie his skates are a testament to his incredible athletic ability and his intangibles. He demonstrated speed, agility, strength, hand-eye coordination, focus, and split second decision making, all testaments of being a great athlete, not just a great player. Need further proof? His versatility in scoring 5 goals five different ways in one game, the only player to do so in history. This shows his adaptibility to each situation, and his reading od the situation. Different intangibles are needed in each situation, and Lemieux demonstrated he hd them better then no other in completing a feat that had never been done before. These intangibles. including his bouncing back from injury and cancer to be the same player and sometimes better are a testament to both his greatness, and his incredible athletic ability. Make no mistake,I recognize the difference between being a great player and a great athlete, and Lemieux was both. My basketball example I gave Big Sexy rings true here. He had the size and strength to outmuscle others to pucks the way a center does, but had all the puck possesion and presicion passing of a point guard. He had the rocket, accurate shot of a point guard, with the agility of a forward to break through defenders effortlessly. This versatility of skills that no player in any sport has ever shown are all testaments to Lemieux not only being a greater player then Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, but the greatest player of all time.

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All well and good, Lemieux was a physically gifted player. But the greatest ever, not even close. His ability to recover from injury, remarkable. It was remarkable because he had to do it every single year. And if someone is experiencing significant physical limitations every single year of his career, I have trouble in considering him the greatest athlete of all time.
Id suggest the exact opposite. It was Lemieux's ability to bounce back from injury time and again while maintaining the same level of play that is a testament to his great athletic ability. You're confusing physical limitations with injury, which Lemieux had the latter, not the former. He wasn't "physically limited" when it came to strength, speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, stick handling, precision passing, or a mind-blowing, accurate shot. He had injury "issues" when it came to his back and cancer among others. Number of games played has nothing to do with athleticism. If anything, his rebounding from those injuries to play at a great level are a testament to his great athleticims. It would be one thing if Lemieux returbed and his play drooped, and then I would question his athleticism. But his playing through injury and cancer are a testament to his relying on athleticism more then anything, further bstaking his claim as the greatest athlete of all time.

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This is an impressive story. I think it establishes something that we all already know. Lemieux was a gifted hockey player capable of scoring impressive goals and leading his team to victory. But does any of this mean he is the greatest athlete of all time? Not a chance. Tiger Woods performed mind blowing acts all the time over his decade and a half of dominance, things that left us scratching our heads in awe. This all comes down to Lemieux being a terrific player, but not necessarily a great athlete, and certainly not the greatest ever.
You continue to claim this, but fail to show how Woods athleticism came into play in these mind blowing acts. A 300 yard drive is the testament of skill, not being a great athlete. Mario's "impressive stories" are a testament to him both being a great player and a great athlete. Playing through such struggles at high levels are another factor in determining a great athlete. Ive given a litany of examples and provided video evidence of this. Those acts were those of pure athleticism, pure and simple. Factoring in they were done by a man his size is even more impressive, and help stake his claim as the greatest athlete. In the cases of both Jordan and Lemieux, I can vivdly remember great examples of athleticism shown by them that ahve left me in awe. I can't do the same with Tiger. That's very telling.

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There is no doubt that Gretzky was surrounded by an all star cast of teammates and future Hall of Famers. I would suggest that it was Gretzky's excellence that made his supporting cast great. If we want to talk hockey players, Gretzky is clearly the best athlete in the history of the NHL, and he elevated the play of those around him. I also think you are not giving sufficient credit to Lemieux's teammates. Plus, you have to look beyond line mates to the rest of the team, and I think you may have conveniently forgotten about a man named Jagr, as well as several other guys.
The thing about Gretzky's teammates is that they were on their way to Hall of Fame careers before joing Gretzky, and continued along that path after playing with Gretzky. Some of Lemieux's linemates, with Kevn Stevens and Rob Brown coming to mind, had all-star and league leading seasons in points(second in points behind Lemieux in 91/92), goals and points( 5th in points, sixth in goals. Following playing with Lemieux, they either wallowed in mediocrity(Stevens) or fell out of the league altogethr(Brown 3 years later. Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri, and Mark Messier are household names amongst alll die-hard hockey fans and Hall of Famers each to boost. Brown, Stevens and goaltenders like Wendell Young and Ken Wregett are obscure and the closest they'll get to the HIF is if they were to visit. For every Jagr, there was a Rib Brpwn with Lemieux. Lemieux made his teamates around him better then the were, which is another testament to his athletic ability.

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This paragraph is a surprising combination of fallacy and irrelevance. No one transcends their sport better than Lemieux? Come on now, I know you know better than that. You have displayed far too much sports acumen over the previous thirteen rounds of the SDL to stand behind a ludicrous statement like this. No bigger name than Lemieux? How about Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, any number of Canadiens (all of whom I hate, forever), and several others. His saving of the Penguins from bankruptcy is all well and good, but absolutely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
False. You can try to convince yourself and others of this, but you're dead wrong. I never said there was no "more well known name then Lemieux", I said there was "none bigger". There's a huge difference there that you're failing to grasp simply by your failure to even identify those Canadiens you hate so much. What has Wayne Gretzky done outside the sport to truly transcend it? How about Orr or Howe? The answer is simple. Very little. Lemieux's passion for the game shows in his rebounding from cancer and playing the same night of radiation treatment. His saving the team and forfeiting 30 million dollars to save the team while being the first owner/player in sports history is indicative of his passion, and how he truly trascends the sport. No player in the history of sports is truly bigger due to his passion, which is shown by his actions. This surely includes Woods and Jordan, who have done nothing comparable in terms of passion. Passion is a part of being a great athlete, and no name like Mario Lemieux has denmonstrated such passion through his actions on and off the ice.


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And Tiger Woods has had an extremely tumultuous year or so, but surely a man in your position, bearing your profession in mind, is not going to throw Tiger's entire career under the bus because of his recent and irrelevant indiscretions. Tiger Woods' designation of the greatest athlete of all time had already been set in stone long before the airing of Woods' dirty laundry. Sure he has become known on a global scale over the last 15 months or so for all of the wrong reasons, but let's get serious, he was already extremely well known on a global scale for all of the right reasons. And these right reasons are what is relevant to the discussion at hand, not how many hookers he slept with or how much profanity he uses on the course. Tiger Woods is not a role model. He may not be a very nice person. Hell, maybe he is a total scumbag, but that matters not to me. The question at hand here is the greatest athlete of all time, not the nicest guy of all time. I will leave the sanctimonious character assassinations until another say, and stay on topic. And if we do this, it is quite clear. Tiger Woods is the premiere athlete of all time, whether you like him or not.
It's quite funny, because I considered in regards to my profession before I wrote what I did. Nor would I discount Tiger Woods accomplishments over his fifteen years of professional golf due to his indiscetions. I recall fascinatingly watching him while at Stanford defending his amateur championship, so Im well aware of his career. And I hate watching golf, almost as much as i despise playing it with those better then me. But I never looked at Tiger and thought "Wow, what an athletic shot." Why? Because being an athlete has little to do with golf. While it takes great mental focus, precision, and hand eye coordination, it has little to do with physical exertion, physical activity involving strength, agility or speed, or great physical exhaustion. While I would be with you when it comesw to mental exhaustion, that has little to do with athletics. There are factors of golf that have to do with being an athlete, but not the complete package that sports such as basketball and hockey entail. As for my comments on Woods and what he's known for, the first thing most people think of is his marital infidelities, and his trip to rehab. It may not be right, but it's a fact of life. And it detracts from Woods athletic endeavors, while Lemieux's actions enhances his. May it be fair? No. Is it a reality? Yes. And like it not, it takes a man involved in a sport already disadvantaged by the argument of some that it's not a sport, and hurts it further. It only harms any false claim he would attempt to garner as the greatest athlete ever. And it certainly hurts a man coming in disadvantaged to begin with in this debate as the greatest athlete ever, and serves to further to cement the fact that he is not.


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Drifting into the irrelevant again, and the incorrect as well. You under rate his supporting cast. And the 5 different goals 5 different ways is admittedly impressive, but amounts to little more than the answer to a trivia question. I am hardly going to anoint him the greatest athlete of all time because of one game played 22 years ago. A goal on the first shot of his first shift? Call Alex Trebek, because again this is trivia and pertains little to our discussion.
Ive already discussed his supporting cast, so Im not going to go there again. As for the five different goals five different ways, they serve to show the diverse aspect of Lemiuex's game, much more then a trivia question. The power play goal was a testament to his rocket shot. The short handed goal was a testament to his agility, stickhandling, puck control, and a phenomenal move. His penalty shot goal was a testament to his incredible speed and stickhandling once again, as well as his precision shooting. His even strength goal was a testament to his incredible inmtelligence and quick thinking, as he banked it off the unsuspecting goalie's back. His empty net goal was simply him being in the right position at the right time. All of these factors combined are far more then a trivia question answer, but a compliliation of why he's the greatest athlete ever. But don't just take my word for it, watch "Le Magnifique" in action!



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Did you read the list of Woods' individual accomplishments? Take a moment and Google it. No one dwarfs his individual accolades, absolutely no one, and certainly not Lemieux.
I read the list, and at your request, I reread it. While I saw an impressive list of accomplishments, I failed to see any proof of how any of those achievements make him a great athlete, let alone the greatest. I could compile a similar list of chess accomplishments, and noone would think of me as the greatest "athlete ever". The very thought of it would be absurd. While golf is certainly a sport and more physically demanding, I find it absurd to consider it among the great athletic endeavors, which precludes any golfer, even Woods, from being the greatest athlete ever. Since Ive already shown how Lemieux is a better athlete then Jordan despite him being the 2nd greatest athlete ever, only one obvious conclusion can be drawn: Mario Lemieux is the greatest athlete ever.

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Even if I concede that Tiger has lost his mental focus over the last 15 months, or his killer instinct, or his championship pedigree, it doesn't even matter. Tiger had already cemented his legacy as the greatest athlete of all time before this loss of focus, this loss of killer instinct, this loss of championship pedigree. Lemieux and Jordan's careers are over, they no longer have the capacity to show killer instinct, or mental focus, or to secure any further championships or accolades. In answering the question at hand, no one is suggesting that Tiger is still doing what he did before at the same drastic pace as he did. And that's fine. He is still the best ever. And just wait until he rights the ship, as he has done several times in the past. He will build even further upon his already awesome legacy. He does not need to do so, he already is the greatest athlete of all time. But once he does, and trust me, he will, he will eradicate any lingering doubt about the correctness of my selection.
Its something you have to concede, as you look at the numbers. Defeats in the first round of match play. An inability to make cuts. A failure to win ANY tournament in the lst 2 years. Be it injury, lack of mental focus, or aging, Wood's game has deteriorated. One would think Lemieux's game would drop off after back surgery and a failure to even bend over and tie his skates. Instead of faltering like Woods, he he lead the league in points per game, lead the playoffs in scoring and was second(with 44 points) to Wayne Gretzky all-time(47 points) Not only this, but he scored possibly the most inmcredible goal of his career. One would think cancer would shake ones mental focus, but after missing 22 games due to cancer, Lemieux averaged an astounding 2.67 points per game, lead the league in scoring by 12 points with 160 points, and lead the team on a 17 game winning streak that began the night he returned, which is still an NHL record. As he aged and took time off as Woods, did, one would think his play would deterioate. Instead, he set up a goal in his first shift, and scored a goal and an assist later in the game. Even greater, Lemieux lead the league in points per game notn only for the rest of that season, but from his December return until his final retirement in 2006.

If these aren't signs that Lemieux is the greatest player ever, nothing is. But there's not even a thought about it. Mario Lemieux easily bests Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods as the greates athlete ever. His legacy, unmatched skill, perserverance while succeeding through adversity, and tremendous on-ice play, make him the greatest athlete ever. Of this there is no debate.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Sexy View Post
I never said being a professional golfer at the level of Tiger Woods was easy. It takes a great athlete to do what he has done. I'm merely stating that from a pure athletic standpoint, his attributes fail to match those of elite basketball, football, baseball, or hockey players. I'm not touting Jordan as a two sport athlete, merely stating that to pick up a game after 19 years, especially one as difficult as baseball, and actually look competent was remarkable. Had Jordan dedicated himself to another sport the way he did to basketball there is no doubt in my mind he could have made it professional in different sports because of his athletic prowess. I can't say the same for Tiger.

You are damn right that being a professional golfer at the level of Tiger Woods is not easy. It mustn't be, as no one else has done it before, and it will likely be a long time , if ever, before someone does again. It takes a tremendous athlete to do what Tiger has done from the mid 90's up until his fall from grace. His physical impact upon the game was so tremendous that he changed the way the game was played. He was so physically dominant and athletically gifted that they had to change golf courses, "Tiger-proof" them, to increase their level of difficulty to enable to keep the competition with at least a fighting chance, because if they did not, he was as close to unbeatable as one could get. The courses were made longer because his physicals skills were so superior to his peers. They needed to add hazards and lengthen the rough, because he was so powerful, that the challenges presented by the courses previously were not a challenge to someone as physically gifted and powerful as he was.

Golf may not be the sexy choice here. Football, hockey, basketball, even baseball, bring certain aspects to sports that golf does not bring. But that does not mean that golf at the upper echelon, at the level of Tiger, does not involve a physical specimen like Tiger to dominate it.

