August 9, 2011
Bo Jackson – Bo Jackson was the perfect blend of size, power, skill, and speed. Had Bo stayed healthy, he could have re-written the NFL record books with his vast array of talents. He was devastating in the hole because he was built like a fullback, had the moves of a running back, and the breakaway of a wide receiver. In fact, Bo Jackson had speed that paralleled Olympic sprinters. He is one of the best athletes that ever lived.
Herschel Walker – Herschel Walker actually ran at the Olympic trials. Many scouts thought that he could have been an Olympic athlete if he concentrated solely on track, but he never specialized in his athletic career. Herschel Walker could not be caught in the open field.
Deion Sanders – Deion Sanders owns one of the fastest 40 yard dash times in NFL combine history, and he ran his sprint in his warm-ups. Deion was one of the fastest, quickest, and most dynamic players in organized sports. In high school, he starred in basketball, football, baseball, and track. He has some of the best closing speed that has ever been seen in football. At first, he baited quarterbacks into throwing passes to the receiver that he covered and then picked off the pass. Eventually, quarterbacks just stopped throwing at him altogether.
Lawrence Taylor – Lawrence Taylor was a freak of nature. At 6’4” and 230-250 lbs., he ran the 40 yard dash at a time between 4.4 seconds and 4.5 seconds. He was almost as big as the linemen (the biggest guys on the field), but as fast as wide receivers (the fastest guys on the field). He was relentless in pursuit of the football and could change directions as quickly as anyone on the football. And, when he hit someone, the entire crowd could feel it.
Satchel Paige – Satchel Paige dominated the Negro Leagues pitching in front of mixed sell-out crowds, but he wanted only to play in the Majors. In 1948, in order for him to get his break, Bill Veeck, a scout for Major League Baseball had him pitch a baseball over a cigarette to show his accuracy. According to the legend, 4 of 5 pitches went right across the center of it. Paige pitched in the Major Leagues into his sixties. He had insane velocity and matched it with great accuracy. Paige is one of the best pitchers to ever play.
Jackie Robinson – Jackie Robinson was an outstanding athlete. He was UCLA’s first student to letter in four varsity sports; he played basketball, baseball, football, and ran track. He went on to be one of the first Black Americans to play in the MLB. He was also the first Black American to win the MVP. Robinson was a five-star player. He could field, catch, throw, hit, and run. He was one of the most talented players in league history.
Cy Young – It was rumored that Cy Young threw so hard that his catcher had to wear extra padding in his mitt. He has more wins than anyone in MLB history, is fourth on the all-time shutout list, and threw the first perfect game of the modern era. He still owns records for most consecutive scoreless innings, most twenty win seasons, and held the record for strikeouts when he retired.
Mark Messier – He is second on every hockey list that you can imagine, including regular season goals, playoff goals, and regular season games. He won six championships and is the only hockey player to captain two different teams to Stanley Cups. Unlike Wayne Gretzsky, who is the leader in almost every category, he was big and fast. He was as likely to check a player as he was to score. Gretsky was small and needed protection. Messier was aggressive and powerful.
Bobby Orr – Bobby Orr is the only defenceman to lead the league in scoring twice and holds the records for points and assists by a defenceman. He won three MVP’s and two Stanley Cups. He showed promise from his childhood and won at every level of hockey. He was given the biggest contracts in history when he played, because he was so valuable.
Maurice Richard – Richard is widely considered one of the best hockey players ever by those who love hockey. He is the first guy to ever score 50 goals in 50 games. He retired as hockey’s leading scorer and assisted the puck as well. He won eight Stanley Cups, won a MVP, and was a 14-time all-star. The three year waiting period for him to be eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame was waived for Richard.
Dominique Wilkins – Dominique is one of the purest athletes that the National Basketball Association has ever seen. At 6’9”, he had a vertical leap that exceeded 40”, a vertical that is impressive for a guy that was six inches shorter. He combined power and grace like few players other than Michael Jordan have ever been able to do.
Wilt Chamberlain – Wilt Chamberlain may be the best athlete that ever lived. He ran track and played basketball in high school and college. He played professional basketball and reset every scoring and rebounding record (most of which have still not even been approached) in his prime, and played professional volleyball well into his sixties.
Hakeem Olajuwon – Olajuwon was the most skilled center in NBA history and one of the most athletic players ever. He finished his NBA career as a top ten leader in steals and as the all-time leader in blocks. He revolutionized the center position by showing that centers could be effective utilizing quickness in addition to size and power. Olajuwon combined power, length, speed, and agility at the center position.
Connie Hawkins – The Hawk was a spectacle on the court. He was highly skilled because of his summers in the Rucker Summer League and his stints with the Harlem Globetrotters. He had one of the longest wingspans in sports history, and used it for sweeping hooks, flip shots, and attacks on the rim.
Michael Jordan – Michael Jordan was a stellar athlete and was built to play basketball. He had a ridiculous vertical jump for his size, long arms, and big hands. His length and leaping ability allowed him to do things around the basket that no one could do at the time except Dominique Wilkins. But Jordan’s scoring prowess exceeded even the Human Highlight Film.