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Old 03-05-2011, 09:02 AM
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Default Finals: Topic #3 - Greatest Sport

Sorry for the delay. Got caught up in the tournament a bit this weekend.

The same scoring system will be in effect as before. As usual, four days per topic so the deadline for this is Wednesday. I won't be revealing the scores until the topics are done.

Leading off is hatehabsforever.

Topic:What is the greatest sport in the world? Defend and critique as usual.

Go.
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2011, 07:39 PM
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Well here we are at last, the grand finale of the Sports Debater's League. Fourteen rounds of quality debating, which I have to say, I have really enjoyed. A quick word of thanks to the guys who have organized the League, the judges, the competitors (even though most of the guys bailed out early), and of course, to Big Sexy and LSN80 for some tremendous work throughout the course of the League. I wish the both of you guys the best of luck in this final round, and I look forward to debating with you both one more time for the next several days. Now let's get down to business.

What is the greatest sport in the world? This is another interesting question, and I am thankful for the opportunity to get to bat lead-off in this final round, because the choice here is clear and pretty much beyond debate. The key components of the question are stated quite clearly in the question. The greatest sport in the world . This is not an assessment which can be restricted to a particular area of the world where a particular fan or debater resides, it has to be looked at on a far more global scale. And it is not a question which should be answered based upon the personal preferences of the poster, it has to be looked at more objectively than this, beyond what is one's personal preference, to delve into the preferences of the world on again a more global scale. This will be evidenced to be the case in my argument as my choice is clearly not the most popular sport in Eastern Canada where I live, and it is hardly my personal preference. But when looked at objectively, through unbiased eyes, the answer to the question is clear. The greatest sport in the world is football , or as we refer to it in this part of the world, soccer .

To be crystal clear, I am talking about the one which is played with the round ball, with no hands, not the one played with the oblong, pointed ball which most of us in Canada and the United States prefer. Soccer, despite my personal feelings about it, is clearly the greatest sport in the world.

In my personal opinion, soccer is the most boring sport known to man. In terms of my personal preferences, I would rank hockey, football, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, gymnastics, watching paint dry, and watching grass grow as being far more entertaining, far more exciting, far more to my particular tastes and interests. But that is not the question being posed here. The question is not which sport do I like the best, but rather, which one is greatest on a global scale.

Soccer is a game which is truly contested on a global stage by a worldwide audience of passionate and sometimes fanatical fans. It is played in over 200 countries. It is played in North America in Canada, the US, and Mexico, although not as passionately here as it is played elsewhere, and not as feverishly as other sports such as the NFL or the NBA are. It is played in South America, with such perennial powerhouses as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and others. Of course, soccer is battled almost religiously in England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and pretty much all of the rest of Europe. Asia embraces the sport, as Pakistan, India, Japan, China, and others compete with great passion in the sport. African nations are typically prevalent in global soccer tournaments, and of course, our friends from Down Under in Australia and New Zealand are enthralled with the sport as well. I cannot think of another sport which really captivates the entire world to the extent that soccer does, involving significant participation, contribution, and competition from all of the continents. With most sports, certain ones are perennial favorites of select pockets of nations in the world, whereas soccer pretty much is ubiquitous to all of them.

Let's consider the FIFA World Cup. Over 200 countries compete for the opportunity to vie for the World Cup. While only 32 actually end up in the tournament, the entire globe competes for the opportunity to be there. Even with 32 countries, that trumps pretty much any other sport in terms of broad range appeal, but in actuality, at over 200 nations, soccer/football is about as global an event as you can get. How can anyone argue with the sentiment of soccer as being the greatest sport in the world, bearing all of this in mind?

We debated earlier about the Olympics versus the World Cup, and received a difference in opinion over which one was more significant. For the purposes of this argument, it is academic. The Olympics as a whole have tremendous global and far reaching appeal, and the sport of soccer is one of the more hotly contested sports in the Summer Olympics, again involving such numerous national participation that again, the designation of soccer as the greatest sport of all time is pretty much undisputable.

Of course, soccer is played in the professional ranks to a huge degree. Even in North America, where soccer is not the phenomenon that it is everywhere else, there is Major League Soccer, consisting of 18 teams, 16 in the United States and 2 in Canada. Far more significant than this, we have the English Football League System. Because I am not a fan of this at all, I will not even feign knowledge or interest in it. But even I, with my total distaste and apathy for this game, realize the passion and widespread interest in this league system. A promotion and relegation pyramidal sort of league, comprising 140 individual leagues, 480 divisions, all vying to end up in the Premier League. Even a soccer non-enthusiast like myself has heard of Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Bolton, Liverpool, Sunderland, Everton, and others. The number of fans who are fanatical, devoted, sometimes obsessed fans of all of the drama of this league and it's participants cannot be discounted. The vast numbers of fans who are drawn into this, are supremely knowledgeable about it, greatly enhances the argument of soccer as the greatest sport in the world.

Even at the grass roots level, soccer is everywhere. It is played in college. It is played in high schools. It is played in backyards, in streets, in clubs, in kids leagues, it truly is everywhere. This is the case even in hockey crazy Canada, and NFL/NBA/MLB/(NHL) enthused USA.

With so much soccer being played across the planet, soccer fans are everywhere. They are extremely knowledgeable about the sport, it's rules, it's participants, whatever. They bring passion to it like no other sport does. As much as the NHL fascinates fans of hockey, or NFL does football fans, or NBA does basketball fans, or MLB for baseball enthusiasts, soccer has the greatest numbers of fans, the most passionate fans, to the point at times of being crazy, overzealous, fanatical and dangerous fans. But it is the perception and opinions of these fans that make soccer the greatest sport there is. Other sports inspire these sentiments here and there; soccer does it pretty much everywhere, especially outside the borders of Canada and the US.

We discussed in an earlier thread of the League, which sport consisted of the most well rounded athletes. At the time, I argued for soccer, and I still believe this to be the case. Soccer players are extremely gifted athletes physically. They have incredible strength, endurance, and cardiovascular conditioning which is second to none. They possess unbelievable skills, moving the ball around the pitch with the dexterity of a surgeon, except they don't get to use their hands. The use of their heads (literally), their feet, and their bodies, minus their arms and hands, require uncompromising skills. They have to have fabulous hand eye coordination, flexibility, agility, and stamina. As physically gifted as players of all other sports are, soccer players trump them in my personal opinion.

Over and above their physical skills and abilities, they have to have incredible mental skills as well. Soccer is a cerebral, strategic game and to play it with the acumen of these soccer players is nothing to scoff at. But even more than said mental prowess, they have to be superb from a psychological and emotional level as well. Soccer players often play the game under intense scrutiny and pressure. Whether it be national pride in the World Cup or the Summer Olympics, or the fanaticism and obsessiveness of the various professional leagues, soccer players are under the microscope unlike no other athletes. Guys who face such pressures and succeed are national heroes, or wealthy professionals, or both. Those who wither under the spotlight are outcasts and are hated by the masses. Just ask any of the players who have been the targets of violence, or threats, or a national outpouring of hatred, just because they let their team, their teammates, their fans, their nations, down. Just ask that dude from France who head butted that other guy in the World Cup a few years ago. He is still dealing with the repercussions of this to this day.

At the end of the day, I would watch any of a plethora of other sports before I would watch a game of soccer from start to finish. In fact, the only time I would ever watch an entire game of soccer would likely be if I was lying on the couch and couldn't reach the remote control, assuming the game did not put me to sleep first, especially with the incessant drone of vuvuzuelas in the background. Give me a Bruins/Canadiens game, or a Celtics/Lakers, or Patriots/Jets, or Yankees/Sox any day of the week. Give me a Tiger Woods reascent to dominance at the Masters, or a Federer/Nadal showdown at Wimbledon, or even a national gymnastics meet (both of my kids are avid gymnasts and have gotten me into it in recent times), and I would take any of this in a heartbeat, rather than any sort of soccer game, regardless of it's magnitude or the stage upon which it is played.

However, let's stay true to the question at hand. Which is the greatest game in the world? And when we set aside our personal biases, our own likes and dislikes, and look at the magnitude at which the game is contested to the most global degree, looking at the numbers of nations involved, the number of fans captivated by it, the passion and fanaticism of said fans, as well as the physical, mental, psychological, and emotional toughness of its warriors, and I think the choice is as clear and prominent as the nose on Triple H's face. All due respect to the "big four" in our section of the planet, but this one really is not even up for debate. The greatest game in the world has always been, continues to be, and likely always will be, the game of soccer .
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:54 PM
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I as well feel thankful for the opportunity to have been able to debate sports over the past two months. Its been one heckuva experience and Kudos to everyone whose been involved. And to Habs and Big Sexy, who've made for an entertaining and crazy final rounds. Here's to one more.

Open:

When I truly take into account what it means to be considered the greatest sport in the world, I take several factors into consideration. Some may make the mistake of assuming most popular automatically equates to being the "greatest" and it's an honest mistake to make. Popularity is certainly a factor, as I doubt anyone would affirm lacrosse, swimming, or gymnastics here. But it's not the only factor, and there are several to consider. After doing so, I believe the choice is very clear. The answer to the question of greatest sport in the world? Basketball.

