Finals: Topic #2 - Greatest Athlete

Discussion in 'Sports Debater's League' started by klunderbunker, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

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    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 Thursday. I won't be revealing the scores until the topics are done.

    Leading off is Big Sexy.

    Topic:Who is the greatest athlete of all time? The criteria is up to you and you'll be graded on your overall argument as well as comparisons to other arguments.

    Go.
     
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  2. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

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    Open​

    When it comes to the question of greatest athlete of all time many names come to mind. Deion Sanders, Jim Brown, Babe Ruth, Muhammed Ali, Jackie Robinson, but the name that is above them all is that of Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan is not only the greatest basketball player of all time but he is also the greatest athlete of all time.

    Accomplishments​

    We will start with college where as a Freshman at North Carolina he helped the Tar Heels win the National Championship by hitting the game winning shot in the championship game. In his Junior and final year at North Carolina he cleaned up with some of the most prestigious awards such as Naismith College Player of the Year Award, John R. Wooden Award, and the Adolph Rupp trophy.

    In the NBA he was a 6 time NBA Champion, 6 time finals MVP, 5 time regular season MVP, 10 time scoring champion, 14 time NBA all star, and a 1 time Defensive Player of the Year. He and his Chicago Bulls were virtually unstoppable in the 90's.

    In International play he was a 2 time Olympic Gold Medalist in 1984 and 1992. The Gold Medal that he won in 84 was when he was a part of an all college player led team so unlike the Dream Team, victory wasn't a guarantee.

    I just scratched the surface of all his accomplishments if you'd like to see them all and all of his records then here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_career_achievements_by_Michael_Jordan#College

    Athletic Prowess​

    Michael Jordan was an athlete in the truest sense of the word. He had strength, endurance, agility, and speed that was almost unmatched. He could score inside and outside, he had the speed to defend the smaller guards and the strength to hold his own against some of the bigger guards and small forwards. He could also jump out of the gym and when he was in the air he seemed to float for what seemed like an eternity. That ability helped him become a 2 time dunk champion and it helped him pull off some of the most amazing plays in NBA history.

    Another thing that shows Jordan's great athletic prowess is the fact that he was actually able to just stop playing basketball abruptly in the prime of his career and go play minor league baseball. Now I'm not going to sit here and say he was some great baseball player but the fact that he was able to go out and play a game that he hadn't played since age 12 and look competent doing it is nothing short of remarkable. He was 31 when he signed the contract with the White Sox meaning he hadn't played baseball in 19 years. No normal human being can just pick up a sport after not playing it for 19 years and then all of the sudden be competing at one of the highest levels in the world. Yes, it was just Double A ball but I can't think of any other athlete that could have done what he did.

    One final thing I'd like to discuss that show his great athletic prowess was his second NBA comeback with the Washington Wizards. In 2001-2002 at the age of 38 Michael Jordan came back to play for the Wizards. He hadn't played an NBA game in nearly 4 years and was obviously up in age at 38 but he still played at an extremely high level. In his first season back he played in 60 games, averaged 35 minutes per game, 23 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, 5.2 assists per game, and 1.4 steals per game. His next season at age 39 (he turned 40 half way through the season), Jordan was even more impressive. He played in all 82 games, averaged 37 mpg, 20 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.5 spg, and he shot 44.5% from the field which was a 3% increase from the previous year. MJ scored over 40 points three times that season and on February 21, 2003 he became the first 40 year old to ever score 43 points or more in a game. The man was 40 years old and still one of the better players in the league.

    Legacy​

    A group of journalists for ESPN named Jordan the greatest North American Athlete of the 20th Century. http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/athletes.html
    Larry Bird once referred to him as "God disguised as Michael Jordan." He was not only the best offensive player in NBA history but you'd be hard pressed to find a better defender in the history of the league. He played to almost perfection on both ends of the court. He was a winner, a great leader, one of the most competitive players to ever play the game, had a work ethic that was nearly unmatched, and he is the most clutch player in NBA history. In his final NBA game against the 76ers in Philadelphia, Michel Jordan left the game late in the third quarter. He had planned on staying out the rest of the game because it was out of reach but early in the 4th quarter "We want Mike" chants started in the arena. Late in the 4th he gave into the pressure from the fans and returned to the game. He was intentionally fouled with 1:45 to play and he calmly went to the free throw line and sank two free throws. Seconds later a Philly player was intentionally fouled, stopping the clock and allowing Michael to leave the game. For three minutes his teammates, opponents, officials, and the fans in attendance gave him a standing ovation. Remember, this is Philadelphia we are talking about. They boo Santa Clause. It was a testament to how great Michael Jordan truly was.

    Close​

    Michael Jordan is the greatest athlete of all time. His accomplishments, athletic prowess, and legacy are unmatched by no other athlete. From fans, to opponents, to his teammates you will not get an argument from any of them on who the greatest basketball player of all time is and if you asked them is "Michael Jordan the greatest athlete period?" you'd probably be hard pressed to find many people who'd disagree. He goes by many names, "Air Jordan," "His Airness," "MJ," or simple "Mike." However, I'd like to add another name to that list, "Greatest Athlete to Ever Live."
     
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  3. hatehabsforever

    hatehabsforever Moderator
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    Another interesting topic and of course another excellent opening post, this time from Big Sexy. But just like last round, Big Sexy should receive the "close but no cigar" award for picking a superbly gifted athlete, probably the second greatest ever, but in the end, he forgot one important person. The greatest athlete of all time is Tiger Woods.

    In assessing the designation of the greatest athlete of all time, and who it pertains to, we need to look at it from a number of perspectives.

    The player in question must be tremendously gifted physically. He must possess the attributes of strength, endurance, the ability to play through injury or to recover from injury, and flexibility/agility. The athlete in question must play his respective sport at an extremely high level physically as compared to his current peers as well as those who preceded him.

    Over and above physical strength, the athlete in question must be mentally tough. He must consistently show the ability to play the game with ice water in his veins, while those around him are faltering and succumbing to the intense pressure that they all face. They must be able to face adversity and meet it head on, and rather than cower from it and be intimidated by it. They must be mentally strong enough to be able to play with the lead, without faltering, or "choking" as some would say. Likewise,they must be able to come from behind, and be mentally strong enough to make a push, like a predator, while his prey is withering under the same pressure.

    They need to be psychologically tough, which is similar to, but exactly the same as, the last paragraph. The killer instinct, the ability to go for the jugular when they are in a position to do so, this is something that not all athletes possess. Meanwhile, they have to be psychologically tough enough to resist their opponent's attempt to do the same.

    They must have dominated their sport in terms of awards and accolades. They must have won frequently and dominated their sport, from an early standpoint, right on through their professional careers. For Tiger Woods and professional golf, you need to have won awards and accolades at a torrid pace. Grand Slam victories must have been amassed frequently and in high numbers. Regular tour wins must have been as well. Success in general must have been commonplace for the athlete, to the point that every time he competes in his sport, he has to be feared and seen as the most significant person there, the one to beat.

    The athlete in question needs to have broad appeal. Not only must he be well known in his particular sport, but he must be well know beyond it. He needs to be a household name on an international stage, someone who transcends the sport, someone who can be identified with one name, one word. Say the name Tiger, and everyone across the globe knows exactly who you are talking about.

    The athlete must be marketable. This in and of itself is not crucial, but it relates to the international appeal as above. Attach his guy's name, his face, to anything,anywhere, anyone, and he is well known.

    One factor that can be considered is the whole aspect of team game versus individual performance. Golf is, of course, an individual sport, whereby your successes and failures come down to you and you alone, there is no teammate to pick up your slack. If you have an off day, you don't have a teammate behind you to cover up your difficulties. You are in the spotlight, yourself. This is different from team sports. Tiger Woods does not have a Scottie Pippen or a Dennis Rodman to fall back upon.

    The greatest athlete of all time has to be someone who, when all is said and done, has left a lasting and impressive legacy in his sport. When his time has come and he calls it quits, he will never be forgotten. His accomplishments must be significant enough to withstand the test of time.

    Sure, Tiger Woods has fallen on hard times lately, and I do plan on discussing this. In the end, I will maintain that this is irrelevant to the question at hand.

    My plan is to discuss all of this in detail, however at the moment, time is somewhat of the essence and I do not have sufficient time to get into the details to the extent that I likely will later today. This post has been intended to be bare bones only, putting my sentiments out there, with the justification of it all to come later today in subsequent posts. To be honest, I see Tiger Woods as being the clear and obvious choice in this one, and I wanted to select him before one of my fellow debaters beat me to it. Big Sexy had the opportunity to select Woods ahead of me, and thankfully he erred by not doing so. This post was intended to make him my selection before LSN80 beat me to it. I consider myself lucky that one of my esteemed fellow debaters made the mistake of bypassing on Tiger Woods and I did not want to chance this happening a second time. Tiger Woods is so clearly the correct choice here that if LSN80 had beaten me to it, anyone else I could have chosen would pale in comparison, making this debate much more of an uphill battle. I will be back later today to elaborate on my positions which I briefly touched on here, and to show you with conviction and certainty why Tiger Woods is clearly, the greatest athlete of all time.
     
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  4. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

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    When truly determining the greatest athlete of all time, I think it's most important that a set of criteria be established for said task. While there's so much ambiguity within different sports fan and journalists alike as to said criteria, there are some that are musts. Statistical dominance for me is a must. Pure athletic ability is another criteria that must be discussed. Finally, defining moments within the context of their sport is highly important. Based upon the criteria I used, it's easy to determine said athlete. With all due respect to Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, Mario Lemieux is the greatest athlete of all time.

    Statistical Accompishments and dominance:​

    I emphasize both because Mario Lemiuex, translated "The Magnificent One", demonstrated each throughout his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dating back to 1984-85, Lemieux was the universal Rookie of the Year, not only within the NHL, but as named by the Sporting News as well. Lemiuex scored a goal on his first shot in his first game, the only player to ever accomplish this feat. That same year, as a rookie, he was named the All-Star game MVP. This was at a time in which greats such as Wayne Gretzky, Ray Bourque, Jari Kurri, and Mark Messier were at their peak, and yet Lemiuex bested them. He was and is the only rookie of all time to be named All Star Game MVP. When he retired, Lemieux was a 13 time All-Star, which happens to be the number of seasons in which he played. No other player in the history of the sport has accomplished this feat.

    Despite never playing in a full season due to injury and illness, Lemiuex lead the league in scoring six times, was a 3 time league MVP, and holds the NHL record for points per game at 2.03, ahead of Gretzky's 1.92. Lemieux also lead the Penguins to back to back Stanley Cups in the 1990-1991 and 1991-1992 seasons. The second Cup is that of legend, as Lemieux had a back injury so severe that he was urged not to play in the Finals by his doctors, yet he lead his team in scoring and won both the Conn Smythe(playoff MVP) and Art Ross(season MVP) trophies despite said bad back that limited him to only 64 games. Despite missing 18 games, he lead the league in scoring, and besting greats such as Gretzky and Ray Bourque. In 20007, upon his retirement, Lemieux currently stands as the only player elected into the HOFwithout having to wait the mandatory 3 year period. A full list of achievements for the greatest player of all time can be found here. http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/l/lemiema01.html

    Athletic Prowess:

    Mario had the unlikely combination of size, finesse, and skating ability. Combine this with his speed, stickhandling, and size, and he was not only the ideal hockey player, but the ideal athlete. . He could outskate opponents with his speed, deke them with his stickhandling, and check them with his size. He was a phenomenal defensive player as well, as he set the NHL record that stands until today with 13 shorthanded goals in 1998-99. Not only was Mario athletically gifted, he displayed aan unmatched prowess for the intangibles of the game that have gone unmatched until this day.

    Defining Moments:

    Lemiuex had no shortage of these as well. His first defining moment, as mentioned earlier, was when he scored a goal on his first shot during his first shift in first game in the NHL. Lemieux lead the Penguins to back-to back Stanley Cups in 91 and 92, the second while on a back so bad he could barely lace up his skates. On this bad back his doctors urged him not to play on, he scored perhaps the greatest goal in NHL history here.

    [YOUTUBE]y5p0RoO-ATI[/YOUTUBE]

    Above all of this may have been Lemiuex's comeback from Hodgkin's disease. He wasn't just stopping his career in 1993 to pursue other interests, he stopped it in order to undergo treatment for cancer. Despite coming down with cancer, Lemiuex returned two months later, flying to Philadelphia to play in a game the same day he received radiation treatment. Not only this, but he received a standing ovation from Flyers fans, with whom the Penguins shared a longstanding and bitter rivalry. He added a goal and an assist that game, and despite missing those games, he inconceivably lead the NHL in scoring that year. If that doesn't define an athlete and attest to his greatness as an athlete, I don't know what does. The year in which he retired for the first time in 1997, he lead the NHL in scoring. His final game upon his first retirement in 1997 was also in Philadelphia, in which he also earned a standing ovation.

    Lemieux made a return to the ice almost three years later, this time as both owner and player. Lemiuex became the first player to also serve as owner of his team as well, as he had bought them out of bankruptcy and forfeited some 30 million in back pay he was owed in doing so. As for his return in December of 2000? He only assisted on a goal on his first shift, and added a goal and an assist. Find me another player who could step away from his sport for almost three years and contribute that way? What's even more unfathomable is that Lemieux again lead the league in points per game that year, after 3 years away. When he retired again in 2006, it was only after injury after injury and a heart defect. The year he retired? He was leading the league in scoring that year as well. All of these moments, greater then any other, serve as further proof that Lemieux is the greatest athlete of all time.

    Conclusion:

    There is no doubt that Lemiuex is not only the greatest hockey player of all time, but that "Super Mario" is the greatest athlete of all time. His statistical dominance is topped off by him being the all-time leader in points per game. "The Magnificent One's" athletic prowess was unmatched, as his speed, size, strength and hand-eye coordination have yet to be topped. I only touched on the tip of the iceburg with regards to his accomplishments and achievements, both on and off the ice. Finally, no player in the history of a sport has had more defining moments. His comeback from cancer to lead the NHL in scoring despite missing two months is something of legend. His heroics in leading the Penguins to back-to back Stanley Cups when he couldn't even tie his own skates is astounding. His greatness despite this is evidenced in the video above, perhaps the greatest goal ever scored. His return from retirement after three years away due to multiple injuries(not just pursuing another sport or marital inbfidelity) at the same level he left is absurd. His unselfishness in deferring $30 million in salary to save the team and become the only player/owner in league history is further testament to his intangibles. When you combine everything, there is no doubt that Mario Lemiuex is the greatest athlete of all time.
     
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  5. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

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    No offense to Tiger Woods as he is a tremendous athlete but I just don't see how a professional golfer could be considered the greatest athlete ever. Golf is a tough sport to play skill wise, I sure as fuck suck at it, but in terms of athletic ability you aren't exactly getting top of the line athletes out there all the time, eg. John Daly. Woods is obviously a superior athlete to most of his colleagues but still not nearly the athlete of a guy like Michael Jordan. You're not going to see Tiger Woods being able to have any type of success in any other sport.


    You just described Michael Jordan perfectly. He was tremendously gifted, physically rarely injured, and obviously played his sport better then any player before or after him. Let's also not forget Jordan's amazing performance in game 5 of the NBA Finals in 1997. The series was tied 2-2 and game 5 was pivotal. The day before the game MJ woke up in his hotel room sweating profusely and he could barely move. He was examined by medical staff and it was said there was no way he could play in game 5. The next day while still suffering from the illness, MJ decided he was going to play. Scottie Pippen said he didn't even think Jordan could put his uniform on let alone play. MJ not only played be he played remarkably. Utah had a 17 point lead at one point yet Jordan was able to lead them back. He scored 38 points in the game and the Bulls ended up winning. Had MJ not played the Bulls would have certainly lost and been forced to win two straight to win the NBA title.

