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Discussion Starter #1
ESPN ranked the greatest sportsmen of the 20th century. The top 3 were;

1. Michael Jordan

2. Babe Ruth

3. Muhammad Ali


You might feel a different athlete should be somewhere in that top 3.

But what I'm asking is, how do you rank these 3 sportsmen against each other? Do you agree or disagree on how ESPN ranked them?


Jordan and Ali's careers have parallels.

-Both rose to the top and dominated. Ali won the Heavyweight title and defended it successfully over and over. Jordan had his first 3 peat.

-Ali was forced out of boxing before anyone defeated him for the title. Jordan took a year and a half off after his first 3 peat.

- Jordan was rusty when he came back midway through the regular season. The Bulls lost in the playoffs that season. When Ali came back, he just wasn't the same at first. He lost to Frazier and Ken Norton.

- Next season, Jordan and the Bulls started another 3 peat. Ali won rematches with Frazier and Norton, and then beat George Foreman, a monster, for the Heavyweight title.

-Jordan eventually retired and came back for 2 seasons. He was really good, but couldn't play at the level he did in the past. Ali retired, but came back for a match with Larry Holmes. Holmes embarrassed him and beat him soundly, giving Ali his only non-decision loss.

How do you rank Jordan, Ruth and Ali?
 

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Ruth
Jordan
Ali

People forget Babe was one of the best pitchers in baseball (led the AL in ERA as a 21 year old) when he became an outfielder full time. I think he still has some post season pitching records. An absolute beast.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ruth was consistently hitting more home runs in single seasons than a lot of teams were. I find it odd he was only a 3 time MVP.
 

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Ruth was consistently hitting more home runs in single seasons than a lot of teams were. I find it odd he was only a 3 time MVP.
Tough era. Walter Johnson, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Cochrane, Jimmie Foxx, etc.
 

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Team Narcisse
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Damn, this tough

All three missed crucial time in their career being out. Jordan playing baseball, Ali in prison, and Ruth as a pitcher for his first few years.

Ruth wins from the aspect of revolutionizing his game as a pioneer and had he not been a pitcher at first his HR record would still stand. Jordan changed the game, but Bird and Magic saved basketball.

Ali wins for the fact of how long he stayed on top despite the toughest competition a sport has ever seen. His victory over Foreman is off the charts. That would damn near be like Jordan coming out of retirement and showing up LeBron in 2006 or so.

Comparing Ali to Ruth and Jordan in championships is apples to oranges, but between Ruth and Jordan, I give Jordan the nod because there is little doubt that had Jordan not retired that the Bulls would have won 8 straight.

When I ask myself the question as to whether or not these guys would be great in today's game Ali wind easily

Ruth's 714 home runs is probably the most long respected record in sport's history. DiMaggios 56 game hitting streak is the only one even close. Ruth's HR per at bat has only been beat by McGwire and that is tarnished and Ruth hit a ball 600ft. I don't think that has ever been beat though I know it was never measured and Mantle hold the official record at 565ft.

Jordan was possibly the most complete player in any sport as he great defensively as well.

Greatest moment is tough to call between Jordan's last shot to win VS Utah or Ruth's called shot

1.Ali
2.Ruth
3.Jordan
4.Gretzky
5.Montana
 

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What's the basis? Just ability? Or ability on and off the field/court/ring?

If you're talking STAR power, Ruth is out. He may have been huge in the United States, but baseball wasn't a global game in the 1910s and 1920s. His reach is too limited.

Jordan did have the world star factor. He was huge on the court, off of it he was the guy in the 1990s. No bigger sports name in the world than Michael Jordan during his time.

But, but if you want to talk about it all. It's Ali. Doing what he did with the name change, and just the spectacle he put on in the ring. From the U.S to Zaire to Philippines. That was impressive. Especially during the times of limited mass media. Jordan had the benefit of a global media. Ali, not exactly. Still put his name over the entire world.

Ali
Jordan
Ruth
 

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Ruth wins from the aspect of revolutionizing his game as a pioneer and had he not been a pitcher at first his HR record would still stand. Jordan changed the game, but Bird and Magic saved basketball.
I think Ruth's performance as a pitcher actually helps him when we're talking baseball GOAT. Dude had crazy pitching numbers and probably would have been a Hall of Famer on the mound if he hadn't been out of this world as a hitter. Nobody else in baseball ever excelled as a hitter and pitcher like Babe Ruth. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Ruth also the first huge sports megastar (at least in the US)? Even today, nearly 80 years after he last played, the name "Babe Ruth" is known by just about every American. And let's not forget that he hit more homeruns than entire teams! No athlete ever dominated the way Ruth did.

Jordan was THE man in the 80s and 90s. Magic and Bird got the ball rolling by making the NBA cool, but Jordan took it to a whole 'nother level. I was a Pistons, and later a Knicks fan, so you can imagine how I felt about Jordan at the time :lmao But that doesn't change the fact that he's the GOAT basketball player and the 2nd most iconic figure in the history of (US) sports.

Tbh, I know less about Ali than the other two, but I know he was a really, really big deal who was the clear top star during boxing's 60s and 70s peak.
 

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1.Ali
2.Ruth
3.Jordan
4.Gretzky
5.Montana
Gretzky is probably a better hockey player then those other guys are at their sports. Nobody is even close to Gretzky all time. You can make cases for a few different guys being better than Ali, Ruth, Jordan, etc.

Oh Montana. Nothing against him but I think Steve Young might have been better. Sure Montana has more rings but Young didn't get a shot until his late 20s to start full time. Young led the NFL in QB rating 6 times, completion percentage 5 times and touchdowns 4 times after he turned 30. Also accomplished what he did without a solid running game a lot of the time.

