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Can a player be considered the greatest without ever having won a championship?

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Can a player be considered the greatest without ever having won a championship?

Old 10-16-02, 11:46 PM
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Can a player be considered the greatest without ever having won a championship?

Some people believe that Barry Bonds may be the greatest baseball player ever, or at least will be by the time he retires. Well, what if the Giants lose to the Angels in the World Series and Barry never makes another World Series appearance? Statistically, he's obviously one of the best players ever, if not the greatest. However, he would never have won a championship in his career.

To wit:

Basketball - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, (and to a lesser extent Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird) are usually among those listed as the greatest player ever in their sport. All of them have championship rings.

Football - Many consider Jerry Rice to be the best football player ever, regardless of position. Yeah, he's got a few rings. Others who are usually mentioned are Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, and maybe Walter Payton. All of them have rings.

Hockey - Don't know much about hockey, but I assume most people consider Wayne Gretzky to be the best player ever. He's won a championship.

Baseball - Before Barry started his rampage of bashing cowhide out of the park at an alarming rate, most people considered Babe Ruth to be the greatest player ever. The only other players who might have been mentioned in the same breath as the Babe are Ty Cobb and Willie Mays. Cobb never won a Championship, but Mays did. Still, I think Ruth was pretty much universally accepted as the greatest ever.

So again, I ask the question. Can a player be considered the greatest ever in their sport without ever having won a championship? If Barry Bonds doesn't win the World Series, will he still be able to lay claim as the best ever?

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Old 10-17-02, 12:30 AM
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Yes, I think so. I would rate Dan Marino in the top 10 players ever in his sport, and he has no championship. Same goes with Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. In team sports I don't think you can hold it against a guy for his team not being the best.
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Old 10-17-02, 12:38 AM
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There's many players that considered greatest but never won any championship...
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Old 10-17-02, 12:40 AM
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I say yes. I also ask... would Ruth have won championships without some of the greatest Yankees teams that ever played? He had Lou Gehrig hitting behind him.

The 1927 team batted over .300 as a team, and had over 100 more HRs than the next best team in the league...

Not diminishing Ruth's greatness, but championship teams with superstars usually have some pretty awesome sidekicks. Jordan/Pippen, Shaq/Kobe, Montana/Rice (although both were superstar caliber), etc.

Jeff Kent doesn't count, imo...
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Old 10-17-02, 01:17 AM
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Originally posted by Quake1028
Yes, I think so. I would rate Dan Marino in the top 10 players ever in his sport, and he has no championship. Same goes with Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. In team sports I don't think you can hold it against a guy for his team not being the best.
Amen to that. I think Dan Marino was one of the best QBs ever.
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Old 10-17-02, 01:21 AM
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Originally posted by Quake1028
Yes, I think so. I would rate Dan Marino in the top 10 players ever in his sport, and he has no championship. Same goes with Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. In team sports I don't think you can hold it against a guy for his team not being the best.
Perhaps you misread the question...I ask if a player can be considered the greatest ever, not one of the greatest players ever. I think the people who consider Marino to be the absolute greatest ever are in a very small minority.

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Old 10-17-02, 06:04 AM
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i would say yes

but in my opinion joe montanta is the greatest QB ever

but I cant say that if marino had won a few superbowl rings, that my opinion wouldnt be different
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Old 10-17-02, 08:25 AM
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Depends on the sport. Basketball - no ... hockey, football, baseball - yes.
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Old 10-17-02, 09:21 AM
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A championship is the highest level of achievement in any sport. How can someone be considered the greatest player ever if they have never reached the highest level of achievement.

That person may have had the most talent or the best individual statistics, but they have not reached the standards of excellence for their respective sports.

I believe that a player can be the MVP for a season without their team doing well, but to be considered the tops in your sport, you have to reach the top.
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Old 10-17-02, 09:37 AM
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Baseball - yes

Golf - no
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Old 10-17-02, 10:28 AM
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Absolutely, but not in an individual sport nor basketball.
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Old 10-17-02, 10:30 AM
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Originally posted by Three Day Delay
A championship is the highest level of achievement in any sport. How can someone be considered the greatest player ever if they have never reached the highest level of achievement.

That person may have had the most talent or the best individual statistics, but they have not reached the standards of excellence for their respective sports.

I believe that a player can be the MVP for a season without their team doing well, but to be considered the tops in your sport, you have to reach the top.
But in most sports, as much as one player does, the team around him matters.

Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl not because of a lack of talent, but because of a lack of a team that had a defense.

Ted Williams never won a World Series not because of a lack of talent, but because of a lack of a team around him.

Put either of those players and give them better teams around them, and they probably win championships. By that logic, is Mark Rypien a better QB than Marino because he won a Super Bowl? Is (insert random mediocre OF on WS-winning team) better than Williams because they won a title? That's just plain silly.
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Old 10-17-02, 11:12 AM
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If championships are the criteria for individual greatness, then that means Tony Kubek was a greater shortstop than was Ernie Banks.
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Old 10-17-02, 11:19 AM
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Originally posted by WildcatLH
But in most sports, as much as one player does, the team around him matters.

Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl not because of a lack of talent, but because of a lack of a team that had a defense.

Ted Williams never won a World Series not because of a lack of talent, but because of a lack of a team around him.

Put either of those players and give them better teams around them, and they probably win championships. By that logic, is Mark Rypien a better QB than Marino because he won a Super Bowl? Is (insert random mediocre OF on WS-winning team) better than Williams because they won a title? That's just plain silly.
No, Mark Rypien is not a better QB than Dan Marino, but that's not what I said, either. I am not calling Mark Rypien the greatest football player in history.

How do you know that Marino and Williams did not win because of the talent (or lack thereof) surrounding them? The Yankees are the most talented team in baseball this year, yet they did not win.

Did the Oilers make Wayne Gretzky or did Gretzky make the Oilers?

Barry Bonds is a good example. He is a great individual performer, but is a well-documented cancer in the clubhouse. Who is to say that his poor attitude and stand-offish behavior didn't adversely effect his team's opportunities to win a championship? Many baseball races are decided by a handfull of games.....games are decided by very small events (a bad pitch here, loafing in the outfield there, in a bad mood and back a poor decision, etc.)

Ted Williams was, by all reports, just as caustic as Bonds.

Marino was a well-documented cry-baby and finger-pointer. Does that not have an effect on his team?

There are no ticker-tape parades for MVP awards.

Last edited by Three Day Delay; 10-17-02 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 10-17-02, 11:20 AM
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Originally posted by classicman2
If championships are the criteria for individual greatness, then that means Tony Kubek was a greater shortstop than was Ernie Banks.
If I understand the subject correctly, it is not a comparison between any two random players, it is "the greatest ever." I don't think Tony Kubek or Ernie Banks could be confused as such.
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Old 10-17-02, 11:37 AM
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Yes.

We're talking about team sports right? There's no way to hold not winning a championship against an individual player. No matter how good he is, he can't win a championship by themselves. It's not their fault they weren't fortunate enough to be surrounded by enough talent to win a championship.
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Old 10-17-02, 11:44 AM
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Geez, you guys like to twist around questions to conform to your own personal opinions.

Of course Doug Williams isn't a better QB than Dan Marino; that's ludicrous.

The question is, can a player be considered the greatest ever without winning a championship? In other words, to be considered the greatest ever, do you have to have a championship? As far as I know, Doug Williams has never been considered the greatest player ever. His Superbowl ring with the Redskins doesn't mean squat to me. However, Dan Marino is considered a great QB. However, he never won a championship. Does that prevent him from being THE GREATEST EVER? IMHO, yes. For me, in order to be considered the greatest ever in your sport, you have to have won a championship.

For those of you who have answered "Yes" in the poll, please answer this question:

Who has not won a championship in their respective sport, yet you consider the greatest player ever in that sport?


Frankly, I'm quite surprised that the yays outweigh the nays.

Edited to clarify my question in bold.


Last edited by immortal_zeus; 10-17-02 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 10-17-02, 11:47 AM
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Originally posted by Three Day Delay
How do you know that Marino and Williams did not win because of the talent (or lack thereof) surrounding them? The Yankees are the most talented team in baseball this year, yet they did not win.

Look at the RBs Marino had. Look at the defenses Miami had during Marino's prime. It is very easy to conclude that Marino had very little around him.

Did John Elway all the sudden become a candidate for the greatest QB/player ever just because Terrell Davis came along. No Terrell Davis and no championships for John Elway.
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Old 10-17-02, 01:29 PM
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Originally posted by immortal_zeus

...
For those of you who have answered "Yes" in the poll, please answer this question:

Who has not won a championship in their respective sport, yet you consider the greatest player ever in that sport?


Frankly, I'm quite surprised that the yays outweigh the nays.

(Arguably) Dan Marino in football.

(Arguably) Ty Cobb or Barry Bonds (so far) in baseball.

Basketball: I think all the very greatest players (that I can think of) have won championships except Elgin Baylor. Jerry West and Oscar Robertson only won one each, very late in their careers. But probably none of them are the best anyway.

Hockey: I'm not very knowledgeable here but I know Wayne Gretzky won.

Anyway, the question isn't "Has there ever been someone who is the best player in a sport who has never won a championship?" but "Can a player be considered the greatest without ever having won a championship?" The answer to that, I think, is clearly Yes.

Last edited by movielib; 10-17-02 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 10-17-02, 01:43 PM
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Originally posted by movielib
(Arguably) Dan Marino in football.

(Arguably) Ty Cobb or Barry Bonds (so far) in baseball.
There's no "arguably" about it. If you consider Dan Marino and Ty Cobb to be the greatest in their respective sports, than who are you arguing with? Yourself? The question is who you, the reader, considers the greatest.