    Michael Jordan NEVER choked and he hit a plentiful amount of game winning shots in his career. As long as MJ was on the floor his team always had a chance to win. In just Jordan's second NBA season he led a below average Bulls team in the playoffs against one of the best teams in NBA history in the 85-86 Boston Celtics. Even though Jordan had missed most of the regular season (the only full season in Chicago he didn't play at least 78 games) he returned for the playoffs and in game two of the series he scored 63 points against the eventual champs and almost single-handedly won the game. Performances like this were common place for Jordan and more often then not they ended in wins.

    Again Jordan did this all the time. He knew when he had his opponents beat and he made sure his opponents knew as well. Jordan is easily the most mentally and psychologically tough athlete in the history of sports.
    I stated Jordan's accomplishments in my opening post and they are well documented. MJ has no shortage of awards and accolades.

    I prefer to stick with athlete in the truer sense of the word and not bring in too much international appeal but if you want to with Tiger I can easily do it with Jordan. MJ has been a spokesperson for some of the biggest brands worldwide. McDonald's, Nike, Coke, Gatorade, and Wheaties just to name a few. Jordan has been fully retired for nearly a decade and his "Air Jordan's" are still one of the most popular shoes out there. He has been on the big screen with the movie Space Jam as well. Basketball is one of the more popular international sports right now and a lot of it started with MJ. He not only put basketball on the map in the US but he also helped its popularity grow worldwide.



    That's all well and good but I really don't see how that makes one person a better athlete then another.

    Once again, describing MJ perfectly.

    Of course it's relevant. You talked about above having to be mentally tough and overcome things like injuries. This the most adversity Tiger has ever faced in his career and it is clearly affecting his play.


    No offense to Mario Lemeieux as he is another tremendous athlete but most people including hockey experts don't even see him as the greatest hockey player of all time. In fact, many people don't even have him top 3. I don't see how an almost universally recognized top 2-5 hockey player can be considered the greatest athlete of all time.

    Lemieux was very talented and had some tremendous physical attributes but so did Wayne Gretzky. You know, "The Great One." The guy considered pretty much unanimously to be the greatest hockey player of all time. MJ was THE best basketball player of all time. You can make arguments to the contrary but those arguments would all be wrong.


    Those are all great moments but MJ had more then his fair share as well. The "flu game," all of his game winning shots, all of his championships, both of his comebacks, his 63 point performance vs the Celtics. The list goes on and on.

    Umm, How about Michael Jordan? Jordan did the exact same thing. He returned nearly 4 years after his last game with the Bulls and led his team in points per game, assists per game, steals per game, and was 3rd on the team in rebounds per game.

    I really don't see how you can say Lemieux is the greatest hockey player of all time let alone the greatest athlete of all time. The only thing that may make him better then Gretzky is the fact that you say Lemieux is the all time points per game leader but some of that can be contributed to the fact that he didn't play as many seasons as Gretzky and also didn't play as many straight seasons. With that being said, my calculations have Gretzky at 1.92 points per game and Lemieux at 1.88. This website confirms it for me http://www.statshockey.net/alltimeppg.html

    You're a Pitt fan so there is obviously going to be some bias there (that's not a bad thing but it is a fact). As great as Lemieux was he is not the greatest athlete of all time. That honor goes to Michael Jordan.
     
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  6. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

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    The problem with golf is that Woods plays a very one-dimensional sport. What he does, he does very well, but it doesn't require the intense physical endurance, strength, speed and athletic prowess that other sports, especially hockey, do. There are no "offseason training camps" for golfers. Why? Because athletic ability isn't paramount to being a great golfer. For every Tiger Woods who prides themself on appearance and being in exceptional shape, you have a Phil Mickelson, who looks likes like your average joe. While the hand-eye coordination, mental focus, and great swing are nice, they certainly don't require athletic prowess. There are some who ridicule golf as being "not a sport", and while Im not among them, golf certainly isn't on the level in terms of physical ability and athleticism as hockey. And Tiger Woods simply isn't on the level of Mario Lemeiux.
    This is about "greatest athlete" not "greatest player". The nod here goes to Lemeiux

    There perhaps hs been no physically gifted player in the history of sports as Mario Lemiuex. He had all the size(6'4, 235) of a plodding power forward, but the speed and grace of a smaller forward. He set the precendent for what a hybrid forward that combines size with speed and grace does to this day, and he's yet to be matched. His hand-eye coordination was second to none, and his endurance level was always top-notch. As for his ability to recover from injury? I'll take Lemeiux playing through a back that made him unable to bend and tie his own shoelaces to score goals like the one I posted then playing through a knee injury. Im not discounting the knee injury, Im just saying Lemeiux's was greater. Ill take Super Mario receiving radiation treatment for cancer one day in 2003 and flying to Philadelphia and playing the same night over any injury Woods played through, winning over a notoriously hostile Philadelphia crowd with a standing ovation. Bear in mind the long-standing hatred between the Penguins and the "Broad Street Bullies", and this makes the feat all the more remarkable.

    Id say this pretty much sums up what Lemeiux did. With the Penguins down 2 games to 1(one game Lemeiux couldnt play) in the 1990/91 Stanley Cup finals, Lemeiux scored perhaps the greatest goal of all time, breaking a 2-2 tie that the Penguins wouldn't relinquish. When most players would wait for help, Lemeiux took on two Minnesota defenseman at once. He pushed the puck through one defender's leg, skated around one and past the other, forced the goalie to commit left, then calmly pushed the puck to his backhand before flipping the puck into the cage and crashing into it himself. Buoyed on by Lemeiux's incredible goal, the Penguins didn't trail again in the series as they bested the favored North Stars 4 games to 2. If that's not the penultimate in leading one's team from behind to victory, then becoming that "predator"(the Penguins won the final game of the series 8-0) you described, I don't know what is. He scored 12 points in 5 games, including 2 goals and 2 assists in the 8-0 route in the finale on Minnesota ice. Lemeiux overcoming adversity in just playing that 4th game is incredible, and his performance is awe-inspiring.

    This sounds like Mario Lemeiux you're describing. You can read my paragraph on his awards and accolades, or I can summarize them again. While the great Wayne Gretzky of the hockey world was surrounded by all-time great hetminder Grant Fuhr in net, superstars Jari Kurri and Mark Messier as linemates, and Paul Coffey on defense, Mario had Tom Barrasso in net, and Rob Brown and Kevin Stevens as linemates. They were solid, yet unspectacular players who thrived with Lemeiux as linemates. Barrasso was protected in giving up 4 and 5 goals a game by Lemeiux leading his team to 5 and 6 in back to back Stanley Cup wins. No player in the history of their sport has been an All-Star in every season they've played, but Lemeiux did exactly that with 13 All-Star nods in 13 seasons.

    And noone transcends their respective sport better then "Le Soixante-six", Mario Lemeiux. With hockey being a world-wide sport, there is perhaps no bigger name. Whether it be his remarkable play through back injuries, his comeback from cancer, his return from retirement to dominate the sport after three years away, or his saving the Penguins from bankruptcy by purchasing them, there is no more diverse sports figure then Mario Lemeiux. Tiger Woods, unfortunately, is known across the globe for the wrong reasons, being it cheating on his wife or going into rehab. While he is a great golfer in a tremendous sport, his being known on an international is due to his vulgar language on the field of play, and his highly publicized sexual life off of it. He may be known on a global stage, but it's for all the wrong reasons.

    And this is something Woods is not. Despite maintaining a purposefully private life outside the hockey world, Lemieux still had major endorsements and marketability through Nike and Wheaties. Sports Illustrated featured him on six covers, wrote 205 articles regarding him, and dedicated 10 picture galleries to him. Not bad for America's "distant number 4 sport." http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/va...eux/1900-01-01/2100-12-31/mdd/3/136/index.htm

    Woods, on the other hand, has LOST said status of being marketable, with Gatorade, AT &T, and General Motors ended affiliation with Woods, costing him billions of dollars. Golf Digest, the leader in Golf coverage, suspended all coverage of him for a time. If anything, Tiger has gone from being marketable to not. If considered a factor, Woods must be considered to be going in the wrong direction. If anything, Woods is going in the wrong direction in this area.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Woods#Sponsorships.2C_business_deals_ended
    The same can be said for Mario Lemieux, to a greater degree. He wasn't surrounded by superstars when winning back to back Cups and winning 6 scoring titles and 3 MVP's, numbers that would have certainly been higher if not for his injuries and stiff competition from elite players such as Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Brett Hull. The reason the Penguins drafted Lemieux number 1 overall in 1984 was they were the worst team in the leaague, and averaging less then 7,000 fans in attendance. Lemieux had a team of mostly nobodies in the playoffs four short years later, and won the Stanley Cup two years after. As for other individual accomplishments, Lemieux became the only player to score five goals five different ways in a single game in 1988(even strength, short handed, power play, penalty shot, and empty net), and setting the all-time record of short-handed goals at 13 in the same year. He scored a goal on his first shot of his first shift, another record yet to be tied. His individual accomplishments with regards to his sport dwarf Woods.

    Mario Lemieux has ensured this. Remember, we are talking about greatest athlete, not greatest player here. His comeback from back surgery to lead his team of mostly nobodies to back to back Stanley Cups ensures this. His successful overcoming of back problems in the early 1990's and cancer in 1993 to play the same game in which had radiation guarantees this, as he scored a goal and assisted on two others in said game. Read the quote from Newsweek to further my point.

    While Lemieux was winning Stanley Cups, overcoming back problems and cancer along with saving the Penguins from bankruptcy by forfeiting $30 million in owed money due to his love for the city, where did Woods go? While Lemieux left the game for some time and returned 3 years later to lead the league in scoring, Woods left the game due to marital infidelities and rehab and has yet to return the same player. Woods last victory in any tournament was two years ago. Here's an excerpt from an article hammerring home my point, with a link to the entire article.

    http://www.pgatour.com/2011/r/02/28/monday-backspin/

    This is relevant, because Woods has yet to show that mental focus, killer instinct, or championship pedigree in ANY form that he did before. While Lemieux returned stronger each time, Woods returned with play equal to just another golfer. Hardly what you would look for in "Greatest Athlete." Because that distinction when considering all factors clearly falls upon Mario Lemieux.
     
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  7. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

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    Youre making the mistake of confusing "greatest player" with "greatest athlete." With all due respect to Gretzky and Jordan, Lemieux was the better athlete. And you're dead wrong when talking about Lemieux not being in the top 3. Im the modern era, it's Gretzky and Lemieux. Noone is near them in terms of greatest athlete. And Gretzky, for all his greatness, didn't have the tools that Mario Lemieux had. Gretzky had a shot that was described by many as "incapable of breaking a paper bag." He fooled goalies with great positioning, phenomenal hand-eye coordination, and tremendous mental aptitude. But he simply didn't have the tools Lemieux did, and neither did Jordan. This isn't a knock on Jordan, as even though I grew up a Lakers fan, (as Pittsburgh has never had an NBA basketball team), Jordan was hands down my favorite player. But Jordan didnt have the hybrid of skills Lemieux did. As I told Habs, he was a big man who played with all the skill and grace of a man much smaller. It's the equivalent of a center in basketball also being able to play the point guard position. Jordan never played with THAT skill, making him inferior to Lemieux in that aspect. Further, Lemieux holding the record for most shorthanded goals in a season with 13(which stands to this day is a testament to him being the complete package, as he was tremendous defensively as well. So was Jordan, but Lemieux was better. He combined the rugged style of being 6'4, 245 with the grace, stick handling, rocket shot, incredible athleticism, and precision passing that truly defined the hybrid type forward. He was the complete package, and noone has done so since.

    I wouldn't even try to make the argument. While Kobe Bryant and LeBron James may someday be mentioned in the same breath as Jordan, he stands without question the greatest of all time in the sport of basketball. But while Gretzky may have been the great one, Lemieux was "Super Mario", "Le Magnifique", and the "Magnificent One". Taking little away from him, Gretzky was benefitted by having star power all around him. Lemieux was drafted to the worst team in the league, and single handedly carried the Penguins both to the playoffs and to back to back Stanley Cups, both while injured. He made journerymen players and linemates such as Rob Brown and Kevin Stevens play like All-Stars. Neither APPROACHED the success they had with Lemieux after leaving the team, and when both played on the Penguins without Lemieux, their numbers were halved. Gretzky's supporting cast of Grant Fuhr in net, Paul Coffey on defense, and Mark Messier and Jari Kuri as linemates were all Hall of Famers. As for Jordan, he never won a title before fellow Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, and didn't after.
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/30592-scottie-pippen-more-than-a-sidekick

    The fact of the matter is, neither Gretzky nor Jordan, for all their greatness, would have approached their levels of success without their suporting casts. Yes, Mario played with Ron Francis, a fellow Hall of Famer, but Francis isn't even mentioned in the name of all time greats the way Pippen or Gretzky's sidekicks were. Yes, he played with Jaromir Jagr, but he was a rookie when the Penguins won their SECOND Cup. If that's not a testament to Lemieux's athletic prowess, nothing is. And the debate within the hockey community is between Gretzky and Lemieux, and it's divided. There are many who say Lemieux is GREATER then Gretzky, because of the disparity in supporting casts, Mario's stat averages, and his incredible moments while injured and following it. Here's one such example.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/...gretzky-six-reasons-why-66-is-greater-than-99


    With all due respect to what Jordan did, Ill take Lemiuex's great moments over Jordan's. Scoring a goal on his first shift on his first shot in his first game. Being the only man in history to score five goals in five different ways is a testament to his all-around athleticism. Scoring the unbelievable goal that tilted the 1991 Stanley Cup finals in the Penguins favor. Playing on the same night he received radiation treatment for cancer and scoring a goal and adding two assists. Returning after a three year layoff and and assisting on a goal on his first shift, and adding a goal and another assist that evening. Buying the team out of bankruptcy while becoming the first player/owner in the history of the sport stands out as well. With all due respect to Jordan's greatness, these moments are a testament to Lemieux being the best athlete, which is what the debate is about.

    Watch the compilation of Mario's top ten plays of all time. Note the speed, vision, creativity, split second decision making, hand eye coordination, and most importantly, pure athleticism that is on display here.

    [YOUTUBE]SHJs3VqUpuU[/YOUTUBE]

    This should put to rest any debate over the "greatest athlete" debate. Noone on earth could do the things Mario Lemeiux did, and he made it look easy.

    While Jordan may have lead his team, Lemieux returned after a three year layoff and lead the LEAGUE. He missed two months due to cancer treatment and still lead the league in scoring, both goals and assists. Again, a testament to how Lemieux's greatness as an athlete surpasses Jordan's.

    I do. Gretzky played a twenty year career, while Lemieux's was only 13. Lemieux never played a full season due to various injuries, but remains the only hockey player to be named an all-star in every season he played, including Gretzky. Again, this is a debate over the greatest athlete of all time, not the greatest player, and Ive clearly shown through Lemieux's achievements, skill set, defining moments, and excellence in all facets of his game, among others, how Lemieux is the better athlete then both Gretzky and Jordan.

