Answer – The New York Rangers
Two of my favorite college players. Let’s compare them only as collegians.
They didn’t come much more exciting than Pete Maravich at the collegiate level. Pistol Pete was a smooth ballhandler with all the moves, and he racked up a ton of points while playing for his father Press at LSU. The white globetrotter scored 69 points against Alabama in 1970, and he had a lofty career scoring average of 44.5 points per game. Bill Bradley was a one-man wrecking crew when he played for the Princeton Tigers in the mid-1960s. Bradley elevated the level of play of his teammates, and he moved as well without the basketball as anyone who has ever played the game. “Dollar” Bill was a three-time All-American and the Sporting News’ College Basketball Player of the Year in 1964 and 1965. He carried his team to the NCAA final four in 1965 and was named tourney MVP.
Mikey picks Bill Bradley. How about you!
Jimmy Connors began playing tennis when he was three years old. His mother Gloria, a teaching professional, was his instructor. Connors played at UCLA in 1971, then turned pro and won the U.S. Championship in 1972.
A lefthander who used a two-handed backhand, Connors was not given an opportunity to win the Grand Slam in 1974. He won the U.S. and Australian Opens and the Wimbledon singles championships, but was banned from the French Open because he played in the World team Tennis League.
He won his second Wimbledon title in 1982. Connors was ranked first in the world five years in a row. In 1989 he played in his 20th U.S. Open at the age of thirty-seven. Connors turned the crowd on with a fourth-round upset of Stefan Edberg before losing in the quarterfinals. Connors had 109 tournament victories and won $8,641,040. Continue reading Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe ? You Make The Pick!
Sugar Ray Leonard had the quickness, ability and charisma, and he filled the boxing void left when Muhammad Ali retired in 1981. He happened to come along at just the right time. Sugar Ray was the fighter of the decade for the 1980s, winning five world titles in five weight classes. He fought well against opponents who were sluggers, brawlers or stylists. Sugar Ray was one of the best finishers in boxing. Leonard won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics. He won the WBC Welterweight title in 1979 when he defeated Wilfred Benitez. Soon after, he met lightweight champion Roberto Duran in a much publicized match. Duran dethroned Sugar Ray in a 15-round decision. Leonard won the title back when Duran quit in the eighth-round of their rematch. In 1981, Leonard knocked out Ayube Kalule for the middleweight crown, then returned to the weltertweight division and knocked out Tommy “the hit man” Hearns in the 14th round for the title. One fight later, Leonard retired due to a detached retina, but returned to the ring in 1984 and knocked out Kevin Howard, then retired again. After a three year layoff, he returned again to face Marvelous Marvin Hagler and won the middleweight title again. He added titles four and five in 1988. Continue reading Sugar Ray Leonard or Marvelous Marvin Hagler
Heralded running backs
Harold “Red” Grange, known as the “Galloping Ghost”, put on an awesome display of running, scoring five touchdowns for the University of Illinois in just three quarters of play on October 24, 1924. His initial jaunt was 90 yards on the opening kickoff. On the very first play of the next Illini possession, the sensational speedster raced around right end and ran 65 yards to paydirt. A couple of minutes later, he went 55 yards for his third score, and then scored a fourth time on a 45-yard jaunt before the quarter came to a close. With his elusive moves and lightning speed, Grange amassed 255 yards on four TD runs. He is considered by some football experts to be among the greatest running backs of all-time. Bronco Nagurski was 6’2″ tall, 235 pounds, and he was one of the strongest men ever to play football. He was one of the best running backs ever to play for the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota, and an All-American selection. He played pro football for the Chicago Bears from 1930 to 1937 and had to retire because of arthritis. Nagurski rushed for over 4,000 yards during his career. He also was a pro wrestler, and he won 300 matches.
Mikey picks Nagurski because of his better pro career. Who is your pick?
