In the world of professional sports, fans have long memories when it comes to failure. Just ask any Boston Red Sox follower about their feelings for Bill Buckner or a Buffalo Bills fan about Scott Norwood. A word to the wise, you might want to stand back and cover your ears when you do. However, sustained sporting success at a very high level sometimes seems to fall by the wayside too as far as fans are concerned. Sure, we think we all remember the Hall of Famers. We all remember the champions. But what if Michael Jordan hadn’t won all those championships? Remember, there was a time in the late ‘80s and early 90s, believe it or not, when it seemed like Jordan would never carry his teams past the Celtics of Larry Legend or the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons of Detroit. Would we remember him as the NBA’s G.O.A.T. or just a supremely-talented star of the league who eventually faded into the stat books of time? Of course, Jordan eventually did accomplish his “Double Three-peat” and the rest is, as they say, history.
It’s not just championships that make stardom endure, though. A lot of the players listed below won titles. It’s not ‘color’ or eccentricity either. You’ll find more than one name on this list who, in his time, was just as well known for his antics (both between and outside the lines) as his superior play. Maybe it’s just the fickle nature of fans to always be obsessed with the next championship, the next greatest thing, the next sure-fire HOFer who will save a franchise, a league or a sport. Whatever the reason the fifteen athletes listed here were among the very best of the best in their 90s heyday and deserve a quick trip down memory lane for all that they accomplished.
15 Eric Cantona, FIFA: Manchester United
14 John Randle, NFL: Minnesota Vikings
13 Monica Seles, WTA
12 Thurman Thomas, NFL: Buffalo Bills
11 Greg Maddux, MLB: Atlanta Braves
10 Mia Hamm, FIFA: U.S. Women’s National Team
9 Mats Sundin, NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs
8 Anfernee Hardaway, NBA: Orlando Magic
7 John Daly, PGA
6 Nomar Garciaparra, MLB: Boston Red Sox
5 Ronaldo, PSV/Barcelona/Brazilian National Team
4 Lennox Lewis, Boxing
3 Evander Holyfield, Boxing
2 Jim Kelly, NFL: Buffalo Bills
1 Dennis Rodman, NBA: Detroit Pistons/Chicago Bulls
The Worm. Dennis The Menace. It’s hard to believe but nobody talks about Rodman anymore. Not even about his “acting” career, tell-all books or wedding gowns. This is a guy who actually stole the spotlight from Michael Jordan when he arrived in Chicago. But Rodman was always more than a one-man circus. He was also one of the best defensive players of any era and an absolutely ferocious rebounder. A two time All-Star with the Pistons (’90, ’92), he was twice the Defensive player of the Year (’90, ’91), a ten time All-Defensive team selection and led the league in rebounds between ’92-’98. Oh yeah, he also won five titles. But, still, that hair...
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