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Greatest American Professional Athlete


vcczar
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Of the following recognized greats, who do you think is the greatest male professional athlete in American history? (Note: NHL will include some Canadians)

Instructions: Copy+paste the list and bold those that should be in the running for top athlete. I'll do a poll at some point. 

  • Jim Thorpe
  • Tom Brady
  • Jim Brown
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jerry Rice
  • Drew Brees
  • Otto Graham
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Deion Sanders
  • Bo Jackson
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Joe Montana
  • Barry Sanders
  • Rod Woodson
  • Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White
  • Pat Mahomes
  • Randy Moss
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Cy Young
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pete Rose
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Alex Rodriquez
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Roger Clemens
  • Walter Johnson
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Ted Williams
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Michael Jordan
  • Larry Bird
  • Magic Johnson
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Tim Duncan
  • Bill Russell
  • Kareem Ubdul-Jabbar
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Bobby Orr
  • Gordie Howe
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11 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Of the following recognized greats, who do you think is the greatest male professional athlete in American history? (Note: NHL will include some Canadians)

Instructions: Copy+paste the list and bold those that should be in the running for top athlete. I'll do a poll at some point. 

  • Jim Thorpe
  • Tom Brady
  • Jim Brown
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jerry Rice
  • Drew Brees
  • Otto Graham
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Deion Sanders
  • Bo Jackson
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Joe Montana
  • Barry Sanders
  • Rod Woodson
  • Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White
  • Pat Mahomes
  • Randy Moss
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Cy Young
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pete Rose
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Alex Rodriquez
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Roger Clemens
  • Walter Johnson
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Ted Williams
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Michael Jordan
  • Larry Bird
  • Magic Johnson
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Tim Duncan
  • Bill Russell
  • Kareem Ubdul-Jabbar
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Bobby Orr
  • Gordie Howe

Where is Jesse Owens?

Edited by Timur
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  • Thanks 1
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  • Jim Thorpe
  • Tom Brady
  • Jim Brown
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jerry Rice
  • Drew Brees
  • Otto Graham
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Deion Sanders
  • Bo Jackson
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Joe Montana
  • Barry Sanders
  • Rod Woodson
  • Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White
  • Pat Mahomes
  • Randy Moss
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Cy Young
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pete Rose
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Alex Rodriquez
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Roger Clemens
  • Walter Johnson
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Ted Williams
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Michael Jordan
  • Larry Bird
  • Magic Johnson
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Tim Duncan
  • Bill Russell
  • Kareem Ubdul-Jabbar
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Bobby Orr
  • Gordie Howe
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  • Jim Thorpe
  • Tom Brady
  • Jim Brown
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jerry Rice
  • Drew Brees
  • Otto Graham
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Deion Sanders
  • Bo Jackson
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Joe Montana
  • Barry Sanders
  • Rod Woodson
  • Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White
  • Pat Mahomes
  • Randy Moss
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Cy Young
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pete Rose
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Alex Rodriquez
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Roger Clemens
  • Walter Johnson
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Ted Williams
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Michael Jordan
  • Larry Bird
  • Magic Johnson
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Tim Duncan
  • Bill Russell
  • Kareem Ubdul-Jabbar
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Bobby Orr
  • Gordie Howe

Mostly stuck with NHL and NFL players because that's more so my area of expertise.

Edited by Rezi
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  • Jim Thorpe
  • Tom Brady
  • Jim Brown
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jerry Rice
  • Drew Brees
  • Otto Graham
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Deion Sanders
  • Bo Jackson
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Joe Montana
  • Barry Sanders
  • Rod Woodson
  • Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White
  • Pat Mahomes
  • Randy Moss
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Cy Young
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pete Rose
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Alex Rodriquez
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Roger Clemens
  • Walter Johnson
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Ted Williams
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Michael Jordan
  • Larry Bird
  • Magic Johnson
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Tim Duncan
  • Bill Russell
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Bobby Orr
  • Gordie Howe
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Here's mine:

  • Jim Thorpe
  • Tom Brady
  • Jim Brown
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jerry Rice
  • Drew Brees
  • Otto Graham
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Deion Sanders
  • Bo Jackson
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Joe Montana
  • Barry Sanders
  • Rod Woodson
  • Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White
  • Pat Mahomes
  • Randy Moss
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Cy Young
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pete Rose
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Alex Rodriquez
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Roger Clemens
  • Walter Johnson
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Ted Williams
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Michael Jordan
  • Larry Bird
  • Magic Johnson
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Tim Duncan
  • Bill Russell
  • Kareem Ubdul-Jabbar
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Bobby Orr
  • Gordie Howe
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No Troy Polamalu or Franco Harris?  You're doing my Steelers dirty!

