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Bo knows and the Greatest of All Time

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by JayFarrar, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    So we finally got around to watching the 30 for 30 on Bo Jackson.

    I thought it was fairly recent, but the copyright date said 2012, so I'm behind the times.

    Anyway, some of the things said in the show and some of the things that have been posted here have made me think about how athletes from then are viewed now.

    The consensus seems to be:
    Joe Montana = Greatest quarterback of all time
    Michael Jordan = Greatest basketball player of all time
    Bo Jackson = Greatest athlete of all time
    Wayne Gretzky = Greatest hockey player of all time

    What's remarkable is none of those guys have played recently. Twenty years, two decades, a generation ago and no one has emerged to break that consensus.

    Jackson is freshest on my mind and if someone came along now, as the show said, people would just assume it was steroids.

    Is it marketing or a lack of a career defining ad campaign from Nike?

    Is it overexposure? So many games and so many channels mean you get constantly barraged with highlights that you just go numb from them. Assuming you haven't entirely tuned out.

    Is it instinctive need for people in their 40s and older not to let go of their youth and talk about the fondly remember Tecmo Bowl dorm room sessions or watching Jordan walk on air to win a slam dunk title?

    My guess is that it is some combination but I was wondering what others think
  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    LeBron is better than Jordan. Probably Kobe, too.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Is Bo the greatest athlete of all time? Or merely the most unique and versatile? Truth be told, he did not accomplish a great deal professionally in either sport. Bob Hayes is an Olympic champion, a Super Bowl champion and a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

    As to the others ...

    People who saw Unitas play would argue until their sixth beer ran out that Unitas was as good or better.

    I think Jordan is pretty well sealed, but you do hear some argument for Wilt.

    Gretzky seems a lock, though I'm sure our Canadian contingent can find people who support Gordie Howe or Lemieux or Bobby Orr or someone.

    But it's human nature to think everything you used to like is better than everything everyone likes now.

    For instance, don't even get me started on how much better Playboy was back when women had real tits and natural grooming.
  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Some of it is who's in charge of framing the debate at a given moment.
    The guys you listed are all from the 80s and 90s. People who grew up watching those guys are the ones with the largest media platforms right now, and they can push their favorites to the front of the line. It's not that Gretzky and Jordan aren't the greatest ever at their sports -- the consensus is that they are -- it's that they have a certain mythical quality as the greatest of their generation, the same generation that's in the best position to turn greatness into legendary.
    When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, my dad and his generation did the same with Unitas, Russell, Wilt, Jim Brown, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. He and his friends would swear to their deaths that those guys were better than even Montana, Jordan, etc. al.
    I suspect that 20 years from now there will be people saying with a large consensus that LeBron, Manning, Brady, Adrian Peterson and Kobe Bryant are the best they've ever seen. They might very well be, but they'll also have a lot of people backing them which will grow the idea that they were.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Bo gets major points for Tecmo Bowl, Bill Simmons (who, at the height of his ESPN Page 2 popularity, mentioned the Tecmo Bowl thing and turned it into a cultural meme) and his unusual career path. He had flashes of greatness and seemingly superhuman feats, then had it all stripped away by his hip injury and disappeared into the night. There's a Gale Sayers quality, a "did you SEE that!?" quality to him that has built him into a bigger figure than he might actually have been.

    Honestly, Herschel Walker cut just as impressive a swath across the sports landscape as Bo did, but because he had a longer career that petered out toward the end, he's not as fondly remembered. He was a tremendous athlete, a successful athlete, but not a legend the way Bo became.
    Herschel Walker was the prototype, and Bo was the 2.0 version. That they came from the same part of the country, within a few years of each other, and had such similar skillsets has always fascinated me.
  6. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Was Dieon better than Bo?
  7. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Even Deion was in awe of Bo.

  8. Here me roar

    Here me roar Guest

    Jim Thorpe > Bo
  9. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    Jimmie Johnson couldn't carry David Pearson's lug wrench.
  10. 2 of of those four (Jordan and Gretzky) are solid arguments. Even Gretzky is debatable with regard to Orr, Howe and Rocket Richard.
    Montana ... also debatable.
    Jackson? Amazing athlete... GOAT? NOT. Even. Close.
  11. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    Bo averaged 5.4 yards a carry career.
    That is not some modest achievement.
  12. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    Gretzky is not debatable with Richard and Howe, not even close.
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