Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Top Athletes With Last Names Starting with "A" - Post 1980

Let the cross-sport debates begin.  Jabesblog will run these lists for 25 letters of the alphabet (excluding X).  Included in the list are both male and female athletes (but no horses).  Sports include football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, tennis, boxing, NASCAR, Olympics and cycling.  I do not pretend to pay enough attention to soccer to properly assess those athletes. 

As I have begun to compile my lists, here are some initial observations before I reveal the first list.  When mixing sports, it adds a different level of difficulty than just ranking the top point guards from one sport.  How do you compare two of the all-time greats in two different sports?  Provides excellent debate material.  And just wait until the letter "M".  Then there is the performance enhancing drug/off the field incident component.  How do I factor that in, if at all?  It is tough to ignore, and therefore I see it as more of a tie-breaker.  It is a struggle though, even within a sport, such as Manny Ramirez vs Cal Ripken.  Finally, there is my Post-1980 cut-off, which I am considering soft for this list.  If the player had a great impact post 1980, their impact pre-1980 may also factor somewhat in their ranking.  Jack Nicklaus is the prime example.  I have a lot of great memories of Jack Nicklaus, but much of his damage was done pre-1980.  The Golden Bear will still be a big factor in the "N" list.  So without further ado, here are the Top Athletes With Last Names Starting with "A" - Post 1980:

10.  Mark Aguirre (NBA)
9.  Carmelo Anthony (NBA)
8.  Shaun Alexander (NFL)
7.  Ray Allen (NBA)
6.  Marcus Allen (NFL)
5.  Roberto Alomar (MLB)
4.  Lance Armstrong (Cycling)
3.  Troy Aikman (NFL)
2.  Andre Agassi (Tennis)
1.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA)

This list fell into place pretty well.  The selection of Kareem as #1 was a no-brainer, despite half his career being played before 1980.  He was still a huge factor in winning 5 championships in the 1980's and became the NBA's all-time leading scorer in that time.  The placement of Armstrong may have been most difficult, as he is from the most obscure of sports and really was only spotlighted for 3 weeks each year, not to mention the on-going doping saga.  One fun debate might be the greater Allen, Marcus or Ray?  Just please no one say Woody.

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