25 Endless Sports Debates

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2013

25 Endless Sports Debates

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    One of the best things about being a sports fan are the discussions around the water cooler that my friends and I so often have with each other.

    It seems that every week we argue over who is the best current player in a sport or the all-time best team anyone has ever seen.

    Is there really ever an answer? Probably not.

    But that doesn't mean we still won't continue debating some of these hot topics all the time.

Who's the Biggest Bust in Sports History

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    Each year, we see hundreds of new players get drafted or signed to professional sports teams.

    While we hope that all the scouting teams do pay off and those players turn out the way most expect, we've seen over the years that sometimes organizations just drop the ball.

    From dudes like Michael Olowokandi and Darko Milicic in the NBA, to Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell in the NFL, it's actually pretty fun to debate who we think had the most unfortunate careers.

Was It Phil Jackson or the Players?

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    There's no denying that a guy who has 11 NBA titles as a head coach is one of the best ever.

    The question is, is he the best ever?

    Great players make great coaches, so though the Zen Master had the privilege of coaching greats like MJ, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaq and Kobe, how would he fare without that Hall of Fame-caliber talent?

Best Hockey Player Ever?

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    In our opinion, you can't argue with a guy whose nickname was literally, "The Great One," so we absolutely believe it's Wayne Gretzky.

    But before getting ahead of ourselves, we need to respect the past and look at all that Gordie Howe did for the game of hockey while he played.

    With numerous records and the moniker of being the best ever already associated with him, we think most people would say Gretzky, but it may be closer than you'd think.

Does Soccer Need Instant Replay?

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    Thanks to historic plays like the "Hand of God" and other questionable mistakes, soccer fans wonder why FIFA has yet to take advantage of increased technology to help make the game not only better, but more fair.

    With goal-line technology slowly being incorporated into the game, we wonder if or when we'll ever get video replay?

MJ or Someone Else?

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    Like most sports fans in the '90s, we grew up absolutely idolizing Michael Jordan.

    So while we never saw guys like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Magic or Bird play in their primes, we are absolutely convinced that Jordan was the ultimate champion and best basketball player to ever play.

    Could someone overtake him? Sure.

    Has there been anyone better before him? Not in our opinion. What are your thoughts?

How Should MLB Handle Steroid Users When It Comes to the Hall of Fame?

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    If you ask any baseball purest—say, like a baseball writer who actually votes for the Hall of Fame—the answer will most likely be "no way."

    But who's to say that in 15 years that will still be the consensus?

    With increased testing and research on the stuff, at some point we may see voters just accept the steroid era for what it was and get guys like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire a bronze plaque.

Which Athlete Has the Hottest WAG?

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    OK, so this one isn't exactly a sports-related debated, but it's something most guys love to toss around for opinions.

    As you might be able to tell by that picture of Paulina Gretzky—who's dating PGA golfer Dustin Johnson—our vote has already been cast.

    But with so many athletes pairing up with sexy ladies, there's no telling who would top your list!

Is the NBA Draft Lottery Rigged?

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    There's obviously the curious case of the 1985 event when the Knicks ended up securing the No. 1 pick in order to grab Georgetown's Patrick Ewing.

    Then there's that whole dilemma about the connection of LeBron to his near-hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003.

    And don't forget about the Anthony Davis whispers when he landed in New Orleans this past year for the once league-owned Hornets.

    The public can only know what they see or hear, so this one's probably not going away until they pull the ping pong balls live.

Should MLB Get Rid of the Designated Hitter?

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    Depending on your preference for either offense or defense, you may have a tough time trying to answer this question.

    On one hand, having a guy like David Ortiz in a lineup—who can bash 40-plus round trippers each season—is exciting for fans, while putting a premium on offense.

    On the other side, someone might argue that eliminating the DH will bring back the art of the game, putting more emphasis on small ball and fundamentals, rather than just waiting for the three-run homer each inning.

Who's the Next Iconic Athlete?

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    Thanks to mag features like ESPN's "NEXT" issues, us fans get helped out in keeping an eye for all prospective great athletes.

    But just because an "expert" does research on a teenager who can drive a ball 250 yards off the tee, doesn't mean that kid will always turn out the way some think.

    With the popularity of so many different sports around the globe, who will separate themselves as the next LeBron James or Sidney Crosby?

    We certainly don't know, but it'll be fun to find out.

Will Tiger Woods Ever Officially Be Back?

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    Yes, Tiger Woods is the current No. 1 golfer in the world, but that doesn't mean that he's back to being the dominant player we saw from 2000-'08 just yet.

    We're all aware of his sex-capades that occurred, hurting his image and damaging his game, so now that he's overcome that debacle, various injuries and the aging process, fans won't consider him fully back until he captures his next Major—assuming that ever actually happens.

Who Is the Best Coach Right Now?

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    When posing this question, we had to step back and think about every single sport to putting together the options.

    There's the upper-echelon of guys like Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs), Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United), Bill Belichick (New England Patriots) and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski.

    But what about some of the guys who look to be in the best position to challenge them like Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat) and Mike McCarthy (Green Bay Packers)?

    This is the type of question that you just split a case of beer with your buddies over and let everyone state their point—though it will never actually be answered.

Which Pitcher Would You Want Starting a Game 7?