Popularity:

I said it's not the only factor, but it certainly is a factor. On any given day, all around the world, people are playing basketball. Today, basketball rates as one of the most popular sports worldwide and its popularity is at an all-time high. Basketball tournaments are played out between players of all age groups from 5 and 6 year olds ranging to adults of all levels and ages. Sporting networks around the world, on any given day, will report on professional basketball tournaments around the world and broadcast local and international games. Basketball has continued to grow in popularity also because it is relatively cheap in comparison to other sports to get into and play. It can be played indoors and outdoors, in summer and winter, by men and women of all ages. One thing that seperates it from a sport such as soccer is that its a game that can be played individually as well. One can hone and perfect their game many ways indivdually in the sport of basketball like no other popular sport. It takes to play pitch and catch, or to toss a football around. There are artificial machines for some of these games, but the sport that can be played in its purest form individually is basketball. It's the penultimate non-descriminatory sport.

Athleticism:

When thinking about which sports have the most naturally gifted athletes, the sport that comes readily to mind for me is basketball. Much of this is due to the fact that basketball players spend most of their time running up and down the field. In comparing it to baseball, for example, baseball is based more on skill than on real athletic ability. Don't get m wrong, there are great athletes in baseball. However, if put up against the majority of basketball players in pure physical testing, most baseball players wouldn't stand a chance.

Another inherent quality within basketball is that players have to train year round to run up and down the court. Jumping is a fator in basketball that is not found universally in all athletes in other sports. Not only that, basketball players have to make quick lateral moves and change angles and approach very suddenly. Basketball requires an extreme amount of coordination as well. While soccer players are also in extremely good shape, their training is geared much more towards endurance and simply running up and down the field. The lateral movement of a basketball player is greater then that of a soccer player because soccer doesn't require the aggressive defensive that basketball does. The breaks in basketball are minimal, especially compared to their hockey, football, and baseball counterparts. Ive said it before, and Ill say it here again. Soccer is much more akin to sprinting and long distance running, with hand-eye coordination mixed in. Basketball players are better all around athletes than soccer players.


Excitement:
Michael Jordan of the Bulls. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers. Christian Laettner in Duke vs Kentucky. How are these all related? They've all provided moments that wll be ever etched into our memories. Some have done so in being human highlight reels, others have done so in providing game-ending moments that will forever go down in the annals of sports. Moreso then in any other sport, there is little time for a lapse. A ten point lead can be erased quickly, and we've seen it happen time and again. There's more offense in basketball then any other sport, offerring more opportunities for game-defining or jaw dropping moments. How may times have we seen March Madness moments that we'll never forget? The list is longer and deeper between the college and professional ranks then in any other sport.

Close:

Basketball is quickly becoming one of the most popular and beloved sports in the world. Part of that is due to the all-inclusive nature of the sport. It truly is something that can be played anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. It's athleticism on the whole is more complete and greater then any other sport. While there are select players in other sports that contain great athletes, no sport provides the greatest level of pure athleticism the sport of basketball. And the excitement factor is second to none because of this. Because of the high octane nature of the sport, one can never snooze on the game, or their team. Neither can the players, and it shows. The sport has simply provided more jaw dropping feats and last-second moments then any other. I'll be affirming these and others along the way as I demonstrate why basketball is truly the greatest sport in the world.
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by hatehabsforever View Post
In my personal opinion, soccer is the most boring sport known to man. In terms of my personal preferences, I would rank hockey, football, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, gymnastics, watching paint dry, and watching grass grow as being far more entertaining, far more exciting, far more to my particular tastes and interests. But that is not the question being posed here. The question is not which sport do I like the best, but rather, which one is greatest on a global scale.
Im glad we agree here. Despite having played it for a year in high school, I can't bring myself to watch a game. Kudos to you for trying to affirm a sport that you find so mind-numbingly boring. Coming from such a position of disadvantage, I couldn't imagine arguing a sport that I dislike so much. Especially since it's the wrong one.

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Soccer is a game which is truly contested on a global stage by a worldwide audience of passionate and sometimes fanatical fans. It is played in over 200 countries. It is played in North America in Canada, the US, and Mexico, although not as passionately here as it is played elsewhere, and not as feverishly as other sports such as the NFL or the NBA are. It is played in South America, with such perennial powerhouses as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and others. Of course, soccer is battled almost religiously in England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and pretty much all of the rest of Europe. Asia embraces the sport, as Pakistan, India, Japan, China, and others compete with great passion in the sport.
This is somewhat true here, but there are parts that are entirely false. In the case of India, the world's second most populous nation, the most popular sports are field hockey and cricket. In Japan, which owns the claim of world's second largest economy, the most popular sport is baseball. In fact, baseball is more popular in Japan then it is the United States. In the case of the China, it's a dogfight between Soccer, Basketball, and Table Tennis, of all sports. Think about where you live Habs. Did you know that the first NBA game, as recognized by the NBA themselves, took place in Canada? It's true.

http://www.nba.com/history/firstgame_feature.html

And as for the United States? It's not even close. The influx of foreigner players in the NBA, the premiere basketball league in the world, is growing by the year. In the 1980's the NBA began to aggressively promote itself with stars such as Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. The 1992 NBA Dream team, on the world's bigest stage, the Olympics, truly phenomonalized the sport. For every David Beckham that has come to the states and become prominent, I can see your Beckham, and raise you two time NBA MVP Steve Nash(Canada), Yao Ming(China), 2007 NBA Finals MVP Tony Parker(France) and the first European to win an MVP, Dirk Nowitzi(Germany). and So while soccer is still recognized as the sport of choice in through much of Western Europe and South America, it's not so much throughout the rest of the world. While my article here will affirm the argument of soccer being the most popular worldwide, it will show how basketball has become more infectuous in Russia, China, and Argentina, all nations where soccer used to be king.

http://www.sportingo.com/all-sports/...ar-team-sports

Quote:
African nations are typically prevalent in global soccer tournaments, and of course, our friends from Down Under in Australia and New Zealand are enthralled with the sport as well. I cannot think of another sport which really captivates the entire world to the extent that soccer does, involving significant participation, contribution, and competition from all of the continents. With most sports, certain ones are perennial favorites of select pockets of nations in the world, whereas soccer pretty much is ubiquitous to all of them.
Not really. As I showed above, their are significant portions of the world that are enthralled with other sports. Basketball is one of them in many of those nations. Popularity, while not the end all be all, is important. So if basketball popularity is growing, it's cutting into whatever supposed advantage soccer has. And we're just talking popularity. When it comes to athleticism and excitement, soccer pales. More on that later.

Quote:
Let's consider the FIFA World Cup. Over 200 countries compete for the opportunity to vie for the World Cup. While only 32 actually end up in the tournament, the entire globe competes for the opportunity to be there. Even with 32 countries, that trumps pretty much any other sport in terms of broad range appeal, but in actuality, at over 200 nations, soccer/football is about as global an event as you can get. How can anyone argue with the sentiment of soccer as being the greatest sport in the world, bearing all of this in mind?
I can easily argue that sentiment. The World Cup involves 32 teams per year. Doing the math from 205 nations, I fail to see how an event can be the greatest sport in the World when its penultimate event, the World Cup, only involves 18% of the world? I becomes a larger stretch to say that its the World's greatest sport when only 77 countries in the 80 year history of the World Cup have ever participated in it. That's only 38% of the World, by my count. Those are undiputable facts against the soccer argument.

Quote:
We debated earlier about the Olympics versus the World Cup, and received a difference in opinion over which one was more significant. For the purposes of this argument, it is academic. The Olympics as a whole have tremendous global and far reaching appeal, and the sport of soccer is one of the more hotly contested sports in the Summer Olympics, again involving such numerous national participation that again, the designation of soccer as the greatest sport of all time is pretty much undisputable.
In reading back through that round, both you and I affirmed that the Olympics were the bigger sport to the World, correct? Then my logic here is quite simple. The NBA(National Basketball Associtiation), and FIBA( The Interntional Basketball Federation), allow their players to play in the premiere event, the Olympics. In comparison, the soccer you see at the Summer Olympics every four years is soccer U-23. What that means, simply, is that FIFA(International Federation of Associated Football) doesn't allow it's players to compete. Only three "over 23" year old soccer players are able to play. So by my estimate, 90-95% of the time, you're not even going to see the best players in the world at the Olympics, which we agreed was the premiere event over the World Cup. So with basketball allowing it's players that exposure and soccer prohibiting it, basketball> soccer is the greater sport in this regard, on the biggest stage in the world, correct?