Jordan was hardly a two sport athlete. He was a sideshow, and while he was not totally awful at Double A baseball, he was pretty bad. He never ever had a shot to go to even Triple A, and certainly not the big leagues. If his name had been Michael Jones instead of Michael Jordan, he would not have even lasted as long as he did in the minors. Jordan's dabbling in baseball was an interesting sideshow at the time, but has no relevance to the discussion at hand. You don't have to be able to play multiple sports to be considered the ultimate athlete. You have to be physically dominant in your one sport, which Jordan certainly was, but so was Tiger, except even more so. It just so happens that Jordan had a baseball history, and was able to flirt with it a little. Who knows what Tiger may have been able to do had he a history with something else? I don't even care because it is irrelevant. Just like Jordan's media circus in the minor leagues was irrelevant too.


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Fairy tale my ass. You obviously need to brush up on your basketball history because this is a well documented true story. This wasn't some normal "flu." MJ literally could not move from his bed a mere 24 hours before the game. Tylenol doesn't fix something like that right up. If this was just a little flu then I highly doubt Jordan would have been struggling to breathe, I highly doubt he would have nearly collapsed from exhaustion once the game ended, and I highly doubt he would have needed an IV at the conclusion of the game because of severe dehydration. If this is a fairly tale then so is Curt Schilling and the bloody sock, so is Kellen Winslow in the playoffs, and so is Kirk Gibson's lack of mobility when he hit the homer that won the 88 World Series. The story is very real and very impressive.
All discussion of your ass aside, my knowledge of basketball history is just fine, thank you very much. I realize it is a well documented story, but one which I am sure has been embellished and Chicago-ized. An icon of Jordan's stature hardly needs such urban legends to pad his legacy, yet such things tend to occur anyway. Recount this story in another ten years, and people will say Jordan came off his deathbed to play in this game. In twenty years, he will have returned from the dead to do so. Stories of this nature are vulnerable to creative license, and I imagine this one is too. I have read and heard about this story many times. It does not increase it's legitimacy the more times you hear it. Great, Jordan came back from a significant dehabilitating flu to dominate a game and ultimately a series. Undoubtedly impressive. But not sufficient to earn him the distinction of the greatest athlete of all time. As impressive as it is, it is far less significant than super Mario returning from cancer, or Tiger winning a major golf tournament on one leg, necessitating subsequent knee surgery which would put him on the shelf for months. All of the greats have stories like this, it is hardly unique to Jordan.



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So being in an individual sport makes you a better athlete? It doesn't work like that. Whether it's a team or individual sport both are clutch players but the better athlete is most definitely Jordan.
No, being an athlete in an individual sport does not automatically make you a superior athlete. But an individual sport athlete like golf does not have a safety net to fall back on. He has to stand on his own two feet and be consistently great all by himself. On an off weekend, Woods would have have Pippen, or Rodman, or Kukoc, etc., to pick up his slack (not that Jordan ever needed much of this). He didn't have a Jagr or a Barrasso to pull it out for him. He would have to face adversity all on his own, and triumph over it by himself. Which he did with regularity.


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Says who? Jordan was always a feared player especially during his prime. Tiger is supposed to be in his prime right now yet no one seems to fear him anymore.
Tiger may not be feared at the moment, but he was damn well feared between 1996 and 12/11/09. Many a challenger presented, and many a challenger withered under the moment. Many a guy choked at the notion of having to best Woods on his "court". People may not fear him at the moment, but if he resolves his personal issues and recovers from his physical adversity they soon enough will fear him again. Sure that is hypothetical, subject to conjecture and opinion, but let's face it, that is a part of the debating process. And all of this aside, his distinction as the greatest athlete of all time has already been earned prior to present day anyway. From turning pro until becoming tabloid fodder, Tiger played for approximately 15 years. Comparable to both Jordan and Lemieux. Let's compare these guys over a 15 year period, and Tiger will prevail. The fact that Tiger may not be able to continue his dominance to this degree matters little, and I don't even concede this.




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We can compare awards and accolades all day. It's hard to compare accolades from two sports as different as golf and basketball but both have a very impressive amount. In this situation it's really a wash and you can't pick who is the better athlete between the two based on accomplishments.
I somewhat agree, it is difficult to compare accolades from two such different sports. Both guys do have impressive accolades (of course, Tiger has more of them and they are more impressive ).



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That is very debatable. Basketball is currently one of the most popular international sports. In fact, next to soccer it is probably the most popular international sport. Far more of a global phenomenon then golf is. The NBA is at an all time high in terms of global popularity and contributions from international players. It all started with MJ. He is one of the main reasons basketball's popularity is where it's at around the world.
My point here may in fact be debatable. Then again, so is your paragraph here. I am not totally sold on basketball being second only to soccer in profile on a global scale. And I am not sure that it is far more popular than golf is as you suggest. Safe to say, much to my chagrin, that hockey is well off the pace (which is the case in the US, in addition to globally). Which takes Lemieux out of the discussion in this aspect.



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You can maintain it's irrelevant all you want but it's part of his career and a part that isn't very good. If you want to stop Tiger's career at 2009 then that's fine but he is still inferior as an athlete to Jordan. In fact if Tiger's career ended today he wouldn't even go down as the greatest golfer of all time. Tiger Woods has 14 majors through his first 15 professional years. Jack Nicklaus had 14 through his first 15 professional years. If Tigers career ended today I'd give Nicklaus the nod in terms of best golfer. Tiger Woods is a great athlete but Michael Jordan is better. MJ is the greatest athlete of all time and nothing being debated for Tiger or Lemieux is even coming close to proving otherwise.
It is irrelevant. After Jordan retired for the second time and then returned to basketball, to the Wizards, he was a shadow of his former self. This did not adversely affect his legacy, his legend had already been more than established by this time. He had done what he had done, and his stats at this time did nothing to detract from the fact that he was the greatest basketball of all time. Same applies to Tiger. His legend has already been well established. Anything left to come just potentially adds to it, but cannot detract from it. I am not stopping Tiger's career in 2009, i am simply saying that even if you did, the point is still the same.

Tiger Woods is unquestionably the best golfer of all time. Nicklaus himself would say as much, and has on past occasions. This is bearing in mind what Woods has already done, and not even considering what is yet to come, which make no mistake about it, will be plenty. But well over and above being the best golfer of all time, Tiger Woods is the greatest athlete of all time. He has proven it time and time again, and will in all likelihood do so again in the future. After all, Augusta is looming, and we all know what Tiger is capable of achieving there.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by LSN80 View Post
It's a good thing that I emphasized that being a great player is part of being the greatest athlete, isn't it? I just rightfully pointed out the fallacy that you were solely relying on MJ being the greatest basketball player ever as the basis of your argument that he's the greatest player of all time. There's so much more then that which goes into determining the greatest player. Intangibles that Mario Lemiuex possessed that were greater then Michael Jordan. Lemieux displayed such intangibles in playing through a back injury that prevented him from tying his skates to lead the NHL in post-season points during their first Stanley Cup. With all respect to Jordan's flu-ridden performance, Lemieux's was greater. His goal I posted against Minnesota that gave the Penguins the lead is testament to that. Despite that bad back, Lemieux showed the hand eye coordination to control the puck the entire time. He showed the speed to get past both of them. He showed the agility to put the puck through one defenseman's leg, skate around both, deke the goalie, and flip the puck to his backhand and score. Again, with all respect to Jordan, he never did anything like that, and his body parts were physically healthy. Lemieux's intangibles were greater then Jordan's.
I never once solely relied on Jordan being the best athlete because he was the greatest basketball player. That was one of many reasons I had don't put words in my mouth. You saying Lemieux having better intangibles is 100% opinion based. Lemieux had some nice dekes, Jordan has crossed over many in his career. He has also completely changed direction in mid air to avoid defenders and score. MJ's intangibles are easily on par with that of Lemieux's.



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I should just pretend you didn't write this paragraph. Lemeiux played the game with the strength and power of an NBA center, but the deft and touch of an NBA point guard. He displayed the shooting touch and hand-eye of an NBA shooting guard, and the agility and quickness of a small forward. Endurance may be the only thing Jordan had on Lemieux. Lemieux was the total package, as I attested earlier. While most superstars rest on their scoring laurels, Mario played the penalty kill and set an NHL record that stands to this day in shorthanded goals. The entire article and the specific part of the stats are within. Keep in mind this was done before Lemieux's Stanley Cup days where he played with more complete players, making this all the more impressive.
And Michael Jordan actually did possess strength to go inside and score on bigs. He actually did have the quickness of a point guard. He did have tremendous hand eye coordination. Unless the two have a foot race there is no way to realistically judge who was better at what but I'll take MJ all day.



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This shows his defensive prowess as a forward was second to none as well. As for the claim that Jordan could have played any sport, this is a humungous fallaccy. Did you foget that Jordan DID play a full season of minor league baseball, with the Birmingham Barons? It was an epic fail, as Jordan hit .202 with 3 HR's. Here are his career stats, all minor league as he attempted to succeed at another sport
Do you actually read what I say or do you enjoy putting words in my mouth. I had Jordan had the athletic capabilities to succeed at other sports. It takes more then that, however, to actually be successful. If MJ put the dedication and passion into baseball or football like he did with basketball at a young age, then he was more then athletic enough to succeed. I can't say the same about Mario. I know damn well Jordan played a full season of minor league baseball and wasn't very good. Did you know it was a game that he hadn't played for 19 years? Did you know he showed tremendous improvement throughout the season and actually impressed then manager Terry Francona? The fact that he looked competent at a sport he hadn't played for 19 fucking years is remarkable and it's false to say otherwise. Do you think Mario could have done the same thing? Fuck no.



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Jordan was entirely unsuccessful at attempting another sport, the only real proof of his ability to do so. His reason for quitting basketball in his prime? His "loss of passion" for the game. How can the greatest player of all time lose passion for the sport he staked his claim in? He can't. Lemieux only left his sport due to health problems, and always returned, even through cancer. Passion is an intangible for making a great player, and no one player in history had the passion for the game Lemieux did. While Jordan was "losing his passion" Lemieux was playing a game in front of notoriously hostile Philadelphia the same night of the day in which he receibed radiation treatment. He scored a goal and added two assists in the game, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd in a Penguins win. I already described him playing through his back problems to score the second most points in playoff history despite missing three games. And Lemieux's passion was on full display when he bought the team out of bankruptcy to avoid the team leaving Pittsburgh, forfeiting 30 million in salary. Passion is apart of being a great player, and noone displayed more the Lemieux in this history of team sports, as evidenced by the above.
Don't ever question the "passion" of Michael Jordan. MJ lost the most important person in the world to him, his father. His fathers dream was that Michael play professional baseball. That coupled with the fact that he was burnt out from nearly a decade of carrying a team, winning 3 titles, and playing in the Olympics all contributed.



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Another part completely full of egregious errors in fact on your part. error on your part. Recchi was apart of the first Stanley Cup team, not the second. As you said, Jagr was a rookie. While he had his phenomenal moments, his playing time and production became limited come playoff time. Francis played the entire time Lemieux was injured during the first Cup run as a Hartford Whaler, another error. He played only the last 14 games as a Penguin, scoring only 2 goals, so his contribution was minimal that year.
I apologize for two very minor errors that in the long run are irrelevant to the point I was making. Ron Francis was traded for later in the season so he didn't carry them in the regular season the first year but Recchi did. And both were very important to that first cup run. Recchi wasn't part of the second cup run but he did play part of that second season for them and in return they got two good players that helped them win the second cup. The point I was making is that Lemieux had more then his fair share of help. Help that you seem to think wasn't there.

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As for Jordan, he was seconded by Scottie Pippen, who took the pressure off of Jordan by being that second major scoring threat. He had Horace Grant, an NBA All-Star, and four time all NBA defensive team. He had monster center Bill Cartwright, solid power forward Will Perdue, rookie Stacey King, steady point guard and clutch shooter John Paxson and NBA leader in 3 point field goal percentage in two of their 3 championship runs in B.J. Armstrong. Further, he had the greatest NBA coach of all-time in Phil Jackson as head coach. With Jackson, Jordan won all 6 of his titles. Without him, he won none, and his team was bounced from the playoffs for three straight years by the Detroit Pistons before the Bulls dynasty began. It was under Jackson's leadership that the Bulls found a way around the Pistons shutdown "Jordan rules". In contrast, Lemieux won his Cups with 2 different coaches in Scotty Bowman and Bob Johnson. Lemieux elevated the players around him moreso then any player in the history of sports. He made career role players look like superstars. If anything, due to the supporting cast and the coaching, Jordan had MORE support then Lemieux did. Lemieux showed he didnt need the necessary guiding Jordan did, making his leadership skills greater. Yet another intangible that makes him a greater athlete then Jordan ever was.
Goddamn are you overrating Jordan's supporting cast. While Lemieux played with multiple HOFers and multiple other great players. MJ had one HOFer in Pippen and one very good player in Horace Grant for 3 and then a HOFer in Rodman replaced Grant for the last 3. Will Perdue was complete and utter shit. He never even averaged double figures in any season. His highest ppg average with Jordan was 4.7. Bill Cartwright was good player early in his career but by the time the Bulls started winning titles he was 34 years old and didn't do all that much. Stacey King is another guy who did jack in his career. John Paxson could hit the open three but that's about it. He only had two seasons in his career where he averaged double digits and neither came during the Bulls title winning seasons. Jordan may have had Phil Jackson but Lemieux had two great coaches as well. Bob Johnson was only a coach for a few years but he was successful in those years. His untimely death then brought the Penguins arguably the greatest hockey coach of all time in Scotty Bowman who was working in the front office before hand. You are out of your mind if you think Michael Jordan had more help then Lemieux did during their respective title runs. At the very least they are even but give the edge to Lemieux's supporting cast.