    There are a myriad of factors that show how Lemieux was greater then Gretzky, and Ive shown them above. Gretzky played in 1487 games in his NHL career as compared to Lemieux's 918. Much of the stat disparity can be made up for in this, and the fact that Lemieux never played more then 70 games out of an 82 game season.Lemieux was on pace in 1992-93 to break Gretzky's single season goal and assist totals before being struck with Hodgkins, by the way. The Penguins went on to win an NHL record 17 straight games immediately following Mario's return. Coincidence? I think not. The great Bobby Orr called Lemieux, "The most talented player I've ever seen". Again, this debate is about the "greatest athlete, and not the "greatest player". As for your stat disparity, I have an article that challenges that notion, putting Lemieux's total at 2.005, with Gretzky being at 1.92.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/...gretzky-six-reasons-why-66-is-greater-than-99

    There is fact that Im a Pittsburgh fan, but there is nothing factual that there is bias because of it. Michael Jordan was a great athlete and the greatest basketball player of all time, and my personal favorite. But as Ive shown, this isn't about being the greatest player, even if that's a factor. It's about being the greatest athlete, and Mario Lemieux gets the nod in that aspect over Jordan.
     
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  8. hatehabsforever

    hatehabsforever Moderator
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    In consideration of assessing the greatest athlete of all time, there is really no need to look beyond the incomparable Tiger Woods. As both LSN80 and Big Sexy said, one of the chief determining factors in making this designation is success. Whether it be championship titles, accolades, whatever, the person deemed to be the greatest athlete of all time has to be someone who has dominated his sport over an extended period of time, winning accolades along the way and boasting "statistical dominance.".

    How can anyone argue this regarding Eldrick? Let's look at the Major titles first. Woods has won 14 titles, second only to Jack Nicklaus, yet Tiger is still only 35 years of age. He has won four Masters (97,01,02,05), three US Opens (00,02,08), three British Opens (00,05,06), and four PGA Championships (99,00,06,07). Looking beyond Major titles, he has won 71 PGA Tour titles. I will not list them all, that is what search engines like Google are for. 38 titles on the European Tour. 2 in Japan, 1 in Asia, 1 in Australia, and 15 elsewhere. He has a total of 97 professional victories on his resume. These are some pretty impressive accomplishments, definitely putting him in elite company, not only amongst golfers, but among athletes in general.

    Tiger Woods was the Player of the Year 10 times (97,99,00,01,02,03,05,06,07,09). He was the money leader nine times (97,99,00,01,02,05,06,07,09). Tiger has won the Byron Nelson Award, for lowest scoring, eight times (99,00,01,02,03,05,07,09). He held the number one ranking for the greatest number of consecutive weeks. Within his illustrious professional career, the accolades go on and on. If there ever was someone with statistical dominance, it has been Tiger, in a sport in which statistics is absolutely paramount.

    This should come as no surprise to anyone, though. He was dominant in college at Stanford as well. He won the first collegiate event in which he participated. He was the PAC-10 player of the year. He was a NCAA first team All American. He was the winner of 3 consecutive US Amateur titles. All of this success in college led to heightened anticipation of his professional debut in 1996, something which was so anticipated that it resulted in record endorsement deals (40 million with Nike, 20 million with Titleist). Not that the money in and of itself means anything, but let's face it, they don't hand out that kind of money to just anyone. Tiger was a collegiate player like no one before him, something which he more than followed up on in the professional ranks.

    Prior to college, there was similar success in high school, and even childhood success. He won the Junior World Championships six times, including four consecutively from 88-91. Even as a young child, he was the consummate athlete. He broke the score of 80 at the age of 8, and even supposedly shot a 48 in 9 holes at the age of three. I could go on and on and on with statistic, after championship, after award, after accolade, but I think the point has been well established. Tiger Woods has got to be seen as a man in possession of such a plethora of statistical dominance, that you cannot help but consider him the greatest athlete of all time.

    To be seen as the greatest athlete, you have to have tremendous physical skills. Strength, endurance, stamina, all are hallmarks of top athletes. Tiger Woods changed the way the game was played. His length off the tee is remarkable, so much so that it resulted in the PGA having to "Tiger-proof" many of the courses which hosted various PGA events. Even when such course changes were not being made, Tiger's physical stature is that of a tremendously gifted athlete. Look at the man, he's a beast. The strength he possesses brings an element to his game that simply is not always present in mere mortals. Tiger ends up with a crappy lie in a sand bunker, or a treacherous lie in fall grass, and he has the strength to blast out of it and not only salvage the hole, but likely still excel in it.

    In considering physical components to his greatness, we can also examine Tiger's amazing ability to play through injuries and to recover from them. The greatest athletes have to be able to show physical resilience. Tiger has endured a couple of significant injuries, and yet he has managed to come back bigger and better than ever. Currently, he is in another bit of a funk, except this time it is mental as much as it is physical, which I will discuss a little bit later. As a testament to his greatness, Tiger has shown physical resilience in overcoming injuries in the past, and I am confident that will see this again, as he overcomes yet another example of physical adversity, to re- ascend to the pinnacle of the world of professional golf.

    For those who do not think Tiger has displayed physical ability in the past, how about winning a major golf tournament, essentially on one leg, immediately before undergoing knee surgery which would result in him being on the shelf for an extended period of time. How about taking a swing, which has consistently been at or near the top of the golfing world, and retooling and reinventing it, to maintain his physical presence. The way I look at it, Tiger Woods has all of the physical tools, all of the physical dominance, that can only be possessed by someone who is the greatest athlete of all time.

    Mental toughness and psychological grit, yet more characteristics of the greatest ever, which are certainly synonymous with Tiger Woods. Tiger possesses true ice cold, unflappable mental toughness. If he is leading a tournament in the late stages, no one goes for the jugular with more passion and less compassion than Tiger Woods does. No one deals with adversity like Tiger manages to do. His ability to stand firm under extreme conditions of pressure is something which has always distanced him from the rest of the golfing world, and the rest of the athletic world in general. Displaying a killer instinct like only Tiger can, no one can match the mental prowess and psychological demeanor of Tiger Woods.

    Tiger Woods is a world wide phenomenon. He is, as I discussed way back in Topic #3, the most famous and recognizable professional athlete in the world. Show his picture to anyone, anywhere and they know who he is. Say the name Tiger to anyone, anywhere, and there's no need of a surname, or no need for further elaboration. Does this fact alone mean he is the greatest athlete of all time? No, but it is a distinction known only to professional athletes at the highest echelon of their respective sports. This high profile, this marketability and recognizability do not make him the greatest athlete of all time, but it is only an athlete of such inherent greatness that will end up having this type of ubiquitous appeal and profile.

    One thing which makes Tiger's distinction as the best in the world even more obvious is the fact that he plays in a sport that is almost entirely singular, marked entirely by individual greatness. If Jordan had an off night, he had Pippen. If Lemieux struggled, he had Jagr. But a professional golfer has no one to fall back on, no safety net. The fact that Tiger remains at the pinnacle of the sport, and athletics in general, is attributable completely to his individual greatness.

    When all is said and done, Tiger Woods will leave a lasting legacy in the world of professional golf, on the sporting world in general. People today know who he is, regardless of age, gender, race, or location. Generations to follow will too. Long after Tiger hangs up the cleats and calls it a career, people will speak of Tiger Woods as a true phenom, as a legend, and this is the sort of vernacular that only accompanies the truly greatest of all time.

    Of course, I know what many people will say. It is all over for Tiger. He's done. For one thing, his physical injuries are catching up to him. His swing has been tweaked and retweaked so many times, that it cannot possibly be reinvented again. His injuries, whether it be the knees, the hips, whatever, Father time has caught up with him. And of course, the drama and the media circus surrounding his extramarital affairs have finally proven go be his Achilles heel. To which I say bullshit. For one thing, if Tiger Woods never picks up a wood or an iron again for the rest of his life, if he were to disappear from the face of the earth and go into seclusion, I would respectfully suggest that he has already accomplished more than enough to date to earn him the moniker of the greatest athlete of all time. Let's face it. Jordan is retired and is no longer building upon his legacy, and some are still touting him as the best ever. Lemieux is also no longer an active player in the NHL, and we are still discussing his greatness. So even if Tiger is truly done, even if his physical injuries and his emotional roller coaster have finally caught up with him, I would still respectfully suggest that what he has accomplished, on an amazingly consistent basis from the mid '90's to present day, more than qualifies him to be considered the greatest athlete to ever walk this earth. And don't kid yourself, the book is not closed on Tiger Woods, not by a long shot. He has overcome significant injuries in the past, and major structural swing flaws, and has risen above all of this to reclaim his throne. He has endured mental duress in the past as well, such as when he took an extended leave of absence from the game upon the death of his father, and he came back bigger and better than ever. For those of you who feel the Tiger Woods era is over, give your heads a shake and think again. The man is still only 35 years old. Personally, I have no doubt that he will fully get his act together from both a physical and emotional standpoint and when he does, watch out world. It will be a return to statistical dominance, a return to the pinnacle of the game. More accolades, more majors, and more hoopla. His numbers already speak for themselves and trust me, he isn't even done yet, not by a long shot. Once all is said and done, there will be no debate and discussion about it. The greatest athlete of all time will truly be seen to be the one and only, Tiger Woods.
     
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  9. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

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    Being a great player is part of being a great athlete. If that wasn't the case then all of the accomplishments we are all boasting about would mean jack shit and the answer to this question would be Bo Jackson hands down. Even if we are just talking about athlete in the very truest sense of the word and not considering anything else, Jordan still wins. MJ had speed to get by anyone in the NBA, the strength to power his way inside, the endurance to play a full 48 minutes, and a leaping ability that is almost unmatched. Anything Lemieux had in terms of athletics Jordan had it and he had more of it. When it comes to speed, strength, agility, and endurance the only thing Lemieux MAY have is strength. The rest go to Jordan. MJ was athletic enough where he could have succeeded at multiple sports, basketball was just the one he chose. Lemieux wasn't going to be able to succeed at a high level in any other sport.



    News Flash: Mario Lemieux didn't win a Cup until he was surrounded by great players and he never won one without those guys. In fact the first year the Penguins won the Cup Lemieux missed most of the regular season with a back injury. The team was carried by two future HOFers in Ron Francis and Larry Murphy, a great player in Mark Recchi, and a rookie in Jaromir Jagr. All of those guys were around for both of the Penguins Stanley Cup Wins. In fact I'd say Lemieux had just as much if not more help then MJ did and while Mario won two Cups, Jordan won 6 NBA titles.

    Bullshit. See above for part of the reasoning. Scottie Pippen is no more mentioned as a great in the NBA then Francis is in the NHL. In fact if I was going to make a cross sport comparison Pippen to Francis would be nearly perfect. Don't forget about Joe Mullen who is another HOFer that was on those Penguins team. That's 3 current HOF guys right there Lemiex had. Actually he had 4 in Bryan Trottier but he was past his prime at that point so I'll throw you a bone. MJ never had all that help.

    Please don't use bleacherreport as a reference for anything. It insults my intelligence.




    So all of Jordan's game winning shots have nothing to do with him being a great athlete? All of his gravity defining dunks mean jack shit? All of his gutsy performances and all the times he carried the team on his back purely because he was just better and more athletic then anyone out on the court is nothing to you? Trust me, Lemieux was a great player and great athlete but he can't touch Jordan in either regard.

    And you watch these Jordan highlights. Notice the ridiculousness of the mans athletic ability. Notice the creativity in the air.

    [YOUTUBE]8EHINX8fm64[/YOUTUBE]



    Lol that puts nothing to rest. I've seen Gretzky do similar and even more impressive things. Same goes for a guy like Ovechkin.


    What? Are you seriously going to sit there and blatantly type something like that. Lemieux returned in 2000-2001 played in 43 games and had 35 goals, 41 assists, and 76 points. He finished tied for 29th in scoring. I don't know where you're getting your stats from but that's the second time you've provided completely false numbers. http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/player/_/stat/points/sort/points/year/2001



    You've shown absolutely nothing but false stats and a highlight reel. Best athlete, best player, combination, however you want to cut it Michael Jordan is superior to Mario Lemieux in every aspect.



    One great player saying you're the most talented doesn't mean much in the long run. Especially considering just like best player doesn't equal best athlete, most talented doesn't either. And once again bleacherreport is not a reliable source. You can look up the stats and do the math yourself or used the link I provided in my last post but Lemieux did NOT have a higher point per game average then Gretzky.





    Whatever you want to take into consideration does not matter. Jordan was the better player, the better athlete, he was more successful. Everything points towards MJ being better. The greatest athlete of all time is certainly not Mario Lemieux. That honor goes to Michael Jordan.
     
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  10. hatehabsforever

    hatehabsforever Moderator
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    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Tiger Woods is a tremendous athlete and that a professional golfer can be considered to be the greatest athlete ever. It is not like I am proposing a poker player, or a darts competitor, or a synchronized swimmer, to be the greatest athlete of all time. To suggest that the rigors of playing professional golf at the highest level does not constitute the distinction of a tremendously gifted athlete is incorrect and in fact surprisingly naive coming from you of all people. To play golf the way Tiger Woods has played it takes incredible skill and unprecedented athleticism. You are damn right it is a tough sport to play skill wise, and to play it as consistently as Tiger has for as long as he has, requires the type of physical prowess which can only be associated with the best of the best. There is a reason why John Daly, or Mark Calcavecchia, or Craig Stadler, have not amassed the statistical dominance that Tiger has. They were good golfers, but were unable to sustain the type of career that Tiger has, because they did not have the physical tools, the mental toughness, the psychological fortitude, or the stellar skill level that only Tiger has. If you want to generalize, you are right, the average golfer possesses neither the physical makeup, the mental presence, or the skill level that Tiger does. This is why they are not the greatest athletes of all time, Tiger is. This is not about golf versus football, or basketball, or hockey. This is about Tiger Woods versus the world, and from my estimation, he comes out on top, easily. The suggestion that his golfing ability would not carry over into the ability to play a second sport is totally irrelevant. Very few athletes have excelled in two sports, but that is meaningless to this discussion. And honestly, touting Jordan as a two sport athlete is a huge stretch of reality. His basketball acumen was second to none, but his venture into Double A baseball was lackluster at best, an experimental event, whereby he was cut more slack than virtually anyone before him, as a sideshow.


    Of course I described Jordan perfectly, because the second best athlete of all time obviously shares a lot of the attributes of the actual best. Sure, he was tremendously gifted and rarely injured, much like Tiger until recent times. I am unimpressed with such urban legends as the MJ flu fairy tale. I don't doubt that he man was sick with the flu at the time, but here is a classic story which has been embellished so much that it likely is bordering on fiction. Lots of guys play professional sports while they have a cold or flu. Tylenol is a remarkable anti-pyretic. And he had a little help from his friends, a cast of teammates who were capable of picking up some of his slack, although in all honesty, none of them were Jordan-esque. As impressive a fairy tale as that is, if I even grant it due validity, it pales in comparison to Tiger Woods winning a major golf championship on one leg, all by himself, with no teammates, against the best of the world, immediately prior to knee surgery which would sideline him for an extended period of time afterwards. For every athlete, there will be tall tales of such mental and physical triumph over adversity. This is hardly unique to Jordan, and if anything, applies far more to Woods.



    No one is disputing Jordan's greatness. He was, after all, the second greatest professional athlete of all time. He was an incredible clutch performer, but he functioned as such in a team sport. Tiger has been every bit as clutch, but he has been solo. Whenever Jordan was on the floor, his team had a chance to win. Whenever Woods was on the course, he himself, without assistance, was always in the hunt as well.


    All of this is Tiger personified. He as well always knew when he had his opponents beat, and always managed to get into their heads to ensure this happened. Many a guy has challenged Tiger in his realm, and many of them have gone by the wayside, wilting under the pressure, shirking the moment rather than thriving from it. Jordan was mentally and psychologically tough, but with all due respect, Tiger was that much tougher.