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Of course, soccer is played in the professional ranks to a huge degree. Even in North America, where soccer is not the phenomenon that it is everywhere else, there is Major League Soccer, consisting of 18 teams, 16 in the United States and 2 in Canada. Far more significant than this, we have the English Football League System. Because I am not a fan of this at all, I will not even feign knowledge or interest in it. But even I, with my total distaste and apathy for this game, realize the passion and widespread interest in this league system. A promotion and relegation pyramidal sort of league, comprising 140 individual leagues, 480 divisions, all vying to end up in the Premier League. Even a soccer non-enthusiast like myself has heard of Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Bolton, Liverpool, Sunderland, Everton, and others. The number of fans who are fanatical, devoted, sometimes obsessed fans of all of the drama of this league and it's participants cannot be discounted. The vast numbers of fans who are drawn into this, are supremely knowledgeable about it, greatly enhances the argument of soccer as the greatest sport in the world.
And for every professional soccer team you named, I can tell you about the rich history of the Boston Celtics, the 17 time NBA champions. Or I could get into the great legacy of the 12 time NCAA champion UCLA Bruins. As I showed above, the first NBA game was played in Canada, not the United States. The NBA maintains a presence in Canada to this day with the Toronto Raptors. And there's FIBA of course, who oversees basketball operations in China, Italy, Argentina, Germany, France, Russia, and others, some of the most populous and affluent nations in the World. As I demonstrated above, many of those nations have sent representatives over to the NBA, some of whom have won MVP and NBA championships. Does the Western Hemisphere do the same? Do we pump players over into the European product? Until I see it, I fail to believe it. We've popularized basketball over in foreign nations, who have sent their best players to play in the NBA. Is it the same two-way street with soccer? Decidedly not.

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Even at the grass roots level, soccer is everywhere. It is played in college. It is played in high schools. It is played in backyards, in streets, in clubs, in kids leagues, it truly is everywhere. This is the case even in hockey crazy Canada, and NFL/NBA/MLB/(NHL) enthused USA.
Yet the same thing can be said about basketball, to the 9th degree. There's this little thing about to start in a week known as March Madness. Does soccer maintain any type of illustrious and popular tournament for it's collegiate players? We both know the answer here. And it's only growing, as the NCAA has upped the field to 68 teams this year from 65 of the past. Basketball is played indoors and out, summer and winter, men's and women's. Where are the Women's Premiere League's like the WNBA and the Women's College Basketball tournament? Basketball maintains a presence within all genres, including sex and age, that soccer simply does not. When you drive around, what do you see more of, soccer nets or basketball hoops? This is an easy one here. With the facts Ive shown, Id say that's the worldwide presence would be similar that it's basketball.

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With so much soccer being played across the planet, soccer fans are everywhere. They are extremely knowledgeable about the sport, it's rules, it's participants, whatever. They bring passion to it like no other sport does. As much as the NHL fascinates fans of hockey, or NFL does football fans, or NBA does basketball fans, or MLB for baseball enthusiasts, soccer has the greatest numbers of fans, the most passionate fans, to the point at times of being crazy, overzealous, fanatical and dangerous fans. But it is the perception and opinions of these fans that make soccer the greatest sport there is. Other sports inspire these sentiments here and there; soccer does it pretty much everywhere, especially outside the borders of Canada and the US.
Not even as much as. As Ive shown, even for the greatest event(World Cup) in soccer, its nation's involvement is only 18% every four years. So while you may have the passionate fans in less then one-fifth(being generous) of the world, look no further then the Olympics argument, which is all-inclusive in terms of basketball. Between the NBA, WNBA, March Madness, FIBA, and the Olympics,Id say basketball fans are out in full in larger pockets of the world then soccer fans are. When faced with this reality, soccer simply dosn't stand a chance here.


Quote:
We discussed in an earlier thread of the League, which sport consisted of the most well rounded athletes. At the time, I argued for soccer, and I still believe this to be the case. Soccer players are extremely gifted athletes physically. They have incredible strength, endurance, and cardiovascular conditioning which is second to none. They possess unbelievable skills, moving the ball around the pitch with the dexterity of a surgeon, except they don't get to use their hands. The use of their heads (literally), their feet, and their bodies, minus their arms and hands, require uncompromising skills. They have to have fabulous hand eye coordination, flexibility, agility, and stamina. As physically gifted as players of all other sports are, soccer players trump them in my personal opinion.
And I respectfully disagree. Soccer players are well conditioned athletes. Comparable to lon-distance runners, or sprinters at times. But they don't have to do much of the quick lateral moves, change of angles and approach very suddenly that basketball entails. The fact that they don't use their hands and arms works decidedly against them. Quick, agile feet? Yes. But so is the same in basketball. Have you ever seen Michael Jordan elevate? How about Kobe Bryant? What about the way both men elevate? Jumping and the timing of said jumps is a major part of the basketball game that simply isn't involved when it comes to soccer. While soccer players are also in extremely good shape, their training is geared much more towards endurance and simply running up and down the field. The basketball player's lateral movement is far greater then that of a soccer player because soccer doesn't require the aggressive defensive that basketball does. Shoulder checks? Yes. But aggressive, in your face defense for 24 and 35 seconds? Heck no. Having said all this, it's easy to see basketball players are better all around athletes than soccer players.



Quote:
Over and above their physical skills and abilities, they have to have incredible mental skills as well. Soccer is a cerebral, strategic game and to play it with the acumen of these soccer players is nothing to scoff at. But even more than said mental prowess, they have to be superb from a psychological and emotional level as well. Soccer players often play the game under intense scrutiny and pressure. Whether it be national pride in the World Cup or the Summer Olympics, or the fanaticism and obsessiveness of the various professional leagues, soccer players are under the microscope unlike no other athletes. Guys who face such pressures and succeed are national heroes, or wealthy professionals, or both. Those who wither under the spotlight are outcasts and are hated by the masses. Just ask any of the players who have been the targets of violence, or threats, or a national outpouring of hatred, just because they let their team, their teammates, their fans, their nations, down.
I maintain that basketball players are under greater mental scrutiny. Why's that? The shot clock. The have to maintain a awareness of set plays and how much time is left on each and every possession. This type of awareness simply isn't there for the soccer player. Basketball involves anticipation of your teammates, and what your opponent is about to do at the same time. And this is a constant for 20 minute halves or 15 minute periods, 40 and 60 minute games. Then not only does the player have to show that mental awareness on one end of the floor, they have to turn around and do it on the other. Soccer is made up of defined positions, with defined areas of the field. This isn't the case for basketball players. They have to cover 100% of the floor. There aren't sweepers and strikers in basketball. The guards and the centers have to cover the same ground.

Quote:
Soccer players often play the game under intense scrutiny and pressure. Whether it be national pride in the World Cup or the Summer Olympics, or the fanaticism and obsessiveness of the various professional leagues, soccer players are under the microscope unlike no other athletes. Guys who face such pressures and succeed are national heroes, or wealthy professionals, or both. Those who wither under the spotlight are outcasts and are hated by the masses. Just ask any of the players who have been the targets of violence, or threats, or a national outpouring of hatred, just because they let their team, their teammates, their fans, their nations, down.

I maintain that this is irrelevant. If anything, it's a stain on the sport, not a testament to its greatness. A sport that fosters this type of fanatical environment loses so much stock in terms of being great simply for that reason. While colleges and cities sell jerseys and cheerlead and foster team play and a safe environment in basketball, soccer encourages riots and physical assasinations of its players who fail. This shows the detrimental, dark side of soccer, again showing why basketball is the greater sport.

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At the end of the day, I would watch any of a plethora of other sports before I would watch a game of soccer from start to finish. In fact, the only time I would ever watch an entire game of soccer would likely be if I was lying on the couch and couldn't reach the remote control, assuming the game did not put me to sleep first, especially with the incessant drone of vuvuzuelas in the background. Give me a Bruins/Canadiens game, or a Celtics/Lakers, or Patriots/Jets, or Yankees/Sox any day of the week. Give me a Tiger Woods reascent to dominance at the Masters, or a Federer/Nadal showdown at Wimbledon, or even a national gymnastics meet (both of my kids are avid gymnasts and have gotten me into it in recent times), and I would take any of this in a heartbeat, rather than any sort of soccer game, regardless of it's magnitude or the stage upon which it is played.
As would I. And I could tell you about their moments. About Christian Laetener's game winner when I was 10 in 1992 for Duke over Kentucky. About Michae Jordan's heroic performance to score 38 points with food poisoning in game 5 of the NBA Finals. Of stories told of Magic Johnson, a rookie point guard, converting to center in the 1980 NBA Finals, a position he had never played before, and scoring 42 points. I could go on, but I think my point is well made here. Where are the stories like this in soccer? Where are the moments that truly make sports great? Moments are a big part of making a sport great.Which has the greater moments and excitement? A soccer match that ends in a 1-1 tie, or an overtime game that ends on a turnaround jump shot? Moments and excitement make sports great, and soccer is lacking in moments, unless we factor in players being murdered for heading the ball accidentally into their own nets. Basketball has produced moments like no other, and most definitely moreso then soccer. As such, it's a greater sport.

In the end, staying true to the argument at hand, we must set criteria. Ive shown basketball to be close to soccer in popularity in parts of the world, and greater in some. Ive shown how basketball is played on a bigger scale in the Olympics, making it greater. Ive shown how athleticism in basketball trumps the overall athleticism in soccer, and Ive shown how moments truly make a sport. And basketball has produced moments more then any other sport. Soccer isn't even close. When looking at the world's greatest sport, it's not close here either. Basketball is the world's greatest sport.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:20 AM
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Before I answer I would like to discuss the question itself. The question clearly states, ďWhat is the greatest sport in the world?Ē It isnít talking about the most popular sport in the world, which would be soccer. It isnít talking about the fastest growing sport in the world, which would be basketball. This topic is all about the greatest sport and that is without a doubt in my mind, American Football. The reason for this is simple. When talking about what is the greatest sport there are three factors that come into play for me: The game, the players, and the fans. I will use these 3 components in my argument for why American Football is the greatest sport in the world.

