On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I Have A ... List. Of the Best Black Athletes in the History of Ever

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While a lot of you are off work today, take time to remember and refresh the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The rest of us? Let's commemorate MLK Day with an impossible task: Selecting the world's all-time greatest black athletes.

First step, choosing the criteria. Sheer athleticism? Popularity? Accomplishment? Social activism? Transcendence? All of the above? Nothing of the sort?

The task, in and of itself, is absurdly difficult.

I wound up taking into account everything, nothing and random bits in between. I also wound up including one local athlete and -- can't believe I'm typing this -- excluding the likes of LeBron James, Willie Mays, Usain Bolt, Oscar Robertson, Walter Payton, Daley Thompson, Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, Jim Brown, Roberto Clemente, Deion Sanders, Jackie Joyner-Kersey, O.J. Simpson, Kobe Bryant, Kip Keino, Emmitt Smith, Rickey Henderson, Bill Russell, Edwin Moses and Lawrence Taylor.

Wow ...

 

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10. Pele -- Indomitable skill and irrepressible smile introduced America to the world's most popular sport.

 

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9. Serena/Venus Williams -- Dominating women's tennis by transforming the game from deft finesse into violent physicality.

 

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8. Bob Hayes -- Cowboys' mercurial receiver has a Hall of Fame bust to accent his unprecedented Super Bowl ring/Olympic gold medal combo.

 

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7. Wilt Chamberlain -- Decades ahead of his time in size and strength, he averaged -- I repeat -- averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds per game in the 1962 NBA season.

 

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6. Muhammad Ali -- Floated like a butterfly. Stung like a bee. Changed the world.


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17 comments
Jasonborne25
Jasonborne25

What a disrespectful column....I could type an intellectual reason as too why, however, it's not worth the energy.  This is my last visit to this site. 

Kergos Ass
Kergos Ass

1 name. Jim Brown?? Your an idiot...

Robert
Robert

How many college or professional championships did Bo Jackson win? How many professional sports hall of fames is he a member of?

Bo's Olympic gold medals. Where are they at?

thetruthhurts
thetruthhurts

Effing idiot! Pele and Clemente are black?Carl Lewis shuld have been on this list.

AllKnowingTVGuy
AllKnowingTVGuy

Pele' and Clemente were not black. Just because they have a certain skin color, doesn't mean they are "black". Vladdy has the "black" skin color but like those listed prior, is of hispanic origins.

fitzgerald
fitzgerald

Did you include Bo Jackson just to heat up the debate? Please get him off the list and put Roy Tarpley on it. Now Tarpley is one that will really make eyes cross eyed.

Debbie
Debbie

Few players have combined grace, popularity and accomplishment like Willie Mays. He was a great fielder, a tremendous power hitter, an outstanding thrower, a canny base runner, a huge drawing card and durable champion. Not to mention that Willie Mays spent most of 1952 and all of 1953 in the United States Army, costing him a chance to break Babe Ruth's home run record. What branch of service did Cassius Clay serve in? By leaving Willie Mays off of this list, you once again show your ignorance of the game of baseball and your ignorance of the integration of baseball. Do some research on how baseball passed on some great players to hand pick somebody that went to UCLA and starred in 4 sports. Jackie Robinson probably deserves to be on the list, but so does Willie Mays. Both served their country in the military. Cassius Clay does not deserve to be on the list.

cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

Jackie Robinson wasn't the best black player of his day, much less all time. He was a known good guy that wouldn't make headlines for being an a-hole and while he was among the better players of his day was not the best. Josh Gibson just for starters, the "Black Babe Ruth" would have something to say about the best black baseball players. Smokey Joe Williams shut out Walter Johnson twice and I'd be willing to bet you haven't even heard of him. another bogus list

An

Just Me
Just Me

I have a dream that one day the Cowboys will hire a WR coach based solely on the basis of his color.

Richie's Mailman
Richie's Mailman

So you disrespect MLK by rerunning a column and not even telling us? Plus, how did Jesse Owens get better than Say Hey Willie in the ensuing 2 years? Did he run in some meet that I didn't hear about? Bob Hayes? No Way.

Rob_Em
Rob_Em

Richie, how were you able to mail it in on with the post office closed?

Since I don't have to work today, I might send you a text, or two, or fifty to help you get through the show.

Duality of Man
Duality of Man

Where's Jack Johnson? He was the man before all those you've listed.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Where the hell is the Tyler Rose at? He was twice as good as Boknows at football, and he didn't play baseball because as a kid..everytime he batted, the ball was smashed two counties over and they ran out of balls...then he had to tend to his Momma's roses. RW's lists=Fan's radio content (i.e. not very good pal)

Duh
Duh

Most enslaved people were shipped from Africa and taken to North and South America. They are genetically "black".

sports talker
sports talker

He is the best two-sport star of all-time and would've continued to be a massive beast in the NFL had his career not been cut short with an injury. He is deserving here.

sports talker
sports talker

so military service=more deserving to be on greatest athlete list? Cassius Clay AKA Muhammad Ali is a defining athlete of his generation and synonymous of the greatest his sport ever saw and is deserving to be on this list whether you disagree with his anti-war stance or not.

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