June 23, 2003

Just because lists are so much fun and rile up debate, Page 2 gives us the list of most overrated athletes.

posted by Ufez Jones to general at 11:46 AM - 20 comments

And I'll admit I'm feeling a bit of Schadenfruede over number 1.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:48 AM on June 23, 2003

I think it's tough to declare an athlete "overrated" in the middle/start of his/her career (Carter, for example). Case in point: Eric Lindros was considered a star when he was drafted. Then he was considered overrated at the start of his career. Then he was considered a star (neither over/underrated) for a couple of seasons. Now he's considered one of the most overrated players in the NHL. As well, I don't think a player can really be overrated if they actually DID perform at a superstar level at some point. Pavel Bure WAS the best pure goal scorer in the NHL for a number of years. He was truly dynamic and exciting to watch. However, numerous knee injuries have robbed him of his game-breaking ability. That said, Scottie Pippen might be the most overrated player in sports history.

posted by grum@work at 12:59 PM on June 23, 2003

The Corkster, Sammy Sosa. 500 homers but has never been able to take his team to a title. Gary Payton: perennial All Star but no team elevation Donovan McNabb: this is a projection on my part but I think, for example, Garcia and Culpepper will have more career Super bowl appearances Peyton Manning: take away his best receiver and running back...

posted by billsaysthis at 01:35 PM on June 23, 2003

yeah, if a player is having his career go down the tubes because of injury (Carter, Grant Hill, Bure) then his previously high rating takes a hit too. Is Carter rated that highly now? No. Was he rated highly 3 years ago? Yes. But at the time he was playing well and had potential. In the years since his game has not improved (exposed as a soft player) and his rating has slid accordingly. Sure, pick on him but is that the best you can do? is he really the most overrated? he might have the freshest pedestal in need of demolition but are these people thinking that the rating of the 2000 version of Carter applies to the 2003 Carter? (and yeah, the all star vote would imply that many people still are). Time to update your (and downgrade) your assessment of the guy. do that and ta da, he's no longer over rated. just rated as someone struggling with injuries and not living up to his potential that he still has a chance to regain. a decreasing chance.

posted by gspm at 01:38 PM on June 23, 2003

I don't think the criteria of being able to take a team to a title should exist. Especially in baseball. Sammy as an individual player has hit 500 home runs and thus it's kind of hard to overrate that. To me, overrated means that public perception of the person's ability is incorrect, that somehow we're fooled into thinking he's good but he's not. As a Yankee fan, I definitely have to agree with Jeter, Rob Neyer has been right all along, and his lack of range cost them several outs in just a few games last postseason. He is a good leader, spokesperson, and clutch performer (inasmuch as someone can be "clutch" - I tend to agree with Neyer here too, though I will say that you can still call someone clutch if they avoid the natural tendency to crack under pressure. Under pressure, Jeter holds or becomes better), and the plays he does make he makes well. So within his limited range he's a fine shortstop. Unfortunately, that's what people see and that's what makes them think that overall he's useful. I second the nomination of Pippen.

posted by Bernreuther at 01:44 PM on June 23, 2003

Gary Payton: perennial All Star but no team elevation Payton took the Sonics to the Finals. Plus he was only the 2nd or 3rd best pg in the NBA for practically a decade (Kidd & Stockton the other contenders). The only time the Sonics competed with the Bulls in that finals was when Karl switched Payton onto Jordan defensively. Don't know what you've got against Payton, he may not be what he once was but he ain't overrated.

posted by Mike McD at 01:44 PM on June 23, 2003

Errr, I'd only heard of four of them (Beckham, Tyson, Mickelson and Duval). So I guess I'm arguing the rest aren't overrated, at least in my mind. ;-)

posted by squealy at 02:54 PM on June 23, 2003

A couple of thoughts here: 1) Jake Plummer is going to turn out to be a pretty damn good quarterback for the Broncos. Playing football for the Cardinals is like being a four-star general in the French army your abilities don't mean squat when everyone around you is raising a white flag. 2) I thought the closer stuff was bullshit until the last year or so. You tell me how much better the Red Sox would be if they had Eric Gagne in the pen? A team, correctly or not, looks now to the ninth and their guy coming in to slam the door. If they ain't got that, they ain't got crap. 3) Who has Tyson overrated now? He's done, and has been done, for several years, and even at his peak, he wasn't Ali or Louis or Dempsey. Hell, he wasn't even Frazier. 4) Scottie Pippen should have been right up top. Take him out of Valhalla and he plays like he's got lead in his drawers.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:08 PM on June 23, 2003

