I was thinking about this today: Who are the best players I’ve seen in the three major sports. I thought and thought and thought more about here. Here are my picksâ€”would love to hear yours …
1. Lawrence Taylor, Giantsâ€”Just an athletic freak, and unparalleled for his defensive dominance.
2. Walter Payton, Bearsâ€”The most artful-yet-imposing running back I have ever seen.
3. Jerry Rice, 49ers/Raiders/Seahawksâ€”At his best, unstoppable. And never even that fast.
4. Peyton Manning, Coltsâ€”I know … I knowâ€”Brady, Marino, Elway, Brian Sipe, Richard Todd, etc. But Manning is an absolute machine.
5. Billy Sims, Lions (above, left)â€”It’s sad he got hurt. Because, at his best, he was insane.
1. Michael Jordan, Bulls/Wizardsâ€”Not much debate.
2. Magic Johnson, Lakersâ€”Did everything, and everything well.
3. Larry Bird, Celticsâ€”Did almost everything, and almost everything well.
4. LeBron James, Cavsâ€”Ten years from now, the order of this list probably looks slightly different.
5. Shaq, Magic/Lakers/Heat/Suns/Cavs (above, right)â€”A monster in his prime.
1. Rickey Henderson, A’s/Yankees/Padres/Mets/Red Sox/Dodgers (above, center)â€”People forget. They really do. But he took over games, which is rare in this sport.
2. Ken Griffey, Jr., Mariners/Redsâ€”Defense, speed, power, average. A complete ballplayer.
3. Dave Winfield, Padres/Yankees/Angels/Blue Jays/Twins/Indiansâ€”Such a magnificent athlete, and a joy to observe during those dark Yankee years.
4. Albert Pujols, Cardinalsâ€”Scary.
5. Barry Bonds, Pirates/Giantsâ€”The tragedy of his cheating is how damn good he was pre-HEH/steroids.