The Game

The game of football is a sport of intense competition. To play and succeed at the game you have to be a superior athlete both mentally and physically. Every single down in the course of the game gives an opportunity for something exciting to happen. The game has the most intense competition of any sport in the world. Whether itís an offensive battle that ends 38-31 or a defensive battle that ends 7-3, the game has a level of excitement and competitiveness that is unmatched. It is an easy game to follow and one that a spectator can enjoy even if they have never witnessed the sport before. This is evident by the fact that the NFL overseas games have drawn huge crowds. Over 103,000 fans saw a game in 2005 in Mexico City. Over 81,000 fans have watched games at Wembley Stadium each year over the last few years. International fans with limited exposure to the sport wouldnít come out in these huge numbers if the sport wasnít an easy one to follow and understand. It is a game that is played at all levels from youth all the way up to professional. At the youth and high school levels it teaches great discipline. At the college level it gives many athletes opportunities that they wouldnít have without football. At the professional level it provides an atmosphere that is unmatched. There is no sport that is more fun to watch then American Football. The sport has provided more memorable moments in the pro and college ranks then any other sport. All of these aspects about the game contribute to it being the greatest sport.

The Players

The players that play American Football are the best athletes in all of sports. In terms of strength, agility, speed, endurance, there is no other athlete that can match them. Some of the greatest athletes of all time have played the game. Names like Jim Brown, Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Jerry Rice, and Barry Sanders have succeeded on all levels of the sport. Names like Charlie Ward and Jeff Samardzija had great college success before moving on to other professional sports. To be an American Football player it takes great skill physically as well as mentally. The strategy involved in the game is more intricate then any other sport. These players also put their bodies through more physically then in any other sport. You cannot have a great sport without tremendous players/athletes and there is none better then in American Football.

The Fans

You can have a great game with tremendous players but if no one cares then the sport cannot be considered the greatest. American Football has some of the best fans in the world. The NFL is the most popular league in the United States and it isnít all that close. Now I want to be clear once again that the question is about greatest sport in the world and not most popular. I wonít sit here and say that American Football is more popular worldwide the European Football (soccer) because that would be false. However, American Football is widely popular in its markets and Iíll take the fans of the game of American Football over the fans of any other sport. Whether itís college or professional the fans are loyal and show tremendous support. The average attendance in the NFL is greater then that of any other professional league in the world. In 2008 the NFL averaged 68,240 fans. Thatís over 10,000 more fans on average then the second place league which was the Indian Premier League (cricket).

Close

When it comes to the game, the players, and the fans there is no sport in the world greater then American Football. I have emphasized my argument with the three components stated above and will continue to follow these components throughout the course of the debate. To me they are the three components that best describe which sport is the greatest and once again, that sport is American Football.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by LSN80 View Post
When I truly take into account what it means to be considered the greatest sport in the world, I take several factors into consideration. Some may make the mistake of assuming most popular automatically equates to being the "greatest" and it's an honest mistake to make. Popularity is certainly a factor, as I doubt anyone would affirm lacrosse, swimming, or gymnastics here. But it's not the only factor, and there are several to consider. After doing so, I believe the choice is very clear. The answer to the question of greatest sport in the world? Basketball.
Basketball is indeed a good choice regarding the question at hand here. While I do believe that soccer is the clear and overwhelming choice as the greatest sport in the world (my personal feelings aside), basketball would probably be my second choice. A very distant second, mind you, but second nonetheless. After basketball, the third choice, on a global scale, falls way off. But make no mistake about it, soccer is the obvious answer to this question, when looked at objectively rather than from a position of bias as my e-friend LSN80 has done.


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I said it's not the only factor, but it certainly is a factor. On any given day, all around the world, people are playing basketball. Today, basketball rates as one of the most popular sports worldwide and its popularity is at an all-time high. Basketball tournaments are played out between players of all age groups from 5 and 6 year olds ranging to adults of all levels and ages. Sporting networks around the world, on any given day, will report on professional basketball tournaments around the world and broadcast local and international games. Basketball has continued to grow in popularity also because it is relatively cheap in comparison to other sports to get into and play. It can be played indoors and outdoors, in summer and winter, by men and women of all ages. One thing that seperates it from a sport such as soccer is that its a game that can be played individually as well. One can hone and perfect their game many ways indivdually in the sport of basketball like no other popular sport. It takes to play pitch and catch, or to toss a football around. There are artificial machines for some of these games, but the sport that can be played in its purest form individually is basketball. It's the penultimate non-descriminatory sport.
In answering the question being posed here, popularity is the main parameter to be considered. Otherwise, it becomes a question of personal choice, personal preference, rather than an assessment of which sport is the greatest on a global scale. You have to look at worldwide popularity as being the benchmark in answering the question: who is watching the game, who is following it in a close and sometimes obsessive manner, who is
Laying it and to what degree. The global phenomenon which is soccer has the greatest popularity across the world in all continents where humans reside. This point is not even debatable. Even if I concede basketball's growing popularity, it is absolutely dwarfed by soccer. And it is this popularity which gives the clear and unwavering nod to soccer as the greatest sport in the world. Any suggestion other than soccer is merely sn expression of personal preference, not an objective look at the facts. Hell, as I said, personally I detest soccer, and even k have to concede this fact as beyond debate.

On any given day people around the world are playing basketball, this much is true. But on every single day, people across the world are playing soccer too, except in far greater numbers in many more nations. Basketball is "one of the most popular"sports in the world, I concede this, in fact I respectfully suggest it may be second. But soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and the discrepancy between first and second is astronomical.

Basketball is played at all levels by all ages and both genders. Again, point conceded, but the same applies to soccer, but to a far greater degree. Basketball is growing in popularity. Maybe some day it will catch soccer who knows. But that day is absolutely not today, and it likely won't be tomorrow either. Sure, basketball is cheap to play, all you need is a ball and a pair of sneakers. This differs from soccer how? Give a kid a pair of sneakers or cleats and a ball, maybe a pair of kneepads (totally optional), throw them onto a field, and lo and behold, he is ready to go in the sport of soccer, every bit as inexpensively.

Basketball can be played indoors and outdoors. So can soccer. Winter or summer, applies equally to soccer and basketball, even though it is ideally intended to be outdoors on a field, rather than in an arena or a gymnasium. Plus, for a lot of the nations where soccer is played, this point is irrelevant, as the weather is not an issue anyway.

Sure basketball can be played by men or women, adults or kids. Again, none of this distances it from soccer. And soccer too can be played individually. Just like a kid can go on the court and practice his shooting, or dribbling, or skills in general, so to can a kid draw a soccer net on a wall, and practice his shotmaking or passing skills as much as he desires. And he can practice his ball handling skills through individual practice. There is absolutely nothing in this paragraph which even comes close to changing my mind about soccer exceeding basketball, and everything else, as the greatest sport in the world.


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When thinking about which sports have the most naturally gifted athletes, the sport that comes readily to mind for me is basketball. Much of this is due to the fact that basketball players spend most of their time running up and down the field. In comparing it to baseball, for example, baseball is based more on skill than on real athletic ability. Don't get m wrong, there are great athletes in baseball. However, if put up against the majority of basketball players in pure physical testing, most baseball players wouldn't stand a chance.
No one is dismissing the athleticism or conditioning of basketball players. And let's not cloud the issue by introducing baseball into the discussion, as no one would suggest that baseball players in general have the physical conditioning or athleticism of basketball or soccer players. I think you grossly underestimate the athleticism of soccer players, and largely overstate that of basketball players. I think we are beginning to see your personal biases, your personal preferences, creep into the discussion.


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Another inherent quality within basketball is that players have to train year round to run up and down the court. Jumping is a fator in basketball that is not found universally in all athletes in other sports. Not only that, basketball players have to make quick lateral moves and change angles and approach very suddenly. Basketball requires an extreme amount of coordination as well. While soccer players are also in extremely good shape, their training is geared much more towards endurance and simply running up and down the field. The lateral movement of a basketball player is greater then that of a soccer player because soccer doesn't require the aggressive defensive that basketball does. The breaks in basketball are minimal, especially compared to their hockey, football, and baseball counterparts. Ive said it before, and Ill say it here again. Soccer is much more akin to sprinting and long distance running, with hand-eye coordination mixed in. Basketball players are better all around athletes than soccer players.
Soccer players have to train twelve months a year as well. Jumping skills are
prevalent in soccer as well, as they jump to head the ball, but over and above this, they possess many other skills and cardio unlike any other athlete. Again, personal bias is at play here. You believe that basketball players are better athletes, but the passion of your belief does not make it true. I do not have such passion for soccer players, I simply am looking at the question objectively, and the simple fact of the matter is, soccer players are better athletes than basketball players are as well.


