Athletes Only a '90s Kid Will Remember

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2014

Athletes Only a '90s Kid Will Remember

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    While I gave you the best current athletes who were born in the 1990s a few weeks ago, there are some former ones that only someone in their mid-to-late 20s probably remember.

    Since I'm inching closer to 30 years old with each passing day, I figured we'd take a trip down memory lane and see which athletes a kid of the '90s remembers from their respective sports during that decade.

    Whether dominating or not, here are a few athletes who might bring back some solid moments growing up.

Terrell Davis

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    While his career did extend into 2001, the most memorable years of former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis' career came from 1995-98.

    Averaging over 1,600 yards per season in those four years, TD led the league in rushing one year—eclipsing 2,000 yards in 1998—rushed for the most touchdowns in back-to-back campaigns, won two Super Bowls and was the inventor of the popular Mile High Salute.

Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton

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    Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

    Coming into the league just a year apart and playing together from 1990-97, Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp combined to be one of the league's most formidable duos.

    With Payton playing hard-nosed defense and getting into opponents' heads with his trash talk and Kemp soaring over Seattle's famed Space Needle thanks to his hops, both earned praise with numerous All-Star appearances and an NBA Finals loss in 1996 while tearing up late-night highlight reels.

Kordell Stewart

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    Coming into the league in 1995, after a successful college career at Colorado, Kordell Stewart was simply known as Slash thanks to his dual-threat ability.

    Although he wasn't the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers during their Super Bowl run in his rookie campaign, he did get several snaps during the postseason as both a runner and receiver to help give defensive coordinators headaches to plan for him.

    Stewart's career may have lacked consistency, but he did earn the AFC's Offensive Player of the Year in 2001.

Larry Johnson

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    Following a sick, two-year career as a UNLV Runnin' Rebel, former All-Star Larry Johnson might be best remembered as his character Grandmama, but he had plenty of game that made him one of the league's rising stars in the '90s.

    As the No. 1 overall pick in 1991, LJ had a five-year stint with the Charlotte Hornets before moving onto the Big Apple for the New York Knicks. He had one of the dopest shoes an athlete could have.

Frank Thomas

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    Beth A. Keiser

    One of the best players of his generation, and a recent inductee into the MLB Hall of Fame, former Chicago White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas was an absolute beast during the '90s.

    Collecting five All-Star appearances and two AL MVP Awards, the Big Hurt may have been the most terrifying batter to step into a box for about eight straight years.

    Built like a football defensive end, Thomas simply crushed the ball.

Penny Hardaway

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Traded on draft day from the Golden State Warriors to the Orlando Magic to pair up with Shaquille O'Neal after being picked third overall, Penny Hardaway enjoyed six terrific years in Orlando, earning four All-Star appearances and a Finals trip in his third season.

    Sadly, once he left the Magic, injuries caught up with him, and he couldn't do the things that made him so popular early in his career. He does still have one of the best marketing campaigns in sports history.

Mia Hamm

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    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    Mia Hamm might be the most accomplished women's soccer player ever, but if you've only heard the stories about her, it doesn't nearly begin to tell the story of her impact.

    Playing the game at a speed and precision unseen in the women's game, Hamm helped put girl's soccer on the map, scoring two goals during the women's World Cup run that the Yanks won on home soil in 1999.

    It's that kind of impact that led ESPN to name her as the No. 1 female athlete of the past 40 years back in 2012.

Horace Grant

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    A one-time All-Star, former NBA forward Horace Grant may have four title rings from his 17-year career, but I bet kids these days don't know much about him.

    Before all the teaming up among friends occurred in the league, teams were built through the draft, and Grant proved to be quite the asset as the third amigo on teams like the Chicago Bulls in the early '90s alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

Manute Bol

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    Brian Drake/Getty Images

    Tied with another '90s legend—Gheorghe Muresan—as the tallest players to ever suit up in the NBA, former center Manute Bol stood an amazing 7'7" and weighed just 200 pounds.

    Never one to pour in the points due to his lack of size, Bol managed to lead the league in blocks twice during his 10-year career, and he became quite the activist following his playing days.

    Sadly, he died back in 2010.