To say that Mike Tyson is overrated by listing 10 heavyweights that are better than him is stupid. Every single one of those 10 heavyweight boxers were before Tyson's time. I don't see names like Evander Holyfield, Buster Douglas, Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, or Michael Moore on that list (all boxers during Tyson's time). That's like saying that A-Rod is overrated because he doesn't stack up to the Babe, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle. I don't think there are many people who would argue that A-Rod is overrated. To use this kind of argument for Tyson is shortsighted. I think people are quick to judge Tyson based on his recent downfall and problems outside of the ring. What they forget is how dominant Tyson was in his prime. The guy was a beast! It took Tyson six minutes to win the belt... and he was only 20 years old! He unified the heavyweight belts in 1987 at the age of 21. You know who the last person to do that was before him? Muhammad Ali. Overrated my ass...

posted by jhwoo82 at 03:24 PM on June 23, 2003

Here's a quick list (courtesy of boxing.com) of the people Mike Tyson defeated in heavyweight fights: Trevor Berbick, James Smith, Pinklon Thomas, Tony Tucker, Tyrell Biggs, Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs, Michael Spinks, Frank Bruno, Carl Williams, Bruce Seldon. Here's a shorter list of those who defeated him in a title fight: Buster Douglas, Evander Holdfield (twice), Lennox Lewis. The guy fought in a shitty era for heavyweights, period. The guys he beat (aside from an aging Holmes and Spinks) wouldn't make a top 100 heavyweights list. He's not top 10, especially if you question whether Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield are top-10ers themselves (which I do).

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:54 PM on June 23, 2003

I'd like to nominate the entire New York Rangers organization.

posted by Samsonov14 at 05:49 PM on June 23, 2003

Hey Samsonov, your Boston is showing! LOL but seriously, what about 1994? One title in the last 10 isn't so bad.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:14 PM on June 23, 2003

I don't think any of the "others receiving votes" are overrated. Course I don't know how talented Beckham actually is, because I don't pay attention. I tend to agree that Plummer will be no better than Griese. He's adequate at best, and that's got nothing to do with the people around him. I also agree partly about closers. I think the notion of having a closer is overrated, but those who have been specialists for a while, those 3 or 4 who really excel, are not overrated. Overpaid is another story. I would disagree with Antoine Walker because I've never heard of him, so I wouldn't think he's been rated highly. I follow basketball only passively, but you'd think I'd know who he is (Celtics?). I think Duval and Mickelson were overrated but they aren't anymore, not due to their performance but because I havne't heard much hype about them other than "mickelson is a choker" since that primetime showdown with tiger. I don't think Bure is overrated for the reasons explained above (injury, same with Lindros), but I do think Tyson is overrated [and should be in jail] but to me, the whole sport of boxing is ridiculous, and I can't believe they pay him or anyone 10-25 million for under an hour of getting beat up.

posted by Bernreuther at 07:53 PM on June 23, 2003

As an exciting sports personality, Mike Tyson was great. But as wfrazerjr pointed out, Tyson turned out to be a very average boxer who never defeated a quality opponent.

posted by cg1001a at 08:36 PM on June 23, 2003

Tyson was not an average boxer. You have to distinguish between the Kevin Rooney Tyson and the post Rooney Tyson. Tyson after Rooney was average, Tyson when he had it all going was sublime. Sure, the guys Tyson beat were not great, but during the Rooney years Tyson absolutely destroyed everyone he faced. In my mind the Rooney trained Tyson is a bit like the Rams of two years ago, a team that was so dominant they were special. Sure the Rams didn't stand the test of time but very few people who saw them would say the Rams were overated. Or to put another way, outside of New England few people think the 2001 Pats were special but a lot of people will remember 'the greatest show on turf' as a special team. Tyson in his prime was like that, one of those rare sure things in sports. Maybe you didn't catch those fights but for those of us who did, believe me, there was no doubt who was winning those fights. You knew Mike was gonna win.

