We often call players who leave a significant impact “great”, and we call the greatest of the greats “The G.O.A.T.” (Greatest Of All Time). The players are legends, icons, extraordinary, almost invulnerable… we usually use them as the rubric to grade others by. These players set the bar of precedence. Only few players are even considered to enter “the conversation” and even at that point you will get heavily ridiculed. So what does it take to be considered the greatest, the best to ever do it, The G.O.A.T.??? What does it take to even be mentioned in “The Conversation”??? If you can’t even enter the debate, then you have been disqualified for the greatest throne.
How do you enter “The Conversation”? There has to be some guidelines right? (A sign that says “you have to be this tall” like at Six Flags or something). Lets break it down!
Do these individuals have the stats? We all heard the phrase “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t”. For the most part that’s true, and that’s the part we’re going to focus on right now. These players has to put up numbers superior to their piers. They should have the ability to rank in the top 10 in multiple statistical categories.
Anybody can put up incredible numbers for a season or 2 but can they do it over the longevity of their careers? These individuals have to preform on a nightly basis. They have to average staggering numbers while playing at an elite level over several seasons.
How many times were these players named to the all star team and/or all pro? Awards like Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and even the team awards are vital. And of course winning championships are an important factor.
Can these players perform when it counts? They have to have the ability to close out games, make game saving plays, and make the impossible happen at times.
Hall Of Fame
When its all said and done, will these individuals be enshrined? These players have to be good enough to make it to Canton, Ohio, to Cooperstown, to “The Hall”.
So with those factors to consider, that will eliminate almost everybody. Once we get down to the smallest of smallest pools, we can only then enter them into “The Conversation”.
Once you enter “The Conversation”, it’s survival of the fittest. These are the likes of Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Pele, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Floyd Mayweather, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and the list goes on. So how do we separate the greatest from the greats? There are other factors, deeper factors, we will have to consider:
All great players can make plays that show up on the score box but what about the plays and the characteristics that you will remember? “The Catch” by Willie Mays, “The Drive” by John Elway, “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo by Michael Jordan, “The Rumble In The Jungle” with Muhammad Ali, are prime examples of what this category is all about. It was their willingness to win plus the enchanted moment that lives on forever. You can’t teach heart and a desire to win. Only some players have that gene inside of them.
Did these players change the way you play the game or the game itself? Were other players or teams have to alternate their game plans to try to deflect the greatness of one individual? Were the rules of a sport ever altered because of one’s dominance? This category will eliminate majority of the remaining participants.
When these players still be remember generations from now? Could people from all over the world still remember who you are and your greatness 20 years after retirement? Are people owning their memorabilia?
Will everything they have ever achieved, earned, accomplished, live on forever? Can something that has taken a whole career to build be demolished by any negativity? The legacy is a players ultimate portfolio, resume and transcript. ALL tangible and intangible factors are weighed and utilized to determine your rank amongst the field.
Only the strongest survive. Having debates over the greatest will forever live on. My plan wasn’t to pick the greatest but to give you all a template on how to pick one yourselves. With that being said, let the debates begin!!!