This tweet came across my feed, and I thought it was a neat thing to discuss. Why not make it a blog post, ’cause you know I like to talk sports? So here we go!
In case you all don’t know, John Buffone is a nephew of former Bears linebacker, radio personality, and beautiful human–Doug Buffone.
NBA– Michael Jordan. Boring answer perhaps. Best player in his era, among probably the most talented era in NBA basketball. Which is why Kobe Bryant was probably my second favorite NBA player. Until his personal issues bled into the NBA. Still doesn’t diminish what he has done as a player.
NFL– Walter Payton, but Barry Sanders is a close, close second. Walter Payton was what every kid around my day wanted to grow up to be. Barry Sanders was like watching a great painter paint. The way he ran, turned direction, cut, spun, got out of tackles–you could only dream up stuff like that. That is talent you are born with. I don’t know that any player in the Super Bowl era got more out of their talent than Walter Payton though. Wasn’t the fastest, biggest, or strongest (thought he was one of the toughest), but he had great body control, vision, and patience. Just as soon run you over as run past you, stiff arm you, stop and start. That was just the beginning. He could punt, throw a touchdown, catch, block, or play on special teams.
NCAA Football– Shaun Alexander. I was fortunate enough to watch many games/highlights of him throughout his college career. Reminded me a lot of Walter Payton. Alexander might have been a tick faster. He carved his way through teams, week in and week out, stacking up yards, and touchdowns. He was just as fun to watch in his NFL career.
NCAA Basketball– Tim Duncan. For me, Tim Duncan was a throwback player. He was a big man who could shoot, or just make a power move to the hoop. Played hard defense, and was a generational player.
MLB– Ken Griffey Junior. I used to play this computer simulation called Strat-o-matic baseball. We only used NL players though. So naturally I was thrilled when Griffey signed with the Cincinnati Reds. He wasn’t the same player as he was back in Seattle, swatting majestic home runs, and robbing players of hits in center field, but he still had that swing. One of the most beautiful swings of his day. He also played every game with that childlike smile, which was almost more of a trademark than his game play.
NHL– Patrick Kane. I’m going new school, mainly because Blackhawks games were not on TV when I was growing up. I used to follow them in the papers, and when they made it to the playoffs (and I was old enough) I would go to the bar to watch them play. I almost said Steve Larmer, and Ed Belfour is in the conversation. I also thought about Artemi Panarin, who might be my 2nd favorite player. Patrick Kane has gone through a lot in his career. His best seasons might have been the two he played with Panarin. I still can’t believe those teams didn’t win a cup. No one has the “handles” that Kane does, or the vision, and ability to pass the puck. Not that great on defense, but he pitches in for timely defense.
Boxing: Evander Holyfield. Not a huge boxing fan. I do respect the sport. We don’t have guys like Mike Tyson, Holyfield, Sugar Ray Leonard, George Frazier, or Muhammad Ali. Boxing is just a shell of what it used to be. Holyfield might have been the last of his kind. He had an impressive list of wins in his day. He was professional. I would have loved to see Ali and Frazier fight in their prime.
Wrestling: Andre the Giant. As a “bad guy”, he was a formidable opponent, but when he switched over to join Hulk Hogan as a “good guy”, that was the bees knees. I mean, for the short time I watched wrestling for what it was (pure entertainment), it was glorious. There was only one Hulk Hogan, but there was also only one giant. Then of course, him being in one of my favorite movies of all time: The Princess Bride–that seals the deal.
This has been a fantastic list to share, and write about. I hope you do your own list and pass it on. Feel free to put it in the comments below.