ESPN's Top 100: Jordan

Well Phil, this is the hot button topic about it, and it is just not realistic to think it should be any different. The first stumbling block to any debate is who doesn’t belong then?

The reasons I think women simply haven’t acheived enough to gain more accolade are numerous. First, women haven’t ben competeing seriously for very long, its a fact, and right or wrong thats the way it was. Second, if you want to really break it down and say who’s the best athlete, you need to get a definition. The simplest one is who would win in a match. Well its foolish for anyone to thing Martina could even contend with Aggasi or Sampras in their primes. The fact that Martina is so much higher than any other tennis player is cotraversial. The only arguement by which women belong on the list is considering popular opinion, and their influence on their sport and society as a whole. This is the most likely definition anyone would use in the debate, and under this criteria the women fit. But to think JJ Kersey belongs above anyone on that list is silly. Short of the couple of months every 4 years when she’s winning medals no one hears about her. Track isn’t a important sport in society, nor is any women sport to date, tennis being the closest competitor. Tennis on the whole isn’t important enough to warrant heavy consideration. Navitralova (sp) gains her respect less from the athletics, but more for the political influence.

What good arguement could there be for including more women on the list other than parity?

“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’”
E A Poe

Now, wait just a minute, Omniscient–what other reason? Um, how about this–they’re the best at their respective sports? Any argument that excludes Jackie Joyner Kersee beyond “She doesn’t have a penis” must also necessarily exclude Carl Lewis, yet he is on the list. And Jesse Owens–talk about someone who is on there purely for the political symbolism!

And to say:

Well, then, by all means lets exclude them some more.

This is simply foolish. Women and men don’t compete against each other in these sports; why would you even consider a hypothetical mixed match as a criterion for whether someone belongs on the list? That’s silly. Martina isn’t required to beat Pete Sampras to be a champion; nor should she be required to beat him in an imaginary to be considered a good athlete! If anything, compare their careers within their sports–has Pete accomplished what Martina did?

I just saw something in the Dallas Morning News with regards to the top athletes. They had a small insert with Gretzky, Ali, Jordan and Ruth on the cover. The ESPN logo was also on the cover which leads on to believe that those are the top 4.
My vote would go to Gretzky for the best of the century.

Well Phil, you aren’t listening as usual.

JJ Kersey, captured 6 total medals in 3 olympics, in a field not very hotly contested. Many countries don’t allow women to compete so continued success isn’t as impressive as in male sports.

Carl Lewis won 9 gold medals in 4 olympics, as well as a few other medals in relays. This is in the more competitive mens field with a worldwide pool of talent.

Jesse Owens won 4 golds in one olymics, setting world records in all events, all of which was uder the political climate of 1936 Berlin. Can any women compare to this feat?

Based solely on this stat, Lewis is far more deserving that Kersey, who was #23 by the way. I have no where implied that women are inherently less qualified than men for the consideration, just that none have achived respect to warrant equal representation. It’s not that they can’t or shouldn’t, but they haven’t.

Martina Navratilova
No.1 player in the world 7 times (1978-79,82-86); won her record 9th Wimbledon singles title in 1990; also won 4 U.S. Opens, 3 Australian and 2 French; in all, won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and 37 Grand Slam doubles titles; retired as all-time leader among men and women in singles titles (167) and money won ($20.3 million) over 21 years.

Pete Sampras #48
No.1 player in world in 1993,94,95,96,97,98,99; overtaken briefly as No. 1 in 1995 by Andre Agassi but later regained the top ranking that year; youngest ever U.S. Open men’s champion (19 years, 28 days) in 1990; has won 11 majors: 2 Australian Opens (1994,97), 5 Wimbledons (1993,94,95,97,98) and 4 U.S. Opens (1990,93,95,96).

Their acomplishments are close (Sampras will likely match her in all catagories if he stays healthy) and the rankings are reasonable considering the political climate Martina was forced to encounter.

If you can offer a woman whos reputation warrants considration above any of the athletes in the top 20 I’d be glad to refute them.

As for the reasoning for including athletes its quite obvious that politics are critical for some, while pure athletisism is needed for others, and still others are weighed on popularity and public impact.

Phil if you have something to offer other than knee jerk PC verbiage I’d like to hear it.