Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My All Time Fav 4

The inspiration for this post was created by Facebook. FB has an application that allows you to choose your All Time favourite five athletes.

So thanks to YouTube and my kind words, here are my Fantastic Four.

Why four you ask? I could throw another big name athlete on the list to make five, but in all honesty these where the guys I worshipped growing up.

1. Greg Chappell

Growing up on the Darling Downs it was easy to be drawn to Chappell as a young kid dreaming of playing cricket for your country.

Chappell was textbook with the bat and I would stay up to the wee hours of the morning to watch him play his classic strokes while touching up the Poms in the old Motherland.

With a test average of almost fifty four and a century on debut, the hairs on the back of my neck always rise when he is not mentioned amongst the best batsmen to ever use a Grey-Nicolls.


2. Mal Meninga

When I wasn't working on my straight drive, I was palming my brothers off for another brilliant backyard try. I would calmly finish the play off with a toe poke conversion.

All this was only achieved because I was decked out in my Souths Magpies long sleeve jersey. Oh, of course the number 3 was on the back.

I loved how Meninga could bust open a game with his own pure strength and ability. A real match winner and an attribute I love to see in a player.

My childhood love for Meninga only grew when I met the great man at Davies Park (Brisbane). I remember it as clear as day. Dad took me to watch my beloved Magpies but Meninga did not dress as he had a rep game the following week. I managed to snag an autograph (which I still have) from Mal as he watched the game from a deck chair on the sidelines.


3. Ivan Lendl

The surly Czech was always the underdog but if you study his record you will soon realize that he was quite the player.

He captured eight Grand Slam titles but never won Wimbledon. I believe this is why he does not get the love he deserves. He competed in a record 19 Grand Slam titles, which is still a record to this day.

I could ramble on all day about how good I felt he was, but his biggest impact on me was the wristband. He was the reason I donned one in my early playing days and basketball was lucky that our playing shorts had no pockets. Otherwise I would have had sawdust in my pockets too.


4. Moses Malone

The NBA in the 80's was all about the Lakers and the Celtics. Magic, Kareem, Larry and Co dominated the press. My man was Moses Malone of the Philadelphia 76ers at that time.

I loved watching Malone punish Kareem as Mo (not Dr J) lead the 76ers to their title in 1983.

His rebounding prowess I have tried to incorporate into my game over the years but it was his Nike Air Force footwear I so dearly wanted.

He was playing for the Atlanta Hawks at the time when I sent him a letter trying to acquire a pair. It was a long shot but I got the Hawks address out of the Basketball Digest (remember that read) and nervously penned a letter to Mo asking if he could send a 14yo Aussie guy a pair of his kicks.

I'm not sure where the letter ended up but I still go out to the mailbox everyday anticipating that those shoes will arrive.



Who are your all time greats?

10 comments:

Eric said...

JR,
Anyone who asks a team member to bowl underarm never deserves to be mentioned among the all time greats.

Aussie Rules: Jason Dunstall - A goal kicking machine at his peak and keeping count of the numbers between him and Tony Lockett was something you looked forward to each and every weekend the footy was on.

Cricket: Vivian Richards. The master blaster. As elegant a stroke maker as you will see and one of the first guys who could excel at both the one day and test game consistently. Could put up a big score in a hurry with power hitting.

Basketball: Isiah Thomas - made me realize basketball was not a big man's game. Look at game 6 of the 88 finals, playing on a buggered ankle and nearly beat the Lakers singlehandedly. Unfortunately, I can't say much about his post playing days without sullying the memories.

DJ Rod said...

1. Michael Jordan - easy choice for me... The very first game I saw of NBA was a Pistons v Bulls Playoff game where Jordan stole the ball dribbled into Laimbeer and threw it backwards over his head for an And 1. There is no-one close to him period.

3. Allan Border - Cricket was my first love and as soon as my mum told me I was his 3rd cousin, I loved this guy! I always pretended to be him in cricket games in our front yard.

4. Tiger Woods - He has changed his sport by himself like only 1 other - see No.1 above

5. This is a close one between Thurman Thomas of the Buffalo Bills, Carl Lewis and my boys from The Fab5... it has to go to Chris Webber!

I have loved this guy from the first Michigan game I saw (back then we actually had good NCAA coverage) all the way until he retired from the NBA. He was robbed of a final appearance by the Lakers and a few dodgy calls and robbed himself of a NCAA Championship by THAT timeout.

I wore my Sacramento Webber Jersey to a Lakers game in LA and got pelted with random rubbish :) memories

DJ Dudd said...

YES I agree.

DJ ROd cant count, he posted 5 instead of 4 LMAO. Didnt you thin we would notice ?.

Anonymous said...

"I always pretended to be him" ?.

Were u the mommy or the daddy DJ Rod?.

DJ LEON SMITH said...

JR not too far off my childhood heroes! I've got Geoff Lawson and Michael Cage at the top though.

mookie said...

Great post idea.

JR, I hope you didn't try to fit a metal plate to your arm too, like Big Mal used to get away with under that plaster cast!

My childhood hero was Peter Sterling -- he could throw a mean cut-out pass.

Basketball-wise it was Clyde "the Glide" Drexler and Dwayne McClain.

Dodge Taylor said...

Good post JR, I'll go with.

Ian Botham (or David Gower), Larry Bird, Tim Watson and Greg Norman ... in no particular order.

Snoop Wogg said...

1. The Macedonian Marvel, Peter Daicos. Freakish skills and insticts that you just can't teach. Total legend.
2. Got to join you with Greg Chappell. The underarm incident was a slight blot on a flawless resume. Even he admits that he should never have instructed his bro to bowl it. Elegance personified.
3. The great SK Warne. Single handedly brought back the art of leg spin. Genius. And seems like a great bloke to have a beer with too - he'd sure have some stories to tell...
4. Even though I loved watching Mo Malone, The Dr, Mo Cheeks and the great Lakers and Celtics players, my love for the Knicks stems from the first time I saw Mark Jackson play. Rookie season. Can't remember who they were playing, but the Garden was going berserk, and he controlled the game down the stretch. He wasn't gifted athletically, but his smarts made up for it.

Anonymous said...

Ayrton Senna - numbers 1 to 5!

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