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Michael Jordan of the Bulls. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers. Christian Laettner in Duke vs Kentucky. How are these all related? They've all provided moments that wll be ever etched into our memories. Some have done so in being human highlight reels, others have done so in providing game-ending moments that will forever go down in the annals of sports. Moreso then in any other sport, there is little time for a lapse. A ten point lead can be erased quickly, and we've seen it happen time and again. There's more offense in basketball then any other sport, offerring more opportunities for game-defining or jaw dropping moments. How may times have we seen March Madness moments that we'll never forget? The list is longer and deeper between the college and professional ranks then in any other sport.
This entire paragraph is personal preference and bias. I share your sentiments about all of it. To me, basketball is way more exciting than soccer. But this is not what the question is asking. It isn't asking which sport you like the best, or which one is more exciting to people in our neck of the woods, and the answer to this is clear. My personal feelings aside, it is soccer on a global basis. It may not be soccer in North America. It certainly is not soccer in my house. But from a worldwide perspective, it is definitely soccer, and this is what the question is asking, which one nips the greatest in the world. For every person in our continent who finds basketball more exciting, there are many more elsewhere in the rest of the world who feel exactly the same way, if not more so, about soccer.


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Basketball is quickly becoming one of the most popular and beloved sports in the world. Part of that is due to the all-inclusive nature of the sport. It truly is something that can be played anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. It's athleticism on the whole is more complete and greater then any other sport. While there are select players in other sports that contain great athletes, no sport provides the greatest level of pure athleticism the sport of basketball. And the excitement factor is second to none because of this. Because of the high octane nature of the sport, one can never snooze on the game, or their team. Neither can the players, and it shows. The sport has simply provided more jaw dropping feats and last-second moments then any other. I'll be affirming these and others along the way as I demonstrate why basketball is truly the greatest sport in the world.
Basketball may be "becoming" one of the most popular, but it is not there yet, not by a long shot. And it has a long way to go to close the gap between itself and soccer. The rest of the paragraph above again is permeated by your personal opinion, your personal likes and dislikes and whims, stating how you feel about sports, rather than how the entire world perceives it. I share your sentiments, but even with this being said, you are incorrect in terms of stating that basketball is a greater sport on a worldwide basis than soccer is. Keep your discussions objective, look at the simple facts of the matter, rather than what you yourself like the best, and the choice is clear. Soccer is truly the greatest sport in the world. Try to dispute it sly you like, but the truth of the matter is clear.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:55 AM
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Hatehabs- I'm not going to go quote for quote on your original post because you seem to be focusing on one main thing and that is global popularity. The question is not most popular sport, it is greatest sport. Popularity does not automatically equal greatness. Justin Bieber is one of the most popular singers/musicians in the world right now but you'd be hard pressed to find people (other then pre teen girls) that would say he is the greatest. The fans to each respective sport are important, and as such, popularity plays a little bit of a role but a sport doesn't have to be insanely popular around the globe to be considered the greatest. American Football is the most popular sport in where it's marketed and also has some growing international popularity as well. Like I stated in my original post, when talking about the greatest sport in the world it comes down to the game itself, the players, and the fans. Using those three components the answer to the question at hand is without a doubt American Football.

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Originally Posted by LSN80 View Post
When I truly take into account what it means to be considered the greatest sport in the world, I take several factors into consideration. Some may make the mistake of assuming most popular automatically equates to being the "greatest" and it's an honest mistake to make. Popularity is certainly a factor, as I doubt anyone would affirm lacrosse, swimming, or gymnastics here. But it's not the only factor, and there are several to consider. After doing so, I believe the choice is very clear. The answer to the question of greatest sport in the world? Basketball.
Basketball is a good choice but certainly not the best. Your factors you take into account are actually similar to mine you just referred to them differently. Instead of game you put excitement, instead of players you put athleticism, and instead of fans you put popularity. There are some differences in the components but they are for the most part similar. Let's get to it.


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I said it's not the only factor, but it certainly is a factor. On any given day, all around the world, people are playing basketball. Today, basketball rates as one of the most popular sports worldwide and its popularity is at an all-time high. Basketball tournaments are played out between players of all age groups from 5 and 6 year olds ranging to adults of all levels and ages. Sporting networks around the world, on any given day, will report on professional basketball tournaments around the world and broadcast local and international games. Basketball has continued to grow in popularity also because it is relatively cheap in comparison to other sports to get into and play. It can be played indoors and outdoors, in summer and winter, by men and women of all ages. One thing that seperates it from a sport such as soccer is that its a game that can be played individually as well. One can hone and perfect their game many ways indivdually in the sport of basketball like no other popular sport. It takes to play pitch and catch, or to toss a football around. There are artificial machines for some of these games, but the sport that can be played in its purest form individually is basketball. It's the penultimate non-descriminatory sport.
Basketball is definitely popular worldwide and when it comes to outside of the US it is more popular then American Football. However, basketball is also marketed more outside of the US then American Football is. The NFL is starting to market a lot more internationally and the international popularity is definitely growing for the sport but it's something that takes time. In the areas it is heavily marketed American Football is easily more popular then basketball at all levels.


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When thinking about which sports have the most naturally gifted athletes, the sport that comes readily to mind for me is basketball. Much of this is due to the fact that basketball players spend most of their time running up and down the field. In comparing it to baseball, for example, baseball is based more on skill than on real athletic ability. Don't get m wrong, there are great athletes in baseball. However, if put up against the majority of basketball players in pure physical testing, most baseball players wouldn't stand a chance.

Another inherent quality within basketball is that players have to train year round to run up and down the court. Jumping is a fator in basketball that is not found universally in all athletes in other sports. Not only that, basketball players have to make quick lateral moves and change angles and approach very suddenly. Basketball requires an extreme amount of coordination as well. While soccer players are also in extremely good shape, their training is geared much more towards endurance and simply running up and down the field. The lateral movement of a basketball player is greater then that of a soccer player because soccer doesn't require the aggressive defensive that basketball does. The breaks in basketball are minimal, especially compared to their hockey, football, and baseball counterparts. Ive said it before, and Ill say it here again. Soccer is much more akin to sprinting and long distance running, with hand-eye coordination mixed in. Basketball players are better all around athletes than soccer players.
There is no doubt that basketball players are great athletes. but no group of athletes on the whole are as athletic as American Football players. No sport is more physically and mentally demanding then the game of football. American Football players are easily the most well rounded athletes as well. There are more NFL players that have or could have succeeded at other professional sports then in any other league worldwide. Just go to this page and compare the American Football multi sport athletes to that of other sports. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...rican_football Once again, while basketball has great athletes and is certainly physically demanding, it does not compare in either category when going against American Football.



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Michael Jordan of the Bulls. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers. Christian Laettner in Duke vs Kentucky. How are these all related? They've all provided moments that wll be ever etched into our memories. Some have done so in being human highlight reels, others have done so in providing game-ending moments that will forever go down in the annals of sports. Moreso then in any other sport, there is little time for a lapse. A ten point lead can be erased quickly, and we've seen it happen time and again. There's more offense in basketball then any other sport, offerring more opportunities for game-defining or jaw dropping moments. How may times have we seen March Madness moments that we'll never forget? The list is longer and deeper between the college and professional ranks then in any other sport.
The game of basketball has provided some great moments and is very exciting but this is another area where it cannot compete with American Football. In college you have things like the Cal/Stanford finish, the Flutie Hail Mary, the Vince Young Rose Bowl performance, the App. State upset of Michigan, the Kordell Stewart Hail Mary, etc.. In the NFL you have things like the Joe Namath SB prediction and upset, the Music City Miracle, the Marcus Allen Super Bowl run, the Montana game winning drives, the Elway game winning drives, the Immaculate Reception, the David Tyree catch, etc.. The NFL and football as a whole has been tremendously competitive throughout history which adds to the excitement level. The NBA has almost always been dominated by a select few teams. That's not always a bad thing but for me the more parity there is, the more exciting a sport is. I'll also take college football over college basketball any day. College basketball is really only at peak excitement for one month out of the schedule. College Football brings great excitement throughout the course of its season.

Overall American Football is greater then basketball in all of the criteria you listed and that shows that American Football is the greatest sport in the world.
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:00 PM
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Basketball is a good choice but certainly not the best. Your factors you take into account are actually similar to mine you just referred to them differently. Instead of game you put excitement, instead of players you put athleticism, and instead of fans you put popularity. There are some differences in the components but they are for the most part similar. Let's get to it.
Agreed on the bold. I think we both hit on the most important factors that go into determining the greatest sport in the world. We may go about different ways of saying it, with minor tweaks, but I can affirm that our criteria is virtually similar, and I'll debate it as such. While I feel that football is a solid choice, I believe that basketball is the better one.