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The Pippen/Francis correlation is speculation of yours, nothing more. Although since Pippen played with the Bulls the ENTIRE time during the Jordan championship runs, and is also a Hall of Famer, it's an easy jump to make that Pippen's contribution was more important then Francis'. Mullen was 33 and at the twilight of his career, and he faded down the stretch so much to the extent that he lost both his assistant captaincy and spot on Mario's line to plugger Bob Errey. I see only three names there, two of which I already accounted for, and the third you conceded. While the names you mentioned were fading, Jordan was surrounded by players in the prime of his career. With roster sizes being far larger in the NHL, there's more room for impact players. So you're correct, Jordan didn't have the support Mario did. With respect to team size and coaching, Jordan had more.
The only consistent prime player Jordan had with him during all of his titles was Pippen. Lemieux had Ron Francis, who was also a HOFer, for both cup runs. Not a complete season in the first cup win but he was there for all of the playoffs. By the time Jagr was entering his 3rd year he was becoming an elite player and yet Lemieux was unable to win another Cup. Jordan in no way had more support. My comparison of Pippen to Francis may be speculation but about 90% of your argument is speculation so you can;t really say much.



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I believe that my statement about Jordan were that he was the "greatest basketball player of all time", "my favorite basketball player ever" and he's the "second greatest athlete of all time". One of your problems is that you look at everything in absolutes. If someone doesn't agree with you, they're automatically bashing your choice. Quite the opposite here. What Jordan did was stuff of legend. My parents couldn't drag me to bed as a yoiung kid during the NBA finals. I watched Jordaan game in and game out in the NBA finals become a lving legend, and at times, carry the team on his back. But in mentioning backs, Lemieux carried the team on his back, literally, as he rebounded from back surgery to become the second leading scorer in NHL playoff history in 1991 with 44 points, 3 behind Gretzky's record despite missing three games. There's no doubt with his career PPG record that he would have broken Gretzky's record had he not missed three games. And yet the game after missing game 3 of the NHL finals due to his back injury, he scored the incredible goal I posted a video of. His team never trailed again in the series after said goal. If that's not the definition of carrying a team on his back, nothing is. Jordan was a tremendous athlete, the greatest basketball player of all time, but not the greatest athlete. That distinction belongs to Mario Lemieux.
You act like Jordan never had great playoff performances. I mentioned the flu game already but let's also not forget he averaged over 30 ppg in every single playoff run he ever had with the exception of his first as a rookie. That time he only averaged 29.3.



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I watched the video, and remember many of the plays. While remarkable, they don't compare to the Lemieux's combination of strength, precision passing, hand eye coordination, agility, and speed. Lemieux simply is the more complete athlete.
They compare just fine and are actually more impressive.



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Gretzky wasn't the complete package that Lemieux was. He had hand eye coordination and intelligence that was second to none in the game. But he lacked the same agility and speed that Lemieux did, and he wasn't the defensive player Lemieux was. In short he wasn't the complete player Mario was, making him a lesser athlete. Comparing Ovechkin to Lemieux is a joke. Crosby would be a better comparison, and he's not in Lemieux's league. Ovechkin is a one trick pony with speed, agility, and a fantastic shot, but he lacks the other intangibles Lemieux had, such as on-ice vision, precision passing, clutch performances, and overall passion. I could say the same about Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Kevin Durant, among others, with regards to Jordan.
So you're admitting that both players did extremely remarkable things. Some things that may never be seen again and some that the great players of today are doing similarly.



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As the mistakes you made regarding Jordan being able to succeed at any sport, and the blatant factual errors regarding Recchi and Francis, I simply made a mistake. My intent was to note that Lemieux lead the league in points per game upon his return. It wasn't even close, as it was a .28 gap, and that was over his own teammate! You made your share of egregious errors and blatant fallacies in this very post, so pointing out a simple mistake of mine is a double standard. We all make mistkes here. Here's irreconcilable proof of Lemieux leading the league in PPG, something Jordan failed to do upon his return.
You completely mistook my statements about MJ and his ability at other sports. The Recchi and Francis errors were very minor and were not all that relevant to the main point I was getting across about Lemieux having plenty of help for his Cup runs. Your errors have been major parts of your arguments that were false. Basically your errors far >>>> my errors in terms of relevance to the debate and arguments. I also don't care all that much that Lemieux led the league in points per game during his first year. Considering he only played half the season it doesn't really show me much. Whats to say he doesn't slow down at the end of the year because of his age? It's very rare that a player especially at that age keeps up a point per game average throughout an entire season.





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Ive shown how Lemieux carried the team on his back upon his return from back surgery. Ive showed the passion he's unwaveringly had for the game, something Jordan never displayed. I showed how he was the only player in the history of sports, including 13 All Star selections in 13 seasons. Ive shown how the combintion of his speed, agility, strength, speed, on-field vision, and hand-eye coordination combined to make him the greatest athlete of all time, both through factual and video proof. Ive shown how Lemieux's passion for the game while at the top of his game was superior to Jordan's. Ive shown how, with all things considered, all of these combined make Lemieux the greatest athlete of all time, even over the remarkable Michael Jordan.
You showed some of those things but at every single turn I showed you how Jordan was greater when it came to all of those things. Lemieux was great but no way is he a better athlete then Michael Jordan.

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Originally Posted by hatehabsforever View Post
You are damn right that being a professional golfer at the level of Tiger Woods is not easy. It mustn't be, as no one else has done it before, and it will likely be a long time , if ever, before someone does again. It takes a tremendous athlete to do what Tiger has done from the mid 90's up until his fall from grace. His physical impact upon the game was so tremendous that he changed the way the game was played. He was so physically dominant and athletically gifted that they had to change golf courses, "Tiger-proof" them, to increase their level of difficulty to enable to keep the competition with at least a fighting chance, because if they did not, he was as close to unbeatable as one could get. The courses were made longer because his physicals skills were so superior to his peers. They needed to add hazards and lengthen the rough, because he was so powerful, that the challenges presented by the courses previously were not a challenge to someone as physically gifted and powerful as he was.
I won't deny any of that. Tiger is a great athlete. But when comparing him to Michael Jordan, well, there is no comparison. MJ is greater.

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Golf may not be the sexy choice here. Football, hockey, basketball, even baseball, bring certain aspects to sports that golf does not bring. But that does not mean that golf at the upper echelon, at the level of Tiger, does not involve a physical specimen like Tiger to dominate it.
It does involve a physical specimen but not one greater then Michael Jordan, or most elite athletes in the big 4 sports for that matter.

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Jordan was hardly a two sport athlete. He was a sideshow, and while he was not totally awful at Double A baseball, he was pretty bad. He never ever had a shot to go to even Triple A, and certainly not the big leagues. If his name had been Michael Jones instead of Michael Jordan, he would not have even lasted as long as he did in the minors. Jordan's dabbling in baseball was an interesting sideshow at the time, but has no relevance to the discussion at hand. You don't have to be able to play multiple sports to be considered the ultimate athlete. You have to be physically dominant in your one sport, which Jordan certainly was, but so was Tiger, except even more so. It just so happens that Jordan had a baseball history, and was able to flirt with it a little. Who knows what Tiger may have been able to do had he a history with something else? I don't even care because it is irrelevant. Just like Jordan's media circus in the minor leagues was irrelevant too.
It's all very relevant. Do you and LSN not realize how impressive of a feat it was for Jordan. HE HADN'T PLAYED BASEBALL FOR 19 YEARS. He just picked it up and actually outplayed some of his teammates who had been playing their whole lives. He also showed great improvement from beginning to end. Remember he was only there for one season.




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All discussion of your ass aside, my knowledge of basketball history is just fine, thank you very much. I realize it is a well documented story, but one which I am sure has been embellished and Chicago-ized. An icon of Jordan's stature hardly needs such urban legends to pad his legacy, yet such things tend to occur anyway. Recount this story in another ten years, and people will say Jordan came off his deathbed to play in this game. In twenty years, he will have returned from the dead to do so. Stories of this nature are vulnerable to creative license, and I imagine this one is too. I have read and heard about this story many times. It does not increase it's legitimacy the more times you hear it. Great, Jordan came back from a significant dehabilitating flu to dominate a game and ultimately a series. Undoubtedly impressive. But not sufficient to earn him the distinction of the greatest athlete of all time. As impressive as it is, it is far less significant than super Mario returning from cancer, or Tiger winning a major golf tournament on one leg, necessitating subsequent knee surgery which would put him on the shelf for months. All of the greats have stories like this, it is hardly unique to Jordan.
I apologize MJ never had cancer and that he didn't play a sport where it was possible for him to play after a knee surgery. Actually Jordan's 63 point performance against the Celtics in the playoffs came after he shortly returned from a broken foot that caused him to miss most of the season. Another impressive feat. All of these feats are nice but and like you said not unique. I was just pointing out some of Jordan's.





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No, being an athlete in an individual sport does not automatically make you a superior athlete. But an individual sport athlete like golf does not have a safety net to fall back on. He has to stand on his own two feet and be consistently great all by himself. On an off weekend, Woods would have have Pippen, or Rodman, or Kukoc, etc., to pick up his slack (not that Jordan ever needed much of this). He didn't have a Jagr or a Barrasso to pull it out for him. He would have to face adversity all on his own, and triumph over it by himself. Which he did with regularity.
Trust me. If Jordan struggled the Bulls weren't going to win anything major. He had a supporting cast, not a safety net. A supporting cast just happens to be a necessity in a team sport. That doesn't make Tiger better because he didn't need one in an individual sport.




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Tiger may not be feared at the moment, but he was damn well feared between 1996 and 12/11/09. Many a challenger presented, and many a challenger withered under the moment. Many a guy choked at the notion of having to best Woods on his "court". People may not fear him at the moment, but if he resolves his personal issues and recovers from his physical adversity they soon enough will fear him again. Sure that is hypothetical, subject to conjecture and opinion, but let's face it, that is a part of the debating process. And all of this aside, his distinction as the greatest athlete of all time has already been earned prior to present day anyway. From turning pro until becoming tabloid fodder, Tiger played for approximately 15 years. Comparable to both Jordan and Lemieux. Let's compare these guys over a 15 year period, and Tiger will prevail. The fact that Tiger may not be able to continue his dominance to this degree matters little, and I don't even concede this.
You can't compare a golf career to a basketball or hockey career. Golf is a far less taxing sport on the body which is why players in their 50's can still play at a high level. You won't see that in basketball or hockey.



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My point here may in fact be debatable. Then again, so is your paragraph here. I am not totally sold on basketball being second only to soccer in profile on a global scale. And I am not sure that it is far more popular than golf is as you suggest. Safe to say, much to my chagrin, that hockey is well off the pace (which is the case in the US, in addition to globally). Which takes Lemieux out of the discussion in this aspect.
I'll agree with Lemieux being out of the discussion. All you have to do is look at how international teams/leagues are giving NBA players like Josh Childress huge multi-million dollar contracts to leave the NBA and play overseas to see how popular it is.





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It is irrelevant. After Jordan retired for the second time and then returned to basketball, to the Wizards, he was a shadow of his former self. This did not adversely affect his legacy, his legend had already been more than established by this time. He had done what he had done, and his stats at this time did nothing to detract from the fact that he was the greatest basketball of all time. Same applies to Tiger. His legend has already been well established. Anything left to come just potentially adds to it, but cannot detract from it. I am not stopping Tiger's career in 2009, i am simply saying that even if you did, the point is still the same.
He wasn't a shadow of his former self, just a 38-40 year old player at the end of his career. Him returning and putting up the number she did at that age are very impressive and a testament to how great in athlete he was.

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Tiger Woods is unquestionably the best golfer of all time. Nicklaus himself would say as much, and has on past occasions. This is bearing in mind what Woods has already done, and not even considering what is yet to come, which make no mistake about it, will be plenty. But well over and above being the best golfer of all time, Tiger Woods is the greatest athlete of all time. He has proven it time and time again, and will in all likelihood do so again in the future. After all, Augusta is looming, and we all know what Tiger is capable of achieving there.
I'll believe it when I see it but right now Michael Jordan is without question the greatest athlete of all time.
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Originally Posted by hatehabsforever View Post
Jordan was hardly a two sport athlete. He was a sideshow, and while he was not totally awful at Double A baseball, he was pretty bad. He never ever had a shot to go to even Triple A, and certainly not the big leagues. If his name had been Michael Jones instead of Michael Jordan, he would not have even lasted as long as he did in the minors. Jordan's dabbling in baseball was an interesting sideshow at the time, but has no relevance to the discussion at hand.
If his name was Michael Jones rather then Michael Jordan, he likely would never gotten the chance to play MINOR leaague baseball whatsoever. And his dalliance in baseball is relevant here, as it shows Jordan wasn't the freak of nature who could successfully play any sport he chose that he's been painted out to be. All three athletes could easily have haad doors opened for them based on their name value and played a different sport at a lower level, had they chose. It's just that Jordan was the one who lost his passion for basketball, and tried another. There's a reason he played for Chicago's farm team, and not someone else's. His name.

