T Nation

Better Than the Best


First off, my apologies to Lew for helping derail his thread. I like Lew and this thread probably should have been started way sooner. Here is a link to the thread that started it:


Background - it seems some members of this site seem to think there are members of society walking around that are better than the best of all time. Regular street ball players that are better than Michael Jordan. Powerlifters (w/o videos) with better lifts than world record holders, etc.

Continue discussion.


How about musicians/singers that were never mainstream? That seems more likely.


Lanky my only question for this thread would be that you believe that all the successful people in the world succeeded by the talent, hard work and dedication that they themselves put into it? Or are you basically seperating this to physically talented sports related success?


neelydan's respect for lankymofo has increased substantially


I think if you are gonna come out and say you've accomplished something or are capable of something that is beyond extraordinary, you should have video evidence or don't bother saying it. You're just opening yourself up to criticism. Like If I said I can incline 400 some lbs for 15 reps...

Even if it is true, no one will believe it til they see it.


I'm more interested in physically talented for this specific thread. I think there is a bit more luck involved within the business world, but I sure as hell wouldn't discount successful people in the business world as that takes the talent, drive, dedication, etc. as well.


I remember us having a little efight a while back, but I never stopped loving you.

Always remember that.


it seems to be based off of physical talent... to me at least


I think what he is saying is if some bball players had anywhere near the talent of an NBA player they would get noticed (especially MJ). That type of talent is rare and does not come along often. The high school I went to has two Heisman winners as alum (vinny testeverde and eddie george), dozens of NFL players, hell, I played with a kid who is now in the NFL.

I was asking my old coach about how often he sees players like that (he has been there 30+ years) and he said "we're lucky to see during the off season, usually its the kids who play here from 5th grade to 12th grade." so I see where other people come in their success, but at some point being a pro athlete comes down to God given talent IMO

Lanky please correct me if i butchered my interpretation


I wasnt involved with the other thread, but

I certainly believe that there are people out there that had the talent to be great professional athletes but for whatever reason didnt make it. Taking quite possibly the best basketball player of all time (Jordan) and saying so and so from the Bronx could of been better if he wasnt a crack head isnt fair and not giving Jordan the credit he deserves (I hate Jordan BTW)

I will say that the Negro League players is the one caveat, I do believe those players could have been just as great as the more revered and popular white MLB players if allowed to play together. It also could be said that if baseball was fully integrated the landscape of the all time great MLB players may be much different.


I think the distiction had to be made. Otherwise I could very easily argue against this. Working in the medical field and the business world the best and brightest are not always the guys on top. Honestly in all aspects of life this can be seen, so you could see the argument for this in the sports world also.

However I will say with the way the sports world has become a large entertainment factor, it is less and less the case.


Although highly improbable, you can not rule out the possibility these people exist. Definitely nothing to get your panties in a knot about.

As a young kid, talking 7-9, when ever we were getting ready for the annual track and field day, the teacher would always use my long jump form as an example of "air walk". I was good in a lot of track events, quite good. But, I lived in a small shitty town with no coaching or track programs.

What if I would have grown up in a larger centre with proper coaching, training, etc? I could be a gold medal olympian. But, that support was not available, and it was just a fun thing to us kids.

There are people out there that have incredible natural ability. This ability may not be fostered to it's ultimate growth potential. So yeah, there are people out there that may be the best in the world at something, but for various reasons have never realized this potential.

Or, perhaps have realized this potential, but because they do it for themselves, have no desire to display it. It is also fact that Jordan did not make his high school team. What if this would have deterred him from ever picking up a ball again? We all know it didn't happen this way. He practices his god damned ass off. It was his hard work and dedication that got him to the level he achieved.

Too many variables to consider. No one can be sure one way or the other. I don't understand why this is such a touchy topic for some.


Another distinction: It's one thing to say so and so COULD have been the GOAT if they had the coaching, drive, etc. It's a whole other ball game to say so and so IS BETTER than the GOAT. Which is what some members of this site were saying in the other thread. They were claiming street ball players out there currently are better than MJ. And that there are recreational power lifters out there with better lifts than world record holders.

Big distinction.


x1000. I love baseball, but when the snobs start pissing and moaning about the "sanctity of records," I just point to this.

Also, I don't really think that professional athletes are the only people who are genetically elite. I believe there are many, many supremely talented bums who never had the proper work ethic to succeed in their particular sport. Now I'm not referring to Lew there, because remarkable strength =\= professional athlete.


You know what, I bet there are recreational lifters out there that have better lifts than world record holders. Different paths in life. One got into competitive lifting while another derives joy by doing it alone.

We can never know. So, to say that every GOAT has always been in the public spotlight is unreasonable.

Wasn't there a baller from back in the day, actually nicknamed Goat? That was considered the best, but never played professional. I'll check the interwebs and see if I can find him.


Found him:



Like I said in the other threat, you guys can all play that "you never know" card all day. But excuse me for being extremely, extremely skeptical.

Some baller nicknamed goat doesn't mean a damn thing except that maybe he was the best street baller. It's easy to be a big fish in such a little pond.


Did you read any of the articles. Other GOAT's said he was the GOAT.

And, like I said up there, although highly improbably no one can say one way or the other.

I mean the same argument can be used for those saying that this could never in a bajillion trillion years ever happen.


There is a rather large difference between being skeptical and acting like anyone who says it is a POSSIBILITY is retarded and needs to be called out in every thread.

You seem to have trouble distinguishing between the two.


because his nickname was GOAT he was the greatest? LMFAO

Those streetballers PLAY NO FUCKING DEFENSE! There are tons and tons of guys who can shoot the lights out in the gym but cant hold their own on the defensive end and thats why they cant play in the league or cant get off the bench.

Jordan was on the NBA All Defense team tons of times. Just cause he scored the ball at will didnt make him the GOAT, he was also a great defender.