    There's no denying Michael Jordan's impressive awards and accolades. He has amassed statistics and successes like few before him. A lot of his stats, though, are team stats rather than purely individual ones. His individual stats are numerous as well, but let's face it, they simply do not hold a candle to a list of the championships, titles, individual accolades, etc., that Woods has produced. I originally began with the intention of listing them all, when it quickly became apparent that there are not enough hours in the day to compile a list so comprehensive. I figured that if I added the entire listing of all that Woods has achieved, no one would read the entire post: no readers, no judges, no fellow debaters. If someone wants to see an itemized listing of everything that Woods has done, check it out via Google. Every bit as impressive as Jordan, in fact, far more so.



    Quite honestly, I would probably rank these two guys fairly equally with regards to international appeal and marketability. Except for one thing. Tiger Woods is far more of a global phenomenon. Michael Jordan is a true legend with tremendous appeal and recognizability, but if you expand beyond the confines of North America, I think Woods would quickly overshadow Jordan. How big is the NBA in Europe, or Asia, or South America or Australia? I don't know for sure, but I imagine that Woods is far more of a household names in such areas than is Jordan.


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


    As I said earlier, it should describe MJ perfectly, as it does TW. There should be no surprise that the second greatest professional athlete of all time shares much of the descriptions of the truly greatest athlete of all time. Make no mistake about it, Jordan was no slouch. I was an enormous fan of his in the '90's. He is an incredibly gifted athlete, second only to Tiger Woods.



    No, I maintain that it is irrelevant. Tiger has consistently displayed mental toughness, but he is, after all, a human being. This has been incredible adversity, both physical as well as emotional and mental. Sure it has been affecting his play. I imagine it will continue to plague him for another while yet. But come on, the man is still only 35 years old. He has plenty of time for an extended bump in the road, and can still overcome it and have continued success on the tour for another considerable period of time. Plus, as I said in my earlier post, even if Tiger does not overcome these difficulties, even if he never resumes his career and decides to throw his clubs away and never play the game ever again, it matters not. If we merely look at Tiger's career from the time he turned pro until 12/11/09, and do not look beyond it, I would still suggest that this time period alone, in and of itself, qualifies Tiger as the greatest athlete of all time. Jordan's career is over, he is not continuing to add to his legacy. Mario Lemieux's career is also over, he is no longer adding to his resume. So even if Woods' career is over too, which I certainly am not conceding, the bottom line is still the same. Tiger Woods is the greatest athlete of all time. He does not need to do anything else to make this statement categorically true. Except for one thing. I predict he will still add to his legacy, and significantly so. If I am wrong about this, he still goes down as the best ever. If I am right, the gap between himself and everyone else grows larger. Either way, the same bottom line, the best ever.

    All due respect to MJ, he is an incredible athlete. As I said above, he is probably the second greatest athlete of all time. But at the top, at the absolute pinnacle, there can only be one. And that one is simply Tiger Woods, and there is absolutely no doubt about it.
     
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  11. hatehabsforever

    hatehabsforever Moderator
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    That is an irrelevant and incorrect statement. Golf is a one-dimensional sport? I am not buying that for one second. Golf most certainly involves physical endurance and strength, as I have discussed in my previous posts. It is the understatement of the year to suggest that what he does, he does well. He does it better than anyone before him has ever done, and possibly better than anyone after him will do. Athletic ability may not be paramount to being a good golfer, or even a great golfer, but it damn well is paramount to being a legendary golfer, a golfer who has reinvented the sport, the way it is played, how it is perceived, who its audience is, etc,,

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

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

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


    All well and good, Lemieux was a physically gifted player. But the greatest ever, not even close. His ability to recover from injury, remarkable. It was remarkable because he had to do it every single year. And if someone is experiencing significant physical limitations every single year of his career, I have trouble in considering him the greatest athlete of all time. And as I said to Big Sexy, I am sure we have a little urban legend action here as well, a little embellishment, not to find fault with what you are saying, but I think we need to be careful not to overstate it.



    This is an impressive story. I think it establishes something that we all already know. Lemieux was a gifted hockey player capable of scoring impressive goals and leading his team to victory. But does any of this mean he is the greatest athlete of all time? Not a chance. Tiger Woods performed mind blowing acts all the time over his decade and a half of dominance, things that left us scratching our heads in awe. This all comes down to Lemieux being a terrific player, but not necessarily a great athlete, and certainly not the greatest ever.



    There is no doubt that Gretzky was surrounded by an all star cast of teammates and future Hall of Famers. I would suggest that it was Gretzky's excellence that made his supporting cast great. If we want to talk hockey players, Gretzky is clearly the best athlete in the history of the NHL, and he elevated the play of those around him. I also think you are not giving sufficient credit to Lemieux's teammates. Plus, you have to look beyond line mates to the rest of the team, and I think you may have conveniently forgotten about a man named Jagr, as well as several other guys.



    This paragraph is a surprising combination of fallacy and irrelevance. No one transcends their sport better than Lemieux? Come on now, I know you know better than that. You have displayed far too much sports acumen over the previous thirteen rounds of the SDL to stand behind a ludicrous statement like this. No bigger name than Lemieux? How about Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, any number of Canadiens (all of whom I hate, forever), and several others. His saving of the Penguins from bankruptcy is all well and good, but absolutely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

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


    Again, you are discounting 15 years of fact due to 15 months of dirty laundry. Shame on you, that is more TMZ than NHL. Don't try to tell me that Lemieux has the marketability and profile of Woods prior to 12/11/09. And as I said earlier, it is irrelevant anyway. Throw the last 15 months away, and Woods is still the greatest athlete of all time. And let's not forget, people have incredibly short memories, especially as it pertains to professional athletes. What do you think is going to happen when Tiger rights the ship and retakes his position at the pinnacle of the sport. I will tell you what, all will be forgiven and forgotten. Just ask Marv Albert or Kobe Bryant.


    Drifting into the irrelevant again, and the incorrect as well. You under rate his supporting cast. And the 5 different goals 5 different ways is admittedly impressive, but amounts to little more than the answer to a trivia question. I am hardly going to anoint him the greatest athlete of all time because of one game played 22 years ago. A goal on the first shot of his first shift? Call Alex Trebek, because again this is trivia and pertains little to our discussion.

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



    Dirty laundry again LSN, am I reading a post on wrestlezone or the National Enquirer? OK, Lemieux is a saint, saving his team from bankruptcy out of the goodness of his angelic heart, while big bad Tiger was off being a bad boy. Shame on him and good on Mario. Still do not comprehend how this makes Lemieux a better athlete than Woods.

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


    Even if I concede that Tiger has lost his mental focus over the last 15 months, or his killer instinct, or his championship pedigree, it doesn't even matter. Tiger had already cemented his legacy as the greatest athlete of all time before this loss of focus, this loss of killer instinct, this loss of championship pedigree. Lemieux and Jordan's careers are over, they no longer have the capacity to show killer instinct, or mental focus, or to secure any further championships or accolades. In answering the question at hand, no one is suggesting that Tiger is still doing what he did before at the same drastic pace as he did. And that's fine. He is still the best ever. And just wait until he rights the ship, as he has done several times in the past. He will build even further upon his already awesome legacy. He does not need to do so, he already is the greatest athlete of all time. But once he does, and trust me, he will, he will eradicate any lingering doubt about the correctness of my selection.

    Not Michael Jordan. Not Mario Lemieux. The greatest athlete of all time is clearly Tiger Woods.
     
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  12. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

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    I never said being a professional golfer at the level of Tiger Woods was easy. It takes a great athlete to do what he has done. I'm merely stating that from a pure athletic standpoint, his attributes fail to match those of elite basketball, football, baseball, or hockey players. I'm not touting Jordan as a two sport athlete, merely stating that to pick up a game after 19 years, especially one as difficult as baseball, and actually look competent was remarkable. Had Jordan dedicated himself to another sport the way he did to basketball there is no doubt in my mind he could have made it professional in different sports because of his athletic prowess. I can't say the same for Tiger.



    Fairy tale my ass. You obviously need to brush up on your basketball history because this is a well documented true story. This wasn't some normal "flu." MJ literally could not move from his bed a mere 24 hours before the game. Tylenol doesn't fix something like that right up. If this was just a little flu then I highly doubt Jordan would have been struggling to breathe, I highly doubt he would have nearly collapsed from exhaustion once the game ended, and I highly doubt he would have needed an IV at the conclusion of the game because of severe dehydration. If this is a fairly tale then so is Curt Schilling and the bloody sock, so is Kellen Winslow in the playoffs, and so is Kirk Gibson's lack of mobility when he hit the homer that won the 88 World Series. The story is very real and very impressive.





    So being in an individual sport makes you a better athlete? It doesn't work like that. Whether it's a team or individual sport both are clutch players but the better athlete is most definitely Jordan.



    Says who? Jordan was always a feared player especially during his prime. Tiger is supposed to be in his prime right now yet no one seems to fear him anymore.




    We can compare awards and accolades all day. It's hard to compare accolades from two sports as different as golf and basketball but both have a very impressive amount. In this situation it's really a wash and you can't pick who is the better athlete between the two based on accomplishments.





    That is very debatable. Basketball is currently one of the most popular international sports. In fact, next to soccer it is probably the most popular international sport. Far more of a global phenomenon then golf is. The NBA is at an all time high in terms of global popularity and contributions from international players. It all started with MJ. He is one of the main reasons basketball's popularity is where it's at around the world.




    Of course there is someone greater. MJ is greater then Woods in terms of international appeal, greater in terms of marketability, and Michael Jordan is also the superior athlete.



    You can maintain it's irrelevant all you want but it's part of his career and a part that isn't very good. If you want to stop Tiger's career at 2009 then that's fine but he is still inferior as an athlete to Jordan. In fact if Tiger's career ended today he wouldn't even go down as the greatest golfer of all time. Tiger Woods has 14 majors through his first 15 professional years. Jack Nicklaus had 14 through his first 15 professional years. If Tigers career ended today I'd give Nicklaus the nod in terms of best golfer. Tiger Woods is a great athlete but Michael Jordan is better. MJ is the greatest athlete of all time and nothing being debated for Tiger or Lemieux is even coming close to proving otherwise.
     
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  13. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

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    It's a good thing that I emphasized that being a great player is part of being the greatest athlete, isn't it? I just rightfully pointed out the fallacy that you were solely relying on MJ being the greatest basketball player ever as the basis of your argument that he's the greatest player of all time. There's so much more then that which goes into determining the greatest player. Intangibles that Mario Lemiuex possessed that were greater then Michael Jordan. Lemieux displayed such intangibles in playing through a back injury that prevented him from tying his skates to lead the NHL in post-season points during their first Stanley Cup. With all respect to Jordan's flu-ridden performance, Lemieux's was greater. His goal I posted against Minnesota that gave the Penguins the lead is testament to that. Despite that bad back, Lemieux showed the hand eye coordination to control the puck the entire time. He showed the speed to get past both of them. He showed the agility to put the puck through one defenseman's leg, skate around both, deke the goalie, and flip the puck to his backhand and score. Again, with all respect to Jordan, he never did anything like that, and his body parts were physically healthy. Lemieux's intangibles were greater then Jordan's.

    I should just pretend you didn't write this paragraph. Lemeiux played the game with the strength and power of an NBA center, but the deft and touch of an NBA point guard. He displayed the shooting touch and hand-eye of an NBA shooting guard, and the agility and quickness of a small forward. Endurance may be the only thing Jordan had on Lemieux. Lemieux was the total package, as I attested earlier. While most superstars rest on their scoring laurels, Mario played the penalty kill and set an NHL record that stands to this day in shorthanded goals. The entire article and the specific part of the stats are within. Keep in mind this was done before Lemieux's Stanley Cup days where he played with more complete players, making this all the more impressive.

    This shows his defensive prowess as a forward was second to none as well.
    As for the claim that Jordan could have played any sport, this is a humungous fallaccy. Did you foget that Jordan DID play a full season of minor league baseball, with the Birmingham Barons? It was an epic fail, as Jordan hit .202 with 3 HR's. Here are his career stats, all minor league as he attempted to succeed at another sport

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=jordan001mic

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

    Another part completely full of egregious errors in fact on your part. error on your part. Recchi was apart of the first Stanley Cup team, not the second. As you said, Jagr was a rookie. While he had his phenomenal moments, his playing time and production became limited come playoff time. Francis played the entire time Lemieux was injured during the first Cup run as a Hartford Whaler, another error. He played only the last 14 games as a Penguin, scoring only 2 goals, so his contribution was minimal that year. http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=1767

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

    The Pippen/Francis correlation is speculation of yours, nothing more. Although since Pippen played with the Bulls the ENTIRE time during the Jordan championship runs, and is also a Hall of Famer, it's an easy jump to make that Pippen's contribution was more important then Francis'. Mullen was 33 and at the twilight of his career, and he faded down the stretch so much to the extent that he lost both his assistant captaincy and spot on Mario's line to plugger Bob Errey. I see only three names there, two of which I already accounted for, and the third you conceded. While the names you mentioned were fading, Jordan was surrounded by players in the prime of his career. With roster sizes being far larger in the NHL, there's more room for impact players. So you're correct, Jordan didn't have the support Mario did. With respect to team size and coaching, Jordan had more.

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

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

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

    As the mistakes you made regarding Jordan being able to succeed at any sport, and the blatant factual errors regarding Recchi and Francis, I simply made a mistake. My intent was to note that Lemieux lead the league in points per game upon his return. It wasn't even close, as it was a .28 gap, and that was over his own teammate! You made your share of egregious errors and blatant fallacies in this very post, so pointing out a simple mistake of mine is a double standard. We all make mistkes here. Here's irreconcilable proof of Lemieux leading the league in PPG, something Jordan failed to do upon his return.

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/player/_/stat/points/sort/avgPoints/year/2001

    Ive shown how Lemieux carried the team on his back upon his return from back surgery. Ive showed the passion he's unwaveringly had for the game, something Jordan never displayed. I showed how he was the only player in the history of sports, including 13 All Star selections in 13 seasons. Ive shown how the combintion of his speed, agility, strength, speed, on-field vision, and hand-eye coordination combined to make him the greatest athlete of all time, both through factual and video proof. Ive shown how Lemieux's passion for the game while at the top of his game was superior to Jordan's. Ive shown how, with all things considered, all of these combined make Lemieux the greatest athlete of all time, even over the remarkable Michael Jordan.
     
    #13
  14. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

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    Golf is a one dimensional sport. Agility, speed, and strength are some of the qualities that golfers are not required to possess. Just because Tiger is in good shape and strong doesn't mean other golfers are, nor is it a prerequisite. While it requires incredible concentration, hand-eye coordination and patience, it doesn't include many of the other intangibles that other sports do. While other sport players ainvolve true tests of endurance, golfers have caddies who carry their bag and hand them their clubs. In what other sport is that present? Im not denying that Tiger isn't the best of the lot, but to compare what he does with the athleticism of other sports is absurd. As for the part in bold, it's quit important. In other sports, athletic ability is paramount for ALL involved. As you yourself acknowledged, it's not in golf.While Tiger is a legendary golfer in the "sport" of golf, it hardly makes him a great athlete. Even if he has re-nvented the game and has numerous accomplishments, it makes him the greatest golfer in the world, not the greatest athlete.