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Golf may be the sexy choice here. Football, hockey, basketball, even baseball, bring certain aspects to sports that golf does not bring. But that does not mean that golf at the upper echelon, at the level of Tiger, does not involve a physical specimen like Tiger to dominate it.
Golf isn't the sexy choice, so to speak, because it's not the correct one. There's no possible way to argue that golf requires the athletic ability that these other sports do. If it did, all golfers would be in the same shape as Tiger Woods. As we know, that's haardly the case. Many golfers look your average Canadien or American male, and have no reason not to. The physical endurance, speed, agility, and durability aren't necessities. When's the last time you've seen a fat hockey player? You haven't, and for a reason. Because hockey requires so much more athletic ability then golf does.

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Jordan was hardly a two sport athlete. He was a sideshow, and while he was not totally awful at Double A baseball, he was pretty bad. He never ever had a shot to go to even Triple A, and certainly not the big leagues. If his name had been Michael Jones instead of Michael Jordan, he would not have even lasted as long as he did in the minors. Jordan's dabbling in baseball was an interesting sideshow at the time, but has no relevance to the discussion at hand. You don't have to be able to play multiple sports to be considered the ultimate athlete.
This I agree on, and my argument is noted. Jordan played for the Birmingham Barons, of the Southern league, which is considered to be the weaker of the Doube-A leagues. What's further, he had to show improvement just to be bad at it. If he was Michael Jones instead of Michael Jordan, he never would have had the opportunity to flirt with the Mendoza line in the minor leagues. Any argument of what he "could have been" given the right training is irrelevant, because that's not what happened. All we can go by is the stats, and they were bad, in low Minor League ball at that. Lemieux and Woods would have had the same opportunity to "play their craft" in a different way had they chosen to, but didn't. Lemieux never lost his passion for his game. Woods lost his self-control, which has cost him his game.

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You have to be physically dominant in your one sport, which Jordan certainly was, but so was Tiger, except even more so. It just so happens that Jordan had a baseball history, and was able to flirt with it a little. Who knows what Tiger may have been able to do had he a history with something else? I don't even care because it is irrelevant. Just like Jordan's media circus in the minor leagues was irrelevant too.
When's the last time Tiger's been dominant within his sport though? He's still at prime age, considering his sport. Yet his play continues to slip. No tournament victories, a lost number one ranking. He's a shell of his former self. Consider the body of work, more then anything else. You have Jordan who scores the lowest points totals of his career, by far, at the end. You have Woods, who lost his mental focus and sense of inhibition, and it has carried over into his golf play. You can make all the arguments you want that its not relevant, but statistics don't lie. Lemieux averaged the most points per game of all players in the NHL over 2000-06, and the only thing that held him out of games was injury. His PPG average shows that he still had it. Jordan didn't, and Woods hasn't shown he has.


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I somewhat agree, it is difficult to compare accolades from two such different sports. Both guys do have impressive accolades (of course, Tiger has more of them and they are more impressive ).
It's IMPOSSIBLE to compare accolades from basketball or hockey with that of Golf. There are four majors each year, combined with countless more tournaments in Golf. In hockey, or basketball. there's ONE championship to win each year, and you know this. An impossible comparison.

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My point here may in fact be debatable. Then again, so is your paragraph here. I am not totally sold on basketball being second only to soccer in profile on a global scale. And I am not sure that it is far more popular than golf is as you suggest. Safe to say, much to my chagrin, that hockey is well off the pace (which is the case in the US, in addition to globally). Which takes Lemieux out of the discussion in this aspect.
With all due respect, this isn't round 3. We had the debate over "Most Internationally Famous Athlete" then. Suffice to say, all 3 men are likely household names across the world and there's no proof otherwise. When you're as dominant in your sport of choice as these three have been, fame and notoriety will follow. Soccer isn't worth a darn in North America, but i know who Ronaldo and Pele are. Fame and success at one's sport transcends cultural popularity.

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It is irrelevant. After Jordan retired for the second time and then returned to basketball, to the Wizards, he was a shadow of his former self. This did not adversely affect his legacy, his legend had already been more than established by this time. He had done what he had done, and his stats at this time did nothing to detract from the fact that he was the greatest basketball of all time. Same applies to Tiger. His legend has already been well established. Anything left to come just potentially adds to it, but cannot detract from it. I am not stopping Tiger's career in 2009, i am simply saying that even if you did, the point is still the same
.

Both men were and are shadows of their former self.All we can look at are what we've seen with regards to Woods. And that's been sloppy play, missed cuts, and a failure to win a tournament since his return. Jordan had the two lowest point totals of his career upon his. Lemieux showed he could step onto the ice in what would be the twilight of most's careers, as all Lemieux did was lead the NHL in points per game from 2000 until his retirement. Not the players in their prime such as Forsberg, Modano, Federov, Sakic's, or Jagr. What happened to Tiger Woods #1 golf ranking? He lost it recently. None of the men were their former selfs during the twilight of their careers. The only difference is, Lemieux's was due to injury, and not declining play, as the PPG figure shows.

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An excerpt from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Lemieux

On December 27, 2000, he returned to the NHL against the Toronto Maple Leafs.The game was nationally broadcast on ESPN2 in the U.S. and on Hockey Night in Canada Lemieux proved that his scoring touch had not disappeared by scoring a goal and three points, including an assist 33 seconds into the first shift of his return. While Jaromír Jágr remained captain of the Penguins, Lemieux was named captain of the North American All-Stars during the midseason All-Star game in Denver, Colorado. Despite playing in only 43 games in 2000–01, Lemieux scored 76 points to finish 26th in scoring, finishing the season with the highest points-per-game average that season among NHL players. In fact, he had the highest points-per-game average amongst NHL players for the entire period from his 2001 return until his final retirement in 2006. Lemieux was one of the three finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy and Lester B. Pearson NHLPA awards and earned a selection on the postseason NHL All-Star Second Team.
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Originally Posted by Big Sexy View Post
I never once solely relied on Jordan being the best athlete because he was the greatest basketball player. That was one of many reasons I had don't put words in my mouth. You saying Lemieux having better intangibles is 100% opinion based. Lemieux had some nice dekes, Jordan has crossed over many in his career. He has also completely changed direction in mid air to avoid defenders and score. MJ's intangibles are easily on par with that of Lemieux's.
And Michael Jordan actually did possess strength to go inside and score on bigs. He actually did have the quickness of a point guard. He did have tremendous hand eye coordination. Unless the two have a foot race there is no way to realistically judge who was better at what but I'll take MJ all day.
Most of what we're doing here is opinion based. To narrow what Lemieux did down to some nice dekes(which im not saying you're doing), would be incredibly shortsighted. He had a cannon for a shot. He was a precision passer. Lemieux defined "no look" passing in the NHL, as he could and often did put pucks on other players sticks without even glancing at them. He could muscle the strongest players in the league off the puck due to his size, and skate by them or past them due to his speed or agility. See my reference to him holding the all-time record for shorthanded goals in a season to note his defensive prowess. Jordan had phenomenal intangibles, and I won't and haven't even try to argue that he didn't. You've missed that fact over and again. Ive said repeatedly that Jordan is the SECOND greatest athlete of all time. But that still puts him firmly behind Lemieux, and his intangibles are one reason.

As for the part in bold, there's a huge difference between the two sports, making your foot-race argument a non-sensical one. They're two entirely different sports. That would like me saying "lets have Jordan put on a pair of skates and see who was the faster skater." And of course, Lemieux would win there. Again, im not arguing that Jordan didn't have the intangibles. As his career wore on, he did develop the strength to go inside and score on the bigs. Before that, it was his incredibly ability to make people miss that allowed him to score layups and phenomenal dunks. Lemieux combined those things from day 1 of his career, Day 1.

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Do you actually read what I say or do you enjoy putting words in my mouth. I had Jordan had the athletic capabilities to succeed at other sports. It takes more then that, however, to actually be successful. If MJ put the dedication and passion into baseball or football like he did with basketball at a young age, then he was more then athletic enough to succeed. I can't say the same about Mario. I know damn well Jordan played a full season of minor league baseball and wasn't very good. Did you know it was a game that he hadn't played for 19 years?

Did you know he showed tremendous improvement throughout the season and actually impressed then manager Terry Francona? The fact that he looked competent at a sport he hadn't played for 19 fucking years is remarkable and it's false to say otherwise. Do you think Mario could have done the same thing? Fuck no.
I read what you said. And again, it's a silly argument. I didnt put words in your mouth, you said he could have succeeded at any sport. And when he tried, he didn't. Of course it takes years to perfect a craft, but there' no evidence that Jordan would have. He played for a Duble-A club in the inferior Southern League, and barely stayed afloat. As Ive shown with regards to Lemiuex, his size strength, agility and haand-eye coordination were more then enough that he could have succeeded at another sport had he played it from a young age. We'll never know. What we do know that is if you quantify "improvement" as raising your average over the Mendoza line in a "prospect league", the bar's been set awfully low.

As for showing improvement, of course Im aware. Ive noted on several occassions that Jordan was(and is) my favorite basketball player of all-time. So I sure as heck followed his career throughout his one season in the Minors. I didn't need to look up the fact that he played for the Birmingham Barons, I knew. I followed the man's career from start to finish. As for looking competant, that's debatable, as .202 for an inferior Southern League team is quite poor. Most players do show improvement throughout the course of an entire season. Because of the qualities listed above, there's no doubt in my mind that Lemieux could have done the same. He was born and raised a hockey player from age 3, however. And suggestion on my part that he would have succeeded would be exactly what yours is, speculation. He didn't need to try his hand at another sport, although there's no doubt that with his size, speed, strength, and agility, combined with his passion and incredible ability to succeed no matter the circumstances(back, cancer anyone?) he could have. I'll settle for him being the greatest athlete of all time.

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Don't ever question the "passion" of Michael Jordan. MJ lost the most important person in the world to him, his father. His fathers dream was that Michael play professional baseball. That coupled with the fact that he was burnt out from nearly a decade of carrying a team, winning 3 titles, and playing in the Olympics all contributed.
I didn't question the passion Jordan, the man did himself. It was the reason he gave for walking away from the sport in the first place! It was only after finding that he couldn't be successful with regards to his father's dream that he came back to basketball. I don't deny Jordan was passionate, but Lemieux, moreso. Playing hockey on the same night you received radiation treatment and scoring three points that same night blows away any passion Jordan may have shown. Lemieux had nothing more to prove in the game of hockey, could have walked away, and noone would have blamed him. But it was his passion for the game that kept him going. It was his passion that lead to him playing in a game and scoring perhaps the most incredible goal in NHL history after missing the previous game because of his bad back. This is the passion I speak, part of the intangibles that make him the greatest player ever.

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I apologize for two very minor errors that in the long run are irrelevant to the point I was making. Ron Francis was traded for later in the season so he didn't carry them in the regular season the first year but Recchi did. And both were very important to that first cup run. Recchi wasn't part of the second cup run but he did play part of that second season for them and in return they got two good players that helped them win the second cup. The point I was making is that Lemieux had more then his fair share of help. Help that you seem to think wasn't there.
You made the comparison to Francis being to Lemieux what Pippen was to Jordan, so id say it's more then a small error. And thanks for putting words in my mouth, as I never even suggested Lemieux didn't have help. He simply was far and away the best player and catalyst for the Penguins success, both in winning Stanley Cups, but in making Pittsburgh a prominent hockey franchise to this day. And of course Lemieux had help, Ive never suggested otherwise. Im simply suggesting that he had less help then you think. Did you know the Penguins gave up 40 goal scorer John Cullen to get Francis? Cullen in fact outscored Francis 110-87 that year! He had a young Mark Recchi who undoubtably will be a Hall of Famer one day. He had a young Jaromir Jagr who will also be a hall of Famer one day. But their goalie, Tom Barrasso, finished 40th in the league in Goals Against Average during 1990/91, and was 39th in 91/92, despite being 5th and 10th in wins respectively. Factor out some of the players who played only a handful of games and he's in the middle of the 20's, which is horrendous considering there were only 21 NHL teams at the time.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/careerstats.h...eSeasonGoalies

So as much as you'ld like to factor in the players who helped Mario win, which there were, my point is that there are times you have to look at the players he won in spite of. And anyone who'ld suggest goaltending isn't a major factor in winning doesn't follow hockey closely. Most teams, regardless of who they have up front, don't win without an excellent goaltender, and Lemieux never played with one in Wendell Young, Ken Wregget, or Tom Barrasso.