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Basketball is definitely popular worldwide and when it comes to outside of the US it is more popular then American Football. However, basketball is also marketed more outside of the US then American Football is. The NFL is starting to market a lot more internationally and the international popularity is definitely growing for the sport but it's something that takes time. In the areas it is heavily marketed American Football is easily more popular then basketball at all levels.
Which raises the question as to why the sport hasn't been more marketed heavily, doesn't it? By my figure, the NFL was formed in 1920 as the American Professional football Association. Two years later, in 1922, it was changed to be known as the National Football League, the same very league under which it derives it's name from today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_football

As for basketball, its professonal origins can be dated back to 1932, when the first game was played between Toronto and New York. The difference is, basketball is marketed more heavily internationally, and it' not even close. Since FIBA was formed in 1989, 214 nations become members.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interna...all_Federation

So while the sport of American football may be marketed more heavily in certain markets, that has to raise the question about global appeal. The fact that in the time between 1989-2011 214 nations have joined its association. Currently, the penultimate markets for professional(and college) football are restricted to the United States and Canada alone. So while football has had more time to aggressively pursue an International market, it has yet to do so. Professional basketball has established both a presence overseas with it's own federation that's not mutually exclusive to North America. Further, since 1992, its greatest athletes have begun playing at the Olympic level, which is the largest stage in the world. So while basketball has had less time to broaden it's appeal, its fairy obvious that it has done so with leaps and bounds in comparison to American football.

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There is no doubt that basketball players are great athletes. but no group of athletes on the whole are as athletic as American Football players. No sport is more physically and mentally demanding then the game of football. American Football players are easily the most well rounded athletes as well. There are more NFL players that have or could have succeeded at other professional sports then in any other league worldwide. Just go to this page and compare the American Football multi sport athletes to that of other sports. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...rican_football Once again, while basketball has great athletes and is certainly physically demanding, it does not compare in either category when going against American Football.
It's a great list, without a doubt. But for every great football player thats phenomenal athetically, there are many that are not. Ill take the athletes on the whole in basketball over American football anytime. In the game of football, there is the stop start factor between every play. That same advantage isn't there in basketball. Further, basketball players must turn around and play defense. Footbal has its specialists, and very few can or could play both ways. In the sport of basketball, not only do the players have to play both ways, they must do so at a phrenetic pace not seen in football unless it's the last two minutes of the half. Basketball players simply play on a different level due to the demands of the game. I won't argue that football isn't physically demanding, and that many players aren't tremendous athletes. But football players are specialists, trained to do one or two things well. Basketball players, on the whole, must play all facets of the game, making it the greater sport in this regard as well.

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The game of basketball has provided some great moments and is very exciting but this is another area where it cannot compete with American Football. In college you have things like the Cal/Stanford finish, the Flutie Hail Mary, the Vince Young Rose Bowl performance, the App. State upset of Michigan, the Kordell Stewart Hail Mary, etc.. In the NFL you have things like the Joe Namath SB prediction and upset, the Music City Miracle, the Marcus Allen Super Bowl run, the Montana game winning drives, the Elway game winning drives, the Immaculate Reception, the David Tyree catch, etc..
You know how this one goes, as it's simply a list of "anything you can do, I can do better." Respectfully, I submit that the moments in basketball dwarf those in football. N.C. State beats "Phi Slamma Jamma" Houston in 1983 while Jimmy Valvano storms the court, the Brown v Board of Education game in 1966, Magic. vs Bird in 79, Georgetown/North Carolina in 82 with Jordan's game winner, the Fabulous Five Freshmen of Michigan in 1993, and of course Laettners fadeaway for Duke against Kentuckys in 1993. March Madness alone has produced more moments then college football as a whole has. As for the NBA, Reggie Miller going off for 25 against New York in the fourth quarter of the Eastern Conference Finals in '94, Jordan explodes for 55 five games into his comeback in '95, Bill Russell scores 30 points and grabs 40 rebounds in Game 7 of the '62 Finals, Dr. J's baseline swoop in 1980 in the NBA Finals, Jordan going out on top in 1998 with a jumper over Byron Russell, Magic playing center in 80, any Jordan moment in the Finals. There's a list that goes on and on here and we could go back and forth and I doubt we'll agree. I believe the moments in basketball have been more dramatic and intense.


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The NFL and football as a whole has been tremendously competitive throughout history which adds to the excitement level. The NBA has almost always been dominated by a select few teams. That's not always a bad thing but for me the more parity there is, the more exciting a sport is. I'll also take college football over college basketball any day. College basketball is really only at peak excitement for one month out of the schedule. College Football brings great excitement throughout the course of its season.
Yet the AFC was represented by the Steelers and the Patriots for 5 of the 10 games in the Super Bowl in the 2000's. Basketball has had its times when it's been dominated by dynasties, but right now the league is as wide open as it's ever been. Even the back to back champion Lakers aren't viewed as the favorites right now. And there's no more parity then there is in college basketball. The March Madness tournament each and every year ensures that. With college football, it's a one loss and done season for most teams. In college basketball, the tournament ensures that longshots, underdogs, and teams that gel at the right time all have a shot. The same can't be said in college football as only one game truly matters. College basketball is far more exciting and enjoyable over the course of a season, especially with conference play and rivalries that heat up throughout the season and are played out in conference tournaments. The unpredictability factor of college basketball is far more greater then in college football. It makes for a more exciting game, in retrospect. The combination of college and professional basketball's excitement is greater, on the whole.


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Overall American Football is greater then basketball in all of the criteria you listed and that shows that American Football is the greatest sport in the world.
I think that you've done an excellent job of establishing what makes football such a great sport, and we've used mutual criteria to argue for our sports of choice. If it was any other sport, I may be with you on football. But not in comparison to basketball. Ive demonstrated that the criteria on a whole between the game, the players, and the fans is greater in basketball then it is in football, making basketball the greater worldwide sport.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by LSN80 View Post
So while the sport of American football may be marketed more heavily in certain markets, that has to raise the question about global appeal. The fact that in the time between 1989-2011 214 nations have joined its association. Currently, the penultimate markets for professional(and college) football are restricted to the United States and Canada alone. So while football has had more time to aggressively pursue an International market, it has yet to do so. Professional basketball has established both a presence overseas with it's own federation that's not mutually exclusive to North America. Further, since 1992, its greatest athletes have begun playing at the Olympic level, which is the largest stage in the world. So while basketball has had less time to broaden it's appeal, its fairy obvious that it has done so with leaps and bounds in comparison to American football.
I'm not going to dispute any of that but to me none of that makes the sport itself greater. David Stern with the way he has marketed the NBA has done a tremendous job helping the game expand internationally. Stern and the NBA put in the effort that was needed to market the sport and expand it globally. Up until recently with Roger Goddell the NFL hasn't really put the necessary effort in to expand the sport globally. Again though, none of this makes the "sport" of basketball greater then the "sport" of football. The International Federtaion of American Football was formed in 1998 and every 4 years the World Cup of American Football takes place. In the last 12 years, 57 nations have become members and in 2005 the organization became a full member of the General Association of International Sports Federations, which organizations like FIBA and FIFA are part of. Currently outside of North America there are 56 American Football leagues in 39 different countries. Japan, Australia, and New Zealand all have 3 or more leagues. With more effort to market it globally the game has grown tremendously on an international scale as of late.



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It's a great list, without a doubt. But for every great football player thats phenomenal athetically, there are many that are not. Ill take the athletes on the whole in basketball over American football anytime. In the game of football, there is the stop start factor between every play. That same advantage isn't there in basketball. Further, basketball players must turn around and play defense. Footbal has its specialists, and very few can or could play both ways. In the sport of basketball, not only do the players have to play both ways, they must do so at a phrenetic pace not seen in football unless it's the last two minutes of the half. Basketball players simply play on a different level due to the demands of the game. I won't argue that football isn't physically demanding, and that many players aren't tremendous athletes. But football players are specialists, trained to do one or two things well. Basketball players, on the whole, must play all facets of the game, making it the greater sport in this regard as well.
It is two completely different games in terms of the offense/defense aspect. The majority of NFL players are most definitely athletic enough to play on both sides of the ball and most ff them grew up doing so. There are many college players who switch positions on their way to the NFL and some go from offense to defense or vice versa. I can easily make the argument that many basketball players can't play much defense they just have to do it out of necessity because like I already stated it's two completely different games. I can almost guarantee that American Football players are at a physically higher level then NBA players. The list I posted also showed how American Football players more then any other sport could easily succeed at other sports, adding to their athletic prowess.



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You know how this one goes, as it's simply a list of "anything you can do, I can do better." Respectfully, I submit that the moments in basketball dwarf those in football. N.C. State beats "Phi Slamma Jamma" Houston in 1983 while Jimmy Valvano storms the court, the Brown v Board of Education game in 1966, Magic. vs Bird in 79, Georgetown/North Carolina in 82 with Jordan's game winner, the Fabulous Five Freshmen of Michigan in 1993, and of course Laettners fadeaway for Duke against Kentuckys in 1993. March Madness alone has produced more moments then college football as a whole has. As for the NBA, Reggie Miller going off for 25 against New York in the fourth quarter of the Eastern Conference Finals in '94, Jordan explodes for 55 five games into his comeback in '95, Bill Russell scores 30 points and grabs 40 rebounds in Game 7 of the '62 Finals, Dr. J's baseline swoop in 1980 in the NBA Finals, Jordan going out on top in 1998 with a jumper over Byron Russell, Magic playing center in 80, any Jordan moment in the Finals. There's a list that goes on and on here and we could go back and forth and I doubt we'll agree. I believe the moments in basketball have been more dramatic and intense.
We can go back and forth all day but when you look at the greatest moments and greatest plays in sports history, American Football has more of a presence then basketball. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/espn2...er/25bestplays This list from ESPN has the top 25 plays and the edge goes to American Football over basketball. In fact 3 of the top 5 plays from both ESPN25 experts and from the fans are from American Football.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2...moments/060321 This list has the 20 greatest sports moments ever on television from the ESPN page 2 writers. Once again American Football has the edge here, including two of the top three plays on the list. Great moments happen in all sport and we could have entire thread dedicated to just these moments but it would get us no where. To me though the great plays and moments in American Football certainly trump those in basketball on the whole.