I'd say Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux on the grounds that they both played for Pittsburgh.  (Barry Bonds did too, but baseball doesn't count because Pittsburgh baseball is a rare sports-centric embarrassment to the city.)

Edited by MrPotatoTed
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2 minutes ago, Patine said:

Neither of whom (much like Gretzky) are AMERICAN athletes, either.

They lived in America and played in America.  More importantly, they played in Pittsburgh and therefore are as American as apple pie.  ;c)

But before you get to lost in the pedantic, despite the title of the post, @vcczarspecifically said in the original post "Of the following recognized greats, who do you think is the greatest male professional athlete in American history? (Note: NHL will include some Canadians)"

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Just now, Patine said:

That's not the portrayal of them I have ever seen. Sidney Crosby is a poster boy of, and celebrity spokesman for, Tim Horton's junior hockey camps, and he doesn't seem the, "apple pie," type, to me. The fact is, there's more to someone's national identity than you're giving credit for, and it's often much more than about where you live and do your vocation. As someone whose travelled and worked in various nations, as you've said, you should understand this. A professional sports team membership is very often no more permanent than a military posting, frankly. The pitcher who brought the Toronto Blue Jays to two back-to-back World Series victories for a Canadian MLB franchise still viewed himself as American - and all indications show Crosby still very much sees himself as Canadian, through and through.

You're taking this far more seriously than I am.  Vcczar made it clear in his post that he's referring to those who played sports in America.  He specifically acknowledged that some of these people are Canadian.  Calm yo tits.

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19 minutes ago, Patine said:

@ConservativeElector2 and @vcczar Wayne Gretzky is NOT an AMERICAN professional athlete....

Just let us include the Canadians for the sake of discussion. They might not be Americans, but they played in a league that is primarily located in the US, and therefore we'll be including them, whether they fit in on technicalities or not. Besides, if we don't include Canadians, we can't correctly argue that Gretzky is the greatest North American athlete of all time 😛

Edited by Rezi
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11 minutes ago, Patine said:

It was founded in Canada and moved to New York City for, "economic and management," reasons. It's a binational league, like the UEFA is a Continental League in Europe (arguably, the NHL is a Continental League, too, given the utter lack of interest and - most of all - teams, from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean). But, by your logic, the UEFA would be a Swiss league (because Basel is the headquarters) in which other European nations just had teams and players - but they'd all be, "Swiss," teams and players.

The UEFA is not really a league. It's the association monitoring soccer games between national teams in Europe. It's what Concacaf is for North America and Conmebol for South America.

Besides international competitions (Champions League etc.), each country has it's own leagues like Major League Soccer in the US or the Brazilian Serie A. There are a few crossovers, the most prominent of these might be FC Vaduz playing in the Swiss Super League; likewise AS Monaco plays in the French Ligue 1, Swansea City and Cardiff City in the English Premier League. 

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7 minutes ago, Patine said:

I concede, the analogy was not perfect. But my point stands. The NHL was never a league of either Canada or the U.S. where the other just had a couple of teams, like the MLB or NBA very much are. They were, from the very start, a joint-U.S.-Canadian sports endeavour, and their management and administration has always had very large numbers of citizens of of both countries. To say it's an AMERICAN league, flat outright, is the incorrect part I was plaintively pointing out. The Stanley Cup is named after a former Governor-General of Canada, for crying out loud!

Americans claim the NHL as their own. It also has more than 3x the teams that Canada has. It has been annexed as an American institution. 

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4 hours ago, vcczar said:

Of the following recognized greats, who do you think is the greatest male professional athlete in American history? (Note: NHL will include some Canadians)

Instructions: Copy+paste the list and bold those that should be in the running for top athlete. I'll do a poll at some point. 

  • Jim Thorpe
  • Tom Brady
  • Jim Brown
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jerry Rice
  • Drew Brees
  • Otto Graham
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Deion Sanders
  • Bo Jackson
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Joe Montana
  • Barry Sanders
  • Rod Woodson
  • Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White
  • Pat Mahomes
  • Randy Moss
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Cy Young
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pete Rose
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Alex Rodriquez
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Roger Clemens
  • Walter Johnson
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Ted Williams
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Michael Jordan
  • Larry Bird
  • Magic Johnson
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Tim Duncan
  • Bill Russell
  • Kareem Ubdul-Jabbar
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Bobby Orr
  • Gordie Howe

Where is Bo Jackson?

 

I see him now! My bad!!

