Allen Iverson, Randy Moss, 2Pac, and the Meaning of Greatness

Today we all look for the latest and greatest. But phrases like ‘legend’ and ‘the great one’ have lost their luster.

Respect, don’t imitate. Don’t destroy him with comparisons to Lil Wayne. (wikipedia image)

“It’s legendary. The team of Honda and American Marine.” Anyone who lives in northeast Wisconsin has heard that on those commercials for American Marine and Motorsports Super Center. Really? Because until your loud and obnoxious commercial I’d never heard of you or your bromance with Honda.

According to people who watch/listen to music on YouTube (who are of course right about everything), Lil Wayne is the king (that’s laughable really, but more on that later). Actually so is Common. And T.I. And Kid Cudi, and pretty much anyone who raps today. Did you know Chris Martin is the greatest singer in the world? That’s okay, if he’s willing to share that title with Bono, Barbara Streisand, Brad Paisley, and William Hung.

Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down, Bladerunner, Gladiator) is a legendary director. Did you know that? I didn’t, but that’s what the internet says (seriously though he has made some really good movies).

Sidney Crosby is the next great one, according to ESPN.

Sir Alex Ferguson recently called Wayne Rooney the “white Pele.” Take a moment to stop laughing before continuing to read.

Sure, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd “Money” Mayweather (wish I had the money to watch that fight with Ortiz) are the best boxers of their time, by a long shot, but besides the fact that we’ll never get to see that greatest fight of this generation, we are also cheated from seeing any truly great fighters, period. Say what you want about biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear, Mike Tyson is the kind of greatness we might never see again in the ring.

The point of all of the above is that we humans, not just sports fans, have a ridiculous need to witness greatness. We want to witness the Air Apparent, the next man to walk the line, the next screen icon. And obviously, I don’t blame us. I want to call Adrian Peterson our Walter Payton, LeBron our Jordan, and Crosby

What exactly are we witnessing? Is it true greatness? (espn.com image)

our Gretzky. And I’m sure a lot of you want Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., to be our Notorious B.I.G.

I need to make sure you all know who is good and who is great. Who is a matchup problem, and who is unguardable. Who is a legend.

Randy Moss and the Host of Pretenders

I hate to write this section. Randy Moss may be the single most irritating athlete to ever live. He was crude, childish, dangerous, lazy, and unpredictable. He was also the best wide receiver to ever play. Ever.

Standing 6 foot 4 and able to run a 4.25 40, Moss was difficult to keep up with. His real vertical jump seems to be a mystery, with estimates ranging from a “paltry” 39″ to the ridiculous 53″. I’m inclined to believe it’s closer to 53 (ever watched video of him ballin’ with J-Will in high school?). He also caught just about anything that he could reach. He was, in a word, perfect. I don’t think you could hope to ever find a better wide receiver than Randy Moss. Don’t believe, me watch this play while playing for Marshall. That’s Chad Pennington throwing him the ball by the way.

Since Moss began to absolutely make a mockery of NFL secondaries, teams have desperately tried to find the next guy who can do the things Moss would do. They have come pretty close, with valiant efforts by Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson. But if you look at the “great” wide receivers in the NFL, none of them are cut from the same cloth as Moss. Reggie Wayne is a good route runner who catches anything, Larry Fitzgerald is good at everything, not great at anything, Greg Jennings knows how to play in a system (and run with a broken leg). But none of them can match the sheer dominance of Randy Moss.

Why is this the image we have to remember? Because that’s who Randy Moss decided to be. (espn.com image)

If it wasn’t enough that he was unstoppable as a young man in Minnesota, he came back after disappearing in a Raider uniform at age 30 and had the best season a wide receiver has ever had.

And the scariest thing of all is that he could have been better. He could have been a lot better. His stats obviously didn’t suffer in Oakland because he wasn’t talented any more or he was too old. He didn’t care. He didn’t want to be the best. He played, throughout his career, when it was convenient for him. If he had half the drive of Jerry Rice (who by default IS the best WR of all time) he would have been twice the player. I don’t know that we will ever see another Randy Moss ever again.

Tupac Shakur: Everything a Legend Should Be

The world of hip-hop music has an interesting dynamic that other genres of music don’t have. Fans always want to argue ‘who is the best.’ People use terms like “king”, and “force to reckoned with.” In rock, pop, or country, it’s more a matter of whose music do you like more? But there is a never ending argument in hip-hop about who is the best. If you listen to any rap song on YouTube, you will find plenty of comments proclaiming why that artist is the best and why another one is terrible. Everyone has an opinion. It’s different for one guy: Mr. Shakur. Now sometimes you’ll read the occasional “f–k Tupac!” but generally there is nothing but respect for him. I know lots of new hip-hop people don’t like old school guys like him, Biggie, and KRS-ONE, but they generally keep quiet. He has become the standard by which all others are measured. There’s a statue of this guy in GERMANY.

Obviously being killed helped his cause (see John F. Kennedy, Michael Jackson), but his legend is more than that. In only a few years he was able to make such an impact that 15 years after his death his music is still making money. He is the highest earning dead person right now.