One of the ongoing arguments among sports fans has been deciding who was the better pro basketball center, Wilt Chamberlain or Bill Russell. Let’s take a look at their careers. Chamberlain’s career spanned 14 years. He scored 31,419 points, averaging an incredible 30.1 points per game, and he collected 23,924 rebounds. His points per game average and rebound totals are awesome, and he was the NBA MVP in 1960, and 1966-1968. Chamberlain set a single-game scoring record when he tallied 100 points on March 6, 1962 and led the league in scoring six years in a row (1960-1966). Bill Russell played for the Boston Celtics from 1956-1969, and they won 11 NBA championships with the big southpaw at center. He had 21,620 career rebounds, a 15.1 points per game scoring average and 4,100 assists. Russell pulled down 51 rebounds in one game in 1960 and was named league MVP five times. He is rated by many to be the greatest defensive center ever to play the game.
Power-Hitting third basemen
Eddie Mathews is remembered best for teaming with the great Henry Aaron to form one of the greatest one-two punches of all-time. Their hitting prowess dominated the National League in the 1950s. In 1952, his rookie season, Mathews stroked 25 homers, but he also fanned a league high 115 times. The next season, he hit 47 homeruns to lead the league. For each of the next three seasons, Mathews hit 37 or more homers and knocked in 95 or more runs. In 1957 he batted .292 with 32 HRs, and the Boston Braves won the World Championship. Mathews won the homerun crown in 1959 with 46. Mathews hit 30 or more homeruns in nine seasons. He also scored 95 runs in ten straight seasons, probably because he batted ahead of Aaron. Together, he and Aaron hit 863 homeruns, more than Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. As the years went on, he matured into a solid third baseman, leading the NL in putouts twice, assists three times and fielding average once. Mathews had 512 career HRs and 1,453 runs batted in, and holds the NL single-season record for most RBIs (135) and most total bases (363) by a third baseman. Harmon Killebrew is the leading right-handed homerun hitter in American League history. Continue reading Eddie Mathews or Harmon Killebrew
NBA Passing Wizards
No one could pass it off the break better than Bob Cousy. His great peripheral vision made you think he had eyes behind his head. The “Houdini”, famous for his behind the back passes, amassed 6,955 career assists while playing for some of the greatest Boston Celtic teams of all-time. Cousy, a magician with the basketball, scored 50 points against the Syracuse Nationals in 1953 to set an NBA playoff scoring record. He was named to the NBA All-Pro team ten consecutive years. Guy Rodgers was a quick southpaw who could pass the ball off the dribble as well as anyone who has ever played the game. He also had the luxury of having Wilt Chamberlain to feed in the bucket. Rodgers racked up close to 7,000 assists.
Mikey picks Bob Cousy. Who is your choice?
Great college coaches
Bobby Knight’s 1976 University of Indiana Hoosiers were the last Division I National Championship team to go undefeated. It was the first of three national titles for the Hoosiers under Knight. They also took all the marbles in 1981 and 1987. Knight is the only NCAA coach to win an NIT title, NCAA championship, Pan American Gold Medal, and an Olympic Gold Medal. Knight’s Indiana teams finished under .500 in Big-Ten play only twice. He was named National Coach of the Year four times and had 21 twenty-win seasons in 29 years at Indiana. He also led Texas Tech to its best season in years the 2001-2002 season, when his squad made it to the NCAA Tournament. Knight has had his temper tantrums over the years. He was suspended in 1988 for throwing a chair, and again in 1993 for shoving his son Pat on the sideline during a Hoosier game. The record of former North Carolina coach Dean Smith is staggering. Smith racked up 879 victories during his illustrious 36 years as the Tarheel head coach. Under Smith, the Tarheels won at least 20 games for 27 straight years and 30 of his final 31. Continue reading Bobby Knight or Dean Smith
Two great throwers and field generals
Joe Willie Namath was a football legend who had both style and charm. A great athlete, yes, but that was only part of Joe Namath’s allure. He was the perfect fit for the Big Apple and became known as Broadway Joe. His presence was in contrast to Johnny Unitas in his high-top spikes and flat-top hairdo. Broadway Joe had long hair and a Fu Manchu. Two highlights of Namath’s career were completing 19 of 49 passes for three touchdowns as the New York Jets came from behind to defeat the Oakland Raiders, 27-23, for their first AFL title in 1968. The other came when Joe Willie defied the odds-makers with his guarentee of a victory a few days before the Jets’ Super Bowl game against the Baltimore Colts. He followed through on his boast by leading the Jets to one of the biggest upsets in pro football history. Namath completed 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards, and New York won 16-7. He was named the game’s MVP. Broadway Joe holds N.Y. Jet career records for most yards passing (4,007) and passing touchdowns (26). He also holds team records for most passing yards in one game with 496 and passing TDs six. Continue reading Joe Namath or Johnny Unitas