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

    Lemieux was a tremendous athlete, and I already listed one of the ways how. Another is his incredible goal scored in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals where he split two defensemen by putting the puck between a defenseman's legs, speeding up to pass both, all while fooling the goalie with a deke right whie switching the puck to the backhand and scoring all in one motion. This was truly the definition of speed, agility, precision, hand-eye coordination, and endurance, all in one play. How about Lemieux returning from radiation and playing the same night, likely zapped of strength, and scoring a goal and adding two assists to receive a standing ovation in front of a hostile crowd with which the Penguins are bitter rivals. The coup de gra is Lemiuex returning from a 3 and half year retirement to assist on a goal on his first shift, while adding a goal and an assist in the same night. If that's not the epitome of athleticism, the subject of this debate, I don't know what is. Let's not forget that Lemieux is the only player to score a goal on his first shit on his first shift. These are things that cannot be taught, as they are exhibits of pure athleticism. Ive yet to see ANY example of a solo act with these combined factors from Tiger Woods, which is further proof that Lemieux is the greater athlete.

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

    This is where we entirely disagree. Because of Lemieux's injuries and cancer, he had to rely on "intangibles" outside of simply being a great player. I keep going bck to the example, but it's a valid one. His ability to perform the wizadry he did while unable to tie his skates are a testament to his incredible athletic ability and his intangibles. He demonstrated speed, agility, strength, hand-eye coordination, focus, and split second decision making, all testaments of being a great athlete, not just a great player. Need further proof? His versatility in scoring 5 goals five different ways in one game, the only player to do so in history. This shows his adaptibility to each situation, and his reading od the situation. Different intangibles are needed in each situation, and Lemieux demonstrated he hd them better then no other in completing a feat that had never been done before. These intangibles. including his bouncing back from injury and cancer to be the same player and sometimes better are a testament to both his greatness, and his incredible athletic ability. Make no mistake,I recognize the difference between being a great player and a great athlete, and Lemieux was both. My basketball example I gave Big Sexy rings true here. He had the size and strength to outmuscle others to pucks the way a center does, but had all the puck possesion and presicion passing of a point guard. He had the rocket, accurate shot of a point guard, with the agility of a forward to break through defenders effortlessly. This versatility of skills that no player in any sport has ever shown are all testaments to Lemieux not only being a greater player then Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, but the greatest player of all time.

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

    You continue to claim this, but fail to show how Woods athleticism came into play in these mind blowing acts. A 300 yard drive is the testament of skill, not being a great athlete. Mario's "impressive stories" are a testament to him both being a great player and a great athlete. Playing through such struggles at high levels are another factor in determining a great athlete. Ive given a litany of examples and provided video evidence of this. Those acts were those of pure athleticism, pure and simple. Factoring in they were done by a man his size is even more impressive, and help stake his claim as the greatest athlete. In the cases of both Jordan and Lemieux, I can vivdly remember great examples of athleticism shown by them that ahve left me in awe. I can't do the same with Tiger. That's very telling.

    The thing about Gretzky's teammates is that they were on their way to Hall of Fame careers before joing Gretzky, and continued along that path after playing with Gretzky. Some of Lemieux's linemates, with Kevn Stevens and Rob Brown coming to mind, had all-star and league leading seasons in points(second in points behind Lemieux in 91/92), goals and points( 5th in points, sixth in goals. Following playing with Lemieux, they either wallowed in mediocrity(Stevens) or fell out of the league altogethr(Brown 3 years later. Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri, and Mark Messier are household names amongst alll die-hard hockey fans and Hall of Famers each to boost. Brown, Stevens and goaltenders like Wendell Young and Ken Wregett are obscure and the closest they'll get to the HIF is if they were to visit. For every Jagr, there was a Rib Brpwn with Lemieux. Lemieux made his teamates around him better then the were, which is another testament to his athletic ability.

    False. You can try to convince yourself and others of this, but you're dead wrong. I never said there was no "more well known name then Lemieux", I said there was "none bigger". There's a huge difference there that you're failing to grasp simply by your failure to even identify those Canadiens you hate so much. What has Wayne Gretzky done outside the sport to truly transcend it? How about Orr or Howe? The answer is simple. Very little. Lemieux's passion for the game shows in his rebounding from cancer and playing the same night of radiation treatment. His saving the team and forfeiting 30 million dollars to save the team while being the first owner/player in sports history is indicative of his passion, and how he truly trascends the sport. No player in the history of sports is truly bigger due to his passion, which is shown by his actions. This surely includes Woods and Jordan, who have done nothing comparable in terms of passion. Passion is a part of being a great athlete, and no name like Mario Lemieux has denmonstrated such passion through his actions on and off the ice.


    It's quite funny, because I considered in regards to my profession before I wrote what I did. Nor would I discount Tiger Woods accomplishments over his fifteen years of professional golf due to his indiscetions. I recall fascinatingly watching him while at Stanford defending his amateur championship, so Im well aware of his career. And I hate watching golf, almost as much as i despise playing it with those better then me. ;) ;)But I never looked at Tiger and thought "Wow, what an athletic shot." Why? Because being an athlete has little to do with golf. While it takes great mental focus, precision, and hand eye coordination, it has little to do with physical exertion, physical activity involving strength, agility or speed, or great physical exhaustion. While I would be with you when it comesw to mental exhaustion, that has little to do with athletics. There are factors of golf that have to do with being an athlete, but not the complete package that sports such as basketball and hockey entail. As for my comments on Woods and what he's known for, the first thing most people think of is his marital infidelities, and his trip to rehab. It may not be right, but it's a fact of life. And it detracts from Woods athletic endeavors, while Lemieux's actions enhances his. May it be fair? No. Is it a reality? Yes. And like it not, it takes a man involved in a sport already disadvantaged by the argument of some that it's not a sport, and hurts it further. It only harms any false claim he would attempt to garner as the greatest athlete ever. And it certainly hurts a man coming in disadvantaged to begin with in this debate as the greatest athlete ever, and serves to further to cement the fact that he is not.


    Ive already discussed his supporting cast, so Im not going to go there again. As for the five different goals five different ways, they serve to show the diverse aspect of Lemiuex's game, much more then a trivia question. The power play goal was a testament to his rocket shot. The short handed goal was a testament to his agility, stickhandling, puck control, and a phenomenal move. His penalty shot goal was a testament to his incredible speed and stickhandling once again, as well as his precision shooting. His even strength goal was a testament to his incredible inmtelligence and quick thinking, as he banked it off the unsuspecting goalie's back. His empty net goal was simply him being in the right position at the right time. All of these factors combined are far more then a trivia question answer, but a compliliation of why he's the greatest athlete ever. But don't just take my word for it, watch "Le Magnifique" in action!

    [YOUTUBE]f3UTG18CkS8[/YOUTUBE]

    I read the list, and at your request, I reread it. While I saw an impressive list of accomplishments, I failed to see any proof of how any of those achievements make him a great athlete, let alone the greatest. I could compile a similar list of chess accomplishments, and noone would think of me as the greatest "athlete ever". The very thought of it would be absurd. While golf is certainly a sport and more physically demanding, I find it absurd to consider it among the great athletic endeavors, which precludes any golfer, even Woods, from being the greatest athlete ever. Since Ive already shown how Lemieux is a better athlete then Jordan despite him being the 2nd greatest athlete ever, only one obvious conclusion can be drawn: Mario Lemieux is the greatest athlete ever.

    Its something you have to concede, as you look at the numbers. Defeats in the first round of match play. An inability to make cuts. A failure to win ANY tournament in the lst 2 years. Be it injury, lack of mental focus, or aging, Wood's game has deteriorated. One would think Lemieux's game would drop off after back surgery and a failure to even bend over and tie his skates. Instead of faltering like Woods, he he lead the league in points per game, lead the playoffs in scoring and was second(with 44 points) to Wayne Gretzky all-time(47 points) Not only this, but he scored possibly the most inmcredible goal of his career. One would think cancer would shake ones mental focus, but after missing 22 games due to cancer, Lemieux averaged an astounding 2.67 points per game, lead the league in scoring by 12 points with 160 points, and lead the team on a 17 game winning streak that began the night he returned, which is still an NHL record. As he aged and took time off as Woods, did, one would think his play would deterioate. Instead, he set up a goal in his first shift, and scored a goal and an assist later in the game. Even greater, Lemieux lead the league in points per game notn only for the rest of that season, but from his December return until his final retirement in 2006.

    If these aren't signs that Lemieux is the greatest player ever, nothing is. But there's not even a thought about it. Mario Lemieux easily bests Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods as the greates athlete ever. His legacy, unmatched skill, perserverance while succeeding through adversity, and tremendous on-ice play, make him the greatest athlete ever. Of this there is no debate.
     
    #14
  15. hatehabsforever

    hatehabsforever Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

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

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

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


    All discussion of your ass aside, my knowledge of basketball history is just fine, thank you very much. I realize it is a well documented story, but one which I am sure has been embellished and Chicago-ized. An icon of Jordan's stature hardly needs such urban legends to pad his legacy, yet such things tend to occur anyway. Recount this story in another ten years, and people will say Jordan came off his deathbed to play in this game. In twenty years, he will have returned from the dead to do so. Stories of this nature are vulnerable to creative license, and I imagine this one is too. I have read and heard about this story many times. It does not increase it's legitimacy the more times you hear it. Great, Jordan came back from a significant dehabilitating flu to dominate a game and ultimately a series. Undoubtedly impressive. But not sufficient to earn him the distinction of the greatest athlete of all time. As impressive as it is, it is far less significant than super Mario returning from cancer, or Tiger winning a major golf tournament on one leg, necessitating subsequent knee surgery which would put him on the shelf for months. All of the greats have stories like this, it is hardly unique to Jordan.



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


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




    I somewhat agree, it is difficult to compare accolades from two such different sports. Both guys do have impressive accolades (of course, Tiger has more of them and they are more impressive :) ).



    My point here may in fact be debatable. Then again, so is your paragraph here. I am not totally sold on basketball being second only to soccer in profile on a global scale. And I am not sure that it is far more popular than golf is as you suggest. Safe to say, much to my chagrin, that hockey is well off the pace (which is the case in the US, in addition to globally). Which takes Lemieux out of the discussion in this aspect.



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

    Tiger Woods is unquestionably the best golfer of all time. Nicklaus himself would say as much, and has on past occasions. This is bearing in mind what Woods has already done, and not even considering what is yet to come, which make no mistake about it, will be plenty. But well over and above being the best golfer of all time, Tiger Woods is the greatest athlete of all time. He has proven it time and time again, and will in all likelihood do so again in the future. After all, Augusta is looming, and we all know what Tiger is capable of achieving there.
     
    #15
  16. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

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    I never once solely relied on Jordan being the best athlete because he was the greatest basketball player. That was one of many reasons I had don't put words in my mouth. You saying Lemieux having better intangibles is 100% opinion based. Lemieux had some nice dekes, Jordan has crossed over many in his career. He has also completely changed direction in mid air to avoid defenders and score. MJ's intangibles are easily on par with that of Lemieux's.



    And Michael Jordan actually did possess strength to go inside and score on bigs. He actually did have the quickness of a point guard. He did have tremendous hand eye coordination. Unless the two have a foot race there is no way to realistically judge who was better at what but I'll take MJ all day.



    Do you actually read what I say or do you enjoy putting words in my mouth. I had Jordan had the athletic capabilities to succeed at other sports. It takes more then that, however, to actually be successful. If MJ put the dedication and passion into baseball or football like he did with basketball at a young age, then he was more then athletic enough to succeed. I can't say the same about Mario. I know damn well Jordan played a full season of minor league baseball and wasn't very good. Did you know it was a game that he hadn't played for 19 years? Did you know he showed tremendous improvement throughout the season and actually impressed then manager Terry Francona? The fact that he looked competent at a sport he hadn't played for 19 fucking years is remarkable and it's false to say otherwise. Do you think Mario could have done the same thing? Fuck no.



    Don't ever question the "passion" of Michael Jordan. MJ lost the most important person in the world to him, his father. His fathers dream was that Michael play professional baseball. That coupled with the fact that he was burnt out from nearly a decade of carrying a team, winning 3 titles, and playing in the Olympics all contributed.



    I apologize for two very minor errors that in the long run are irrelevant to the point I was making. Ron Francis was traded for later in the season so he didn't carry them in the regular season the first year but Recchi did. And both were very important to that first cup run. Recchi wasn't part of the second cup run but he did play part of that second season for them and in return they got two good players that helped them win the second cup. The point I was making is that Lemieux had more then his fair share of help. Help that you seem to think wasn't there.

    Goddamn are you overrating Jordan's supporting cast. While Lemieux played with multiple HOFers and multiple other great players. MJ had one HOFer in Pippen and one very good player in Horace Grant for 3 and then a HOFer in Rodman replaced Grant for the last 3. Will Perdue was complete and utter shit. He never even averaged double figures in any season. His highest ppg average with Jordan was 4.7. Bill Cartwright was good player early in his career but by the time the Bulls started winning titles he was 34 years old and didn't do all that much. Stacey King is another guy who did jack in his career. John Paxson could hit the open three but that's about it. He only had two seasons in his career where he averaged double digits and neither came during the Bulls title winning seasons. Jordan may have had Phil Jackson but Lemieux had two great coaches as well. Bob Johnson was only a coach for a few years but he was successful in those years. His untimely death then brought the Penguins arguably the greatest hockey coach of all time in Scotty Bowman who was working in the front office before hand. You are out of your mind if you think Michael Jordan had more help then Lemieux did during their respective title runs. At the very least they are even but give the edge to Lemieux's supporting cast.



    The only consistent prime player Jordan had with him during all of his titles was Pippen. Lemieux had Ron Francis, who was also a HOFer, for both cup runs. Not a complete season in the first cup win but he was there for all of the playoffs. By the time Jagr was entering his 3rd year he was becoming an elite player and yet Lemieux was unable to win another Cup. Jordan in no way had more support. My comparison of Pippen to Francis may be speculation but about 90% of your argument is speculation so you can;t really say much.



    You act like Jordan never had great playoff performances. I mentioned the flu game already but let's also not forget he averaged over 30 ppg in every single playoff run he ever had with the exception of his first as a rookie. That time he only averaged 29.3.



    They compare just fine and are actually more impressive.



    So you're admitting that both players did extremely remarkable things. Some things that may never be seen again and some that the great players of today are doing similarly.



    You completely mistook my statements about MJ and his ability at other sports. The Recchi and Francis errors were very minor and were not all that relevant to the main point I was getting across about Lemieux having plenty of help for his Cup runs. Your errors have been major parts of your arguments that were false. Basically your errors far >>>> my errors in terms of relevance to the debate and arguments. I also don't care all that much that Lemieux led the league in points per game during his first year. Considering he only played half the season it doesn't really show me much. Whats to say he doesn't slow down at the end of the year because of his age? It's very rare that a player especially at that age keeps up a point per game average throughout an entire season.





    You showed some of those things but at every single turn I showed you how Jordan was greater when it came to all of those things. Lemieux was great but no way is he a better athlete then Michael Jordan.

    I won't deny any of that. Tiger is a great athlete. But when comparing him to Michael Jordan, well, there is no comparison. MJ is greater.

    It does involve a physical specimen but not one greater then Michael Jordan, or most elite athletes in the big 4 sports for that matter.

    It's all very relevant. Do you and LSN not realize how impressive of a feat it was for Jordan. HE HADN'T PLAYED BASEBALL FOR 19 YEARS. He just picked it up and actually outplayed some of his teammates who had been playing their whole lives. He also showed great improvement from beginning to end. Remember he was only there for one season.




