Top 5 Favorite Athletes of All Time

Not necessarily best. Just athletes you really love, for whatever reason. Here’s mine off the top of my head:

1. Russell Wilson
2. Julius Erving
3. Sherman Douglas
4. Jeff Hostetler
5. Sam Mills

Others that came to mind: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Isiah Thomas, Bill “the Kid” Donovan.

23 Responses to “Top 5 Favorite Athletes of All Time”

  1. Mitchell

    Is that Sherman Douglas the Miami point guard? And Billy Donovan the coach of Oklahoma City?

  2. don

    My choices have a lot to do with nostalgia (not really in order):
    1. Dennis Rodman – mostly when playing against MJ
    2. Kenny Anderson – in college
    3. Rod Strickland – in college
    4. Hakeem Olajuwon
    5. Bernard King

    Others I admired: Andrew Toney (a poor man’s Steph Curry, but played on my favorite team), Dennis Scott (Ridiculous range for his time (but nothing like Steph), Mike Tyson, Tiger, and Reggie White (but sort of hated him because he would kill the Cowboys).

    On a lesser note but I have to mention: Steph Curry, Usain Bolt, John McEnroe, Pedro Martinez (hated the Red Sox though), Yuval Katz, and Chris Jackson (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf in college).

  3. Reid


    Correct on both, except I’m choosing Douglas based on his play at Syracuse. Similarly, I like Donovan for his time at Providence.


    I like the Bernard King and Yuval Katz choice (although the latter wouldn’t make my list). That makes me think of another volleyball favorite, Karch Kiraly. I loved Debbie Green, too.

    I didn’t know you hated the Red Sox, or was it just the team with Pedro?

    By the way, you bringing up Dennis Scott, made me think of Mark Price and Jeff Hornacek. They wouldn’t be serious contenders, but I liked those guys.

  4. don

    I think I enjoyed the Pearl at Syracuse more than Douglas. Kiraly is amazing, but he’s wasn’t as fun to watch as Yuval, who seemingly didn’t need but a step to slam one down.

    Gregg used to like the Red Sox and I always sort of liked the Yankees.

    Actually I loved the Georgia Tech team with Oliver, Scott, and Anderson. If not I probably wouldn’t have like Scott so much.

    No mention to Linsanity?

  5. don

    I also had Katie Ledecky but erased it. It’s absurd how much better she is than the field. I don’t really get how that’s even possible.

  6. Reid

    I liked Pearl, too, but Sherm was close perfect in terms of the type of point guards I liked. He could d-up better than Pearl, and was a true point guard. He could be flashy as well–and I credit him with “inventing” the floating alley-oop pass. A gutty point guard that could come up in the clutch, too. Loved him. Still do.

    Re: Yuval

    One of the best I’ve seen at point down a ball in awkward positions. His arm seemed to be made out of rubber (“Plastic man” would have described him well), but I’m thinking of how he could put a ball down, not matter the position of his feet. Heck, he didn’t need to even take a step and he could be effective. Kiraly was like that, too, if I recall. And Karch could do a lot of things well. He was great. (I actually toyed with the idea of naming my son, Karch.)

    Lethal Weapon 3. Great nickname.

    Oh, yeah, Linsanity’s definitely a contender! I just forgot about him.

  7. mitchell

    Did you know Pearl Jam got its name from him? They’re supposedly huge college hoops fans.

  8. Reid

    Really? Huh. I always thought it had to do with drums.

  9. Mitchell

    1. Ken Stabler
    2. Rickey Henderson
    3. Phil Niekro
    4. Dale Murphy
    5. Marcus Allen

    I really wanna put Marvin Hagler on there but my feelings about boxing make that difficult. Howie Long, Ted Hendricks, Dave Casper, Lester Hayes, and Ray Guy are all up there too.

  10. Reid

    I didn’t realize Snake was that high for you. I would think Henderson would beat him out, or maybe another Raider.

  11. Mitchell

    Ken Stabler is my favorite athlete of all time, as we discussed some time ago in another thread. Still (and probably always) number one.

  12. don

    After seeing Mitchell’s list I may have to change mine. Reid’s question was “athlete you really love”, but when he put Larry and Magic I thought he meant love watching. I knew Reid was a Philly fan so cannot be he liked Larry and Magic back in the day. I never cheered too much for Olajuwon, I didn’t like Reggie White, and I really didn’t cheer that much for Tyson. I never cheer for Steph Curry nor did I cheer for Pedro Martinez either. I admired these guys a lot, and would love to watch any games they were on, but I cannot say I loved them. I would add Johnny Manziel in college to guys I loved to watch. Guys I love would still have Rodman, Strickland, and Kenny Anderson, but I think I would put Aikman and Larry Allen on that list to round out my five. But I would never necessarily turn on the TV for Aikman or Allen.

  13. Reid

    For some reason, my memory of you gushing about other players (like Henderson, Hayes, Niekro) stand out a lot more. (shrugs)

  14. Mitchell

    Speaking of Snake, I’m finally reading the Ken Stabler biography by Michael Freeman (of Bleacher Report). Just got into it so nothing to say about it yet except that I once told Freeman (on Twitter) that Stabler’s my favorite athlete of all time, and Freeman responded, “We have that in common.” 🙂

  15. Mitchell

    Who are your 5 favorite active athletes?

    1. Rob Gronkowski
    2. Marquette King
    3. Max Scherzer
    4. LeBron James
    5. Michael Bennett

    Just missed the cut: Josh Norman, Eli Manning, Stephen Strasburg, Tom Brady, Venus Williams, Serena Williams.

  16. Reid

    I assume you mean favorite athletes currently playing. Off the top of my head…

    1. Russell Wilson
    2. Marcus Mariota
    3. LeVeon Bell
    4. Earl Thomas
    5. Marshawn Lynch

  17. Mitchell

    Well if they’re coaching, they’re not active athletes. At least I don’t think so. Unless the confusion is whether they’re on the DL as opposed to on the active roster. Anyway yeah, you assumed correctly although by “currently playing” I assume you mean players who aren’t retired, because no football players are currently playing with the sport not in season. 🙂

    You like all five of those guys more than Jeremy Lin?

  18. Reid

    I don’t really follow basketball now, so I didn’t feel like putting him on there. If I had more interest in the NBA, I’d probably keep my eye on him and root for him, though.

    By the way, after Wilson and Mariota, I was just trying to fill out the list. Really, besides Wilson, I’m not sure who I’d put on there.

  19. Mitchell

    Yeah, it was sort of a challenge for me too.

  20. burgess

    1. Nolan Ryan
    2. Muhammed Ali
    3. Ray Guy
    4. Lestor Hayes–gotta love the stickum
    5. Toss up between Bunny Agbayani and Kurt Gouviea

  21. Reid

    Sid Fernandez? No love for the Nanakuli boy, Andy Ganigan? Or what about Mark Tuinei?

  22. Mitchell

    For a time, Andy Ganigan was my favorite boxer, until Alexis Arguello completely dominated him. And are you sure Ganigan was from Nanakuli? I grew up in Waipahu and we all said he was from there.

    edit: Wikipedia says he was born in Waipahu, but of course that doesn’t mean he grew up there.

  23. burgess

    If I’m going Nanakuli, I’m going with Chad Rowan. In fact, I’m surprised I missed him. I think I’d replace Hayes with Rowan. Don’t really remember Ganigan.

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