So why is that? It’s because of what he meant to people. He was generally viewed as being a man with a good

Certainly not a legend, but a great man and a talented rapper, Lecrae. (rapzilla.com image)

heart with lyrics that meant a lot to his listeners. Like most of his fellow rappers, his lifestyle and life choices should not be imitated, actually they should be abhorred (for rappers you SHOULD look up to, check out the 116 Clique). But to many, his words were more than music. This can’t be said for anyone rapping today. Not Lil Wayne. If Lil Wayne and T.I have a gang war with all the guns they’ve dealt over the years, and Lil Wayne dies a “martyrs” death, I don’t think people are going to keep buying his music in 10 years. People listen to him because he has some funny rhymes here and there (although I wonder how many times you can use the f word as a rhyme before you lose creativity). It is also impressive the volume of work he has been able to produce, but still, he’s not the same as Pac.

Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant: The Answer and the Mamba

Recently the NBA has taken its popularity to knew heights, which is a great thing, and it is unfortunate that there could be an abbreviated season or, *gulp*, no season at all.

One reason is because of the host of very talented and very likable players: LeBron, D-Wade, KD, Dwight, CP3, D-Rose, Dirk, etc., etc. The one negative effect of this is that the generation before them has been forgotten. Ron Artest should be known for more than rapping, Metta World Peace, and Malice in the Palace. He should be known for being one bitch of a defender. Tracy McGrady should be known for being one of the elite scorers of the last 20 years, not for having the knees of an 80 year old man. Paul Pierce was a good player before he won the Championship with the Boston Three Party (and so were Garnett and Allen). Dikembe Mutombo was a better defender than Dwight Howard. Howard, with all his athleticism, cannot match the scoring of Shaq. And most importantly, Allen Iverson should be known for more than the practice rant, and Kobe Bryant is the best player since MJ, Magic, and Bird. By the way, MJ is the best ever, and probably always will be, Magic is the best point guard ever, and there will never be a player like him again, and Bird is not just the best white NBA player ever. He is seriously among the elite. I recommend the documentary “Larry and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals” to any basketball fan, it’s outstanding.

I don’t think it should be too difficult to win anyone over on the Kobe vs. LeBron thing. Seriously, you all know Kobe is better right? Sure, LeBron is more athletic and possibly a better passer, rebounder, and shot-blocker, but Kobe is something else entirely. He has 5 championship rings. That’s almost as many as Big Shot Bob. Say what you want about winning the first three with Shaq, the other starters on those teams were Rick Fox, Horace

If their story wasn’t true, you’d think it was way too unrealistic for a fictional story. (wikimedia image)

Grant, and Ron Harper. And, Kobe was the one on the line late in games making the free throws to ice the victory. He’s not only a better shooter than LeBron, he’s a better clutch player. That fade away mid range jumper has destroyed more teams than Al Davis. Kobe Bryant is something special, and there isn’t anyone like him in the NBA today (although I guess there’s some 6′ 10 22 year old kid who can shoot pretty well in the NBA today).

As for Allen Iverson, this is the guy who crossed then j’d Michael Jordan. Watch his highlights, and you’d think this had to be the best basketball player in history. He would destroy D-Rose, CP3, Rajon, or Russell Westbrook in a game of 1-on-1. The only problem is he’s the Randy Moss of basketball. Like Moss, he had an attitude problem. The practice rant was very commonplace behavior for him. It was more than his streetness, that didn’t bother me, it was his selfish passiveness. I don’t know that there has been a more purely talented player in NBA history. Unfortunately he wanted to chuck up too many shots during games, and not enough when it wasn’t gameday. If he had the attitude and drive of say, Jason Kidd, he might be the one point guard you could put in a class with Magic.

The One and Only Great One

And finally, Wayne Gretzky is the best hockey player ever. By a long shot. No, Sidney Crosby will not be as good as him. And neither will Alex Ovechkin. The most goals Crosby has scored in his 6 year career is 51. Through Gretzky’s first 8 seasons, 51 was the fewest number of goals he ever scored, 92 being his highest. Statistically, Ovechkin has been better than Crosby, and his numbers pale compared to the Great One.

Ovechkin has 614 career points in 6 years (that’s not the same as goals). Gretzky had 709 points through only his first 4. Obviously there is no comparison, and there probably never should be. And for those of you who think Ilya Kovalchuk is the best player today, it’s the same story.

So I hope you will all think more carefully now when you want to call an athlete great, or a beast, or a special kind of athlete, or, and especially this one, a legend. I usually tend to favor the new school when it comes to all decade teams and things like that, but sometimes today’s greats just don’t compare. Randy Moss is the best, 2Pac is the only legend, Allen Iverson is more talented than anyone playing today, Kobe is the real King, and

don’t let anyone compare Crosby or Ovechkin to Wayne Gretzky.

And Wayne Rooney is NOT the white Pele.

What do you think? Do I have a point? Like, comment, follow, post on Facebook. Thanks!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Allen Iverson, Randy Moss, 2Pac, and the Meaning of Greatness

  1. Pingback: The SneakyGood LeBron Chronicles | sneakygoodsportsblog

  2. Pingback: The Blog is Done for Now « sneakygoodsportsblog

  3. A legend should be dead. Often we call every one a living legend. Very few are actually deserving of this title such as George Strait who has the most #1 hits of anyone in music.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s