Which Athlete Would You Want To Meet?
This week’s roundtable question asked each sports writer to think about which athlete, living or dead, they would want to meet. Here are their answer:
Jason Behler: I am going to add a caveat here. I am not one for just seeing or even shaking hands with someone. I want to have a legit conversation with them, maybe over a beer. So my answer is that I would have a beer and shoot the bull with…Dennis Rodman. The Worm would make for an interesting conversation: addiction, depression, intervening in world politics, sex tapes, dating celebrities, and being one of the most fun players to watch ever would be possible topics. There are plenty of videos of him on youtube (shutting down Shaq), but here is a nice highlight reel.
Patrick Murray: For me, it would have to be Babe Ruth. I doubt that it is possible in today’s fragmented media society for any of us to really understand the impact that “The Babe” had on American culture at the peak of his fame. The endurance of his legend is remarkable. For our (great?)-grandchildren to think about Michael Jordan in 2080 would be like us reflecting on Ruth’s career today. I don’t really feel a need to meet any of the guys who I have personally rooted for over the years, but The Babe transcends sports and transcends fandom. He’s a cultural institution whose fame has outlasted even the house he built.
Josh Buchanan: For me, this is kind of a tough question since I don’t really like all the publicity and attention our media throws at athletes. Like Pat said, I think that is more a recent sign of the times. I personally think that there are some players who need the attention, and they are usually playing for big market teams in huge cities, so I decided to go against that with this pick. I choose Teemu Selanne, the Finnish Flash. He has had a tremendous career and is a fantastic person in real life, from what I recall reading about all these years. He won the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) in 92-93 by scoring 76 goals and 132 points, a record that hasn’t been topped by anyone (and especially named Crosby or Ovechkin). He is set to retire after this year (age 43) and is just a stud to watch, even though I was never a west coast hockey fan.
Tristan Chan: I would hang with Vlade Divacs, simply because he is the man.
Mike Zoller: I liked where Patrick was going with his Babe Ruth pick. I would want to talk to someone who wasn’t from this era of sports. My pick would be Jackie Robinson. There are so many reasons but just to pick his brain about what it was like to be the first professional African-American athlete in a major U.S. sport. From what I’ve read Robinson’s first few years in the MLB were brutal, and really throughout his career he faced vicious racism. But through it all he played hard and led the way for all African-American athletes. There’s only one number that will never be worn on a baseball field ever again and it’s number 42.