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Goddamn are you overrating Jordan's supporting cast. While Lemieux played with multiple HOFers and multiple other great players. MJ had one HOFer in Pippen and one very good player in Horace Grant for 3 and then a HOFer in Rodman replaced Grant for the last 3. Will Perdue was complete and utter shit. He never even averaged double figures in any season. His highest ppg average with Jordan was 4.7. Bill Cartwright was good player early in his career but by the time the Bulls started winning titles he was 34 years old and didn't do all that much. Stacey King is another guy who did jack in his career. John Paxson could hit the open three but that's about it. He only had two seasons in his career where he averaged double digits and neither came during the Bulls title winning seasons.

The only consistent prime player Jordan had with him during all of his titles was Pippen. Lemieux had Ron Francis, who was also a HOFer, for both cup runs. Not a complete season in the first cup win but he was there for all of the playoffs. By the time Jagr was entering his 3rd year he was becoming an elite player and yet Lemieux was unable to win another Cup. Jordan in no way had more support. My comparison of Pippen to Francis may be speculation but about 90% of your argument is speculation so you can;t really say much.
I think you're understating the support that Jordan had. Cartwright, for one, was brought in specifically to fit into Jackson's system and help combat some of the size within the Eastern conference. Ive already mentioned how B.J. Armstrong lead the league in 3 point shooting overall during the 3 year span of which the Bulls won their first championship. Paxson was a very solid point guard and a clutch shooter. He only made the game winning three against Utah in their series clinching victory in their 3rd championship season, after all. Perdue and King weren't much, but they were role players. Every team has them, the Penguins were full of them with guys like Bob Errey, Jay Caufield, and Kjell Samuelsson. None of them were impactful players, but they served a role. Same with some of the Bulls players.

And Jordan was given even more help in his second championship run. He had a third Hall of Famer in Dennis Rodman. Ron Harper was solid albeit unspectacular. Steve Kerr was as good a three point shooter as there was, and as clutch shooting in big games this side of Robert Horry. Toni Kukoc was a double digit scorer in each of the three years, and Pippen was certainly that solid number two go to guy outside of Jordan.

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Jordan may have had Phil Jackson but Lemieux had two great coaches as well. Bob Johnson was only a coach for a few years but he was successful in those years. His untimely death then brought the Penguins arguably the greatest hockey coach of all time in Scotty Bowman who was working in the front office before hand.
The thing you're neglecting or don't know is that the Penguins HATED Scotty Bowman. They refused to play his system and locked him out of practice after he was instrumental in trading Recchi and Paul Coffey away. Bowman thought his system was bigger then the players and the players threatened to quit on him if they couldn't practice without him, so they did. There's a reason Bowman's contract wasn't renewed a year later, outstanding coach or not. You can be outstanding and it doesn't matter a darn bit if the players won't LET you coach, which is what happened here. This wasn't an isolated incident, as Bowman had similar issues with a star player in Detroit with Sergei Federov. With regards to coaching, Jordan won all six of his rings under Jackson, and none before or after him. Lemieux won his Cups with two different coaches, one he despised. The argument here can certainly be made that while Lemieux won Cups despite any type of system in place, part of Jordan's winning was due the Triangle offense Phil Jackson implemented. In the case of coaching, Jordan certainly had the advantage over Lemieux.

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You are out of your mind if you think Michael Jordan had more help then Lemieux did during their respective title runs. At the very least they are even but give the edge to Lemieux's supporting cast.
The only consistent prime player Jordan had with him during all of his titles was Pippen. Lemieux had Ron Francis, who was also a HOFer, for both cup runs. Not a complete season in the first cup win but he was there for all of the playoffs.
But Jordan had that consistent sidekick during his entire time, which is certainly worth a mention. Recchi was that for the first Cup run, but he wasn't for the second. It's worth mentioning that the Penguins traded away 40 goal scorer John Cullen to get Ron Francis, and Cullen outscored Francis 110-87 during the 90/91 season! Francis only produced 17 points to Mario's 44 during that years Cup run and 54 points to Lemieux's 131 the entire next season. With regards to plus/minus, he was a minus player during the second Cup run.

http://forecaster.thehockeynews.com/...player.cgi?341

Many of Francis' numbers came without Lemieux, and while a HOF, he was hardly the second to Lemieux that Pippen was to Jordan.

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By the time Jagr was entering his 3rd year he was becoming an elite player and yet Lemieux was unable to win another Cup. Jordan in no way had more support. My comparison of Pippen to Francis may be speculation but about 90% of your argument is speculation so you can;t really say much.
That's what we do here, correct, is speculate? We use some factual evidence, but much of it is made up with our opinions on things. Of course Lemieux is going to be viewed at having the greater cast, as hockey teams roll with 4 lines, 6 defenseman, and at least one goalie per game. The maximum number of players that even can be active for an NBA game is 12, so the depth in the NHL is greater simply due to number of players. Your argument of Pippen to Francis is innacurate, not speculative, as Ive shown. Much of Lemeiux not winning another Cup with the Lemieux/Jagr combo was a second back surgery for Lemieux, cancer, and the fact the Penguins were porous with regards to playing defense and got bad golatending. You don't win Cups when your goalie doesn't stop pucks, which Ive shown their starter during Lemieux's glory days, Tom Barrasso, didn't do well in comparison to the rest of the league.

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You act like Jordan never had great playoff performances. I mentioned the flu game already but let's also not forget he averaged over 30 ppg in every single playoff run he ever had with the exception of his first as a rookie. That time he only averaged 29.3.
And you like to talk about people putting words in others mouths. I said it before and I'll say it again. Jordan was, is, and always will be my favorite basketball player. I grew up watching him, and I remember his fantastic playoff performances. I am taking NOTHING away from him. I am simply stating Lemieux once again holds the edge here It's by virtue of him scoring 44 points while missing 3 games in the 01 Cup run. it's him leading the team to victory for a second consecutive year with a broken freaking hand after a purposeful slash by the Rangers Adam Graves in the second round against the Rangers, one that was supposed to end his season. Instead, he returned four games later, finished off the favorite Rangers, then lead the team to back to back sweeps over Boston and Chicago. Despite missing those games and playing in shorter series' he still lead the NHL with 34 points in the playoffs. Ill take that over what Jordan did anytime.


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So you're admitting that both players did extremely remarkable things. Some things that may never be seen again and some that the great players of today are doing similarly.
Ive acknowledged that on multiple occasions. Being 28, I grew up with both men plastered all over my wall. There are things that were done that will absolutely never be duplicated, by both men. But again, I give the edge to Lemieux here. Coming back the night of radiation from cancer to score a goal and assist on two more and turning the hated Flyers crowd towards a standing ovation. The aforementioned playing through a back issue to score the most incredible goal in NHL history. Having his hand purposefully broken by a Ranger and returning that series then leading his team to two sweeps and a 2nd Cup following. That is something truly remarkable, especially with the importance of grip to most of what one does in hockey. Him scoring five goals five different ways, still the only NHL player to ever do so. Him showing his defensive prowess, setting and owning the NHL's all-time record for shorthanded goals at 13.

Also notably, in 2002, two nights before Christmas, ESPN sports radio host Mark Madden in Pittsburgh called Lemeiux out. There was one thing Lemieux had never done before, and that was score a goal off a faceoff. Madden offerred $6,600 hundred dollars to the Mario Lemieux Foundation for cancer research if Lemieux could EVER score a goal off a faceoff. What did Lemieux do that night against Buffalo? Read about it, and watch for yourself.

http://www.espn.go.com/nhl/conversation?id=221223016



Simply put, Lemieux could do what he wanted when he wanted to do it, and he could do so even injured. Noone could turn their game up and make players around him better the way Lemiuex did. You mentioned Jordan's supporting cast, and their failure to do certain things. When you played on a line with Lemieux, you produced. Noone took the talent Lemieux did and made them look great, in the history of any sport. If there is one thing you can say about the great Michael Jordan, it's that he didn't do the same his entire career. Mario was a complete player who made everyone around him better. Look no further then Rob Brown. He scored 115 and 80 points respectively in 88/89 and 89/90 playing with Lemieux, on his line. After leaving Pittsburgh, the following year his highest total in the NHL was 42. http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=619

His other linemate much of the time was Kevin Stevens. Stevens scored no less then 86 points and a high of 123 from 1988/89 to 1993/94, playing with Lemieux. His highest total after leaving Pittsburgh? 43 points FIVE years later. http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...y.php?pid=5177

If that's not a testament to Lemieux's ability to elevate the game's of players around him, nothing is. It's also another testament of him being the greatest athlete of all time.

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You completely mistook my statements about MJ and his ability at other sports.
No, I took a vague statement and responded to it. You noted that Jordan could have succeeded at a multitude of sports. End of. I noted how he tried, and didn't find success.

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The Recchi and Francis errors were very minor and were not all that relevant to the main point I was getting across about Lemieux having plenty of help for his Cup runs.
They weren't minor, and they were very relevant. You can backtrack from them now, but it doesn't change the fact. Recchi was only present for one Cup run. Francis wasn't even apart of the team for much of the first Cup run, and his impact was minimal. The following season, he put up mediocre numbers. You were saying that francis was to Lemieux what Pippen was to Jordan, and Ive shown that to be entirely false, both in regards to his time with the team, and his numbers.

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Your errors have been major parts of your arguments that were false. Basically your errors far >>>> my errors in terms of relevance to the debate and arguments.I also don't care all that much that Lemieux led the league in points per game during his first year. Considering he only played half the season it doesn't really show me much. Whats to say he doesn't slow down at the end of the year because of his age? It's very rare that a player especially at that age keeps up a point per game average throughout an entire season.
My only error is that I left "per game" off the end of Lemieux's first season, and failed to note how he lead the league in scoring from the time he returned until the end of the season, not the season itself. Thats a MINOR mistake. Seeing how he trailed only 28 men of the 690 that played the same number of games as Lemieux did or more, Id say he did alright for himself after 3 and a half years off. In fact, with Lemieux being ranked in the top 30, the person closest to him in games played was 69, 26 games more then him. And he outscored Lemieux by 1 point, just to put things into perspective. And I guess it's a good thing that Lemieux was the overall leader in points per game from 2000 until 2006, when he returned until he retired, as I showed Habs earlier.

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You showed some of those things but at every single turn I showed you how Jordan was greater when it came to all of those things. Lemieux was great but no way is he a better athlete then Michael Jordan.
Ive shown a multitude of things including Lemieux's unmatched agility, speed,
eye-coordination and strength, which have been re-emphasized in this post. Ive shown how Lemeieux's defining moments trump anything that Jordan or Woods has ever displayed. Ive shown how Lemieux has shown the ability to play any type of play, in any way, evidenced most in his five goals in five ways. Ive shown his ability to elevate those around them, with two relevant examples. Ive shown how while Lemieux did have a good supporting cast, he was easily the greatest, with no equal. Ive demonstrated Lemieux's on-ice skills in a multitude of ways, unparralled by any others. I've shown how his ability to come back from injury, disease, and retirement haven't impaired his level of play. Most importantly, Ive shown how in comparison to Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan with respect to their collective sports, Mario Lemieux is the greatest athlete of all time.

Ill have my final argument up tomorrow.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by LSN80 View Post
Most of what we're doing here is opinion based. To narrow what Lemieux did down to some nice dekes(which im not saying you're doing), would be incredibly shortsighted. He had a cannon for a shot. He was a precision passer. Lemieux defined "no look" passing in the NHL, as he could and often did put pucks on other players sticks without even glancing at them. He could muscle the strongest players in the league off the puck due to his size, and skate by them or past them due to his speed or agility. See my reference to him holding the all-time record for shorthanded goals in a season to note his defensive prowess. Jordan had phenomenal intangibles, and I won't and haven't even try to argue that he didn't. You've missed that fact over and again. Ive said repeatedly that Jordan is the SECOND greatest athlete of all time. But that still puts him firmly behind Lemieux, and his intangibles are one reason.
We can go the "anything you can do i can do better route" all night long. MJ was a phenom on offense with the ability to score anywhere on the floor. His dunks and mid air moves were a thing of beauty. He was also one of the best defensive players to ever play the game of basketball. He could shut down the opposing teams top scorer on one end and drop 50 on him at the other end.

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As for the part in bold, there's a huge difference between the two sports, making your foot-race argument a non-sensical one. They're two entirely different sports. That would like me saying "lets have Jordan put on a pair of skates and see who was the faster skater." And of course, Lemieux would win there. Again, im not arguing that Jordan didn't have the intangibles. As his career wore on, he did develop the strength to go inside and score on the bigs. Before that, it was his incredibly ability to make people miss that allowed him to score layups and phenomenal dunks. Lemieux combined those things from day 1 of his career, Day 1.
I was merely using the foot race thing as an example that there is no way to really compare every attribute each player has. And don't say Jordan wasn't a beast from day one because he certainly was. In his rookie season MJ averaged 28.2 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, and 5.9 assists per game. He went over 40 points 7 times that season.



