Wednesday, September 16, 2009

40 Favorite Athletes

These are 40 of my favorite sports figures. They are in no particular order, but will probably follow a slight pattern as I mentally run through various sports. I will include the sport to give reference, just in case some of these get obscure.

  1. Bob Feller, baseball
  2. Terry Bradshaw, football
  3. Jim Thome, baseball
  4. Jerome Bettis, football
  5. Michael Jordan, basketball
  6. Larry Bird, basketball
  7. Mario Lemieux, hockey
  8. Wayne Gretsky, hockey
  9. Tony Hawk, skateboarding
  10. Lynn Swann, football
  11. Joe Greene, football
  12. Hines Ward, football
  13. Willie Stargell, baseball
  14. Roberto Clemente, baseball
  15. Patrick Roy, hockey
  16. Pele, soccer/futbol
  17. Mia Hamm, soccer/futbol
  18. Mary Lou Retton, gymnastics
  19. Travis Hafner, baseball
  20. Len Barker, baseball
  21. Joe Charboneau, baseball
  22. Jack Nicklaus, golf
  23. Tiger Woods, golf
  24. Mario Andretti, racing
  25. AJ Foyt, racing
  26. John Elway, football
  27. Michael Irving, football
  28. Julius Ervin, basketball
  29. George Brett, baseball
  30. Hank Aaron, baseball
  31. Shawn Johnson, gymnastics
  32. Paul Child, MISL/soccer/futbol
  33. Stan Terlecki, MISL/soccer/futbol
  34. Pikabu Street (sp?) - Skiing
  35. Greg Norman, golf
  36. Cliff Lee, baseball
  37. Lou Gehrig, baseball
  38. Emmitt Smith, football
  39. Jesse Owens, track
  40. Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, wrestling

For the record, on this list, I did not hit the search engines despite wanting to in a couple of cases. So, I'd think of things like, "Oh, man that women's volleyball chick" or "that guy who did the speed skating" or "something...Day... man, the jockey..." - but since I could not easily come up with their names, they were left off the list.

The last ones kinda came to me as I ran through various sports in my head all over again. I remember going to the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh and seeing Jimmy Snuka in person. I was 10 or 11 when we were all into wrestling, and thinking back now, we watched guys like Bobby Backlund, Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, many folks who are still amazingly around and still involved with wrestling.

Some people will look at this list and ask, "where's so-and-so?" There are two answers for that: 1) I really did run out of numbers, and 2) I forgot that person. Oh, there is a 3rd option: while that person may have been famous or great or whatever, he or she was not one of MY favorites, necessarily.

I selected these because they stand for something to me, in my life, in some way. Or they have a special meaning to me because of memories, accomplishments, what they might have stood for. There are a lot of reasons we choose the famous people we enjoy watching, enjoy talking about. And why do we do such things? I think it's because those people provide a common thread among our friends and family. But, they also provide a link between strangers. I could walk up to many people and utter one of the names above, and except for a few regional/obscure names, the person I mention the name to would have recognition of that name. I may have to try that for fun sometime.

Feel free to share your list of favorite athletes. Or, for that matter, feel free to check out any of the "40 Things" lists and reply with your variation!

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