College and NBA all-time greats
The chant by basketball fans at West Virginia University during the late 1950s was “who’s the best, its Jerry West!” the basketball All-American, known as Zeke from Cabin Creek, was as quick as a cat, and he had a deadly 12 to 18-foot jumpshot. West, a two-time All-American selection was voted the outstanding player in the NCAA Tournament in 1959. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1961 to 1974, finishing his career with a 27 point average and 2435 assists. West set a single-season free throw record in 1966 when he sank 840 shots from the line. He was a superb clutch player who consistently delivered at crunch-time. West is the NBA logo. Oscar Robertson of the University of Cincinnati became the first sophomore to be named College Basketball Player of the Year in 1958. The Big “O” played his high school ball at the all-black Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis , Indiana, and they won two state championships. He played pro ball for 14 years, ten of them with the Cincinnati Royals. Robertson averaged 25.7 points per game during his pro career, and he led the league in assists from 1964 through 1966, 1968, and 1969. His career assist total was 9,887. Robertson was as smooth as silk, and he wasted very little motion. He quietly had big point productions.
Mikey picks the “Big O”. who do you pick!
In the 1980s, The L.A. Lakers won five NBA championships and the Boston Celtics three. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird played huge roles on these championship teams. Johnson led the Lakers to an NBA title his rookie season. Magic’s ability to penetrate and create, his competitive spirir, and his unique talents made him a franchise player. The Celtics rolled to a 61-20 record in Bird’s first year, and Boston fans were buzzing about a brand of basketball similar to the great Red Auerbach squads of the 1960s. A blue collar player with a strong work ethic, Bird was a winner from ther first day he stepped onto the hardwoods of the Boston Garden. His 3-point shooting, rebounding, shot blocking, and late-game heroics made Bird the heart and soul of the Celtic teams of the 1980s. The Magic-Bird rivalry heated up in the mid-80s and from 1984 to 1989 Johnson or Bird won the MVP Award five times. The magnificent Michael Jordan won it the other year. During this span, Magic improved his defense greats is obvious to basketball fans across the land. Continue reading Larry Bird or Magic Johnson
Two dynamite pitchers
Tom Seaver won 25 games to lead the New York Mets to the National League pennant in 1969. He also won the Cy Young Award as a Met in 1969, 1973 and 1975. Five times Seaver led the league in whiffs, and he fanned 200 or more batters nine years in a row to set a major league record. Tom Terrific retired with a .603 career winning percentage and was a 300 game winner. He ranks third on the all-time career ERA list. Sandy Koufax led the National League with the best ERA five years in a row and had a 111-34 overall pitching record. In 1961 he led the league in K’s with an eye-popping 269. In 1963 he had a 25-5 record and an ERA of 1.88. He also fanned 306 hitters and had eleven shutouts. Koufax was the Cy Young Award winner and league MVP in 1964 with a 19-5 record and an ERA of 1.74. He also won the Cy Young Award in 1965 and 1966, winning 26 and 27 games. Koufax had four career no-hitters and one perfect game.
Mikey picks Koufax. Who do you pick?
Two great all-around athletes
Jim Thorpe won both the decathlon (comprised of ten events) and the pentathlon (comprised of five events) in less than one week at the Olympic Games. Thorpe was considered to be the greatest American all around athlete. He was part Indian on both his mother’s and father’s sides, and he attended the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania where he became a great football player. A quick halfback and punishing tackler, Thorpe made the All-American team in 1911 and 1912. Thorpe played major league baseball from 1913 to 1920. Babe Didrikson was voted the greatest female athlete of the half centuryy in 1950. She won seven of nine events in the 1931 AAU Women’s Track & Field meet. She also won two gold medals and a silver in the 1932 summer Olympics. As a golfer, Didrikson won seventeen tournaments in a row in 1946 and 1947. In 1948, 1950 and 1954 Didrikson won the U.S. Women’s Open.
Mikey picks Didrikson. Who do you pick?