    I apologize MJ never had cancer and that he didn't play a sport where it was possible for him to play after a knee surgery. Actually Jordan's 63 point performance against the Celtics in the playoffs came after he shortly returned from a broken foot that caused him to miss most of the season. Another impressive feat. All of these feats are nice but and like you said not unique. I was just pointing out some of Jordan's.





    Trust me. If Jordan struggled the Bulls weren't going to win anything major. He had a supporting cast, not a safety net. A supporting cast just happens to be a necessity in a team sport. That doesn't make Tiger better because he didn't need one in an individual sport.




    You can't compare a golf career to a basketball or hockey career. Golf is a far less taxing sport on the body which is why players in their 50's can still play at a high level. You won't see that in basketball or hockey.



    I'll agree with Lemieux being out of the discussion. All you have to do is look at how international teams/leagues are giving NBA players like Josh Childress huge multi-million dollar contracts to leave the NBA and play overseas to see how popular it is.





    He wasn't a shadow of his former self, just a 38-40 year old player at the end of his career. Him returning and putting up the number she did at that age are very impressive and a testament to how great in athlete he was.

    I'll believe it when I see it but right now Michael Jordan is without question the greatest athlete of all time.
     
    #16
  17. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

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    If his name was Michael Jones rather then Michael Jordan, he likely would never gotten the chance to play MINOR leaague baseball whatsoever. And his dalliance in baseball is relevant here, as it shows Jordan wasn't the freak of nature who could successfully play any sport he chose that he's been painted out to be. All three athletes could easily have haad doors opened for them based on their name value and played a different sport at a lower level, had they chose. It's just that Jordan was the one who lost his passion for basketball, and tried another. There's a reason he played for Chicago's farm team, and not someone else's. His name.

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

    This I agree on, and my argument is noted. Jordan played for the Birmingham Barons, of the Southern league, which is considered to be the weaker of the Doube-A leagues. What's further, he had to show improvement just to be bad at it. If he was Michael Jones instead of Michael Jordan, he never would have had the opportunity to flirt with the Mendoza line in the minor leagues. Any argument of what he "could have been" given the right training is irrelevant, because that's not what happened. All we can go by is the stats, and they were bad, in low Minor League ball at that. Lemieux and Woods would have had the same opportunity to "play their craft" in a different way had they chosen to, but didn't. Lemieux never lost his passion for his game. Woods lost his self-control, which has cost him his game.

    When's the last time Tiger's been dominant within his sport though? He's still at prime age, considering his sport. Yet his play continues to slip. No tournament victories, a lost number one ranking. He's a shell of his former self. Consider the body of work, more then anything else. You have Jordan who scores the lowest points totals of his career, by far, at the end. You have Woods, who lost his mental focus and sense of inhibition, and it has carried over into his golf play. You can make all the arguments you want that its not relevant, but statistics don't lie. Lemieux averaged the most points per game of all players in the NHL over 2000-06, and the only thing that held him out of games was injury. His PPG average shows that he still had it. Jordan didn't, and Woods hasn't shown he has.


    It's IMPOSSIBLE to compare accolades from basketball or hockey with that of Golf. There are four majors each year, combined with countless more tournaments in Golf. In hockey, or basketball. there's ONE championship to win each year, and you know this. An impossible comparison.

    With all due respect, this isn't round 3. We had the debate over "Most Internationally Famous Athlete" then. Suffice to say, all 3 men are likely household names across the world and there's no proof otherwise. When you're as dominant in your sport of choice as these three have been, fame and notoriety will follow. Soccer isn't worth a darn in North America, but i know who Ronaldo and Pele are. Fame and success at one's sport transcends cultural popularity.

    .

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

    Most of what we're doing here is opinion based. To narrow what Lemieux did down to some nice dekes(which im not saying you're doing), would be incredibly shortsighted. He had a cannon for a shot. He was a precision passer. Lemieux defined "no look" passing in the NHL, as he could and often did put pucks on other players sticks without even glancing at them. He could muscle the strongest players in the league off the puck due to his size, and skate by them or past them due to his speed or agility. See my reference to him holding the all-time record for shorthanded goals in a season to note his defensive prowess. Jordan had phenomenal intangibles, and I won't and haven't even try to argue that he didn't. You've missed that fact over and again. Ive said repeatedly that Jordan is the SECOND greatest athlete of all time. But that still puts him firmly behind Lemieux, and his intangibles are one reason.

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

    I read what you said. And again, it's a silly argument. I didnt put words in your mouth, you said he could have succeeded at any sport. And when he tried, he didn't. Of course it takes years to perfect a craft, but there' no evidence that Jordan would have. He played for a Duble-A club in the inferior Southern League, and barely stayed afloat. As Ive shown with regards to Lemiuex, his size strength, agility and haand-eye coordination were more then enough that he could have succeeded at another sport had he played it from a young age. We'll never know. What we do know that is if you quantify "improvement" as raising your average over the Mendoza line in a "prospect league", the bar's been set awfully low.

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

    I didn't question the passion Jordan, the man did himself. It was the reason he gave for walking away from the sport in the first place! It was only after finding that he couldn't be successful with regards to his father's dream that he came back to basketball. I don't deny Jordan was passionate, but Lemieux, moreso. Playing hockey on the same night you received radiation treatment and scoring three points that same night blows away any passion Jordan may have shown. Lemieux had nothing more to prove in the game of hockey, could have walked away, and noone would have blamed him. But it was his passion for the game that kept him going. It was his passion that lead to him playing in a game and scoring perhaps the most incredible goal in NHL history after missing the previous game because of his bad back. This is the passion I speak, part of the intangibles that make him the greatest player ever.

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

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/careerstats....rage&viewName=statsLeadersSingleSeasonGoalies

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


    I think you're understating the support that Jordan had. Cartwright, for one, was brought in specifically to fit into Jackson's system and help combat some of the size within the Eastern conference. Ive already mentioned how B.J. Armstrong lead the league in 3 point shooting overall during the 3 year span of which the Bulls won their first championship. Paxson was a very solid point guard and a clutch shooter. He only made the game winning three against Utah in their series clinching victory in their 3rd championship season, after all. Perdue and King weren't much, but they were role players. Every team has them, the Penguins were full of them with guys like Bob Errey, Jay Caufield, and Kjell Samuelsson. None of them were impactful players, but they served a role. Same with some of the Bulls players.

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

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

    But Jordan had that consistent sidekick during his entire time, which is certainly worth a mention. Recchi was that for the first Cup run, but he wasn't for the second. It's worth mentioning that the Penguins traded away 40 goal scorer John Cullen to get Ron Francis, and Cullen outscored Francis 110-87 during the 90/91 season! Francis only produced 17 points to Mario's 44 during that years Cup run and 54 points to Lemieux's 131 the entire next season. With regards to plus/minus, he was a minus player during the second Cup run.

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

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

    That's what we do here, correct, is speculate? We use some factual evidence, but much of it is made up with our opinions on things. Of course Lemieux is going to be viewed at having the greater cast, as hockey teams roll with 4 lines, 6 defenseman, and at least one goalie per game. The maximum number of players that even can be active for an NBA game is 12, so the depth in the NHL is greater simply due to number of players. Your argument of Pippen to Francis is innacurate, not speculative, as Ive shown. Much of Lemeiux not winning another Cup with the Lemieux/Jagr combo was a second back surgery for Lemieux, cancer, and the fact the Penguins were porous with regards to playing defense and got bad golatending. You don't win Cups when your goalie doesn't stop pucks, which Ive shown their starter during Lemieux's glory days, Tom Barrasso, didn't do well in comparison to the rest of the league.

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


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

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

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

    [YOUTUBE]m7S9oRoqfMA[/YOUTUBE]

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

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

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

    No, I took a vague statement and responded to it. You noted that Jordan could have succeeded at a multitude of sports. End of. I noted how he tried, and didn't find success.

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

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

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

    Ill have my final argument up tomorrow.
     
    #17
  18. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

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    We can go the "anything you can do i can do better route" all night long. MJ was a phenom on offense with the ability to score anywhere on the floor. His dunks and mid air moves were a thing of beauty. He was also one of the best defensive players to ever play the game of basketball. He could shut down the opposing teams top scorer on one end and drop 50 on him at the other end.

    I was merely using the foot race thing as an example that there is no way to really compare every attribute each player has. And don't say Jordan wasn't a beast from day one because he certainly was. In his rookie season MJ averaged 28.2 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, and 5.9 assists per game. He went over 40 points 7 times that season.



    I remain completely baffled how someone who is a supposed sports fan cannot be impressed by the fact that Jordan picked up a game after 19 years of not playing it and was able to play it at a relatively high level of competition. He didn't put up great numbers but he also wasn't the worst on the team. He also showed tremendous improvement throughout the season according to where his then manager Terry Francona was very impressed. I really don't care if you weren't impressed because I think an eventual WS winning manager's opinion holds just a little bit more water then yours.
    Mine is a bit more then speculation because the way Jordan was able to pick up baseball after 19 years of night playing shows that with 19 years of playing it he would have been pretty damn good. I'm not sure I see the qualities in Lemieux to succeed at any other sport no matter how hard he tried. Maybe golf.



    No, Jordan came back because of his passion for the game of basketball. He could have easily stayed retired and still gone down as one of the best to ever play the game. After his father died he needed time away but it was that passion that brought him back.



    Once again you obviously aren't reading what I'm saying very well. I said in terms of skill and the type of player they were, Francis compared well to Pippen. I never once said Francis was to Lemieux like Pippen was to Jordan. John Cullen was shit outside of one small 3 year period. he had more points then Francis in 90-91 but that was really the only year he had more points then Francis. Francis was easily the better player and no one can dispute that. I never once put words in your mouth. You kept going on and on about how Lemieux's supporting cast wasn't that great and it was worse then Jordan's which it certainly was not.



    The multiple HOFers and future HOFers he had around him was able to make up for the poor goaltending.




    I give you list of current and future HOFers that Mario had and you give me Bill Cartwright, BJ Armstrong, and John Paxson. I already said how Cartwright was 34 and well past his prime by the time the Bulls started winning titles. BJ was solid but not overly spectacular. He and Paxson both shot the 3 ball well but do you want to know one of the reasons why they did? Because they were always wide open when MJ was drawing double and triple teams. Btw, Paxson's game winning three was against Phoenix not Utah.

    So they added one more HOFer in Rodman to replace a very good player in Horace Grant and got slightly better role players. Not much of an improvement. And please don't ever compare Steve Kerr's clutch shooting ability to that of Robert Horry's. Ever.



    Bowman coached two years with the Penguins and most of the turmoil didn't come until the second season. Besides, we're talking about the greatest athlete of all time, I don't really care about who coached them. MJ won 6 titles with a lesser supporting cast, Lemieux won 2 with a better supporting case, case closed.



    Lemieux's consistent side kick was Jaromir Jagr and I've never tried to dispute otherwise. It's actually kind of sad the Penguins could never win a cup with Jagr in his prime alongside Lemieux. Maybe if Lemieux was the greatest athlete of all time it would have happened ;). Jordan may have had the consistent side kick during the title runs but Lemieux had the much better supporting cast overall.



    My Pippen to Francis argument was not inaccurate just misread (something you're getting pretty good at). You can make all the excuses you want about why Lemieux never won another Cup after the first 2 but the fact remains that he didn't and the fact remains MJ won 6 titles.



    You'll take that over 6 Finals MVP's. Playoff averages of well over 30 points per game. The man was a machine and made a playoff career of hitting game winning shots. Fuck, his last game in a Bulls uniform ended with a game winning shot over Byron Russell to win his 6th title.




    Listen, Lemieux is great. One of the best hockey players ever, very resilient, coming back from cancer was great. But we are talking about the greatest athlete to ever live. The answer is not only Michael Jordan but Lemieux doesn't really belong in the top 10 when it comes to this conversation.



    Michael Jordan was a scorer first but he was also more unselfish then you think. He averaged over 5 assists per game for his career which is remarkable for a shooting guard. Steve Kerr had the bets years of his career in Chicago. BJ Armstrong only lasted two years in the NBA after leaving Chicago. Horace Grant had his best seasons in Chicago with Jordan. Michael Jordan did plenty for his teammates.



    He helped some guys out a lot but as I've shown MJ did the same and it wasn't even his job to do so. The man was a scorer first and foremost. It's not that he couldn't pass well it's that if he didn't score the team didn't win.



    I don't know what you consider success, but I'd say picking up a sport after 19 years, playing it better then some of your teammates who have played it their whole lives, and showing great improvement after just one year of playing the sport at a high level is pretty damn good.


    I NEVER said that Francis was to Lemieux what Pippen was to Jordan. I said "Scottie Pippen is no more mentioned as a great in the NBA then Francis is in the NHL. In fact if I was going to make a cross sport comparison Pippen to Francis would be nearly perfect." You took that and completely misinterpreted it. I was obviously referring to how they were both mentioned as greats in their respective sports as you can tell from the first sentence I typed. I have never back tracked from my errors just truthfully stated that they were very minor and really irrelevant to the main point I was getting across. You've proven nothing because there was nothing for you to prove.



    You also made the error of saying he is the career leader in points per game which I showed to be false. And the per game thing for his comeback season may seem minor but it changes that entire part of your argument sp in actuality it was not all that minor.



    I proved all that in more. You can say all of Lemieux's attributes were unmatched but hockey experts disagree. Probably why they always rank guys like Gretzky, Howe, and Bobby Orr ahead of him when talking about the greatest hockey player ever. There is no discussion in basketball. Best player ever starts and ends with Jordan. When it comes to greatest athlete ever it's the same. The argument starts and ends with one man, Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
     
    #18
  19. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

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    Going back and forth here is easy. Mario had both size and finesse, a rare breed in a hockey player. His speed, stickhandling, and size gave him the ideal body for a hockey player. He could outskate opponents with his speed, deke them with his stickhandling, and check them with his size. Nobody was a bigger highlight real in terms of hockey then Mario Lemieux. And if you really want to get into defense, Mario holds the ALL-TIME record for shorthanded goals in a season with 13. The person's record he broke? Wayne Gretzky's. He had scored 10 shorthanded goals the year prior. Im just simply arguing that Jordan wasn't the complete player/athlete Lemieux was.

    And I just noted that the footrace argument was a nonsensical one. I never made the argument that Jordan wasn't great from day one, don't put words in my mouth once again. Im simply arguing he wasn't the complete player, better athlete that Lemieux was. There's no way for you to argue otherwise. It took Jordan a long time to become a good three point shooter, or post up inside. Jordan's three point percentage was 17, 18, and 13 percent his first full 3 seasons. Lemieux's overall shooting percentage his rookie year? 20.6. It was .3 points better then the NHL leader in points that year, Wayne Gretzky. Lemieux also had an incredulous 36 goals and 64 assists for 100 points his rookie year. Like I said, a more complete player, and from day one.

    Im baffled how you're in awe of someone playing bad baseball where he had to "make tremendous improvement" just to flirt with the Mendoza line playing for the Southern league "long shot" prospects team in Birmingham, an opportunity he would have never been afforded had his name not be Michael Jordan. And Francona noted that Jordan showed a "great attitude" "tremendous speed", and a "great respect" for the game. He also noted how it was his "only losing season" in his four years with Birmingham. I have no problem taking Francona's word on any of it. Im just not impressed with what he did on the field.

    That's only because you obviously havent watched Mario, obviously. Lemieux had the strength speed size and agility that I could speculatively see him having succeeded at any of the big four sports if he had the passion too. And you're being nothing but speculative because Jordan couldn't hit, and we all knew Jordan could run. Im not sure what that proved. Lemieux didn't need to try his hand at another sport, because he didn't lose his passion for the one he was great at.

