Some players and teams dominate their sport so much that they set records that are unreachable, leave stories that are incomprehensible, and compile numbers that don’t even seem real. This week’s Top 7 looks at the teams and players most ahead of their competition.
7. Good women’s teams
It happens every year in March. For a split second, you think that Connecticut beat someone 154-47 in the NCAA Tournament before you realize that it was a women’s score. Nevertheless, some of the scores from these women’s games are hilarious. In the Olympics this year, Canada beat Slovakia 18-0 in hockey. The U.S. softball team usually wins a game or two by a couple of dozen runs every year, and gave up one run in the entire 2008 Olympics. If you check your paper’s prep section, you will find some high school scores that you will think have to be mistakes, scores like 90-13, literally.
6. UNLV 1989-1991
In the 1990 NCAA Tournament, the Runnin’ Rebels were unstoppable. They were the Fab Five before the Fab Five. They annihilated a Loyola Marymount team inspired by Hank Gathers’ death by 30. In the championship game, they beat Duke by 30. They parlayed this into the next season, when they massacred every opponent, top-five-college-football-team-in-September style, all of the way to the semifinals of the tournament. Yes, they lost to Duke, but the fact that the loss was so incomprehensible to anyone that followed it just shows how seemingly unstoppable UNLV was for those couple of years. If you picked them NOT to win your bracket, you were a complete idiot. Granted, old-school UCLA should probably go into this spot instead of UNLV, point taken.
5. Usian Bolt
I watched the 200-meter dash in 2008 in a crowded bar, and the collective noise made by everyone once the screen widened and you could see how unbelievably far ahead Bolt was of everyone else, in the finals no less, was one of pure shock. It’s beyond a simple gasp or the noise made when someone hits the rim on a 70-foot end-of-the-half shot. It’s a sound of pure amazement. I can remember very few other occasions hearing that sound: when the first replay was shown after Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear, the first replay after the head-butt at the end of the 2006 World Cup finals, and when Ultimate Warrior returned at WrestleMania VIII. Bolt won the 200 by more than some people win marathons.
4. Shaun White
Even someone who knows nothing about the halfpipe could watch White at the Olympics last week and tell that he was ungodly far ahead of the rest of his competition. It was like the barely-young-enough-to-play Little Leaguer, already fully developed, stroll up to the plate in a game, and hit the ball seven times as far as any other player, hitting the roof of the grade school next door and forcing people to drop their pouches of Big League Chew. We could probably live another thousand years and never see another snowboarder able to get such an asinine amount of casual fans watching and talking about the sport.
3. Wayne Gretzky
Gretzky won eight consecutive MVPS from 1980-1987 and nine overall, the most of person in any professional sport. He was known as “The Great One” prior to even being in his league for ten years. The day that he was traded to L.A. should be a national day of mourning in Canada, and it was a big enough even to inspire an entire documentary on the biggest sports stories of the last 30 years. It’s so absurd to even think of someone being as good as he was that you rarely hear comparisons to him (except when Upper Deck was trying to push Eric Lindros cards back in the 90s). He may be the most famous Canadian of all-time, especially if Celine Dion hadn’t gotten her own stadium built for her.
2. The Dream Team
Granted, the rest of the world wasn’t playing nearly as much basketball as they are now, but opposing players were getting son-of-a-bitching autographs of the Dream Team before and after their games. Their games were like turning the fouls off of an NBA Live game and then trying to shut the computer out. Watching it, you could still be riveted just wondering how far they could run the score up. The most entertaining game was the Angola game, where they went on somewhere around a 2000-7 run and barely allowed them to get across the half-court line. And Charles Barkley that summer was so much funnier than anyone else playing any sport that it has to garner them some bonus points.
1. Babe Ruth
You always want to say that someone that is around nowadays is the greatest ever, especially when he’s on your favorite team. Kobe Bryant fans will eventually try to convince themselves that he is better than Michael Jordan, looking past six titles, six Finals MVPs. Some tried to say that Barry Bonds was better than the Babe, and I’ll probably someday try to make the case that Albert Pujols is the best of all-time. Even this list is biased towards the recent past, but it’s just because it is what I remember. I mean, how can I leave UCLA basketball off of this list? Or Jim Freaking Brown? Or, even though he’s a horse, Secretariat! We only remember what’s most fresh in our minds. Maybe that shows just how much Babe Ruth is the king of this category–because we don’t forget the Babe. He more homers than all but one team one year. He could have been a Hall of Fame pitcher, but instead became the most unstoppable hitter in baseball, and no one has topped him since. There is a reason that “the Babe Ruth of…” is still one of the most used “(insert person) of…” in sports and the man has been dead for 61 years.