Eight Athletes Who Stopped Your Channel Surfing in Its Tracks
(Discussion of this article is welcome in the comments section because if your like me there are a lot more than eight athletes that we stop and watch so feel free to tell us yours. I just wanted to get the discussion going.)
We all have them. Athletes that fascinate and mesmerize sports fans and non-sports fans alike.
Not all of these athletes were the greatest in the sport they played. Some of them weren't even close.
But what they did do was stop our channel surfing in it's tracks.
People who are not even sports fans recognize their names and whether by their stellar play, on court antics, or just their physical beauty, they stop to see what all the hype is about.
I know I have more, but these are just eight of the athletes that you would see on my TV.
I also know your picks will be different from mine, so feel free to comment and share your favorites.
He never won an NFL championship. He had one playoff win and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs four other times.
He was the 1988 Heisman trophy winner with stats that were just silly good with 3,249 total yards and 39 total touchdowns.
But you knew when you watched Barry Sanders that he could turn negative yardage into a 50 yard touchdown with one lightning quick cut.
He owns the NFL record for 100 yard games even with below average offensive lines throughout his career.
If sanders had not cut his career short he most likely would be the league's all time leading rusher.
Now let's be honest guys. When you were clicking through those channels and you ran across Anna Kournikova you didn't stop and watch for awhile?
Her highest singles ranking was eighth in 2008 and a career singles record of 209—129 never winning a singles grand slam title.
Her doubles record is much better having won Australian open titles in 1999 and 2002 with Martina Hingis as her partner. Her career doubles record was 200—71.
But it is her beauty that brought her the most fame. In 1999 she was the most searched athlete in the world on Yahoo!.
Many readers, after seeing the name on this slide, are now thinking I might be a little crazy but hear me out on why I included "The Worm."
In 1986 he was drafted 27th by the Detroit Pistons out of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, an NAIA college. It's not often we see a player drafted from an NAIA school so that's already an impressive start.
Considered by many to be one of the best defenders and rebounders in NBA history. He won two championships with the Pistons as a member of Chuck Daly's "Bad Boys" and three more alongside Micheal Jordan and Scotty Pippen playing for the Bulls.
He won seven rebounding titles and twice was NBA defensive player of the year.
But lets be honest. The ever changing hair color, tattoos, multiple piercings, and unpredictable on court antics are what kept us glued to the TV.
Plus wearing a wedding dress and his brief marriage to Carmen Electra roused our curiosity as well.
I admit I am not a hockey fan, but I am a sports fan. But even if I weren't a sports fan I would still know who Wayne Gretzky is.
Like the names: Micheal Jordan, Joe Montana, or Tiger Woods; Wayne Gretzky's name transcends the sport he played and now coaches in.
He won four Stanley Cup Championships with Edmonton, nine Hart Trophies as the most valuable player, and numerous other awards that would take too long to cover here.
Gretzky learned to play on a rink built by his father in his back yard and credits his father, Walter, as his greatest influence.
Gretzky became "The Great One" without being physically dominate. He, like Michael Jordan, was a student of his sport and used the knowledge he learned to become great.
I'm not talking about the reality show Hulk Hogan or Hollywood Hogan here.
I'm talking about the patriotic theme song playing, yellow shirt ripping, Hulkamaniacs creating: Hulk Hogan.
Some of you will never admit that professional wrestling is a sport. But you can't deny these men and women are hard core athletes.
It was like finding out there wasn't a Santa Claus when I found out wrestling was scripted. Some people my age still believe it's real!
Hogan won and lost the championship belt more times than I can count. And, everyone my age remembers when he body slammed Andre the Giant.
Even now, hearing his entrance song "Real American" by Ric Derringer gives me goosebumps.
For starters, he bit Evander Holyfield's ear off, but that was in the twilight of his career. Tyson had caught our imagination long before then.
At just 20 years old, Tyson won the WBC title by beating Trevor Berbick in the second round by TKO. He would go on to hold the WBC, WBA, and IBC titles all at once.
Honestly, I was only 12 years old, and like most of America, all that mattered was how fast Tyson would KO his opponent.
Tyson had so much brute force that we often forget he really did have a tremendous amount of talent.
Then on February 11th in 1990, Buster Douglas sent "Iron Mike" to the canvas for the first time in his career marking his first defeat. Easily one of the biggest upsets in sports history.
Unfortunately, his out of the ring behavior would eventually overshadow his boxing career.
Tie: Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa 1998 Home Run Race
No we didn't watch every at bat throughout their careers or marvel at their fielding skills.
But before their congressional hearings and possible link to the steroid scandal, the entire nation would take a timeout from whatever they were watching to see if this was the at—bat that the home run record would fall.
It was a race between Mark Mcguire and Sammy Sosa that mesmerized us all and made baseball fun again.
In my 34 years of life I have never seen prime time television have breaking reports concerning athletes playing their sport. On September 8th at 8:18 p.m. it finally happened; Mcguire hit home run number 62.
And in a twist of fate the cardinals were playing the Cubs and Sosa graciously congratulated Mcguire and his son who was working in the Cardinals dugout as their batboy.
Future history books will mostly remember Mcguire, Sosa, and this era of baseball as steroid plagued. But for just a few weeks in 1998 we held our breath on the swing of a bat.
Do I really need to explain why we stopped to watch?
Athletic greatness like Micheal Jordan doesn't come around often.
We can talk about his six NBA championships, 30.1 points per game career regular season average, and all his other individual awards and stats until we're blue in the face.
That's not the main reason we tuned in to "His Airness," also known as "Air Jordan."
We were waiting for him to take off from the free throw line and dunk over any player unfortunate enough to be in his way, or hang in midair for what seemed like an eternity and gracefully make a simple yet jaw dropping layup.
We wanted the Bulls to be a point behind in the final seconds so we could watch Jordan hit the clutch shot like he had so many times before.
Hard to believe that in his sophomore year of high school he was cut from the varsity basketball team. Of course he was only 5'11" at the time.