    He also left because of his lack of passion. There was a dispute for some time over whether the NBA had disciplined him for gambling problems, or if he had "lost his passion" for the game. ESPN's special documentary "Jordan rides the bus" dispelled the myth over gambling and accentuated the truth over him losing his passion. Ill take the words of the 30 for 30 ESPN guys over yours.

    You said they were just about the "perfect cross comparison" across sports? What exactly does that mean then? And Francis didn't become a big time player until after Mario retired, which I proved. Pippen was a big time player the entire time.

    No, Cullen was an average player outside of the three year period. "Shit" players don't last over ten years in the NHL. And there's no denying Cullen benefitted from playing alongside Lemieux. If you would have said "Rob Brown was shit" I would have been with you. He was back in the minors two years after Lemieux. But don't mke rediculous statements about guys with very good careers like Cullen.

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

    The saying of "defense wins championships" rings true here. To win two championships with the men he had in net was truly remarkable.

    I gave you Horace Grant, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, but you conveniently leave them out. I already showed how Cartwright was brought in to be a big body inside in the East that fit Jackson's offense. Spin it however you want it but B J lead the NBA in overall 3pt percentage during the 3 year span in which he played. I also showed how Lemieux's linemates, Kevin Stevens and Robbie Brown either had muddling careers(Stevens) or were out of the NHL altogether(Brown) shortly after Lemieux. All part of my emphasis of how Lemieux made those around him infininitely better then they were.

    I said "this side of Robert Horry." Stop taking my words out of context. And getting a HOF in Rodman and a really good player in Kukoc is only a slight improvement? Please. That's b.s. and you know it. Do Kerr's heroics in the'97(game winning shot) and '98(game winning assist ring a bell. I didn't say he was as clutch as Horry. I said he was the best positional clutch player this side of Horry, meaning he was SECOND to Horry in that department.

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

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

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

    And Mario was a goal scorer first who had a cannon of a shot, yet he lead the NHL in assists numerous times. Not just put up a nice little average, he lead the league. As Ive shown through concrete statistics, turned curtain-jerkers away from him in Kevin Stevens and Rob Brown into all-stars. Neither man did ANYTHING sans Lemieux. Pippen had some of his best career years without Jordan, and Rodman was a HOF either way. Lemieux did far more for his teammates, another thing that makes his the greater athlete.

    It didn't change my point whatsoever. My point in that situation was quite simple. Mario Lemieux returned after 3 and a half years away to be the best player in the league. Him leading the league in points per game by .33 is an incredibly high number, one that can't be accounted for in any other way then he was the best. And he did it at 35 years old. It makes my slight error a small one. I haven't denied my error there, Ive simply shown how it was false. Lemieux actually lead the league from the time he returned to the time he retired in 2006 in points per game, more proof of his excellence and how me leaving out "per game" is irrelevant.


    The only argument is over whether statistics really make Gretzky better then Lemieux, not over who the greater athlete was. Hands down, it was Lemieux, and Gretzky's even acknowledged as such. Gretzky didn't have the shot, the speed, agility, or strength Lemieux did. He simply had the greatest hockey mind of all-time and the greatest ability to read and react to plays in NHL history, as well as phenomenal hand-eye coordination. Orr and Howe have always been in the second tier since Lemieux's career ended, so you have your facts mixed up there. I showedfacts to Habs of Lemiuex's dominance in every area over both men. And as the years have crept by, the arguments have started to surface over Kobe vs Jordan. Over how all Lebron needs is a ring and a few more years. Nonetheless, the discussion here isnt about best player within their sport, it's about greatest athlete. And with all due respect to Jordan, a phenomenal athlete, Ive shown how Mario Lemieux excelled in ways that Jordan didn't. And in doing so, Ive shown how Mario Lemieux is the greatest athlete of all time.
     
    #19
  20. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

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    MJ was the most complete player/athlete to ever live. There was nothing he couldn't do on the court. Offensively, defensively, leadership, intangibles, clutch performance, trash talking, the man did it all and did it all better then anyone else. Lemieux was good but there were better, more complete hockey players.



    Jordan was far more complete then Lemieux from day one. From day one MJ was the best player on the basketball court. The same can't be said about Mario. The ONLY thing MJ didn't do well at the start of his career was shoot 3's and part of that was because he didn't take many. He was too busy dicking on defenders and getting easy buckets inside.



    How many times do I have to repeat this? He hadn't played for 19 fucking years. Of course he's going to struggle early. Anybody else attempting to do what he did would have failed miserably and been gone after a short time no matter how high profile there name was.


    I've watched plenty of Lemieux. He was one of the best hockey players ever and a great athlete, but he was not an elite athlete. He wasn't up there with the Jordan's and the Deion's and the Bo Jackson's in terms of athletic ability.

    His father/best friend died. Anyone would lose some passion after that. he took his little sabbatical and it was his passion that then brought him back to the game.



    You are quoting one part of what I said. Before mentioning the great comparison I talked about there being mentioned in their respective sports as all time greats in the same type of way, which is obviously what I meant by the comparison because that's what I was talking about. Thanks though for thinking you know what I was saying more then I do.



    Shit was an exaggeration, what I'm getting at is that outside of a few year period he did nothing special. He was alright and lasted a while in the league but in no way was he better then Ron Francis.



    Actually you mentioned a few times that his supporting cast wasn't great.


    I didn't conveniently leave anything out, I've acknowledged them already. I was referring to the so called great cast with the rest of the guys that wasn't great at all. Cartwright was ok but was an old man basically at that point. BJ was another decent player but not spectacular and his great 3 point % was a direct result of MJ being on the floor with him.



    I took nothing out of context. "This side of Robert Horry" is still putting him in relatively the same class and Kerr belongs no where near that. Kerr hit one game winning shit in 97 and outside of that he really did nothing all that clutch. If Horry's a 10 on the clutch scale then Kerr is like a 4. And adding Kukoc and Rodman was only a slight improvement. Not because they weren't good players but because they were replacing guys who no longer with the team like Horace Grant and like BJ Armstrong. They were improvements over those guys but not monumental improvements.



    Yes, but the turmoil died down after the trades and the Pens were able to make the cup run. The next year was when they really were falling out to a huge level. And your supposed "greatest athlete ever" probably shouldn't be leading mutiny's against a coach and hurting the team.



    Lemieux had a good 3 year period with Jagr as an elite guy and they failed to win anything of major note.



    It's not ludicrous at all to say a guy who never played a full season and only played at least 70 games 6 times isn't the greatest athlete ever or even top 10. It's not ludicrous to say a guy who at best in the 3rd best hockey player ever (which is the thought of hockey experts everywhere) doesn't belong in the top 10 of greatest athletes ever. Lemieux does not belong at the top of anything related to greatest athlete ever.



    Lemieux had far more assists in his career then goals so he seemed like a passer first to me. Pippen actually never had a year without MJ that was better then a year with him so you can get out with that shit. Lemieux won with 4+ HOFers, Jordan won 3 with one HOFer and 3 with two. Jordan improved his teammates greatly just like Lemieux and I've shown that already.



    Your point is wrong then. How exactly does leading the league for HALF a season make you the best player in the league? It's all about the season as a whole and once again Lemieux couldn't remain on the ice for a full season. MJ at age 39 and 40 played a complete season for the Wizards and was their best player. Jordan did something at age 40 that Lemieux could never do.



    Says who? You? My facts are fine because I share the opinion of hockey experts everywhere. You share the opinion of yourself and fan boys from Pittsburgh.

    The arguments have crept that Kobe may be second to MJ not that he could ever compare equally to them. MJ is easily greater then LeBron and Kobe and any basketball expert will tell you the same.

    Now for my closing argument.
     
    #20
  21. Big Sexy

    Big Sexy Deadly Rap Cannibal

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    Closing​

    Michael Jordan is the greatest athlete to ever live. In my opening post I discussed how his accomplishments, his athletic prowess, and his legacy made him the best. I have reiterated these original points and proved how they easily make MJ a better athlete then both Tiger Woods and Mario Lemieux.

    Mario was one of the best hockey players ever but he wasn't the best. He was a tremendous athlete but not even top 10. MJ, Jim Brown, Babe Ruth, Ali, Gretzky, Deion Sanders, Jim Thorpe, Jackie Robinson, Gordie Howe, Tiger Woods, Wilt Chamberlain all were definitely better athletes as were names like Jerry Rice and Dave Winfield, shit Mario would struggle to make top 15. As great as Lemieux is, he belongs no where near this discussion and I have shown that throughout the thread.

    Tiger Woods is a great athlete but he participates in a sport where it's easy to look like a superior athlete to your competition. And now Tiger when he is supposed to be in the prime of his career can't even buy a win. That doesn't sound like the greatest athlete to me.

    Both of my competitors throughout this debate have said that they believe Michael Jordan is the second best athlete ever. However, Habs doesn't see Lemieux as close to the top and LSN doesn't see Woods as close to the top. I have my own competition admitting that the athlete I chose was the greatest next to their choices. That shows that his greatness as an athlete is something that cannot be disputed.

    Michale Jordan accomplished more in basketball then anyone else has. His athletic prowess and abilities could be seen in his domination of the sport of basketball and also his short run in baseball after a 19 year layoff. In terms of legacy there is no one greater either. Michael Jordan is not only the greatest basketball player ever, he is the greatest athlete of all time.
     
    #21
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  22. LSN80

    LSN80 King Of The Ring

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    Conclusion:

    The three of us have discussed at length our beliefs as to why our chosen player is the greatest athlete of all time. We have defined criteria, and attempted to back up said criteria with factual information. I am not here to claim that Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan aren't all time greats in their game, nor am I trying to deny their place AMONG the greatest athletes of all-time. However, neither demonstrated all the traits that Mario Lemieux did in making him the greatest player of all time.

    With regards to Tiger Woods, he comes in with the inherent disadvanatge of golf being his sport. Simply put, it precludes many of the factors that basketball, football, and certainly hockey possess in terms of great athleticism. The physical endurance, speed, strength, agility, speed of play, and ability to make incredible split second plays that one would call "defining" simply aren't there. There's no doubting the concentration, mental focus, hand-eye coordination and precision that golf possesses. But those factors alone simply don't measure up favorably with hockey. While Tiger may be in great shape, it's not a prerequisite for the game. Golfers such as John Daly, Craig Stadler, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer have all carved out excellent and Hall of Fame careers being in less then stellar shape. When's the last time you say an overweight hockey player? You haven't because shape and conditioning, parts of athleticism, are a must, not an option.

    Golfers such as Jack Nicklaus have won the Masters at age 46, and Julian Boros won the PGA championship at age 48. Golf is a gaame one can play at a high level even as they grow old, because of its lack of athletic demands. In contrast, Tiger is in the prime of his career at 35 and has yet to win a tournament in 2 years. Attribute it to highly publicizied marital infidelities that caused a lack of focus or other extraneous variables, but Tiger has looked like a shell of his current self for the past two years. One must take an athletes entire body of work into consideration, and Tiger missing cuts, flubbing shots, and failing to win have certainly hurt said body of work. Factor that in in all the inherent disadvantages that golf presents in terms of athleticism, and it's impossible to name Tiger Woods the greatest athlete ever.

    In looking at Michael Jordan, there's no denying his athletic prowess at his given sport. But I have shown that while a great player from day one, he wasn't a complete player. One must factor in the entire body of work, again. He was not a good three point shooter, as i attested. Lemieux, on the other hand, hd a shooting percentage of 20.6 his rookie year, better then Gretzky's in the same year. Jordan also failed to be able to play inside as a post player until much later in his career. Lemieux, on the other hand, possessing a rocket shot, could play the point on the power play. His strength allowed him to outmuscle others for pucks, stickhandle and deke his way around players, and use his speed, agility, and phenomenal hand-eye coordination to not only beat goalies but set up others for easy goals. His 43 goals and 57 assists for an incredible 100 point rookie year on the worst team in hockey attests to this. He was a complete player from day 1.

    Another feat in which Jordan failed with regards to athleticism was the skill to make people around him better. All of the players he played with scored similar, some better, without Jordan then they did with. Ive shown how Mario Lemieux took virtual nobodies and turned them into stars using facts regarding Rob Brown and Kevin Stevens. Both never came close to having the success without Lemieux that they did with him, demonstrating Lemieux's athletic prowess in getting the most out of players. It was due to his dekes, stick handling, and precision passing that created this. Jordan was unsuccesful in doing this for much of his career, as Ive shown. Further, for all the accolades that are heaped on Jordan for his success during his career, he was hd plenty of letdowns as well. He was unable to defeat the Detroit Pistons for 3 straight years in the playoffs before succeeding. It wasn't until Phil Jackson was promoted to head coach and implemented the triangle offense that Jordan's game became more complete. His last two seasons were spent wallowing in mediocrity with the Washington Wizards. Again, full body of work must be considered when determining greatest athlete. As for Lemieux, he won his Cups with two different coaches. The second was with a coach the players won with in spite of in Scotty Bowman, who was instrumental in trading two of their best players and all-time greats away for virtually nothing because he didn't like them in Mark Recchi and Paul Coffey. So while part of Jordan's success can be traced to being part of a system, part of Lemieux's can be equally done so as rising above no real system being in place the second year of back to back championships.

    Jordan also lost his passion for the game during the midst of his career. Although a minimal part of my argument, it's hard to consider someone to be the greatest athlete of all-time when they "lose their desire and passion" to go play another sport. Even if him playing baseball is slightly relevant, he was very unsuccessful in playing in an inferior league. Regardless of him not playing for a long period of time, skills don't erode if one is great, they simply become rusty. For Jordan to "improve tremendously" to barely make the Medoza line in a bad league is indicative of his lack of success in another sport. While Jordan was losing passion, some understandably so with the death of his father, Lemieux faced multiple obstacles that never caused his passion to erode. He had back surgery in the 90/91 campaign and was playing on a back he couldn't tie his skates on and missed three games only to score the most incredible goal in NHL history in a game he put his team ahead for good, and they never trailed in the series. Despite missing those games, Lemieux lead the NHL in playoff scoring with 44 points, second only to Gretzky's 47 in 1983. In the 91/92 campaign, he played through a broken wrist that forced him out 5 games, but returned the same series to oust the team that had injured him, and swept the following two teams to win his second consecutive Cup. The following year, noone could have blamed Lemieux if he had called it a career due to his cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, but not only did he return the night of his final radiation, he also lead the NHL in scoring that season despite missing two months. With all due respect to Jordan's passion that made him a great athlete, Lemieux's passion eclipsed his(and Woods) to make him the superior athlete. While Jordan was a great athlete, he didn't possess the combination of speed, agility, endurance, defensive acumen, strength, and all-around play that Lemieux did. Simply put, it made Lemieux the superior athlete.

    I clearly outlined criteria for what made Lemeiux the greatest player of all time. The first is him being the complete package from day one. As I said earlier, his shooting percentage in his rookie year was higher then the league's leading scorer in 20.6 to 20.3. Despite his pinpoint accuracy and cannon of a shot that lead to 43 goals his rookie year, he also added 57 assists, showing he was equally adept at distributing the puck early in his career. 100 points in a rookie season is a phenomenal feat. Perhaps no one play demonstrates Lemieux's early greatness then him scoring a goal in hif first game on his first shot. He only made one of the all-time greats in Ray Borque look silly in doing so, by speedily stripping all-time great Ray Borque of the puck, quickly putting it through Borque's legs on the side boards, then using his incredible speed to race in alone before deking the goalie and blowing shot by him. His incredible speed, stickhandling and agility were on full display from that first goal on. In the video below of his first goal, it's easy to see how he displayed Lemieux and utilized those skills from day one.