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Yet the AFC was represented by the Steelers and the Patriots for 5 of the 10 games in the Super Bowl in the 2000's. Basketball has had its times when it's been dominated by dynasties, but right now the league is as wide open as it's ever been. Even the back to back champion Lakers aren't viewed as the favorites right now. And there's no more parity then there is in college basketball. The March Madness tournament each and every year ensures that. With college football, it's a one loss and done season for most teams. In college basketball, the tournament ensures that longshots, underdogs, and teams that gel at the right time all have a shot. The same can't be said in college football as only one game truly matters. College basketball is far more exciting and enjoyable over the course of a season, especially with conference play and rivalries that heat up throughout the season and are played out in conference tournaments. The unpredictability factor of college basketball is far more greater then in college football. It makes for a more exciting game, in retrospect. The combination of college and professional basketball's excitement is greater, on the whole.
The Lakers may not be viewed as the favorite but teams like the Celtics and Spurs are. In the last 31 seasons only 8 different franchises have won the NBA title. Of those 8, 5 of them are among the favorites to win the title again this year so the chances of a new winner are very slim. The NFL like any other sports has its dynasties but there is still far more parity then in the NBA. In the same 31 seasons the NFL has produced 13 different champions. There have only been 4 out of 32 NFL franchises that have yet to make a Super Bowl in their history and there have been 7 out of 30 NBA Franchises who have never made it to the finals.

The college football system is most definitely flawed but those flaws are part of what makes it exciting every single week throughout the season. The same can't be said about college basketball. Outside the month of March the excitement just isn't there on a weekly basis. Going back to 1990 college basketball has had 13 different Champions. College Football has had 14 different AP Champions, so the tournament making more parity doesn't show in terms of Championship wins.




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I think that you've done an excellent job of establishing what makes football such a great sport, and we've used mutual criteria to argue for our sports of choice. If it was any other sport, I may be with you on football. But not in comparison to basketball. Ive demonstrated that the criteria on a whole between the game, the players, and the fans is greater in basketball then it is in football, making basketball the greater worldwide sport.
The greatest sport in the world is American Football. I have dissected your arguments based on our similar criteria and proven that No matter how you cut it, basketball does not measure up to the greatness that is American Football.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by LSN80 View Post
Im glad we agree here. Despite having played it for a year in high school, I can't bring myself to watch a game. Kudos to you for trying to affirm a sport that you find so mind-numbingly boring. Coming from such a position of disadvantage, I couldn't imagine arguing a sport that I dislike so much. Especially since it's the wrong one.
Make no mistake about it, my selection of soccer in this discussion is absolutely not the incorrect choice. I am simply displaying the objectivity required to answer the question at hand, while not allowing my personal whims and biases to creep in and taint my discussion, something which is clearly evidenced in your posts regarding basketball and Big Sexy's regarding football, which I will deal with later.

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This is somewhat true here, but there are parts that are entirely false. In the case of India, the world's second most populous nation, the most popular sports are field hockey and cricket. In Japan, which owns the claim of world's second largest economy, the most popular sport is baseball. In fact, baseball is more popular in Japan then it is the United States. In the case of the China, it's a dogfight between Soccer, Basketball, and Table Tennis, of all sports. Think about where you live Habs. Did you know that the first NBA game, as recognized by the NBA themselves, took place in Canada? It's true.
Look, I am not suggesting that soccer is the number one sport in absolutely every single nation on the planet. I am, however, suggesting that it is extremely popular pretty much universally, especially outside of Canada and the United States. I don't really care if field hockey and cricket are more popular in India than soccer is, that's totally irrelevant. You can be damn sure that soccer is more popular there than football or basketball are. And you can be equally certain that field hockey and cricket do not have the global appeal of soccer. Simply put, soccer is a tremendous presence in India, while American football is totally invisible there, as is basketball. Same goes for Japan. Sure, baseball may be more popular there than soccer is, but soccer is still pretty significant there too. Does anyone in Japan follow basketball to the same extent that they follow soccer? Does anyone in Japan even know what the hell the NFL even is, or for those who know, do they care. We all know that the answer there is no, that in relative terms, soccer is prominent in Japan, while basketball is far less prominent and American football is pretty much invisible. Regarding China, you mention soccer, basketball, and table tennis. Obviously, we don't need to incorporate ping pong into the discussion. Even if I concede basketball and soccer to be equal in China, which I absolutely do not, this is just one country where they are equal, as opposed to countless other countries where soccer is so far ahead of basketball that it hardly warrants discussion.

Thanks for the history lesson regarding Canada by the way. I am well aware of James Naismith. Not relevant at all to this discussion.

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And as for the United States? It's not even close. The influx of foreigner players in the NBA, the premiere basketball league in the world, is growing by the year. In the 1980's the NBA began to aggressively promote itself with stars such as Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. The 1992 NBA Dream team, on the world's bigest stage, the Olympics, truly phenomonalized the sport. For every David Beckham that has come to the states and become prominent, I can see your Beckham, and raise you two time NBA MVP Steve Nash(Canada), Yao Ming(China), 2007 NBA Finals MVP Tony Parker(France) and the first European to win an MVP, Dirk Nowitzi(Germany). and So while soccer is still recognized as the sport of choice in through much of Western Europe and South America, it's not so much throughout the rest of the world. While my article here will affirm the argument of soccer being the most popular worldwide, it will show how basketball has become more infectuous in Russia, China, and Argentina, all nations where soccer used to be king.
I agree that soccer does not have the same degree of appeal in the United States that it has pretty much everywhere else. But let's not be guilty of the American sentiment that if it is not important in the US, it doesn't matter anywhere. Even if soccer is not as big in our part of the globe, let's not be arrogant and suggest that this is any way detracts from it's overall appeal. The fact that the popularity of soccer in the States is lesser than in many other countries is not really relevant to the discussion at hand.

I don't really care about the influx of basketball players who are non-Americans into the United States, as opposed to the influx of soccer players into your country. This only pertains to the perception of sports in the United States only, and really matters little in terms of the perception of sports across the planet.

Basketball has become more infectious in Russia, China, and Argentina. Even if I give you the benefit of the doubt here, it still is indicative of the fact that basketball is in second place and is attempting to catch soccer. I wish them well. Surely to God you are not suggesting that soccer is being challenged in Argentina of all places by basketball. To this I would simply say


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Not really. As I showed above, their are significant portions of the world that are enthralled with other sports. Basketball is one of them in many of those nations. Popularity, while not the end all be all, is important. So if basketball popularity is growing, it's cutting into whatever supposed advantage soccer has. And we're just talking popularity. When it comes to athleticism and excitement, soccer pales. More on that later.
I think you are basically making my point for me here. You are conceding that basketball's popularity, while growing, is merely cutting into the advantage that soccer possesses. Soccer has a tremendous advantage, and basketball may be on the upswing, but it has a lot of swinging to do to catch up. It's like a hockey game where the score is 10-2. The team which is trailing scores a goal to make it 10-3. They are cutting into the deficit, but are still lagging well behind. In this analogy, soccer is 10 and basketball is 3. Nibbling into the deficit, but still miles behind.


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I can easily argue that sentiment. The World Cup involves 32 teams per year. Doing the math from 205 nations, I fail to see how an event can be the greatest sport in the World when its penultimate event, the World Cup, only involves 18% of the world? I becomes a larger stretch to say that its the World's greatest sport when only 77 countries in the 80 year history of the World Cup have ever participated in it. That's only 38% of the World, by my count. Those are undiputable facts against the soccer argument.
These numbers shenanigans are a big pile of irrelevance. The take home message here is that over 200 countries are heavily involved in the game of soccer. At any time the World Cup is contested, 32 countries are directly represented. Other than the Olympics, is there any other avenue for basketball which features involvement from 200+ countries? Or any tournament involving basketball where 32 countries participate? Throw cold water on the World Cup all you want, but the simple fact of the matter is this. There is no global showcase for basketball which even comes close to the prominence and significance of the FIFA World Cup, with the exception of the Olympics, which of course is also significantly represented in the soccer world as well.



