The big news in the baseball world this year was that Barry Bonds finally broke the homerun record for the most homeruns in a career, passing Hank Aaron's 755.
This is probably one of the most confusing times in baseball history and people have mixed feelings about Bonds' success.
"The end justifies the means."
This is absolutely the worst idea ever. The way that you conduct yourself is key to how people perceive everything that you do.
Here is a list of athletes who have broken significant records that are seen in a good light amongst the media:
Michael Jordan, John Elway, Cal Ripken Jr., Reggie White, Peyton Manning, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre, Nolan Ryan
They all have accomplished great things in their sport, and there are others as well. The important thing is that these players all have character. They believe in supporting others and are not (completely) self-centered.
Even Tiger Woods, who is an individual player with a decent sized ego, holds himself in a manner that does not put down others.
The way you treat others affects how they will view you, today and tomorrow. You can have a record for the most number of homeruns or be the best player in your sport, but still not be a hero.
O.J. Simpson, Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, Dennis Rodman, Jose Canseco, and Terrell Owens all have been fairly successful, however they are not generally liked by the public or media.
It doesn't matter how many championships you have or how many records you hold, or even how much money you make. At the end of the day, to have teammates, coaches, family, friends, and fans who respect you is more valuable than any personal accomplishment that requires you to put yourself and your ego before everything else.
Plenty of teams have let T.O. walk out the door. That's exactly what San Francisco has done to Barry Bonds, allowing them to look forward and search for a new hero.