posted by Mike McD at 10:17 PM on June 23, 2003

Tyson probably stands above everyone on the overrated scale. Nearly 15 years after the "emperor has no clothes" fight with Douglas, the guy still rates attention and it is fair to wonder if he was ever that good, even with the Rooney regime in charge. Buster was the first opponent to demand that Tyson actually show some skill in the ring -- as opposed to brawling -- and Tyson couldn't deal with it. In general, I agree that comparing Tyson to the greats is unfair. But the hype is way out of proportion to the guy's production, which had been a belt won against a bunch of glorified tomato cans. Plummer is a distant runner-up. Winning is overrated as a criteria for that list, btw, precisely because a great player can get buried in Phoenix. Or in Detroit, like Barry Sanders in his early years. But who wants to argue that Plummer is a Sanders-type talent? Not only does Plummer fail to elevate the Cardinals, he's not exactly making you subscribe to Sunday Ticket to see him play. And his top receiver, David Boston, was the Cardinal most-deserving of a pity-party. To me, the only difference between Plummer and Jay Fiedler is that one played in the Rose Bowl and the other did not. Carter is No. 3. His relevance on this list is that people still think that he can join the greats of the today's game -- i.e. Kobe, T-mac -- and that's so not going to happen. Otherwise, I'd almost argue that the pendulum has swung the other way, that Vince could be "underrated" pretty soon. The problem with putting Pippen on the list is that it's based on the premise that he couldn't play without Jordan. Yeah, he was a puss for not coming out for the final play of Game 5 in the Knicks-Bulls series in '94. But a 28-year-old Pippen did play that season without MJ, he averaged 22, 9 and 6 and the Bulls did win 55 games, enough to prove that he wasn't just long for the ride. People confuse that with the 33 to 38-year-old Pippen.

posted by jackhererra at 10:13 AM on June 24, 2003

Buster was the first opponent to demand that Tyson actually show some skill in the ring -- as opposed to brawling -- and Tyson couldn't deal with it. Tyson ... production ... had been a belt won against a bunch of glorified tomato cans. I have defend Mike. You need look no farther than the Klitscho/Lewis fight this weekend to realize that there aren't any cakewalks at the top of the heavyweight ranks. And certainly neither Holmes or Spinks were tomato cans, Mike just made them look like that because he was so good. Did you guys actually see a Tyson fight when he was trained by Rooney? He moved like Roy Jones Jr, people couldn't even hit him. He was really freaking fast and he hit people so hard it was scary. I can't believe I'm hearing people wonder if he was average.

posted by Mike McD at 10:29 AM on June 24, 2003

Yes, he was sublime from 86-89, and I was as impressed as anyone with the young Mike Tyson. But looking back on it, he never beat any quality competition, so we have to wonder.

posted by cg1001a at 12:08 PM on June 24, 2003

well, didn't tyson get lebron-esque (or at least 'melo-eqsue) hype in his early days? he beat all comers at the time. if he was plastering everyone around he's only doing what he can. he can't go out into the boxing backwoods and groom a Foreman to his Ali. whether he ranks among the greats is a different question from his overratedness IMHO. he is rather overrated. hasn't had a good fight in years and yet he is still near the top of the heap in the boxing hiearchy. he is there due to his car-crash watchability and not really because of anything sporty. if athletes are assessed on their sporting ability/success then it has been years since he's done anything to justify his rep (as a master of boxing rather than a loon) and hence is overrated.

posted by gspm at 01:37 PM on June 24, 2003

Well, what was Ben Wallace doing on that list? He's overrated as the Defensive champ? He's overrated as the rebounding champ (which would be hard as that is a statistical award)? I would agree that the criteria slid around a bit to have Vince Carter and Antoine Walker on the list. ESPN's Web content can be pretty seat-of-the-pants, though. I've heard of Walker because I don't like UK (where he played in college), and because I watch Detroit now. I do think shooting percentage is more important than experts make it out to be - it's awful to have to play with someone who shoots a lot and doesn't hit a lot. Walker has to be a drain on team morale. But I agree with Bernreuther, it's hard for him to be overrated when he's hardly 'rated.' In the NBA, I would nominate... I can't find an All-Star roster from last year, so this will have to wait...

posted by BobbyLove at 09:39 PM on June 24, 2003

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