not paralleled; unequaled or unmatched; peerless; unprecedented:unparalleled athletic ability.
Funny isn’t it, that we are all so caught up in the opening weekend of the 2009 NFL Season that most of us were totally oblivious to the fact that the greatest basketball player of our generation, and arguably the biggest athlete of our time was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame yesterday? Of course, I'm talking about Michael Jordan!
That’s right, I came right out and said it in the opening paragraph. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of our generation, and likely of all-time as well. Now, that’s not to downplay the accomplishments of those that were inducted with him, as the class the included David Robinson and John Stockton as players represents a collection of players that leave no shadow of a doubt as to their Hall of Fame credentials. Nor am I looking to downplay the players that came before Jordan or followed him. There is a place on the pedestal for guys like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Julius Irving, George Gervin, et al, but there is only one seat on the thrown for the best player of all-time, and Michael Jordan deserves to sit in it above all others.
It’s almost too easy to list his accomplishments as evidence to what he meant to the game, but it is necessary to put him into perspective.
6 NBA Championships – Twice Winning Three Consecutive
2 Olympic Gold Medals
1984-85 NBA Rookie Of The Year
5 League MVP Awards
6 NBA Finals MVP Awards
14 Time League All-Star
10 Time All NBA First Team
10 League Scoring Titles
32292 Career Points – Third All-Time
30.1 PPG Scoring Average – First All-Time
7327 Free Throws Made – Fourth All-Time
2514 Career Steals – Second All-Time
5633 Career Assists – Thirty-Fifth All-Time
5004 Career Defensive Rebounds – Fifty-Third All-Time
Mere stats do not show the complete package that Jordan brought to the game. His competitive spirit and complete knowledge of the game saw him sink or set-up his fair share of game-winning shots, putting him constantly in the position of having the ball in his hands when crunch time hit. His ability to dominate lead many teams to incorporate special rules when it came to defending him, which in turn, lead Jordan to become a more complete basketball player who made his teammates better.
Jordan also transcended the game itself. Whether he rode the wave created before him by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, or he helped to explode it further, one will never truly know, but Jordan created a persona in the game that is unmatched by any player that has attempted to follow him. He became a marketing powerhouse, both for the league and the hundreds of sponsors that saw him as a goldmine, using his fame to both grow the game and to become the most financially secure athlete of all-time until Tiger Woods came along.
So while David Stern continues to try and find the next Michael Jordan among his latest crop of NBA talent (?), we can rest assured that we just saw the unparalleled best ever get his just due, perhaps putting an official end to The Jordan Era.
NEW YORK — Former New York Giant Plaxico Burress pleaded guilty Thursday to a weapons charge and agreed to a two-year prison term for accidentally shooting himself at a Manhattan nightclub.
The ex-wide receiver pleaded guilty to one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a lesser charge than he initially faced. Under a plea agreement, he agreed to a two-year prison sentence and two years of supervised release.
Burress was indicted earlier this month on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment. He faced a minimum sentence of 3 1/2 years if convicted at a trial.
Burress' attorney said he hoped to resume his NFL career when he gets out of prison.
With time off for good behavior, the two-year sentence could be reduced to 20 months. Sentencing was set for Sept. 22 and if Burress were to go to prison soon after, he could be freed as early as the spring of 2011.
The guilty plea ends months of haggling between Burress' attorney and the Manhattan district attorney's office. The case went to a grand jury earlier this month after negotiations broke down, apparently because District Attorney Robert Morgenthau was insisting that Burress serve at least two years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Dwyer said it is standard policy to request a two-year sentence as part of a plea bargain on such serious charges.
In a Manhattan state Supreme Court room on Thursday, the soft-spoken Burress, wearing a dark blue suit, peacock blue shirt and blue tie, first entered a not-guilty plea to the initial charges against him. After attorneys on both sides conferred, Burress said, "guilty" to the new attempted weapons possession charge.
His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said in court that the 31-year-old Burress was thinking of his family in taking the plea, although he questioned the recommended prison sentence. Afterward, Brafman described Burress as having "an agonizing period of discussion" about taking the plea, but taking it so he could put the whole episode behind him quickly.
"This was not an intentional criminal act," Brafman said in court. "In my judgment, a two-year prison sentence is a very severe punishment."
Burress did not speak to reporters and left while his attorney addressed the media outside the courthouse.
Brafman called the case "a perfect example about how bad judgment can have very serious consequences" and said Burress was treated more harshly because he is a celebrity.
"If Plaxico Burress were not a high-profile individual, there never would be a case," he said. "If he were just John Q Public he could have walked out of the club and he never would have been arrested."
Burress would make a statement at his sentencing, and would try to begin serving his sentence immediately, Brafman said. He did not know where Burress would serve his time.
Burress and former teammate Antonio Pierce were at the Latin Quarter nightclub in late November when a gun tucked into Burress' waistband slipped down his leg and fired, shooting him in the right thigh. The bullet narrowly missed a nightclub security guard who was standing inches away, prosecutors said, lodged in the floor and was recovered by a bartender.
The gun was not licensed in New York or in New Jersey, where Burress lived, prosecutors said. His license to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Florida had expired in May 2008.
Prosecutors said Pierce drove Burress to a hospital, then took the gun to his own home in New Jersey where it was later delivered to Burress' home.
