As I was watching the Lakers game last night Patrick Ewing Jr. entered the contest in th 4th quarter. His contribution wasn't spectacular, but it immediately triggered two distinct thoughts. The first thought was I'm getting old before my very eyes because I remember Patrick Ewing's freshman year at Georgetown like it was yesterday (in reality it was 30 years ago). My second thought was the trend of athletes following in their father's footsteps is going to be the next phenomenon in professional sports. It's only natural to make the transition into the "family business" especially when the business can provide you with celebrity status and financial wealth for the rest of your life. Why not benefit from the genes and the experience passed down from the previous generation? Although this trend will gain popularity in the next 10 to 15 years it is far from original. Here is a list of the five greatest athletes of former players.
5. Peyton Manning. He is the consummate professional, a role model, and the prototype of what a quarterback should be. Before his career is over Peyton will re-write the record books for passing and win at least two Super Bowls. Without question he is the face of the NFL.
4. Floyd Mayweather Jr. If you listen to him he's the greatest fighter of all time. That's a bit of a stretch, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. is undoubtedly the best pound for pound boxer in the world today and arguably the best fighter of the last 25 years. Of course one more fight would quiet all the skeptics and end the speculation.
3. Ken Griffey Jr. The Kid won 10 straight gold gloves, appeared in 13 all star games, won the AL MVP in 1997, and was voted to baseball's all century team. Safeco Field is affectionately referred to as the house that Griffey built because of his immense popularity as a Seattle Mariner.
2. Barry Bonds. I won't bore you with unbelievable stats, accomplishments, and accolades, but it's safe to say Barry Bonds is one of the greatest baseball players that ever lived. Even if you think his baseball legacy is tainted with allegations of steroid use you have to admit Barry Bonds was special on the field.
1. Kobe Bryant. The Lord of the Rings is in pursuit of his sixth championship and his second threepeat. After this season Michael Jordan will have to move over to make room on the platform of the greatest player ever. Jordan fans don't like to hear it, but the torch has been passed.