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I read what you said. And again, it's a silly argument. I didnt put words in your mouth, you said he could have succeeded at any sport. And when he tried, he didn't. Of course it takes years to perfect a craft, but there' no evidence that Jordan would have. He played for a Duble-A club in the inferior Southern League, and barely stayed afloat. As Ive shown with regards to Lemiuex, his size strength, agility and haand-eye coordination were more then enough that he could have succeeded at another sport had he played it from a young age. We'll never know. What we do know that is if you quantify "improvement" as raising your average over the Mendoza line in a "prospect league", the bar's been set awfully low.
I remain completely baffled how someone who is a supposed sports fan cannot be impressed by the fact that Jordan picked up a game after 19 years of not playing it and was able to play it at a relatively high level of competition. He didn't put up great numbers but he also wasn't the worst on the team. He also showed tremendous improvement throughout the season according to where his then manager Terry Francona was very impressed. I really don't care if you weren't impressed because I think an eventual WS winning manager's opinion holds just a little bit more water then yours.
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As for showing improvement, of course Im aware. Ive noted on several occassions that Jordan was(and is) my favorite basketball player of all-time. So I sure as heck followed his career throughout his one season in the Minors. I didn't need to look up the fact that he played for the Birmingham Barons, I knew. I followed the man's career from start to finish. As for looking competant, that's debatable, as .202 for an inferior Southern League team is quite poor. Most players do show improvement throughout the course of an entire season. Because of the qualities listed above, there's no doubt in my mind that Lemieux could have done the same. He was born and raised a hockey player from age 3, however. And suggestion on my part that he would have succeeded would be exactly what yours is, speculation. He didn't need to try his hand at another sport, although there's no doubt that with his size, speed, strength, and agility, combined with his passion and incredible ability to succeed no matter the circumstances(back, cancer anyone?) he could have. I'll settle for him being the greatest athlete of all time.
Mine is a bit more then speculation because the way Jordan was able to pick up baseball after 19 years of night playing shows that with 19 years of playing it he would have been pretty damn good. I'm not sure I see the qualities in Lemieux to succeed at any other sport no matter how hard he tried. Maybe golf.



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I didn't question the passion Jordan, the man did himself. It was the reason he gave for walking away from the sport in the first place! It was only after finding that he couldn't be successful with regards to his father's dream that he came back to basketball. I don't deny Jordan was passionate, but Lemieux, moreso. Playing hockey on the same night you received radiation treatment and scoring three points that same night blows away any passion Jordan may have shown. Lemieux had nothing more to prove in the game of hockey, could have walked away, and noone would have blamed him. But it was his passion for the game that kept him going. It was his passion that lead to him playing in a game and scoring perhaps the most incredible goal in NHL history after missing the previous game because of his bad back. This is the passion I speak, part of the intangibles that make him the greatest player ever.
No, Jordan came back because of his passion for the game of basketball. He could have easily stayed retired and still gone down as one of the best to ever play the game. After his father died he needed time away but it was that passion that brought him back.



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You made the comparison to Francis being to Lemieux what Pippen was to Jordan, so id say it's more then a small error. And thanks for putting words in my mouth, as I never even suggested Lemieux didn't have help. He simply was far and away the best player and catalyst for the Penguins success, both in winning Stanley Cups, but in making Pittsburgh a prominent hockey franchise to this day. And of course Lemieux had help, Ive never suggested otherwise. Im simply suggesting that he had less help then you think. Did you know the Penguins gave up 40 goal scorer John Cullen to get Francis? Cullen in fact outscored Francis 110-87 that year! He had a young Mark Recchi who undoubtably will be a Hall of Famer one day. He had a young Jaromir Jagr who will also be a hall of Famer one day. But their goalie, Tom Barrasso, finished 40th in the league in Goals Against Average during 1990/91, and was 39th in 91/92, despite being 5th and 10th in wins respectively. Factor out some of the players who played only a handful of games and he's in the middle of the 20's, which is horrendous considering there were only 21 NHL teams at the time.
Once again you obviously aren't reading what I'm saying very well. I said in terms of skill and the type of player they were, Francis compared well to Pippen. I never once said Francis was to Lemieux like Pippen was to Jordan. John Cullen was shit outside of one small 3 year period. he had more points then Francis in 90-91 but that was really the only year he had more points then Francis. Francis was easily the better player and no one can dispute that. I never once put words in your mouth. You kept going on and on about how Lemieux's supporting cast wasn't that great and it was worse then Jordan's which it certainly was not.



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So as much as you'ld like to factor in the players who helped Mario win, which there were, my point is that there are times you have to look at the players he won in spite of. And anyone who'ld suggest goaltending isn't a major factor in winning doesn't follow hockey closely. Most teams, regardless of who they have up front, don't win without an excellent goaltender, and Lemieux never played with one in Wendell Young, Ken Wregget, or Tom Barrasso.
The multiple HOFers and future HOFers he had around him was able to make up for the poor goaltending.




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I think you're understating the support that Jordan had. Cartwright, for one, was brought in specifically to fit into Jackson's system and help combat some of the size within the Eastern conference. Ive already mentioned how B.J. Armstrong lead the league in 3 point shooting overall during the 3 year span of which the Bulls won their first championship. Paxson was a very solid point guard and a clutch shooter. He only made the game winning three against Utah in their series clinching victory in their 3rd championship season, after all. Perdue and King weren't much, but they were role players. Every team has them, the Penguins were full of them with guys like Bob Errey, Jay Caufield, and Kjell Samuelsson. None of them were impactful players, but they served a role. Same with some of the Bulls players.
I give you list of current and future HOFers that Mario had and you give me Bill Cartwright, BJ Armstrong, and John Paxson. I already said how Cartwright was 34 and well past his prime by the time the Bulls started winning titles. BJ was solid but not overly spectacular. He and Paxson both shot the 3 ball well but do you want to know one of the reasons why they did? Because they were always wide open when MJ was drawing double and triple teams. Btw, Paxson's game winning three was against Phoenix not Utah.

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And Jordan was given even more help in his second championship run. He had a third Hall of Famer in Dennis Rodman. Ron Harper was solid albeit unspectacular. Steve Kerr was as good a three point shooter as there was, and as clutch shooting in big games this side of Robert Horry. Toni Kukoc was a double digit scorer in each of the three years, and Pippen was certainly that solid number two go to guy outside of Jordan.
So they added one more HOFer in Rodman to replace a very good player in Horace Grant and got slightly better role players. Not much of an improvement. And please don't ever compare Steve Kerr's clutch shooting ability to that of Robert Horry's. Ever.



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The thing you're neglecting or don't know is that the Penguins HATED Scotty Bowman. They refused to play his system and locked him out of practice after he was instrumental in trading Recchi and Paul Coffey away. Bowman thought his system was bigger then the players and the players threatened to quit on him if they couldn't practice without him, so they did. There's a reason Bowman's contract wasn't renewed a year later, outstanding coach or not. You can be outstanding and it doesn't matter a darn bit if the players won't LET you coach, which is what happened here. This wasn't an isolated incident, as Bowman had similar issues with a star player in Detroit with Sergei Federov. With regards to coaching, Jordan won all six of his rings under Jackson, and none before or after him. Lemieux won his Cups with two different coaches, one he despised. The argument here can certainly be made that while Lemieux won Cups despite any type of system in place, part of Jordan's winning was due the Triangle offense Phil Jackson implemented. In the case of coaching, Jordan certainly had the advantage over Lemieux.
Bowman coached two years with the Penguins and most of the turmoil didn't come until the second season. Besides, we're talking about the greatest athlete of all time, I don't really care about who coached them. MJ won 6 titles with a lesser supporting cast, Lemieux won 2 with a better supporting case, case closed.



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But Jordan had that consistent sidekick during his entire time, which is certainly worth a mention. Recchi was that for the first Cup run, but he wasn't for the second. It's worth mentioning that the Penguins traded away 40 goal scorer John Cullen to get Ron Francis, and Cullen outscored Francis 110-87 during the 90/91 season! Francis only produced 17 points to Mario's 44 during that years Cup run and 54 points to Lemieux's 131 the entire next season. With regards to plus/minus, he was a minus player during the second Cup run. Many of Francis' numbers came without Lemieux, and while a HOF, he was hardly the second to Lemieux that Pippen was to Jordan.
Lemieux's consistent side kick was Jaromir Jagr and I've never tried to dispute otherwise. It's actually kind of sad the Penguins could never win a cup with Jagr in his prime alongside Lemieux. Maybe if Lemieux was the greatest athlete of all time it would have happened . Jordan may have had the consistent side kick during the title runs but Lemieux had the much better supporting cast overall.



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That's what we do here, correct, is speculate? We use some factual evidence, but much of it is made up with our opinions on things. Of course Lemieux is going to be viewed at having the greater cast, as hockey teams roll with 4 lines, 6 defenseman, and at least one goalie per game. The maximum number of players that even can be active for an NBA game is 12, so the depth in the NHL is greater simply due to number of players. Your argument of Pippen to Francis is innacurate, not speculative, as Ive shown. Much of Lemeiux not winning another Cup with the Lemieux/Jagr combo was a second back surgery for Lemieux, cancer, and the fact the Penguins were porous with regards to playing defense and got bad golatending. You don't win Cups when your goalie doesn't stop pucks, which Ive shown their starter during Lemieux's glory days, Tom Barrasso, didn't do well in comparison to the rest of the league.
My Pippen to Francis argument was not inaccurate just misread (something you're getting pretty good at). You can make all the excuses you want about why Lemieux never won another Cup after the first 2 but the fact remains that he didn't and the fact remains MJ won 6 titles.



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And you like to talk about people putting words in others mouths. I said it before and I'll say it again. Jordan was, is, and always will be my favorite basketball player. I grew up watching him, and I remember his fantastic playoff performances. I am taking NOTHING away from him. I am simply stating Lemieux once again holds the edge here It's by virtue of him scoring 44 points while missing 3 games in the 01 Cup run. it's him leading the team to victory for a second consecutive year with a broken freaking hand after a purposeful slash by the Rangers Adam Graves in the second round against the Rangers, one that was supposed to end his season. Instead, he returned four games later, finished off the favorite Rangers, then lead the team to back to back sweeps over Boston and Chicago. Despite missing those games and playing in shorter series' he still lead the NHL with 34 points in the playoffs. Ill take that over what Jordan did anytime.
You'll take that over 6 Finals MVP's. Playoff averages of well over 30 points per game. The man was a machine and made a playoff career of hitting game winning shots. Fuck, his last game in a Bulls uniform ended with a game winning shot over Byron Russell to win his 6th title.




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Ive acknowledged that on multiple occasions. Being 28, I grew up with both men plastered all over my wall. There are things that were done that will absolutely never be duplicated, by both men. But again, I give the edge to Lemieux here. Coming back the night of radiation from cancer to score a goal and assist on two more and turning the hated Flyers crowd towards a standing ovation. The aforementioned playing through a back issue to score the most incredible goal in NHL history. Having his hand purposefully broken by a Ranger and returning that series then leading his team to two sweeps and a 2nd Cup following. That is something truly remarkable, especially with the importance of grip to most of what one does in hockey. Him scoring five goals five different ways, still the only NHL player to ever do so. Him showing his defensive prowess, setting and owning the NHL's all-time record for shorthanded goals at 13.
Listen, Lemieux is great. One of the best hockey players ever, very resilient, coming back from cancer was great. But we are talking about the greatest athlete to ever live. The answer is not only Michael Jordan but Lemieux doesn't really belong in the top 10 when it comes to this conversation.



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Simply put, Lemieux could do what he wanted when he wanted to do it, and he could do so even injured. Noone could turn their game up and make players around him better the way Lemiuex did. You mentioned Jordan's supporting cast, and their failure to do certain things. When you played on a line with Lemieux, you produced. Noone took the talent Lemieux did and made them look great, in the history of any sport. If there is one thing you can say about the great Michael Jordan, it's that he didn't do the same his entire career. Mario was a complete player who made everyone around him better. Look no further then Rob Brown. He scored 115 and 80 points respectively in 88/89 and 89/90 playing with Lemieux, on his line. After leaving Pittsburgh, the following year his highest total in the NHL was 42.
Michael Jordan was a scorer first but he was also more unselfish then you think. He averaged over 5 assists per game for his career which is remarkable for a shooting guard. Steve Kerr had the bets years of his career in Chicago. BJ Armstrong only lasted two years in the NBA after leaving Chicago. Horace Grant had his best seasons in Chicago with Jordan. Michael Jordan did plenty for his teammates.



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If that's not a testament to Lemieux's ability to elevate the game's of players around him, nothing is. It's also another testament of him being the greatest athlete of all time.
He helped some guys out a lot but as I've shown MJ did the same and it wasn't even his job to do so. The man was a scorer first and foremost. It's not that he couldn't pass well it's that if he didn't score the team didn't win.



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No, I took a vague statement and responded to it. You noted that Jordan could have succeeded at a multitude of sports. End of. I noted how he tried, and didn't find success.
I don't know what you consider success, but I'd say picking up a sport after 19 years, playing it better then some of your teammates who have played it their whole lives, and showing great improvement after just one year of playing the sport at a high level is pretty damn good.


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They weren't minor, and they were very relevant. You can backtrack from them now, but it doesn't change the fact. Recchi was only present for one Cup run. Francis wasn't even apart of the team for much of the first Cup run, and his impact was minimal. The following season, he put up mediocre numbers. You were saying that francis was to Lemieux what Pippen was to Jordan, and Ive shown that to be entirely false, both in regards to his time with the team, and his numbers.
I NEVER said that Francis was to Lemieux what Pippen was to Jordan. I said "Scottie Pippen is no more mentioned as a great in the NBA then Francis is in the NHL. In fact if I was going to make a cross sport comparison Pippen to Francis would be nearly perfect." You took that and completely misinterpreted it. I was obviously referring to how they were both mentioned as greats in their respective sports as you can tell from the first sentence I typed. I have never back tracked from my errors just truthfully stated that they were very minor and really irrelevant to the main point I was getting across. You've proven nothing because there was nothing for you to prove.



