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Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:45 PM   #1
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Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

I'm going to go ahead and say it Tiger Woods is the greatest athlete ever! Yep, I said it. For now let's leave out Gretzky, Ali, Ruth and a few of the other notables.

Let's narrow this discussion down to Tiger v. MJ, arguably the two greatest in our era for their respective sports. Up until Sunday I would have said MJ hands down. But as I was sitting on the bar stool something just clicked, almost like an epiphany of sorts, as I watched Tiger almost effortlessly stroke through the back nine. I really think he's pulled a number on the sports world that people will be talking about for decades.

I think MJ single handedly revitalized the NBA in so many ways. I also think that many of today's athletes in all sports can thank MJ for ushering in the era of big endorsement dollars. No athlete that I can think of has had quite the impact that Michael Jordan had on his sport, until Tiger came along. Of course my claims sound pre-mature, especially since Tiger hasn’t statically passed the Golden Bear who is still regarded by many the greatest golfer of all time. Some don’t even consider Tiger an athlete at all because all he does is swing a golf club and walks from one hole to the next. But to me anytime the body, the mind, and emotions are engaged together at once in the arena of competition I consider that individual an athlete. Plain and simple. Wilbon touched on something a couple of weeks ago that made sense, Tiger has opened up and generated interest in the sport of golf that didn’t previously exist.

I don’t know how many of the greats in other sports that have had quite the cultural effect while dominating the sport at the same.
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:59 PM   #2
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

I used to think golf did not much athleticism but since I picked it up a couple of years ago I've loosened my stance on it a bit. That being said, Jordan appears to be more athletic than Tiger. If one on one competition involving running, jumping and feats of strength is used as a measuring tool, I think Jordan would be the better athlete.
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:08 PM   #3
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

I've always believed that Wayne Gretzky had a bigger impact of changing the game of hockey than MJ did on basketball. Before MJ, guys like David Thompson, Dr. J, Backrow, etc. were all playing above the rim. But before Gretzky I don't think anyone really thought to use the back of the opponent's net as an offensive weapon.

I think Tiger and Jordan are both amazing athletes and I'm happy to have seen Jordan play and to currently see Tiger. But I find it a bit hard to compare someone who plays in an individual sport with someone who plays in a team sport.

I think right now Tiger is the best active athlete...unless you include Roger Federer in the discussion. Then it gets a bit more interesting
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:14 PM   #4
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

Let me say this about golf. Sure, it takes some athleticism, but wouldn't that argument lend itself to saying that the best bowlers ever would be among the greatest sports figures? Dart players?
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:15 PM   #5
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

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I've always believed that Wayne Gretzky had a bigger impact of changing the game of hockey than MJ did on basketball. Before MJ, guys like David Thompson, Dr. J, Backrow, etc. were all playing above the rim. But before Gretzky I don't think anyone really thought to use the back of the opponent's net as an offensive weapon.

I think Tiger and Jordan are both amazing athletes and I'm happy to have seen Jordan play and to currently see Tiger. But I find it a bit hard to compare someone who plays in an individual sport with someone who plays in a team sport.

I think right now Tiger is the best active athlete...unless you include Roger Federer in the discussion. Then it gets a bit more interesting
True, it is hard to compare individual sport vs team sport. I think I'm looking at the complete body of work. I agree if Federer enters, it's more interesting.
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:15 PM   #6
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

I'm not saying it's right or wrong to say that someone who plays golf is the best athlete out there currently, but if you're talking about things considered sport, then you have to give a fair chance to people who play things that require athleticism, but not nearly as much as hockey, baseketball, baseball, soccer, and football.
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:17 PM   #7
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

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Let me say this about golf. Sure, it takes some athleticism, but wouldn't that argument lend itself to saying that the best bowlers ever would be among the greatest sports figures? Dart players?
I guess by my definition of athlete they certainly can be included, I just don't know of any.
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:18 PM   #8
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

I define athlete a bit differently here. I mean I guess it'd be better defined as something like best sports performer or something like that. I mean as an athlete I suppose Randle El is more of an athlete than Tom Brady, but Brady is the guy you'd rather have.
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:23 PM   #9
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

Right. I just think that with such a broad definition of athlete, it makes the picture a bit muddy. You could easily include competitive eaters. Why not Kobiashi?
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:24 PM   #10
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

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I define athlete a bit differently here. I mean I guess it'd be better defined as something like best sports performer or something like that. I mean as an athlete I suppose Randle El is more of an athlete than Tom Brady, but Brady is the guy you'd rather have.
This is why we shouldn't compare athletes from different sports. We should leave it at: (blank) is the best football player ever, or (blank) is the best golpher ever. There is no way to compare accomplishments from one sport to that of another. Some sports are more physical while some are more finess.

you could probably make cases for individual sports but when it comes to team sports, you really cant compare players.
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:25 PM   #11
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

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I define athlete a bit differently here. I mean I guess it'd be better defined as something like best sports performer or something like that. I mean as an athlete I suppose Randle El is more of an athlete than Tom Brady, but Brady is the guy you'd rather have.
So, should we consider an athlete someone who runs and jumps only?
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:28 PM   #12
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

No, I really think that an athlete is by definition a very fluid, subjective concept. It's almost like asking, "What is art?"

You can easily be one of the "World's Strongest Men" and be considered an athlete, while having no other talent than being able to pick up heavy stuff.

You can also easily be a professional bowler or golfer and while you may have a gut and not be in the greatest shape in the world, you're still considered an athlete, even though you might not be more "athletic" than the stronger, faster people in the world.
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:36 PM   #13
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

How about this? No professional currently dominates his own sport at the same level as Tiger Woods. He is, as they say, battling history now more so than he is battling the rest of the field. Again though, you can say the same for Roger Federer.
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:36 PM   #14
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

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No, I really think that an athlete is by definition a very fluid, subjective concept. It's almost like asking, "What is art?"

You can easily be one of the "World's Strongest Men" and be considered an athlete, while having no other talent than being able to pick up heavy stuff.

You can also easily be a professional bowler or golfer and while you may have a gut and not be in the greatest shape in the world, you're still considered an athlete, even though you might not be more "athletic" than the stronger, faster people in the world.
Agreed. I do think it's a fluid definition. I also think our society or culture labels who we collectively consider an athlete. For instance, SI might run an article next week "Is Tiger Woods The Greatest Athlete?"...whereas duing the Nicholas era such a discussion may never have been thought of. I guess what I'm saying is where one generation never thought of a golfer as an athlete, Tiger might challenge that perception.
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:37 PM   #15
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Re: Tiger Woods vs. Michael Jordan

When I consider that Tiger is 12-0 when leading or co-leading on the final day of a Major, I would say he is one of the greatest "closers" or clutch athletes of all time. MJ was a great "closer" as well, but in the world of golf, I don't think Nicholas has ever been undefeated when leading on the final day? what Tiger is doing these days is truely amazing. I mean if he is leading, he wins. Period. He knows it, the field knows it, the fans know it. It is unbelievable!
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