Eric Lindros

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    Denis Brodeur/Getty Images

    Former NHL All-Star Eric Lindros was—or at least could have been—one of the most prolific players during the '90s.

    The first overall pick in the 1991 draft, Lindros played like a mad man during his years for the Philadelphia Flyers from 1992-2000, picking up a league MVP award and other individual honors.

    His fought injuries during the latter parts of his career once he left Philly, though, making him somewhat of an afterthought for those who didn't see him early on.

Eric Cantona

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    Graham Chadwick/Getty Images

    While everyone knows soccer stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi now, I bet there aren't too many who recognize former Manchester United great Eric Cantona—except for being the guy who kung-fu kicked an opposing fan.

    A four-time Premier League champion, Cantona scooped up individual accolades as well, making him one of the most dominant players to ever suit up for United.

Greg Vaughn

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Remember this guy?

    Although former outfielder Greg Vaughn did make four All-Star teams and belt 355 career homers during a 15-year career, he's probably best known for his 50 home run campaign in 1998, helping his San Diego Padres reach the World Series that year.

    He's not often mentioned as one of the best power hitters during the decade, but after seeing his stats, he definitely was.

Herman Moore

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    Calvin Johnson might be the all-world receiver everyone thinks of now in Detroit, but before he was snagging balls in Motown, wideout Herman Moore was the man Lions fans loved.

    Leading the league in receptions in both '95 and '97, Moore made three straight Pro Bowls in the mid-'90s, and still holds a number of franchise records to this day, though Megatron is definitely lurking.

Michael Johnson

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Former U.S. sprinter Michael Johnson may have won four Olympic gold medals in his illustrious career, but unless you saw him live, you probably don't remember how dominant he really was.

    The best memory from Johnson came during the 1996 Summer Games, when he proved golden, winning both the 200- and 400-meter races, and wearing shoes donned in the shiny color.

Mitch Richmond

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    Given the fact that he played for some pretty bad teams during his career, Mitch Richmond might be forgotten about as one of the best players during the '90s. After all, he did just get elected into the Hall of Fame.

    Averaging 21 points per game over his 14 seasons, Richmond shot lights out, helping him collect six All-Star appearances during the decade, a spot on the '96 Dream Team, which won gold, and an NBA title in his last season as a role player for the LA Lakers.

Jeff George

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    George Rose/Getty Images

    With one of the strongest arms NFL scouts had ever seen, quarterback Jeff George was supposed to be a star, as the Indianapolis Colts selected him with the top pick in 1990.

    Things never seemed to come together for George, though, as he bounced around the league to play for five teams in his 12-year career. He fell short of the expectations that came with being the No. 1 overall pick.

Pavel Bure

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    Denis Brodeur/Getty Images

    A seven-time NHL All-Star, Pavel Bure came into the league and proved his worth from the beginning, winning the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1992.

    Scoring a league-high 60 goals during the '93 season, Bure helped guide his Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the New York Rangers in seven games.

    Proving how good he was, Bure was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

Mo Vaughn

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    A three-time All-Star and one-time MVP, former slugger Mo Vaughn was terrifying while in the batter's box during the '90s.

    Averaging 35 homers during a six-year span from 1993-98 for the Boston Red Sox, Vaughn battled a few injuries and inconsistency once he left Beantown which hurt his chances of having a legit shot of becoming a Hall of Famer, because he was that good.

Roberto Baggio

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    Michael Probst

    Besides Michael Jordan, former Italian soccer star Roberto Baggio was probably the most idolized athlete of my youth.

    Leading the Azzurri to a third-place finish in the 1990 World Cup Finals and a runner-up finish in 1994, Baggio remains one of the most prolific players to ever suit up for his home country.

    And trust me, had my parents let me, I would have had those braids he had coming off his head while younger.

Shawn Bradley

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    One would assume that a guy 7'6" would be pretty damn good at basketball, right?

    Well, in former center Shawn Bradley's case, he wasn't as great as some projected him to be.

    The No. 2 overall pick in the '93 draft, Bradley has the distinction of being posterized as the poor soul being slammed on.

    He did play for 12 seasons, but he is generally regarded as a bust.