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My only error is that I left "per game" off the end of Lemieux's first season, and failed to note how he lead the league in scoring from the time he returned until the end of the season, not the season itself. Thats a MINOR mistake. Seeing how he trailed only 28 men of the 690 that played the same number of games as Lemieux did or more, Id say he did alright for himself after 3 and a half years off. In fact, with Lemieux being ranked in the top 30, the person closest to him in games played was 69, 26 games more then him. And he outscored Lemieux by 1 point, just to put things into perspective. And I guess it's a good thing that Lemieux was the overall leader in points per game from 2000 until 2006, when he returned until he retired, as I showed Habs earlier.
You also made the error of saying he is the career leader in points per game which I showed to be false. And the per game thing for his comeback season may seem minor but it changes that entire part of your argument sp in actuality it was not all that minor.



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Ive shown a multitude of things including Lemieux's unmatched agility, speed, eye-coordination and strength, which have been re-emphasized in this post. Ive shown how Lemeieux's defining moments trump anything that Jordan or Woods has ever displayed. Ive shown how Lemieux has shown the ability to play any type of play, in any way, evidenced most in his five goals in five ways. Ive shown his ability to elevate those around them, with two relevant examples. Ive shown how while Lemieux did have a good supporting cast, he was easily the greatest, with no equal. Ive demonstrated Lemieux's on-ice skills in a multitude of ways, unparralled by any others. I've shown how his ability to come back from injury, disease, and retirement haven't impaired his level of play. Most importantly, Ive shown how in comparison to Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan with respect to their collective sports, Mario Lemieux is the greatest athlete of all time.
I proved all that in more. You can say all of Lemieux's attributes were unmatched but hockey experts disagree. Probably why they always rank guys like Gretzky, Howe, and Bobby Orr ahead of him when talking about the greatest hockey player ever. There is no discussion in basketball. Best player ever starts and ends with Jordan. When it comes to greatest athlete ever it's the same. The argument starts and ends with one man, Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
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Last edited by Big Sexy : 03-02-2011 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 03-03-2011, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Sexy View Post
We can go the "anything you can do i can do better route" all night long. MJ was a phenom on offense with the ability to score anywhere on the floor. His dunks and mid air moves were a thing of beauty. He was also one of the best defensive players to ever play the game of basketball. He could shut down the opposing teams top scorer on one end and drop 50 on him at the other end.
Going back and forth here is easy. Mario had both size and finesse, a rare breed in a hockey player. His speed, stickhandling, and size gave him the ideal body for a hockey player. He could outskate opponents with his speed, deke them with his stickhandling, and check them with his size. Nobody was a bigger highlight real in terms of hockey then Mario Lemieux. And if you really want to get into defense, Mario holds the ALL-TIME record for shorthanded goals in a season with 13. The person's record he broke? Wayne Gretzky's. He had scored 10 shorthanded goals the year prior. Im just simply arguing that Jordan wasn't the complete player/athlete Lemieux was.

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I was merely using the foot race thing as an example that there is no way to really compare every attribute each player has. And don't say Jordan wasn't a beast from day one because he certainly was. In his rookie season MJ averaged 28.2 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, and 5.9 assists per game. He went over 40 points 7 times that season.
And I just noted that the footrace argument was a nonsensical one. I never made the argument that Jordan wasn't great from day one, don't put words in my mouth once again. Im simply arguing he wasn't the complete player, better athlete that Lemieux was. There's no way for you to argue otherwise. It took Jordan a long time to become a good three point shooter, or post up inside. Jordan's three point percentage was 17, 18, and 13 percent his first full 3 seasons. Lemieux's overall shooting percentage his rookie year? 20.6. It was .3 points better then the NHL leader in points that year, Wayne Gretzky. Lemieux also had an incredulous 36 goals and 64 assists for 100 points his rookie year. Like I said, a more complete player, and from day one.

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I remain completely baffled how someone who is a supposed sports fan cannot be impressed by the fact that Jordan picked up a game after 19 years of not playing it and was able to play it at a relatively high level of competition. He didn't put up great numbers but he also wasn't the worst on the team. He also showed tremendous improvement throughout the season according to where his then manager Terry Francona was very impressed. I really don't care if you weren't impressed because I think an eventual WS winning manager's opinion holds just a little bit more water then yours.
Im baffled how you're in awe of someone playing bad baseball where he had to "make tremendous improvement" just to flirt with the Mendoza line playing for the Southern league "long shot" prospects team in Birmingham, an opportunity he would have never been afforded had his name not be Michael Jordan. And Francona noted that Jordan showed a "great attitude" "tremendous speed", and a "great respect" for the game. He also noted how it was his "only losing season" in his four years with Birmingham. I have no problem taking Francona's word on any of it. Im just not impressed with what he did on the field.

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Mine is a bit more then speculation because the way Jordan was able to pick up baseball after 19 years of night playing shows that with 19 years of playing it he would have been pretty damn good. I'm not sure I see the qualities in Lemieux to succeed at any other sport no matter how hard he tried. Maybe golf.
That's only because you obviously havent watched Mario, obviously. Lemieux had the strength speed size and agility that I could speculatively see him having succeeded at any of the big four sports if he had the passion too. And you're being nothing but speculative because Jordan couldn't hit, and we all knew Jordan could run. Im not sure what that proved. Lemieux didn't need to try his hand at another sport, because he didn't lose his passion for the one he was great at.

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No, Jordan came back because of his passion for the game of basketball. He could have easily stayed retired and still gone down as one of the best to ever play the game. After his father died he needed time away but it was that passion that brought him back.
He also left because of his lack of passion. There was a dispute for some time over whether the NBA had disciplined him for gambling problems, or if he had "lost his passion" for the game. ESPN's special documentary "Jordan rides the bus" dispelled the myth over gambling and accentuated the truth over him losing his passion. Ill take the words of the 30 for 30 ESPN guys over yours.

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Once again you obviously aren't reading what I'm saying very well. I said in terms of skill and the type of player they were, Francis compared well to Pippen. I never once said Francis was to Lemieux like Pippen was to Jordan.
You said they were just about the "perfect cross comparison" across sports? What exactly does that mean then? And Francis didn't become a big time player until after Mario retired, which I proved. Pippen was a big time player the entire time.

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John Cullen was shit outside of one small 3 year period. he had more points then Francis in 90-91 but that was really the only year he had more points then Francis.
No, Cullen was an average player outside of the three year period. "Shit" players don't last over ten years in the NHL. And there's no denying Cullen benefitted from playing alongside Lemieux. If you would have said "Rob Brown was shit" I would have been with you. He was back in the minors two years after Lemieux. But don't mke rediculous statements about guys with very good careers like Cullen.

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Francis was easily the better player and no one can dispute that. I never once put words in your mouth. You kept going on and on about how Lemieux's supporting cast wasn't that great and it was worse then Jordan's which it certainly was not.
Francis easily had the better career, and that can't be contended. I never said that Lemieux's supporting cast wasn't great, he had great players at the forward position. He just had terrible goaltending in Ken Wregget(38th) and Tom Barrasso(40th) in Goals Against Average, when he won his Stanley Cups. This truly makes the feat more remarkable.

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The multiple HOFers and future HOFers he had around him was able to make up for the poor goaltending.
The saying of "defense wins championships" rings true here. To win two championships with the men he had in net was truly remarkable.

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I give you list of current and future HOFers that Mario had and you give me Bill Cartwright, BJ Armstrong, and John Paxson. I already said how Cartwright was 34 and well past his prime by the time the Bulls started winning titles. BJ was solid but not overly spectacular. He and Paxson both shot the 3 ball well but do you want to know one of the reasons why they did? Because they were always wide open when MJ was drawing double and triple teams.
I gave you Horace Grant, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, but you conveniently leave them out. I already showed how Cartwright was brought in to be a big body inside in the East that fit Jackson's offense. Spin it however you want it but B J lead the NBA in overall 3pt percentage during the 3 year span in which he played. I also showed how Lemieux's linemates, Kevin Stevens and Robbie Brown either had muddling careers(Stevens) or were out of the NHL altogether(Brown) shortly after Lemieux. All part of my emphasis of how Lemieux made those around him infininitely better then they were.

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So they added one more HOFer in Rodman to replace a very good player in Horace Grant and got slightly better role players. Not much of an improvement. And please don't ever compare Steve Kerr's clutch shooting ability to that of Robert Horry's. Ever.
I said "this side of Robert Horry." Stop taking my words out of context. And getting a HOF in Rodman and a really good player in Kukoc is only a slight improvement? Please. That's b.s. and you know it. Do Kerr's heroics in the'97(game winning shot) and '98(game winning assist ring a bell. I didn't say he was as clutch as Horry. I said he was the best positional clutch player this side of Horry, meaning he was SECOND to Horry in that department.

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Bowman coached two years with the Penguins and most of the turmoil didn't come until the second season. Besides, we're talking about the greatest athlete of all time, I don't really care about who coached them. MJ won 6 titles with a lesser supporting cast, Lemieux won 2 with a better supporting case, case closed.
No, you have your facts mixed up again. Bowman was despised when he was instrumental in having Recchi and Paul Coffey shipped out despite being popular because they didn't fit HIS system. The players's mutinied after that, in their second championship season by barring him from practice. And if this was simply about who won the most championships we'ld be talking about Bill Russell, Wayne Gretzky, and Yogi Berra, respectively. The coach does matter when you win 6 championships with one, and zero with any other. Lemieux, as Ive already showed with stats, won with two different coaches, one whose system wasn't even implemented. Which makes what Lemieux did, along with winning his championships with his back and his wrist all the more impressive. This is about greatest athlete. Part of that is being the most complete player. Whose the last player to lead the NHL in Goals AND assists in a season? That would be Mario Lemieux in 1988-89.

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Lemieux's consistent side kick was Jaromir Jagr and I've never tried to dispute otherwise. It's actually kind of sad the Penguins could never win a cup with Jagr in his prime alongside Lemieux. Maybe if Lemieux was the greatest athlete of all time it would have happened . Jordan may have had the consistent side kick during the title runs but Lemieux had the much better supporting cast overall.
And Jagr didnt become a consistent goal scorer and overall player until 1995-96, which is only one year before Lemieux's retirement. The Penguins were either Lemieux's team or Crosby's, they weren't the two headed monster of Pippen/Jordan or Crosby/MAlkin, to throw in a recent hockey reference. Even when Lemieux returned, Jagr was traded away the year after. Combine that with the fact that Lemieux never played with even good goaltending, and what he did was remarkable.

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Listen, Lemieux is great. One of the best hockey players ever, very resilient, coming back from cancer was great. But we are talking about the greatest athlete to ever live. The answer is not only Michael Jordan but Lemieux doesn't really belong in the top 10 when it comes to this conversation.
To boil what Lemieux did is something I know you're not shortsighted enough to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that Lemieux doesn't belong in the top 10 with everything he did and proved. To return from a dehabilitating bck injury and lead the NHL in points in both the regular season and playoffs, injure said back again, and STILL score the most incredible goal in NHL history. 6 time NHL scoring leader. 12 time NHL points per game leader. Numerous times leading the NHL in goals and assists. The last man to lead the NHL in goals and assists. Rebounding from a broken wrist to return and play in the same series and then lead his team to consecutive sweeps to win a second championship. The only man to score five goals five ways. And returning from cancer after missing 2 months to STILL lead the NHL in scoring, as Lemieux did. Jordan didn't do half of those things, the things that make Lemieux the total package, as Ive pointed out and proved. Not only does he belong in the conversation, he belongs at the top.

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Michael Jordan was a scorer first but he was also more unselfish then you think. He averaged over 5 assists per game for his career which is remarkable for a shooting guard. Steve Kerr had the bets years of his career in Chicago. BJ Armstrong only lasted two years in the NBA after leaving Chicago. Horace Grant had his best seasons in Chicago with Jordan. Michael Jordan did plenty for his teammates.
And Mario was a goal scorer first who had a cannon of a shot, yet he lead the NHL in assists numerous times. Not just put up a nice little average, he lead the league. As Ive shown through concrete statistics, turned curtain-jerkers away from him in Kevin Stevens and Rob Brown into all-stars. Neither man did ANYTHING sans Lemieux. Pippen had some of his best career years without Jordan, and Rodman was a HOF either way. Lemieux did far more for his teammates, another thing that makes his the greater athlete.

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You also made the error of saying he is the career leader in points per game which I showed to be false. And the per game thing for his comeback season may seem minor but it changes that entire part of your argument sp in actuality it was not all that minor.
It didn't change my point whatsoever. My point in that situation was quite simple. Mario Lemieux returned after 3 and a half years away to be the best player in the league. Him leading the league in points per game by .33 is an incredibly high number, one that can't be accounted for in any other way then he was the best. And he did it at 35 years old. It makes my slight error a small one. I haven't denied my error there, Ive simply shown how it was false. Lemieux actually lead the league from the time he returned to the time he retired in 2006 in points per game, more proof of his excellence and how me leaving out "per game" is irrelevant.