Edited by SilentLiberty
Oops.
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  • Jim Thorpe
  • Tom Brady
  • Jim Brown
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jerry Rice
  • Drew Brees
  • Otto Graham
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Deion Sanders
  • Bo Jackson
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Joe Montana
  • Barry Sanders
  • Rod Woodson
  • Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White
  • Pat Mahomes
  • Randy Moss
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Cy Young
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pete Rose
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Alex Rodriquez
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Roger Clemens
  • Walter Johnson
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Ted Williams
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Michael Jordan
  • Larry Bird
  • Magic Johnson
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Tim Duncan
  • Bill Russell
  • Kareem Ubdul-Jabbar
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Bobby Orr
  • Gordie Howe

 

My bad about missing Bo just a moment ago.

 

I'd also vote for Shaun White, Tony Hawk, and of course Michael Phelps.

 

If we are including young guys Christian Pulisic as well.

 

Also Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Edited by SilentLiberty
JJ and Earnhardt
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13 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Americans claim the NHL as their own. It also has more than 3x the teams that Canada has. It has been annexed as an American institution. 

I guess the nation claiming a league fields the majority of teams. The English Championship is considered an English soccer league despite having two Welsh teams: The Ligue 1 is considered a French soccer league despite having AS Monaco. 

Austria has a tiny ice hockey league currently known as bet-at-home ICE Hockey League which sees one side from Hungary, Slovakia and Italy respectively. There had been also teams from the Czech Republic, Croatia and Slovenia, but the league itself is widely considered to be an Austrian one.

Edited by ConservativeElector2
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3 minutes ago, Patine said:

But such a supposed, "annexation," has never been acknowledged in Canada at all, and two teams in a league mostly of another nation is more like  Canada's representation in the MLB or NBA at their height - not nearly accurate in the NHL. In fact, such a claimed, "annexation," being declared by an American in Canada would likely get much NASTIER and less RHETORICALLY based responses from an actual fan of the sport than the ones I have given. It is NOT an, "American league," at all, as seen here, and you won't convince anyone (or almost anyone - I won't speak in absolutes) here of such a claim.

I thought you weren't arguing this anymore?

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Just now, Patine said:

I'm known to have a bit of afterburner effect on many arguments even after such a declaration. You should know this by now.

I do, and sometimes I think it's productive and helpful, in this case I think all these replies are clogging the thread up and will make it harder for @vcczar to go through and tally the men who are bolded.

 

I'd feel good he included hockey as he could have left it off similar to auto racing, swimming, the x game sports, and our professional soccer players who play in other leagues. In this instance at least hockey was included. And it should flatter you that a Canadian could win a poll about the best American athlete. 

 

In this case I've said my piece and we'll offer a peace between us on the issue.

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5 hours ago, vcczar said:

Of the following recognized greats, who do you think is the greatest male professional athlete in American history? (Note: NHL will include some Canadians)

Instructions: Copy+paste the list and bold those that should be in the running for top athlete. I'll do a poll at some point. 

  • Jim Thorpe
  • Tom Brady
  • Jim Brown
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jerry Rice
  • Drew Brees
  • Otto Graham
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Deion Sanders
  • Bo Jackson
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Joe Montana
  • Barry Sanders
  • Rod Woodson
  • Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White
  • Pat Mahomes
  • Randy Moss
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Cy Young
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pete Rose
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Alex Rodriquez
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Roger Clemens
  • Walter Johnson
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Ted Williams
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Michael Jordan
  • Larry Bird
  • Magic Johnson
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Tim Duncan
  • Bill Russell
  • Kareem Ubdul-Jabbar
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Bobby Orr
  • Gordie Howe

 

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6 hours ago, Rezi said:

Just let us include the Canadians for the sake of discussion. They might not be Americans, but they played in a league that is primarily located in the US, and therefore we'll be including them, whether they fit in on technicalities or not. Besides, if we don't include Canadians, we can't correctly argue that Gretzky is the greatest North American athlete of all time 😛

In my opinion Bobby Orr was a better player than Wayne Gretzky, but its basically comparing 1a to 1b when you're discussing two players as great as them.

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  • Jim Thorpe
  • Tom Brady
  • Jim Brown
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jerry Rice
  • Drew Brees
  • Otto Graham
  • Emmitt Smith
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Deion Sanders
  • Bo Jackson
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Joe Montana
  • Barry Sanders
  • Rod Woodson
  • Bruce Smith
  • Reggie White
  • Pat Mahomes
  • Randy Moss
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ken Griffey Jr
  • Cy Young
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pete Rose
  • Cal Ripken Jr
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Alex Rodriquez
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Roger Clemens
  • Walter Johnson
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Ted Williams
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Michael Jordan
  • Larry Bird
  • Magic Johnson
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Tim Duncan
  • Bill Russell
  • Kareem Ubdul-Jabbar
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Bobby Orr
  • Gordie Howe

 

Mike Trout has the potential to be in this category should he keep his level of play up for a few more years

Edited by jvikings1
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