Originally posted by movielib
Basketball: I think all the very greatest players (that I can think of) have won championships except Elgin Baylor. Jerry West and Oscar Robertson only won one each, very late in their careers. But probably none of them are the best anyway.
Again, my question is who is THE greatest. Not who are the greatest. If you consider Elgin Baylor the greatest player ever, then I can see why you voted "Yes" in the poll. However, if you consider the Big O or Jerry West to be the greatest basketball player ever, you should've voted "No".

Originally posted by movielib
Anyway, the question isn't "Has there ever been someone who is the best player in a sport who has never won a championship?" but "Can a player be considered the greatest without ever having won a championship?" The answer to that, I think, is clearly Yes.
I fear you are misunderstanding the question. Let me give you an example:

If I feel that Karl Malone is the greatest basketball player ever, I would respond to the question by voting "Yes" because I consider Malone to be the greatest ever (over Jordan, Chamberlain, Jabbar, Magic, Bird, Big O, Jerry West, etc.) despite the fact that he never won a championship.

However, if I feel that not having won a championship prevents Karl Malone from being the greatest basketball player ever, I would vote "No".

Maybe you do understand the question and I'm just misunderstanding you...

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Old 10-17-02, 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by immortal_zeus
Geez, you guys like to twist around questions to conform to your own personal opinions.

Of course Doug Williams isn't a better QB than Dan Marino; that's ludicrous.

The question is, can a player be considered the greatest ever without winning a championship? In other words, to be considered the greatest ever, do you have to have a championship? As far as I know, Doug Williams has never been considered the greatest player ever. His Superbowl ring with the Redskins doesn't mean squat to me. However, Dan Marino is considered a great QB. However, he never won a championship. Does that prevent him from being THE GREATEST EVER? IMHO, yes. For me, in order to be considered the greatest ever in your sport, you have to have won a championship.

For those of you who have answered "Yes" in the poll, please answer this question:

Who has not won a championship in their respective sport, yet you consider the greatest player ever in that sport?


Frankly, I'm quite surprised that the yays outweigh the nays.

Edited to clarify my question in bold.

I agree

I do not feel that a player can be considered the greatest ever for there respective sport if they do not win a championship. I will agree that Dan Marino is a great QB (one of my favorites), but consider that maybe his stats are so high because he was on a team with a horrible defense (high scoring games). I believe, you can agree with me or not, that if a player is not on a competitive team (ie A-Rod) they will have more opportunities to put up numbers as opposed to a team who is vying for the playoffs. By the way, in the interest of Babe Ruth v. Bonds, do you think Bonds could be a 20 game winner?
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Old 10-17-02, 01:46 PM
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Originally posted by immortal_zeus

For those of you who have answered "Yes" in the poll, please answer this question:

Who has not won a championship in their respective sport, yet you consider the greatest player ever in that sport?

Marino=greatest QB ever.
Bond=Greatest all-around player
Karl Malone=Greatest Power Forward


You can't take away these guys performances because they weren't surrounded by enough talent to win a championship.

It's not Bonds fault that the Giants and Pirates never had the whole package put together to be a championship team. Or Malone's that his Jazz weren't quit good enough to beat Jordan's Bulls.

One player can't win a championship buy themselves.
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Old 10-17-02, 01:51 PM
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Originally posted by Josh Hinkle
Marino=greatest QB ever.
Bond=Greatest all-around player
Karl Malone=Greatest Power Forward


You can't take away these guys performances because they weren't surrounded by enough talent to win a championship.

It's not Bonds fault that the Giants and Pirates never had the whole package put together to be a championship team. Or Malone's that his Jazz weren't quit good enough to beat Jordan's Bulls.

One player can't win a championship buy themselves.
Again, you're screwing with the question.

Who's the greatest? Not, 'who's the greatest at their position?'

If you honestly believe Dan Marino was the greatest football player ever, than I can see your reasoning for voting "Yes". I would disagree with you, but i could see why you voted "Yes".

If you think that Karl Malone is the greatest basketball player ever....well, I would question your basketball IQ.

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Old 10-17-02, 01:55 PM
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In that case, I'll take back the people I listed above, with the exception of Barry Bonds.

I still have to answer yes to the question though, as winning championships has no bearing in who I chose as the greatest.

I.e. Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever because of his individual performance. His 6 titles don't factor into the equation for me. Without Scottie Pippen, et. al. he wouldn't have the rings, and I'd still consider him the greatest ever based on his individual performance.
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Old 10-17-02, 01:56 PM
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Originally posted by Josh Hinkle
Marino=greatest QB ever.
Bond=Greatest all-around player
Karl Malone=Greatest Power Forward

You can't take away these guys performances because they weren't surrounded by enough talent to win a championship.

Yes you can, if a player is a cancer to their club then that can be a strike against them.

In respect to Malone, do you think it's Stockton that makes Malone so great or Malone that makes Stockton so great?
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