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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Tiger the Magnificent

Gene Woj....have to look up the spelling. Wojciechowski. Ok, Gene Wojciechowski from ESPN.com says that Tiger is the greatest athlete of all time. I'm not sure what it was about the PGA that got everyone to go nuts. Sure he dominated for the second major in a row, and now stands second only to Nicklaus in majors. But I have A TON of problems with this wild "greatest athlete ever" tag. Before I begin, Tiger is phenomenal, golf is a sport, and I definitely think he will break all of the Golden Bear's records.

Flaw #1: Tiger is in the midst of his career and it is not fair to evaluate someone on potential to win. After his last major, there was a big debate over whether you could call Tiger the greatest golfer ever, even though he had not yet reached the numbers that Nicklaus had put up. I'm almost sure he will, be he hasn't yet.

Flaw #2: While some do not believe it, I do think golf is a sport. It is mentally and physically draining to play tournaments that span many holes and many days (how's that for technical analysis?). Only thing is, golf does not require nearly as much athletic ability as basketball, football, baseball, soccer, or even tennis. You can play until you are 126 years old, and you can play if you are fat.

Flaw #3: Continuing from number 2, how can you even begin to say that someone who plays golf is a better athlete that someone like Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders who each played football and baseball professionally? But seriously, how can you say Tiger is a better athlete than Jim Thorpe? Thorpe won Olympic gold in the pentathlon and decathlon before going on to play pro football and baseball. And then there was this guy Jackie Robinson who lettered in FOUR sports at UCLA. He was a national champion in the long jump, led the basketball team in scoring for two years, and he played some baseball too.

Is Tiger the most dominant athlete in any sport right now? Probably. Is he going to be the greatest golfer ever? Probably. Is he the greatest athlete ever? Probably not. If you use the same definition of "athlete" that I use, certainly not.

Ah HA! We have had this debate before. Before I completely disagree with you, I will say that I DO AGREE that maybe it is a little premature to deem someone the bet based on their potential. Injuries happen (ask Ken Griffey Jr.). So I will say that Tiger WILL BE the GREATEST ATHLETE EVER.

ONLY, I am defining "athlete" as a synonym with "Player of Sport." In no way will I take into account athletic prowess, agility, speed, or anything else that denotes someones "athleticism."

I believe that Woj was using the same definition as me when he made that statement. I understand that we are basically waxing semantics and a debate is worthless when people are using 2 separate definitions.

So Mr. "Choke Artist" --- IF the measure of an "athlete" is the extent to which they are "great at a sport", then who is the greatest athlete ever? surely by that definition you wouldn't say that Jackie Robinson is a better "athlete" than fat-ass Babe Ruth! Be it that he is undeniably more athletic.

On the flip side, by your definition.... Bo Jackson gets my vote for best athlete ever.
Michael Jordan is the best athlete of all time and the most dominant athlete of all time.
As great a golfer and athlete Tiger Woods is, I could never compare him to Michael Jordan.

Golf is a sport and golfers are athletes. But even if Tiger wins 35-40 majors in his career, I still could not compare it to what Michael Jordan did in his college and NBA career. It's just apples and oranges when it comes to golf and the 3 other mainstream American sports (baseball, football, basketball). Golf really is just you and a ball. The other sports are you, your teammates, and opponents, and opposing crowds going directly against you. What Jordan had to deal with during his career on the court is just flat out more challenging than Tiger has to deal with on the golf course.
According Sports Century, Secretariat was like the 7th best athlete ever (in case you wanted to be more confused).
Wilt Chamberlain can fit both definitions. I remember my uncle John telling me how great an athlete that he was but i couldn't recall all of his accolades, so i looked them up on wikipedia.

It says "Chamberlain ran the 100-yard dash in 10.9 seconds, high jumped 6 feet 6 inches, ran the 440 in 49.0 seconds, ran the 880 in 1:58.3, threw the shotput 53 feet 4 inches, and long jumped 22 feet while still a high school student." Anyone that knows anything about track knows that those are extraordinary numbers.

Chamberlain was also a very talented volleyball player where he founded and starred in a professional league. Chamberlain was also offered an NFL contract by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1966.

These aren't facts from my head, i looked them all up on wikipedia. but if you want someone that dominated their game like no other (averaging 30.1 points, and 22.9 rebounds per game for his career including a 50.4 ppg average one year), and also was a star in other sports, Wilt Chamberlain fits the fucking bill. BYAHHHH
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