Pierce was not indicted. The grand jury also did not indict the nightclub security guard who carried the gun to Pierce's car or the hospital staff members who failed to notify police that Burress had been shot.
Burress, who caught the winning touchdown for the Giants over the New England Patriots in the final minute of the 2008 Super Bowl, also could face disciplinary action by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Brafman said lawyer said he hoped any sanctions imposed by the NFL would run concurrent with Burress' prison sentence.
I know you folks can barely contain yourselves. I know you’ve been rocking back in forth in your desk chairs, refreshing your screens constantly just hoping to catch a glimpse of the next YouGab 25!
Well, the wait is finally over! You can now take a brief bathroom break since I know many of you have been holding it so as to not miss this announcement.
Anyway, moving on, let’s get this party started. Last time, we celebrated the beautiful people by assembling the 25 Hottest Women in Sports. This time around, we’re putting the shoe on the other foot.
Alright, before I get lynched for breaking The Bro Code, I’m talking about the ugly folks. Let’s face it, we could go on for days about who the ugliest people in sports history are can’t we?
Well folks, that’s the new assignment, the YouGab 25 – 25 Ugliest People In Sports.
As usual, let’s recap the rules, because let’s face it, without rules, life is total anarchy.
-I'll start the list off with the first rule.
- Each subsequent comment will add no more than one rule. You can return to add another later, but let's be nice and take turns.
- We'll build this list all the way to 25, if all of us can manage to count that high.
Everyone got it? Alright, let’s get it started. And as with the 25 Hottest, I'll pull the pics.
MCKEES ROCKS, Pa. (AP) - Pro wrestler and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle has been arrested on charges of possessing a human growth hormone and violating an order of protection in suburban Pittsburgh.
Angle was arrested about 7:50 a.m. Saturday in a Robinson Township strip mall parking lot. His girlfriend, who said she obtained a protection order about 1 1/2 hours earlier after the two fought Friday night, alleged that he had circled the lot staring at her as she sat in a coffee shop, according to a police affidavit.
Police said they found the human growth hormone Hygetropin in Angle's car, and the wrestler told them he had a prescription for the drug. He also told officers he had not seen the woman and was looking for a hotel because he was barred from his home.
Angle, 40, was charged with violating the order of protection, harassment, possession of drugs and paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license. He posted bail and is scheduled to appear for a hearing Tuesday on the drug and harassment charges and Wednesday on the charge of violating the protection order, a court clerk said.
Angle was scheduled to fight Sunday night in the main event of a Total Nonstop Action wrestling event in Orlando, Fla. A message left Sunday for TNA Wrestling spokesman Steven Godfrey was not immediately returned.
Angle's phone number is unlisted. Messages left for attorney Michael Santicola, who has represented him previously, were not immediately returned.
Angle is a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion at Clarion University in western Pennsylvania. He won the 220-pound championship at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, defeating Iran's Abbas Jadidi for the gold medal, and has been a professional wrestler since 1998.
In September, Angle was found not guilty of drunken driving in Moon Township outside Pittsburgh. A motorist told police Angle had cut her off while leaving a bar parking lot.
Earlier this week, the PGA Tour learned its most valuable lesson:
Tiger Woods is bigger than the PGA and bigger than the game of golf itself.
After being warned by a course official that he and Padraig Harrington were taking too long during their final round last week, Woods blasted the official after he felt that warning caused his playing partner to hurry shots and took away what would have otherwise been a stellar finish between the two competitors.
Well, first things first; Woods was right. Golf is a game of concentration and peace. If either gets interrupted, it becomes hard to find that center again, and the more frustrated a player gets, the further away from it he floats. The rule needs to be updated to allow any penalty to be exercised after the completion of the round. If a player knows that there is the possibility of a penalty at the end of the round, then they’ll make a concerted effort to play at a speed that will keep them under that line. This way, they’ll have found a pace from the start that works for them instead of trying to enforce them changing that pace midway through their round.
But that’s not the point of this piece. The PGA rulebook also states that any players that mouths off about another player or tour official will be subject to a fine. Woods, perhaps the biggest face in American sports, knew this, but still felt the need to voice his opinion, and more power to him for that. Unfortunately by doing so, he put the tour in a tough position. He made the PGA Tour make a choice between penalizing Woods and alienating its biggest figurehead, or they could ignore it and keep him perched on his well-earned pedestal.
For its part, the PGA Tour chose to not fine Tiger and instead simply “discussed” the issue with him over the phone. Will this further embolden Woods to become the voice of the players? Will it make it more difficult for the PGA to police its players in future incidents?
The answer to both questions is most likely “yes”, but given the alternative, the PGA Tour was willing to sacrifice face in order to keep Tiger happy.
Woods if everything an athletic organization wants of its star. He’s warm to the media and the fans. He’s a family man who grew up with strong morals and exhibits a strong code of conduct. And while he picks and chooses the events he plays in, he’s still one of the hardest workers in sports, taking time off only for the sake of allowing others to shine in his stead. And his dominance has forced others to step up their game to compete when he does play. Without Tiger, the PGA Tour would be half the organization it currently is.
In the end, it wasn’t necessarily a difficult decision for them, made in the best interest of the Tour and its relationship with its best player. But was it really the best choice?