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I proved all that in more. You can say all of Lemieux's attributes were unmatched but hockey experts disagree. Probably why they always rank guys like Gretzky, Howe, and Bobby Orr ahead of him when talking about the greatest hockey player ever. There is no discussion in basketball. Best player ever starts and ends with Jordan. When it comes to greatest athlete ever it's the same. The argument starts and ends with one man, Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
The only argument is over whether statistics really make Gretzky better then Lemieux, not over who the greater athlete was. Hands down, it was Lemieux, and Gretzky's even acknowledged as such. Gretzky didn't have the shot, the speed, agility, or strength Lemieux did. He simply had the greatest hockey mind of all-time and the greatest ability to read and react to plays in NHL history, as well as phenomenal hand-eye coordination. Orr and Howe have always been in the second tier since Lemieux's career ended, so you have your facts mixed up there. I showedfacts to Habs of Lemiuex's dominance in every area over both men. And as the years have crept by, the arguments have started to surface over Kobe vs Jordan. Over how all Lebron needs is a ring and a few more years. Nonetheless, the discussion here isnt about best player within their sport, it's about greatest athlete. And with all due respect to Jordan, a phenomenal athlete, Ive shown how Mario Lemieux excelled in ways that Jordan didn't. And in doing so, Ive shown how Mario Lemieux is the greatest athlete of all time.
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Last edited by LSN80 : 03-03-2011 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by LSN80 View Post
Going back and forth here is easy. Mario had both size and finesse, a rare breed in a hockey player. His speed, stickhandling, and size gave him the ideal body for a hockey player. He could outskate opponents with his speed, deke them with his stickhandling, and check them with his size. Nobody was a bigger highlight real in terms of hockey then Mario Lemieux. And if you really want to get into defense, Mario holds the ALL-TIME record for shorthanded goals in a season with 13. The person's record he broke? Wayne Gretzky's. He had scored 10 shorthanded goals the year prior. Im just simply arguing that Jordan wasn't the complete player/athlete Lemieux was.
MJ was the most complete player/athlete to ever live. There was nothing he couldn't do on the court. Offensively, defensively, leadership, intangibles, clutch performance, trash talking, the man did it all and did it all better then anyone else. Lemieux was good but there were better, more complete hockey players.



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And I just noted that the footrace argument was a nonsensical one. I never made the argument that Jordan wasn't great from day one, don't put words in my mouth once again. Im simply arguing he wasn't the complete player, better athlete that Lemieux was. There's no way for you to argue otherwise. It took Jordan a long time to become a good three point shooter, or post up inside. Jordan's three point percentage was 17, 18, and 13 percent his first full 3 seasons. Lemieux's overall shooting percentage his rookie year? 20.6. It was .3 points better then the NHL leader in points that year, Wayne Gretzky. Lemieux also had an incredulous 36 goals and 64 assists for 100 points his rookie year. Like I said, a more complete player, and from day one.
Jordan was far more complete then Lemieux from day one. From day one MJ was the best player on the basketball court. The same can't be said about Mario. The ONLY thing MJ didn't do well at the start of his career was shoot 3's and part of that was because he didn't take many. He was too busy dicking on defenders and getting easy buckets inside.



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Im baffled how you're in awe of someone playing bad baseball where he had to "make tremendous improvement" just to flirt with the Mendoza line playing for the Southern league "long shot" prospects team in Birmingham, an opportunity he would have never been afforded had his name not be Michael Jordan. And Francona noted that Jordan showed a "great attitude" "tremendous speed", and a "great respect" for the game. He also noted how it was his "only losing season" in his four years with Birmingham. I have no problem taking Francona's word on any of it. Im just not impressed with what he did on the field.
How many times do I have to repeat this? He hadn't played for 19 fucking years. Of course he's going to struggle early. Anybody else attempting to do what he did would have failed miserably and been gone after a short time no matter how high profile there name was.


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That's only because you obviously havent watched Mario, obviously. Lemieux had the strength speed size and agility that I could speculatively see him having succeeded at any of the big four sports if he had the passion too. And you're being nothing but speculative because Jordan couldn't hit, and we all knew Jordan could run. Im not sure what that proved. Lemieux didn't need to try his hand at another sport, because he didn't lose his passion for the one he was great at.
I've watched plenty of Lemieux. He was one of the best hockey players ever and a great athlete, but he was not an elite athlete. He wasn't up there with the Jordan's and the Deion's and the Bo Jackson's in terms of athletic ability.

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He also left because of his lack of passion. There was a dispute for some time over whether the NBA had disciplined him for gambling problems, or if he had "lost his passion" for the game. ESPN's special documentary "Jordan rides the bus" dispelled the myth over gambling and accentuated the truth over him losing his passion. Ill take the words of the 30 for 30 ESPN guys over yours.
His father/best friend died. Anyone would lose some passion after that. he took his little sabbatical and it was his passion that then brought him back to the game.



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You said they were just about the "perfect cross comparison" across sports? What exactly does that mean then? And Francis didn't become a big time player until after Mario retired, which I proved. Pippen was a big time player the entire time.
You are quoting one part of what I said. Before mentioning the great comparison I talked about there being mentioned in their respective sports as all time greats in the same type of way, which is obviously what I meant by the comparison because that's what I was talking about. Thanks though for thinking you know what I was saying more then I do.



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No, Cullen was an average player outside of the three year period. "Shit" players don't last over ten years in the NHL. And there's no denying Cullen benefitted from playing alongside Lemieux. If you would have said "Rob Brown was shit" I would have been with you. He was back in the minors two years after Lemieux. But don't mke rediculous statements about guys with very good careers like Cullen.
Shit was an exaggeration, what I'm getting at is that outside of a few year period he did nothing special. He was alright and lasted a while in the league but in no way was he better then Ron Francis.



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Francis easily had the better career, and that can't be contended. I never said that Lemieux's supporting cast wasn't great, he had great players at the forward position. He just had terrible goaltending in Ken Wregget(38th) and Tom Barrasso(40th) in Goals Against Average, when he won his Stanley Cups. This truly makes the feat more remarkable.
Actually you mentioned a few times that his supporting cast wasn't great.


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I gave you Horace Grant, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, but you conveniently leave them out. I already showed how Cartwright was brought in to be a big body inside in the East that fit Jackson's offense. Spin it however you want it but B J lead the NBA in overall 3pt percentage during the 3 year span in which he played. I also showed how Lemieux's linemates, Kevin Stevens and Robbie Brown either had muddling careers(Stevens) or were out of the NHL altogether(Brown) shortly after Lemieux. All part of my emphasis of how Lemieux made those around him infininitely better then they were.
I didn't conveniently leave anything out, I've acknowledged them already. I was referring to the so called great cast with the rest of the guys that wasn't great at all. Cartwright was ok but was an old man basically at that point. BJ was another decent player but not spectacular and his great 3 point % was a direct result of MJ being on the floor with him.



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I said "this side of Robert Horry." Stop taking my words out of context. And getting a HOF in Rodman and a really good player in Kukoc is only a slight improvement? Please. That's b.s. and you know it. Do Kerr's heroics in the'97(game winning shot) and '98(game winning assist ring a bell. I didn't say he was as clutch as Horry. I said he was the best positional clutch player this side of Horry, meaning he was SECOND to Horry in that department.
I took nothing out of context. "This side of Robert Horry" is still putting him in relatively the same class and Kerr belongs no where near that. Kerr hit one game winning shit in 97 and outside of that he really did nothing all that clutch. If Horry's a 10 on the clutch scale then Kerr is like a 4. And adding Kukoc and Rodman was only a slight improvement. Not because they weren't good players but because they were replacing guys who no longer with the team like Horace Grant and like BJ Armstrong. They were improvements over those guys but not monumental improvements.



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No, you have your facts mixed up again. Bowman was despised when he was instrumental in having Recchi and Paul Coffey shipped out despite being popular because they didn't fit HIS system. The players's mutinied after that, in their second championship season by barring him from practice. And if this was simply about who won the most championships we'ld be talking about Bill Russell, Wayne Gretzky, and Yogi Berra, respectively. The coach does matter when you win 6 championships with one, and zero with any other. Lemieux, as Ive already showed with stats, won with two different coaches, one whose system wasn't even implemented. Which makes what Lemieux did, along with winning his championships with his back and his wrist all the more impressive. This is about greatest athlete. Part of that is being the most complete player. Whose the last player to lead the NHL in Goals AND assists in a season? That would be Mario Lemieux in 1988-89.
Yes, but the turmoil died down after the trades and the Pens were able to make the cup run. The next year was when they really were falling out to a huge level. And your supposed "greatest athlete ever" probably shouldn't be leading mutiny's against a coach and hurting the team.



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And Jagr didnt become a consistent goal scorer and overall player until 1995-96, which is only one year before Lemieux's retirement. The Penguins were either Lemieux's team or Crosby's, they weren't the two headed monster of Pippen/Jordan or Crosby/MAlkin, to throw in a recent hockey reference. Even when Lemieux returned, Jagr was traded away the year after. Combine that with the fact that Lemieux never played with even good goaltending, and what he did was remarkable.
Lemieux had a good 3 year period with Jagr as an elite guy and they failed to win anything of major note.



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To boil what Lemieux did is something I know you're not shortsighted enough to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that Lemieux doesn't belong in the top 10 with everything he did and proved. To return from a dehabilitating bck injury and lead the NHL in points in both the regular season and playoffs, injure said back again, and STILL score the most incredible goal in NHL history. 6 time NHL scoring leader. 12 time NHL points per game leader. Numerous times leading the NHL in goals and assists. The last man to lead the NHL in goals and assists. Rebounding from a broken wrist to return and play in the same series and then lead his team to consecutive sweeps to win a second championship. The only man to score five goals five ways. And returning from cancer after missing 2 months to STILL lead the NHL in scoring, as Lemieux did. Jordan didn't do half of those things, the things that make Lemieux the total package, as Ive pointed out and proved. Not only does he belong in the conversation, he belongs at the top.
It's not ludicrous at all to say a guy who never played a full season and only played at least 70 games 6 times isn't the greatest athlete ever or even top 10. It's not ludicrous to say a guy who at best in the 3rd best hockey player ever (which is the thought of hockey experts everywhere) doesn't belong in the top 10 of greatest athletes ever. Lemieux does not belong at the top of anything related to greatest athlete ever.



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And Mario was a goal scorer first who had a cannon of a shot, yet he lead the NHL in assists numerous times. Not just put up a nice little average, he lead the league. As Ive shown through concrete statistics, turned curtain-jerkers away from him in Kevin Stevens and Rob Brown into all-stars. Neither man did ANYTHING sans Lemieux. Pippen had some of his best career years without Jordan, and Rodman was a HOF either way. Lemieux did far more for his teammates, another thing that makes his the greater athlete.
Lemieux had far more assists in his career then goals so he seemed like a passer first to me. Pippen actually never had a year without MJ that was better then a year with him so you can get out with that shit. Lemieux won with 4+ HOFers, Jordan won 3 with one HOFer and 3 with two. Jordan improved his teammates greatly just like Lemieux and I've shown that already.



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It didn't change my point whatsoever. My point in that situation was quite simple. Mario Lemieux returned after 3 and a half years away to be the best player in the league. Him leading the league in points per game by .33 is an incredibly high number, one that can't be accounted for in any other way then he was the best. And he did it at 35 years old. It makes my slight error a small one. I haven't denied my error there, Ive simply shown how it was false. Lemieux actually lead the league from the time he returned to the time he retired in 2006 in points per game, more proof of his excellence and how me leaving out "per game" is irrelevant.
Your point is wrong then. How exactly does leading the league for HALF a season make you the best player in the league? It's all about the season as a whole and once again Lemieux couldn't remain on the ice for a full season. MJ at age 39 and 40 played a complete season for the Wizards and was their best player. Jordan did something at age 40 that Lemieux could never do.



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The only argument is over whether statistics really make Gretzky better then Lemieux, not over who the greater athlete was. Hands down, it was Lemieux, and Gretzky's even acknowledged as such. Gretzky didn't have the shot, the speed, agility, or strength Lemieux did. He simply had the greatest hockey mind of all-time and the greatest ability to read and react to plays in NHL history, as well as phenomenal hand-eye coordination. Orr and Howe have always been in the second tier since Lemieux's career ended, so you have your facts mixed up there. I showedfacts to Habs of Lemiuex's dominance in every area over both men.
Says who? You? My facts are fine because I share the opinion of hockey experts everywhere. You share the opinion of yourself and fan boys from Pittsburgh.

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And as the years have crept by, the arguments have started to surface over Kobe vs Jordan. Over how all Lebron needs is a ring and a few more years. Nonetheless, the discussion here isnt about best player within their sport, it's about greatest athlete. And with all due respect to Jordan, a phenomenal athlete, Ive shown how Mario Lemieux excelled in ways that Jordan didn't. And in doing so, Ive shown how Mario Lemieux is the greatest athlete of all time.
The arguments have crept that Kobe may be second to MJ not that he could ever compare equally to them. MJ is easily greater then LeBron and Kobe and any basketball expert will tell you the same.

Now for my closing argument.
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