First off, I want to say that this article has nothing to do with my opinions on god.
The reasoning for my title is because most humans, believers in god or not, associate god with some form of perfection. That is what this article is mainly about, the godly athlete, or the perfect athlete.
Not to get too philosophical here, but its obvious that nobody is perfect. We strive for perfection, but we must always know that we can't reach it, and that our goal is to get as close as we can to it. Well, that's my take on perfection and my philosophy of living.
But this article, in a sense, is directly linking philosophy to sports. My goal is to find the athlete, who, on and off the field was able to demonstrate his ability to not only dominate but lead by example and show that he could strive for perfection.
So now, I will look at the players who were arguably the greatest players of their four respective sports, the four major sports of America. Are they perfect? Find out...
Wayne Gretzky NHL (1979-1999)
Many hockey fans consider Gretzky to be the greatest hockey player of all time. His 894 goals are first all time, and his nine Hart Trophy's are an unprecedented feat. On the ice, he simply dominated, and was as close to perfection as possible.
Off the ice, he did a lot of productive things for himself, such as buying the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, buying the rare T-206 Honus Wagner baseball card and starting a restaurant in Toronto. Currently, he is the head coach of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.
But not everything he's done off the ice is perfect, like many thought he was on the ice. Many tied him to a gambling ring assembled by one of his former assistant coaches Rick Tocchet. Though he was never directly tied to the gambling ring, many speculated that Gretzky was placing bets through his wife, Janet Jones.
Whether this is true or not, it proves that he isn't perfect, and things happen.
Babe Ruth MLB (1914-1935)
Just as Marilyn Monroe was the superstar of the '50s, Babe Ruth was the superstar of the '20s and '30s. Ruth's 714 home runs were a record that stood 39 years, and his ego set a standard that never faded.
Widely considered the greatest player of all time, Ruth's unbelievable success on the field was matched only by his extremely colorful personality off the field.
Ruth was known as a generous person off the field, whether it was giving generous amounts of money to charity or spending time with kids with cancer.
But as much good as he did is as vivacious he was off the field. Over eating and drinking caused health problems that would affect the end of Ruth's playing career, and would ultimately cut his life short.
While his on field actions were not too far from perfect (closer than every other player in MLB history), his off field actions ended up costing him many years from his life, which means that he is certainly not perfect.
Jim Brown NFL (1957-1965)
When speaking of class and character, Jim Brown's name often comes up. Though he spent just nine years in the NFL, he is considered to be the greatest player in NFL history. His 12,312 rushing yards were a record at the time, and though that record doesn't stand today, his legacy does.
After his playing career, Brown has acted in movies, written an autobiography, been an announcer for UFC, and has started Amer-I-Can, an organization that helps kids caught up in gangs in Cleveland and Los Angeles. He currently is the executive adviser for the Cleveland Browns.
In addition, James Toback wrote a book about Brown and Spike Lee made a film about him in 2002.
That's a lot of amazing things for one man to do in a lifetime. Is Brown the perfect athlete?
In 1983, Brown talked about coming out of retirement to play for the Los Angeles Rams, because he was afraid that Franco Harris would break his rushing record. He wasn't necessarily afraid of having his record broken, but he didn't like the fact that Harris ran to the sides and out of bounds. Brown believed that a true running back earned his yards up the middle.
While Brown is an unbelievable person and has done numerous amazing things, the fact that he wanted to come out retirement at the age of 47 because he didn't like the way a guy ran shows me that he's definitely not perfect. He's amazing, but he's just not perfect.
Michael Jordan NBA (1984-1993, 1994-1998, 2001-2003)
Here's a great poll question: what was bigger sports news at the time, Brett Favre's two retirements or Michael Jordan's?
Jordan is known as the greatest player the NBA has ever seen. He led the NBA in scoring 10 times, was a five time league MVP, six time NBA champion, 10 time all NBA first teamer, and was named the 2000 ESPY athlete of the century.
As amazing a basketball player Jordan is how good a business man he is. He advertised for companies such as Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, McDonalds, Hanes (those great commercials with Charlie Sheen), Wheaties, Gatorade, and of course, Nike. The Air Jordan shoe line has been one of the most successful business deals for an athlete in recent history. In fact, I'm wearing a pair right now.
In addition, Jordan played a major role in the movie Space Jam. He is currently a part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, and his title is Managing Member of Basketball Operations.
While Jordan seems like the perfect basketball player and business man, he has ran into trouble off the court.
In 1993, the night before a playoff game against the New York Knicks, Jordan was seen gambling in Atlantic City. He later admitted to losing over $57,000 in gambling, and Richard Esquinas later claimed that he won over $1 million from Jordan at a golf course.
Jordan's on the court precsence will never be forgotten, but like us all, he had issues, and he was certainly not perfect.
So now you have seen the on and off the field lives of the four players who are arguably the greatest of their sport. Are they perfect? Absolutely not. While they have dominated their sport, and have gone on to do amazing things in their post playing career, these guys are certainly not perfect. Either is anyone else.
So, the answer to the title question, if god was an athlete, who would god be?
Nobody. Because if there is a god out there, it would know not to make anyone perfect. Perfection is something we need to strive for, not something we are given.
The four people on this list are amazing, and they have lived amazing lives. But don't think for a second that they, or anyone else is perfect.
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