Any sports fan young or old would love the honor of having their favorite sports hero share a holiday meal with them, not to mention their top 5 favorites! My top five favorites would include John Madden, Walter Payton, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali, I have provided a little information on each of these greats in regard to the accomplishment’s they have made to their specific sport.
John Madden is a former Professional Football player, and Hall Of Fame member for his contributions to coaching, arguably the best Oakland Raiders coach, according to Current Raiders coach Dennis Allen. Madden coached the 1977 Oakland Raiders Super Bowl Champions and after retiring in 1978 is still the Coach with the most Raider wins to date. John Madden was made famous during his CBS and Fox Networks Sports casting career, known famously for handing out turkey drumsticks to The best NFL players during their respective Thanksgiving Day Football games, John is also famous for his Flamboyant and lively delivery of commentary.
Walter Payton was an American Football Player for the Chicago Bears for 13 Seasons, and will always be remembered as one of the most prolific running backs in football history. Walter Payton was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 and until 2002 was still the All-Time leading rusher in NFL history. Famous Hall of Fame NFL player and coach Mike Ditka described Payton as the greatest football player he had ever seen-but even greater as a human being.
Michael Jordan is one of the greatest Basketball players from any era, His biography on the (NBA) website states, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. His Ability to leap from the “Free Throw Line” during many slam dunk contests gave him the nickname “Air Jordan”. His awards and accolades are too numerous to list, and in 2009 he was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. He also achieved Limited success as a Professional baseball player for the Chicago White Sox and also has made contributions to the sport of golf, a true multi-talented athlete.
George Herman Ruth, Jr, (Aka) Babe Ruth was an American Hall of Fame baseball player and coach who spent 22 seasons in the big leagues. Known for his hitting brilliance, Ruth set career records for home runs-(714), slugging percentage (.690), and runs batted in-(RBI) (2,217) according to Wikipedia. In 1998, The Sporting News ranked him number one on the list of “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players” and in 1999, baseball fans named Ruth to the Baseball All-Century Team. His rags to riches story is as American as apple pie, and still holds a special place among baseball fans. Heavy set and robust, it was not uncommon for Ruth to be seen in the dug-out guzzling beer and eating hotdogs.
Muhammad Ali is an American heavyweight boxer and Olympian who had defeated every top heavyweight in his era. Ali was named “Fighter of the Year” by Ring Magazine more times than any other heavyweight fighter, He is an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame . He is the only three time World heavyweight champion from his era. Ali was well known for his gliding and dancing fighting style, Sometimes mocking his opponent and chanting lines like “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” to intimidate opponents, he employed many signature moves such as the Ali Shuffle and the famous rope-a-dope that would send his opponents to the mat. The Associated Press voted Ali the No. 1 heavyweight of the 20th century in 1999. Ali was very outspoken against Racism and The Vietnam War.
These “Greats” were not only the best in their specific sports, but also “Greats” off the field in respect to their charity work and their contributions to history. Having these guys at your Thanksgiving table would be a dream comes true for any sports fan, Past or Present. So pass the mashed potatoes Walter, and make sure that John gets a drumstick!