    [YOUTUBE]zeGKVWwaKQg[/YOUTUBE]

    Second, I used accomplishments as a measure of making Lemieux the greatest player of all-time. Some of Lemieux's accomplishments include leading the NHL in scoring 6 times, while leading the league in goals or assists multiple times. He holds the NHL record for shorthanded goals in one season with 13 in 1988/89. Lemieux is also the only player in NHL history to score 5 goals five different ways, and I've demonstrated how remarkable they were earlier. Lemieux also was the last player in the NHL to lead the league in both goals and assists in 1988/99, a record that has lasted 21 years. Championships, while important, aren't the be-all, end-all criteria for judging the greatest athlete, or Bill Russelll(12 NBA rings), Jean Believau(11 Stanley Cups), or Yogi Berra(10) would surpass either Jordan or Lemieux, with relevance to their sport. Still, despite his setbacks, Lemieux won two, and did so in magnificent fashion. During his first Stanley Cup win, he re-injured his surgically reparied back, and was urged not to play again. Instead, he carried the team on his back to win their first Stanley Cup, and lead the team to their second Cup with a broken wrist the nexr year. Finally, he rebounded from cancer to not only play again at a high level, but lead the league in scoring. Ill take Lemieux's accomplishments rivaled with anyone in context of their sport and the magnitude of them.

    Speaking of magnitude, I also looked at Lemieux's defining moments. I already demonstrated and showed video evidence of the first, in which he demonstrated he was great right away, scoring an incredible goal on his first shift in his first game. He defined what it meant to be a defensive forward when he scored 13 shorthanded goals in 1988/89, as Ive already mentioned. He defined what it meant to be the complete package, when he became the only player in NHL history to score five goals in five different ways. In the video I provided in post 14, Lemieux shows off HOW he was the complete package. His first goal was an example of his superior playmaking and his creativity by throwing the puck off the goalie's back and into the net. His second goal, the shorthanded goal, was an example of his unparralled acceleration, stickhandling, and ability to deke a goalie like no other. His third goal, on the power play, was an example of his phenomenal shot. pinpoint accurate shot. His fourth goal, on the penalty shot, showed how there was none better in open ice while displaying tremedous puck control and hand-eye coordination while beating the goalie. His fifth goal, the emoty netter, was an example of how positionally sound he was. Again, it demonstrated how he was the complete package in this defining moment.

    Lemieux had more defining moments to come. In 1990/91, when the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup, Lemieux re-injured his back. Missing three games, he was urged by the doctors not to play. But trailing two games to one, Mario suited up, despite not being able to tie his skate laces. As I showed in post #4, he scored arguably the greatest goal in NHL history, where he took a pass, and challenged two defensemen. Putting it between ones legs, he accelerated past them, picked up the puck, and in one motion, he deked the goaltender right while flipping the puck to the backhand and scoring right. The Penguins never trailed again in the series, and Lemieux scored the second most points in NHL history for a playoff year with 44 despite those 3 games missed. The following year, he had his wrst broken purposefully in Game 1 against the New York Rangers, Missing the next 5 games and again going against doctor's advice that he have season ending surgery, he lead the Pens past the favored Rangers in game 7, then lead them to sweeps against Boston and Chicago to win back to back Cups. The following year, Lemieux was leading the league in scoring, and on pace to break Gretzky's all-time record for most points in a season. He was diagnosed with Hodgskins disease, a form of cancer, and missed two months. Yet he returned the night of his last radiation treatment and promptly went on to lead the league in scoring despite missing two months.

    Lemieux wasn't finished. After retiring in 1996, he returned to the franchise as the owner in 2000, and promptly scored a goal and two assists in his first game back. He lead the team to the Eastern Conference Finals that year, and lead the league in points per game in the half season after he returned. Despite a firesale of all the Penguins best players in years following, he lead the NHL in points per game from his return in 2000 to his retirement in 2006. From start to finish, there was none greater. Jordan couldn't do it, and neither could Woods.

    There are many more factors Ive pointed out and could go into great detail about again, but Ive highlighted the most important ones. Ive shown how from day one to the day Lemieux retired, there was no greater athlete. Ive used a myriad of video and statistical analysis to back this up. Lemieux's ability to make players better then they were was also shown, with stats to prove so. Lemieux's ability to fight through injury and still play at the top of his profession truly seperates him from anyone else. Noone else has ever missed two months and lead their league in scoring, especially after cancer. Noone has battled the back problems Lemieux has, and still lead the league in points per game in both time periods in which he played.

    Big Sexy's argument in his closing statement is that because Habs and I put Jordan second and others before each other's choices it shows Jordan is overall number one. That's illogical, because we both put a player higher in vastly different sports, showing our difference in logic and opinion. And his correlation there is simply opinion, nothing more. The difference is that along the way, Ive used facts to show Lemieux's greatnes from day one, his accomplishments, his defining moments, his ability to make others better, and his statistical dominance, and his excellence despite injury and a dehabilitating disease. When you combine the facts I presented with the myriad of reasons why, there's only one logical conclusion one can come to, and no amount of speculation or opinion can change that. The fact is, Mario Lemieux is the greatest athlete of all time.
     
    #22
  23. hatehabsforever

    hatehabsforever Moderator
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    First of all, let me congratulate both Big Sexy and LSN80 for another excellent round of debating. This was another interesting topic, which could be debated from now till the Detroit Lions win the Superbowl, or until the Pirates win the World Series, and even after the elapsation of such an extended period of time, I am sure we still would not arrive at a consensus. Both of my fellow debaters did an excellent job in this round, especially because they were operating from a position of weakness. The simple fact of the matter is, no matter how compelling the arguments of Big Sexy were regarding Michael Jordan, or how passionate the points were from LSN80 concerning Mario Lemieux, when it comes right down to it, both guys made the wrong choice. The greatest athlete of all time is clearly Tiger Woods. Allow me to summarize why.

    The simple fact of the matter in this round is that both Big Sexy and LSN80 produced some well thought out and very long winded posts. In doing so, unfortunately, both guys tended to drift off topic, sometimes dramatically so, losing focus on the question at hand. In other words, when the question was simply who is the best athlete ever, it seems to me there was a lot of time spent on trivia questions and points of irrelevance. When we should have been discussing Tiger versus Mario versus Michael, I seemed to read an awful lot about minor league baseball, debates regarding Gretzky, Orr and others, the quality of teammates, and other such points which mattered little or nothing to the question at hand. I am not sure if this was a "baffle them with bullshit" strategy, you know, inundate the readers and judges with an endless plethora of facts, statistics and opinions which often skirted around the issues, rather than delving into them, and hope they will be overwhelmed into adopting a viewpoint which quite frankly is incorrect. Or maybe it was just a case of passion, especially in the case of our boy from Pennsylvania, arguing emotionally but incorrectly about Lemieux's consideration of top athlete. Either way, let's boil it down to the facts.

    Golf is a legitimate professional sport, requiring a high skill level and terrific athleticism to play it at a level of the upper echelon of the world, and necessitating the God given talents, physical abilities, and mental fortitude to play it at the level of Tiger Woods. Throughout this entire thread, there was a persistently naive and incorrect bias from both of my fellow debaters regarding the athleticism required not only of a professional golfer, but specifically, of Tiger Woods. The simple fact of the matter is, golf is a legitimate professional sport, one which should not be discounted or trivialized just because people do not play it, do not follow it, or do not adequately respect it. To play PGA golf at a level of dominance like Woods has done, requires a lot more than hand eye coordination, timing, patience and persistence, although these area all paramount. It also requires strength, stamina (both mental and physical), endurance, and Tiger Woods is in possession of all of these attributes, and then some.

    Tiger has been so dominant physically that he necessitated changes to tour events and layouts. There are numerous examples of "Tiger-proofing" courses just to keep tournaments competitive and to keep the rest of the field with a fighting chance to stay in the hunt. Pushing tee boxes back to lengthen yardages, narrowing fairways, increasing the length of the rough, or re-positioning and deepening bunkers to try to increase the demands upon Tiger because he was simply so superior to everyone else. And what happened? Tiger's over powering strength was unfazed by the additional yardages. When faced with narrower fairways, he simply put away the drivers and tore the cover of the ball off with long irons. Longer rough and deeper bunkers, more strategically placed, were simply no match for the power and strength in Tiger's repertoire. To suggest that his physicality and athleticism were not fantastic is ridiculous, biased, and naive. Simply put, despite the different physical demands of the different sports, Tiger is undoubtedly a supremely gifted and strong athlete from a physical standpoint. There does not have to be physical contact, or aggression, or the necessity for speed, agility, or flexibility, for a sport to be considered physical, or for one of it's competitors to be considered a supremely gifted athlete, in fact the greatest ever. This is nothing more than a short sighted opinion based upon biases and personal preferences.

    My fellow e-friends spoke a lot of the fact that golfers in general are not necessarily athletic, and that as such, athleticism is not a prerequisite, and so therefore, Tiger should be devoid of consideration as the greatest athlete of all time. And that's all well and food to say except it conveniently misses the point and misleads the reader. I am not comparing the physical prowess of golfers in general to basketball players. I am not assessing the relative athleticism of the average Joe on tour to that of hockey players. I am talking specifically about Tiger Woods. I am not comparing John Daly, or Angel Cabrera, or Vijay Singh, to Michael Jordan or his Bulls teammates. I am not suggesting that Phil Mickelson, or Mark Calcavecchia, or Craig Stadler are more physically gifted than Mario Lemieux. Then again, these guys haven't won 14 Majors before their 36th birthdays. They haven't won 96 professional titles in their careers. They haven't dominated their sport for a decade and a half. They haven't taken the golfing world by storm and forever changed the where and how of it's play. They haven't Sergio Garcia'd any courses due to his physical dominance. Simply put, these guys are not Tiger Woods. So let's not get sidetracked here, or worse yet, let's not try to dupe our readers or judges. Let's not compare Lemieux or Jordan to the stereotypical golfer, with caddy in tow, but instead, let's compare them to the man I am comparing them to, the incomparable Tiger Woods. The fact of the matter is this. Tiger Woods is a physical specimen. The strength he has displayed in muscling the ball out of deep bunkers and treacherous and unforgiving rough is not to be discounted. The depth of his drives, while maintaining precision and accuracy, not to mention the balls it takes to conceive some of the shots he produces, never mind the flawless execution of them, these are all hallmarks of the greatest golfer of all time. But much more so than this, they are the trademarks of the greatest professional athlete of all time.

    We haven't even ventured into the mental aspect of the game, and the psychological superiority of Eldrick. Granted this applies well to all 3 guys, but it cannot go unmentioned that Tiger is the prototypical ice water in the veins type of guy. While Jordan's grace under pressure cannot be faulted, Tiger's ability to take over a tournament, and psych everyone out in the process, is unparalleled. His ability to protect a lead is noteworthy. His propensity to be the predator, pursuing and overtaking his prey, is legendary. As unflappable as Lemieux was, no one goes for the jugular like Tiger does. No one plays and competes with more passion, or shows less compassion for his peers, than does Tiger.

    Then there's the whole issue of accolades, "statistical dominance" as a learned but biased poster once spoke of, and while all three of these guys have amassed awards and accolades like few before them, Tiger has simply achieved more. More championships, at a more torrid pace. More dominance, at an earlier age chronologically as well as in terms of the point in their career. I am not going to go through the accolades again, we have been subjected to such an onslaught of trivia and facts already in this thread. Let's just state with certainty that while all guys have done a lot from a statistical perspective, Tiger has simply done more, sooner, more dominantly, more impressively, and all by himself.

    Which brings me to yet another point. Individual sports versus team events. I have no intention of emphasizing the virtues of solo sports versus team based ones, that would not be a fair comparison. You cannot penalize a player and trivialize his accomplishments because of the fact that he plays in a team sport. But all of Tiger's tremendous accomplishments, all of his successes, all come down to him and him alone. No Pippen. No Jagr. No safety net. Just facing the pressure and demands totally alone, and more often than not, triumphing over them.

    Of course, the discussion would not be complete without going down the road of the post 12/11/09 Tiger Woods. You know, the one that the National Enquirer, and TMZ, and certain unnamed posters, have attached themselves to and attacked and exploited. Make no mistake about it. Tiger Woods has fallen on hard times. He has faced tremendous physical challenges, such as knees, hips, etc., which incidentally are directly related to the power and torque that only a player of his strength and power could possibly generate. He had been on the shelf for a while, and as such, swing problems have crept into the equation. And of course, his fall from grace, with his marital indiscretions, association with hookers, etc,, quite simply put, the man's life has been in shambles for the last 15 months or so. It should hardly be surprising to anyone that his game has suffered. After all, just because the man plays with the power of a machine and the psyche of a cyborg, he is still a human being and will undoubtedly pay a price for the media circus which revolves around him and hovers over him, as only dirty laundry can elicit.

    It has only been 15 months, and he is still only 35 years old. If past experience is any guideline, not only is it possible for him to recover and reascend to the pinnacle of the golfing world, but in fact, it is quite likely. He has fallen on hard times before. He has faced challenges before. He has been written off by naysayers and critics in the oats, and he has come back, bigger and better than ever. I think it is both premature and frankly a little silly to assume that the man is done, just because his physical dominance and mental grit have been temporarily suspended. If I were a betting man, my smart money would be on an eventual resurgence by Tiger. It may take a while. Who know, maybe he will remain in his current funk for another 15 months. But safe to say he will be back. Sure, this is opinion and speculation only, but that is a significant component of the debating process. But I think reports of his demise are grossly over exaggerated and unbelievably premature. When he comes back, and make no mistake about it, he will, he will only add to his superb legacy. Despite what Jordan and Lemieux have accomplished, which cannot be discounted, they are both definitely done. Maybe Tiger is too, but maybe not. And if not, his accolades will only continue to escalate. His legacy can only grow. And his claim to the moniker of gnu greatest athlete of all time will only become more decisive, with the gap between himself and number two Jordan, and the distant consideration Lemieux, growing even larger.

    Even if he never returns, even if he toils in futility for a couple of years and then hangs up the cleats, I still maintain he is the greatest athlete ever. His 15 year professional career is comparable in longevity to Lemieux and Jordan, but is more impressive and awe inspiring. His career, as of 03/03/11, already earns him the designation of the greatest athlete of all time. Anything else left to potentially be achieved is merely icing on the cake. Plenty of potential upside, little or no potential downside.

    So cloud the discussion all you want with talk of two sports athletic endeavors and fantasy dabbles of below mediocrity in Double A baseball. Inundate us with trivial pursuits such as bailing out failing franchises financially , or scoring 5 different style of goals in one game, or other such points of irrelevance. Put up all such smokescreens to your heart's desires. In the end, it all comes down to one clear consensus. Tiger Woods is the greatest athlete of all time. Not Michael Jordan, he would get the nod for second place. Certainly not Mario Lemieux, who would be in a dog fight (unsuccessfully) to even be the greatest hockey athlete of all time.In the end, the choice is clear. The nod, all biases and tangents aside, has to go to the one and only, the incomparable Tiger Woods.

    Let's not forget, Augusta is only around the corner. We may be getting ready to see history unfold, yet again, in typical Tiger-esque fashion. I, for one, would not bet against it. After all, that is when the greatest of the great tend to assert themselves. And make no mistake about it, in any discussions of the greatest of the great, there is no need to look beyond Mr. Tiger Woods.
     
    #23
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