I present to you my 12 favorite athletes of ALL-TIME, in no particular order…
1. Ken Griffey, Jr~~I can admit, I was a little obsessed with Junior back in the day. I have a Griffey pennant on my wall(at my mom’s). The first pair of hi-tops I ever bought were the original Griffeys. I had a VHS tape full of his highlights and Home Run Derbys. I would watch SportsCenter over and over just to see Junior. And I still stand by a statement I made a couple of weeks ago: the man has the prettiest swing. EVER.
2. Jerry Rice~~This should come as no surprise. When you think of the 9ers, you have to think of Jerry. The man holds bookoo(is that how you spell it?) records: most TDs scored with 208, most career TD receptions with 197, most career receptions with 1549, most career receiving yards with 22,895 and the list goes on. Add to that three Super Bowl rings, a Super Bowl MVP, Offensive player of the year honors, numerous pro bowl selections, a spot in Canton and you have the G.O.A.T.
3. David Thompson~~Man oh man. How I wish I was alive to see him play. Or how I wish he was playing when I was around :-}. The stories I have heard about Skywalker are just mind boggling. His athleticism, precision, vertical abilities and sheer domination are reasons enough to You Tube him. Need more convincing, Google David Thompson blocks Bill Walton. If you do not have Skywalker in your list when it comes to college basketball’s G.O.A.T. then you really do not know roundball at all. And if you have Michael Jordan on that list and not DT, then you have LACK credibility. It is that simple. GO PACK!
4. Kristi Yamaguchi~~You would have thought I was dreaming of being a figure skater as much as I loved to watch Kristi skate. Her routines were flawless!! She was flawless! And her last name was flawless!
5. Michael Johnson~~I have been a track and field fan since I was a tiny tot. Loved participating. Loved watching. And I loooooooooved watching Michael Johnson obliterate the competition every chance he got especially in the ’96 Olympics. Other than Namath claiming a Super Bowl win, I have never seen a more bold proclamation than when Michael Johnson stepped onto the track in Atlanta in gold spikes. His then record-breaking 200m run is still my favorite Olympic moment.
6. Josh Hamilton~~If you have been around me the last few years then you know how I feel about Josh Hamilton. God-given extraordinary abilities, #1 pick out of high school, develops a bad drug habit, suspended from baseball numerous times, during a “high” moment stumbles into his grandmother’s house, she welcomes him in, he tries to go to sleep in her spare room, notices a Bible, flips through it until his eyes land on James 4:7, decides to dedicate his life to Christ, gets sober, gets back into baseball, finds a home with the Texas Rangers, sets a record in the 2008 HR Derby with 28 homers in the first round, 2010 AL MVP and is still adding to his resume. And his explanation for it all, “It’s a God thing.” Now do you understand why he’s one of my faves? Btw, if you have not read his book, Beyond Belief, do so!! Life changer.
7. Steve Young~~Yes, I love me some Joe Cool. However, Steve Young was my guy in the 90s. Dude was smooooooove, calm, cool and collected. Could scramble, throw on the run and was not afraid to talk a little trash. Plus he had that curly hair. My man.
8. Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway~~Talk about a throwback. Just like I was with Griffey, I was a little obsessed with Penny. I did not have highlight tapes but I did have his name plastered all over my wall and I used to record Lil Penny commercials. If only those injuries had not plagued him…
9. Gail Devers~~This was my girl!! That hair! That speed! Those nails!!
10. Russell Wilson~~Gamer. Baller. Professional. Hardworker. Resilient. Determined. Playmaker. Gamechanger. Anklebreaker. Humble. Kind. Leader. Wolfpacker for life.
11. Vince Carter~~I know. I know. Feelin a little bit like a traitor. He is a smerf but even I have to be honest when it comes to VC. Between ’99-’06, there was no baller player I enjoyed watching more than Vince. His athletic ability was like other worldly. Once he truly developed his game to go along with his athletic prowess, dude was nearly unstoppable. That 2000 dunk contest?! Best. Ever.
12. Peyton Manning~~Now normally, I would make the smerf LAST on my list but I can not let a smerf occupy my favorite number. I am sure ya’ll were wondering where #18 was. Do I even need to explain why he is on the list?
Until next time…TOODELLS.