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    With pitching being the name of the game in Major League Baseball again, the question is who you'd want to take the bump for your favorite team?

    One could make the argument that Nats' ace Stephen Strasburg should get a chance—even though he's never pitched in the postseason—or that, although he's 40 years old, the Yanks' Andy Pettitte would be your choice.

    So many guys could be worthy, but which one would you entrust?

Will We Ever See a Kobe vs. LeBron NBA Finals?

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    With Kobe Bryant recently tearing his Achilles—wiping out his season—even if the Lakers and Heat make a run to the Finals, we'll be deprived of LeBron versus Kobe.

    For a hot minute there, basketball fans were not only hoping, but almost expecting these two to matchup in the NBA championship.

    Kobe may bounce back from his recent injury, but because of his age, even if these two end up meeting at some point in June, it won't be nearly as epic as we all would have hoped it would be.

Will the U.S. Men's Soccer Team Win a World Cup in the Next 20 Years?

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    When considering this question, fans need to remind themselves that the U.S. men's soccer team was not very good until about the '70s.

    Before that though, they pretty much just got pushed around.

    Still lacking the consistency of countries like Brazil, Germany and Italy, we've at least bought into youth training programs, facilities and elite coaching to help push the U.S. into higher world rankings over the years.

    Until they develop a star who dominates the sport, this question will continue to linger.

Which College Football Program Is the Best Ever?

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    What's the basis of this question?

    Do you want to go purely off of the most national titles?

    Or is it all-time wins that determine who's the best?

    One thing that can't be overlooked is the amount of players who get drafted or play in the NFL by a school.

    Right now, it's easy to say it's Alabama—winning two-straight national titles does that—but just five years ago it was Florida, so who's to say in five years it won't be another school?

Could the Heat Beat the 1995-96 Bulls?

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    Some of you may not remember how sick the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls really were—hell, we were only in fifth grade, so even we have some fuzzy memories.

    But from what we remember seeing, they were on a completely different level.

    With Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman—all Hall of Famers—they set an NBA record with 72 wins.

    That begs the obvious question—Could the Heat with three potential Hall of Fame players actually have a shot to beat them?

    This is one that we'd really wish could somehow happen.

What's the Greatest Individual Record in Sports?

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    Recently, we wrote an article about some of the most impressive streaks ever seen in sports.

    The research and thought going into that piece was difficult because, quite frankly, there are so many great ones that it was tough to just limit them.

    Can someone ever break Wilt's 100-point game?

    How about DiMaggio's Hit Streak?

    While these are great to debate in themselves, the question of which one is truly the best is something fans talk about when trying to decide.

Better Quarterback: Manning or Brady?

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    When fans think of this one, it's seriously like choosing Apples to Apples, because the two quarterbacks are both just phenomenal.

    Brady has more rings than Manning.

    Manning has all the stats and individual awards.

    One tends to lean more towards titles when determining who is better, but will we ever really know the answer to this? Absolutely not. 

Will Pete Rose Ever Be Reinstated?

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    As most of us know, Pete Rose is Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader.

    The clear problem is that he also openly admitted to betting on baseball while managing the Reds, making him blackballed from the game.

    It's hard for us to imagine him not getting reinstated and being awarded his proper place in Cooperstown, but with each passing year, his chances continue to be slim.

Should Athletes Be Paid as Much as They Are?

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    This one's tricky—especially when you consider that the rest of the country is still locked in a crappy economy.

    Sports are a chance for fans to be around something they're passionate about, while escaping for a couple hours from their normal lives.

    But just because athletes entertain us with their great performances and improbable athleticism, do they really deserve to be paid millions of dollars for that?

Could a Woman Play in a Man's Sport?

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    Thanks to the Mavs' Mark Cuban suggesting he'd at least consider the option of drafting former Baylor star Brittney Griner, a lot of sports fans may like to see it actually happen.

    Could the 6'8" Griner actually compete against the men?

    Would it just be a publicity stunt, or could she actually be as successful?

    We may never know, but it's definitely a fun conversation to think about.

What's the Best Way to Determine a College Football National Champ?

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    Sure, we may all get frustrated with Windows on our computer each day at work, but is there any doubt that since its introduction in 1998 that the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) has been the most hated computer system ever?

    Is it too much for the NCAA to finally just give the fans what they want in finding the fairest way to determine a national title?

    The new playoff system put in place for the 2014 season might not be perfect, but at least it's a good start.

Who's the Best Team Ever?

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    This is where things can get extremely tricky because of the strength, speed and all around talent of today's athletes.

    It's easy to say that the Celtics team that won 11 NBA titles in 13 years—including eight-straight—from '57-'69 are without a doubt the best team in pro basketball.

    Or that the Steelers who won four Super Bowls in six seasons hold the NFL's crown.

    But with different generations, rules and playing styles, we'll never really know unless someone can warp time to have team's play each other in their primes.

Should College Athletes Be Paid?

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    Considering we wrote a research paper about this topic back in high school over 10 years ago—are we showing our age?—means that it unfortunately isn't going away anytime soon.

    With all the revenue college players bring to school through merchandise sales, sporting events and sponsorships, the debate will continue to rage on until the NCAA sets a fair alternative.

    Whether you do or don't think student-athletes should be paid, it's common to see both sides of the story with this one.