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And for every professional soccer team you named, I can tell you about the rich history of the Boston Celtics, the 17 time NBA champions. Or I could get into the great legacy of the 12 time NCAA champion UCLA Bruins. As I showed above, the first NBA game was played in Canada, not the United States. The NBA maintains a presence in Canada to this day with the Toronto Raptors. And there's FIBA of course, who oversees basketball operations in China, Italy, Argentina, Germany, France, Russia, and others, some of the most populous and affluent nations in the World. As I demonstrated above, many of those nations have sent representatives over to the NBA, some of whom have won MVP and NBA championships. Does the Western Hemisphere do the same? Do we pump players over into the European product? Until I see it, I fail to believe it. We've popularized basketball over in foreign nations, who have sent their best players to play in the NBA. Is it the same two-way street with soccer? Decidedly not.
The rich legacy of the Boston Celtics is tremendously significant to me. But that is a biased perspective from a North American fan. Move beyond our borders, and this Celtics legacy is invisible. Both yourself and Big Sexy are clouded by your personal preferences, rather than looking at the simple facts on a worldwide scale. Talk go a sports fan in England, and I am certain the rich legacy of Manchester United means every bit as much if not more. Trust me, the presence held by the Raptors in Toronto is not remotely comparable to, for example, the presence of Barcelona in the country of Spain. I would respectfully suggest that the worldwide scope of FIBA lags well behind that of FIFA.



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Yet the same thing can be said about basketball, to the 9th degree. There's this little thing about to start in a week known as March Madness. Does soccer maintain any type of illustrious and popular tournament for it's collegiate players? We both know the answer here. And it's only growing, as the NCAA has upped the field to 68 teams this year from 65 of the past. Basketball is played indoors and out, summer and winter, men's and women's. Where are the Women's Premiere League's like the WNBA and the Women's College Basketball tournament? Basketball maintains a presence within all genres, including sex and age, that soccer simply does not. When you drive around, what do you see more of, soccer nets or basketball hoops? This is an easy one here. With the facts Ive shown, Id say that's the worldwide presence would be similar that it's basketball.
March Madness is a crazy event in the United States, and surprisingly so in Canada as well. I doubt Europeans, or Asians, or Australians, or Africans, know or care two hoots about collegiate basketball in the United States.

When I drive around I see a lot more basketball hoops than soccer nets. Then again, I have only driven around in Canada and the United States. The next time I go for a Sunday drive in Paris, or Rio, or the Netherlands, I'll be sure to check out the number of kids playing soccer as opposed to basketball. Safe to say, I would see a lot more soccer and a whole lot less basketball. This argument of yours sounds nice in print, but really, in all honesty, is meaningless and borderline silly.


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And I respectfully disagree. Soccer players are well conditioned athletes. Comparable to lon-distance runners, or sprinters at times. But they don't have to do much of the quick lateral moves, change of angles and approach very suddenly that basketball entails. The fact that they don't use their hands and arms works decidedly against them. Quick, agile feet? Yes. But so is the same in basketball. Have you ever seen Michael Jordan elevate? How about Kobe Bryant? What about the way both men elevate? Jumping and the timing of said jumps is a major part of the basketball game that simply isn't involved when it comes to soccer. While soccer players are also in extremely good shape, their training is geared much more towards endurance and simply running up and down the field. The basketball player's lateral movement is far greater then that of a soccer player because soccer doesn't require the aggressive defensive that basketball does. Shoulder checks? Yes. But aggressive, in your face defense for 24 and 35 seconds? Heck no. Having said all this, it's easy to see basketball players are better all around athletes than soccer players.
I think that you grossly underestimate the physical rigors of playing soccer at the level required of these premiere athletes, and largely overstate the same for basketball players. You make it sound like soccer players are just haphazardly running around the pitch with no direction or purpose, and that is ludicrous. I care little about the lateral movements of basketball players. There is plenty of this in soccer as well. As a shot heads toward the crease, with offensive players trying to connect with and redirect the ball, while the defenders are leaping to prevent the same, takes plenty of skills, leaping abilities, and athleticism. The fat that they have to exhibit such precision, without the use of their hands, is even more impressive than doing so with the use of the entire body of the player. Sure, fellow North American sports fan, I am far more impressed with the skill set of Mchael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, but this is another admitted bias on both of our parts. Find me a soccer fan in Argentina or Germany, and I am quite certain they can inundate up with stories and descriptions of their locals heroes as well, showing skills and
performing actions which to them are awe inspiring and impressive.


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I maintain that basketball players are under greater mental scrutiny. Why's that? The shot clock. The have to maintain a awareness of set plays and how much time is left on each and every possession. This type of awareness simply isn't there for the soccer player. Basketball involves anticipation of your teammates, and what your opponent is about to do at the same time. And this is a constant for 20 minute halves or 15 minute periods, 40 and 60 minute games. Then not only does the player have to show that mental awareness on one end of the floor, they have to turn around and do it on the other. Soccer is made up of defined positions, with defined areas of the field. This isn't the case for basketball players. They have to cover 100% of the floor. There aren't sweepers and strikers in basketball. The guards and the centers have to cover the same ground.
Basketball players are under greeter scrutiny because of the shot clock? I am not sure this even makes sense. Gretaer scrutiny from the refs, sure, but not from a global audience. Basketball players abilities to shift from offense to defense in a matter of seconds has nothing to do with mental scrutiny. This is a simple case of instincts, of natural abilities. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the scrutiny of a world wide audience, and the inherent pressures which accompany it.


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I maintain that this is irrelevant. If anything, it's a stain on the sport, not a testament to its greatness. A sport that fosters this type of fanatical environment loses so much stock in terms of being great simply for that reason. While colleges and cities sell jerseys and cheerlead and foster team play and a safe environment in basketball, soccer encourages riots and physical assasinations of its players who fail. This shows the detrimental, dark side of soccer, again showing why basketball is the greater sport.
It is anything but irrelevant, in fact it is extremely relevant. It may be a stain on the sport, but it is a simple reality which is definitely associated with the sport, whether you like it or not. The fanaticism of the overly zealous soccer enthusiasts may not reflect well upon the sport, but it definitely puts the players who compete in the sport under a considerable degree of pressure. Remember back when I was talking about the Summit Series, and Ken Dryden, the goalie in the deciding game for Canada, was saying between the second and third periidsvof the game, when Canada was trailing, that if theyblost, he would be the most hated man in Canada. It put him under an incredible amount of pressure, and Canadian hockey fans are typically passionate but not insane or dangerous. Imagine a soccer goalie who knows that if he allows a cheap goal and his team loses, he'll be vilified and will receive death threats or worse. This certainly amps up the pressure, and requires increased mental toughness to be able to perform at one's utmost ability, bringing the mental demands upon soccer players to a whole other stratosphere, far beyond the type of pressure and scrutiny that a football or basketball player would ever face.



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As would I. And I could tell you about their moments. About Christian Laetener's game winner when I was 10 in 1992 for Duke over Kentucky. About Michae Jordan's heroic performance to score 38 points with food poisoning in game 5 of the NBA Finals. Of stories told of Magic Johnson, a rookie point guard, converting to center in the 1980 NBA Finals, a position he had never played before, and scoring 42 points. I could go on, but I think my point is well made here. Where are the stories like this in soccer? Where are the moments that truly make sports great? Moments are a big part of making a sport great.Which has the greater moments and excitement? A soccer match that ends in a 1-1 tie, or an overtime game that ends on a turnaround jump shot? Moments and excitement make sports great, and soccer is lacking in moments, unless we factor in players being murdered for heading the ball accidentally into their own nets. Basketball has produced moments like no other, and most definitely moreso then soccer. As such, it's a greater sport.
This is complete and utter bias and arrogance from the perspective of a North American fan standpoint. I cannot comment on such moments from the world of soccer, because I personally do not like it, do not follow it, and have no direct knowledge of it's rich history and heritage. But rest assured that for every Michael Jordan or Christian Laettner, I am sure there is a Pele, or a Beckham, or someone like this who elicits the same reactions and responses regarding soccer, except on a far more global scale.


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In the end, staying true to the argument at hand, we must set criteria. Ive shown basketball to be close to soccer in popularity in parts of the world, and greater in some. Ive shown how basketball is played on a bigger scale in the Olympics, making it greater. Ive shown how athleticism in basketball trumps the overall athleticism in soccer, and Ive shown how moments truly make a sport. And basketball has produced moments more then any other sport. Soccer isn't even close. When looking at the world's greatest sport, it's not close here either. Basketball is the world's greatest sport.
Agreed, criteria must be set, but said criteria have to be objective and not swayed by personal biases and preferences. Frankly, you have fallen far short in terms of convincing me that basketball comes even remotely close to the popularity of soccer anywhere in the world outside of Canada and the United States. I remain unconvinced that basketball holds any more prominence in the Olympics than does soccer. And I still am not buying that basketball players display any greater degree of athleticism than do soccer players. You have convinced me that basketball is in second place in terms of global popularity, but I really did not need to be convinced of that, as I was already aware of that fact. Basketball far and away beats football in consideration of greatness on a worldwide scale.

But the simple fact remains true. Try as you may to defuse the dominance of soccer in terms of being the greatest sport in the world, but your efforts will fall short. Take all of your personal likes and dislikes and lay them to the side,
and the bottom line still holds true. Soccer is undoubtedly the greatest sport in the world.
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