For some reason or another, people are drawn to certain athletes. We all have our favorites and we all have people that we hate, even though we don't know these people personally. If we went by how nice people really are, Tedy Bruschi wouldn't be one of the most popular Patriots of all-time. Trust me.
I have had three favorite athletes during my lifetime. The first was Tony Dorsett. Growing up a Cowboys fan, TD was the man and it took me many years before I would admit that Emmitt Smith was better than him. I don't think the younger fans of today realize how good Dorsett was, despite being roughly 180 pounds for most of his career. Years later Dorsett's son would cost me thousands of dollars when he missed a tackle on Isaac Bruce in the Super Bowl.
My next favorite athlete was Magic Johnson. When it comes to basketball, I'm mesmerized by players who have mastered the art of the pass. Maybe it's because I can't shoot a lick and I'm a passer myself on the court. No one ever passed the basketball like Magic. I used to love watching those no-look passes he would make back in the Lakers glory days.
But my favorite athlete of all-time is a no brainer. It's the greatest Dallas Cowboy of them all: Emmitt Smith. Emmitt surpassed Dorsett that day in Giants Stadium when he led the Cowboys to victory with a third degree shoulder separation. Some people forget that game was for the division title. Dallas was beat up at that point in the season and if they lost, they would have played the next week at San Fran, in a game I'm certain they would have lost. They needed a week off and thanks largely to Emmitt, they got it. That performance from Emmitt helped the Cowboys win another Super Bowl Title and of all the great players Dallas has had over the years, the two best in my opinion are Emmitt and Randy White (maybe the most underrated player in NFL history).
Honorable Mention: Eric Dickerson, SMU
So, who is your favorite player and why? Also, do you have a player you absolutely hate and if so, what is the reason?
Tillman ...he died seving his country. I don't think that any other mentioned player even served his country! (I'm not sure about some of the "old timers" mentioned)
Vincent Young and Kevin Elster...talk about too different ends of the spectrum.
Has anybody's thoughts on Favre changed?
Hank Aaron........to me he is still the home run king with Babe Ruth.......Bonds, McGwire, Sosa we all know they juiced up big time.........they stole his record and forever tainted basebal.......Aaron was class act through it all
Brett Favre and Willie Mays. 2 guys that played with enthusiasm and determination with utter class. Soon to be added to the list, Ryan Braun, who within 3 years will be considered the best hitter in baseball.
Gale Sayers and Bret Favre. A Bear and a Packer, that's sick. I had a friend from Moberly Jr College that was a softball teammate that played some pro ball, you might have seen or heard of him, Mitch Richmond. Helluva basketball player, lousy softball player and cannot swim a lick. But one of the classiest and nicest men you would ever meet.
mine are the same rider except I liked larry bird intead of magic growing up.Emmit was my idol growing up. now i of my favs is tiger woods for growing the game of golf as well as being one of the best clutch performers of all time.
Bobby Orr, played every aspect of the game well. You needed offense he had it, you needed defense he did it, if the team needed a boost he'd make a big hit or get in a scrap. The man controlled the pace of the game and dictated how each game was to be played. He made some very average NHL players look very good when he played with them.
Honorable mentions: Terry O'Reilly, Curtis Joseph
I had to think about this one for a while, because I don't idolize any players. I respect what they can do or have done, but with a lot of fans, it's an obsession. That said, here are a few that I've admired.
Barry Sanders... he was the most fun to watch, because you never knew what was going to happen, and he could slip 4 tackles and bust out for 25 yards. Also the most painful to watch, because I was usually seeing him do so against the Vikings.
Cal Ripken, Jr. You just have to appreciate the respect he had for the game, and the way he played it. His numbers fell late in his career and he wasn't as athletic, moving to 3B or DH, but he spent his entire career with one team, and was as good a role model as you're likely to find in professional sports.
Kevin Garnett. I'm sure I like him more because he spent most of his career with the T-wolves than i would if he was drafted by another team, but you have to admire the intensity with which he plays every game, the dignity that he carries himself with most of the time, the way he can bring the team together, and the way he acts off the court, he's great with the fans and does a lot of community service. He's probably averaged 20-10-5 for his career, and had a solid playoff season this year. People knock him for not scoring 40pts. in a game like Kobe and Lebron, but he's not that guy who takes all the shots. He probably passes more than he should, but you can rarely blame him for taking a bad shot rather than passing to an open teammate. Another guy who does things the right way and is a solid role model. How many stories have you read about him spraying crowds with champagne or being involved in night club shootings? How many times have you heard him complain that he isn't paid enough, or demand a trade? When he does have a problem, he keeps it within the organization, and doesn't make it public.
Guy Lafleur he smoked cigarettes on the bench between shifts.
George Brett, and Elway, class acts and studs on and off the field.
JD, there is no question that the team was very talented. Harper was average though. He dropped as many passes as he caught. Sure, he provided some big plays but Dallas could have put pretty much any receiver with deep speed there and he would have made some plays. I'm never too hard on Harper because he always performed on the big stage but I don't think he was irreplaceable by any means. I'm not sure what you are arguing. I'm not comparing the Lions to the Cowboys. Dallas was vastly superior in every way. They were one of the most talented teams ever assembled. I'm just saying the Lions weren't as bad as some people make them out to be. That's all.
What about Jay? Even Smith gives him credit for his success. He made the Pro Bowl 5 straight years.
On Harper, he did not have tons of receptions, but one season he led the entire NFL with the longest average.
And Dallas had one great wide out. Alvin Harper never had more than 40 receptions in a season. He's remembered because he made big plays in big games but overall, he was average. When he left Dallas, no one ever heard from him again. Irvin was the only great receiver the Cowboys had over that time. To be honest, the Lions probably had better overall receivers, at least for their run'n shoot scheme.
That's a different argument JD. The argument used to be that he didn't play behind a line as good as Emmitt. That argument is legit. However, over the years it's transformed into "Barry played behind a bad line." That statement is inaccurate. Yes, Emmitt played behind a better line but he was still a great player. And again, as I've said in another post, that great line paved the way for 58 rushing yards per game when Emmitt was out of the lineup. If you think Barry is better, that's fine. Just don't use Emmitt's line against him. Jim Brown had a great line. Marcus Allen had a great line. O.J. Simpson had a great line. The list goes on and on. That's like saying Joe Montana is overrated because he played on a great team. And he would have all the records if he didn't retire. That's his fault, not his offensive line's.