I don't even know if Montana cracks the top 5 QBs of all time. Is he better than Johnny U or Elway? No way IMHO. You have to put Peyton and Brady right up there with Montana. Roger Staubach might be the most underrated QB ever. He didn't even begin his career until he was 27 because he was in the Navy. He led the Cowboys to seven division titles, five Super Bowls (two wins, should have been three) and led the league in passing four times. Maybe his biggest eye popping stat is he had 14 come from behind wins with under 2 minutes left.




Where do you think Gehrig would stand all time if not for his time on the bench and ALS?
He is right up there with anyone anyway. Had he not retired prematurely it's hard to argue he wouldn't of had 600-700 homers and well over 3,000 hits.

What is crazy to think about is Ted Williams lost three years in his prime to WWII.
 

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What's the basis? Just ability? Or ability on and off the field/court/ring?

If you're talking STAR power, Ruth is out. He may have been huge in the United States, but baseball wasn't a global game in the 1910s and 1920s. His reach is too limited.

Jordan did have the world star factor. He was huge on the court, off of it he was the guy in the 1990s. No bigger sports name in the world than Michael Jordan during his time.

But, but if you want to talk about it all. It's Ali. Doing what he did with the name change, and just the spectacle he put on in the ring. From the U.S to Zaire to Philippines. That was impressive. Especially during the times of limited mass media. Jordan had the benefit of a global media. Ali, not exactly. Still put his name over the entire world.

Ali
Jordan
Ruth
I'm assuming US only here since there are no footballers.
 

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Point still remains.

Ruth was hampered by the timeframe he was born in. Limited exposure, and such. Just not enough world appeal.
 

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World appeal doesn't mean anything if it's just US. Ruth's popularity is just a great as Jordan's. I'm ok with Jordan over Ruth. No big deal. Ali is the unquestionable no 1 in my view.

Ruth v Jordan...is Jordan still as revered as Ruth is now decades from now? A century from now? Ruth has endured.


Oh btw, Willie Mays > Babe Ruth as a player.
 

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Point still remains.

Ruth was hampered by the timeframe he was born in. Limited exposure, and such. Just not enough world appeal.
What? Who doesn't know who Babe Ruth is? :jordan
 

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Tough era. Walter Johnson, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Cochrane, Jimmie Foxx, etc.
Roger Hornsby also

I think Ruth's performance as a pitcher actually helps him when we're talking baseball GOAT. Dude had crazy pitching numbers and probably would have been a Hall of Famer on the mound if he hadn't been out of this world as a hitter. Nobody else in baseball ever excelled as a hitter and pitcher like Babe Ruth. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Ruth also the first huge sports megastar (at least in the US)? Even today, nearly 80 years after he last played, the name "Babe Ruth" is known by just about every American. And let's not forget that he hit more homeruns than entire teams! No athlete ever dominated the way Ruth did.

Jordan was THE man in the 80s and 90s. Magic and Bird got the ball rolling by making the NBA cool, but Jordan took it to a whole 'nother level. I was a Pistons, and later a Knicks fan, so you can imagine how I felt about Jordan at the time :lmao But that doesn't change the fact that he's the GOAT basketball player and the 2nd most iconic figure in the history of (US) sports.
Very good point. It's a big deal these day if a pitcher even hits one HR.

Jordan is better, no doubt and I will admit to being a Bird mark. I just think that the Celtic and Lakers were more fun to watch. Jordan was so dominating, but as a team player Bird and Magic were better at getting everyone involved.

Gretzky is probably a better hockey player then those other guys are at their sports. Nobody is even close to Gretzky all time. You can make cases for a few different guys being better than Ali, Ruth, Jordan, etc.

Oh Montana. Nothing against him but I think Steve Young might have been better. Sure Montana has more rings but Young didn't get a shot until his late 20s to start full time. I don't even know if Montana cracks the top 5 QBs of all time. Is he better than Johnny U or Elway? No way IMHO. You have to put Peyton and Brady right up there with Montana. Roger Staubach might be the most underrated QB ever. He didn't even begin his career until he was 27 because he was in the Navy. He led the Cowboys to seven division titles, five Super Bowls (two wins, should have been three) and led the league in passing four times. Maybe his biggest eye popping stat is he had 14 come from behind wins with under 2 minutes left.
The only argument against Gretzky is that he wasn't much of a defense player, but his offensive records are just insane. Even as a kid he was moved up to playing with kids 5 years older than him and was the star. Had he not left Edmonton, they may be considered the GOAT team in any sport. If we are looking at stats and ability Dan Marino is the GOAT QB, IMO. Montana just knew how to win and again there is a lot of childhood marking out here.
 

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I'm sure there are millions on the planet earth who don't know who Babe Ruth is. I'm sure millions who don't know Jordan, Ali are as well. But if I were to guess, I'd say they're more well-known than Ruth.



World appeal doesn't mean anything if it's just US. Ruth's popularity is just a great as Jordan's. I'm ok with Jordan over Ruth. No big deal. Ali is the unquestionable no 1 in my view.

Ruth v Jordan...is Jordan still as revered as Ruth is now decades from now? A century from now? Ruth has endured.


Oh btw, Willie Mays > Babe Ruth as a player.
That's boring. U.S is just, like, one country, man.

I cannot think that way. I gotta think of the world factor.

It took a lot of restraint for me not to put my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ Michael Jordan as number one.
 

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You can make a case that Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano were as good (if not better) than Ali.
 

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What is crazy to think about is Ted Williams lost three years in his prime to WWII.
Ted had the prettiest swing in baseball history. I know someone recently got the triple crown for the first time since Yaz in 67, but has anyone else his 400 since Ted hit 406?
 
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