Gretzky: Greatest ambassador of all-time for any sport?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by trahans99, Dec 20, 2005.

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  1. trahans99

    trahans99 Registered User

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    Just curious who thinks that Wayne Gretzky is the greatest player and ambassador of any sport? Has anyone done more for one sport than him?

    IMO, the answer is a big fat NO!!!!

    He transcended hockey for 2 decades and created huge interest in the southern states (Ana, SJ, Dallas, Atl - wouldn't be in the NHL if not for Gretz going to LA).

    Has or shares 61 NHL records that many seem untouchable.

    And thats just his playing career, what about this off ice demeanour. Has he every had any negative publicity? Has he ever been in trouble w/ the law? Has he ever had any personal problems leaked to the public? Again I answer no.

    And then there is his involvement and passion for Canadian hockey. Since he's been involved whats his record??? Gold at Salt Lake, 2 Golds at World Championships, World Cup Champs.... this guy simply wins.

    His rant after the loss to Sweden in '02 was something that Canadians will see for years to come.

    I know its only been 30 games in, but he's done much better than expected coaching in Phoenix with no real top end talent (Kovlachuk, Sakic, Nash, Crosby....list could go on), his 1 ace is Cujo who many thought was done.


    I am asking is there any other TOP players of their sport (basketball - Magic, Jordan, Bird etcc.... baseball - Bonds, Mantle, Mays ....etc.... hockey- Wayne, Mario, Orr...., football - montana, marino etc...).

    The only one I can think of is Muhammad Ali, but I wasn't around then so I don't really know.
     
  2. arrbez

    arrbez bad chi

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    Ali is so overrated

    But anyways, Wayne has got to be up there. Hard to say really. I'm sure there's been soccer players who have more impact than guys from any other sport.

    Honerable mention to Mike "Pinball" Clemmons and his awsome work as an ambassador for the CFL
     
  3. Canadarocks

    Canadarocks Registered User

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    Wasn't it after they tied with the Czech Republic?
     
  4. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I dont disagree with you on that one. Gretzky is the best ambassador in Hockey hisotry. And yes I'd even say sports history as well. Although he has some great company.

    Babe Ruth hit as many home runs as he entire teams did, and even nearly 60 years after his death he's still a legend and considered the best baseball player in history. But he didnt have the moral aspect that Gretzky had, Ruth was a wife swapping alcoholic basically. And although he's a legend his moral record spoke for itself.

    Muhamed Ali might be a tad overrated. But still even if he was a great ambassador Boxing never gained the fame of the other four major sports.

    Michael jordan is up there with Gretzky. He played the game the way it should be played and the state of the NBA the reputation it has now is not because of him. Plus six NBA Champiohsips dont hurt either. Still, his gambling controversys and his unfaithfulness which his wife called him on, dont make him the moral ambassador Gretzky is.

    lets, face it, gretzky was on Johnny Carson in '82, Saturday night Live in '88 (I believe) and even if you arent remotely a Hockey fan you've heard of him and know what psort he plays in or where he's from. In all of the years he was in Hockey only once did he ever make a controversial statement back in '84 calling the NJ Devils a "Mickey Mouse operation after they got beat 13-4 by Edmonton. And his Salt Lake rant: that was patriotic IMO. For a guy with his success he never let it get to his head the way some would. that's a leader IMO!
     
  5. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Soccer legend Pele would be the obvious choice as somebody who single-handedly revived interest worldwide in their sport; perhaps Jack Nicklaus as well. Many boxing historians claim that Ali`s place among the best boxers of all-time is overrated due to his immense popularity, but the fact remains that he was the best heavyweight fighter in arguably the most competetive era of heavyweight boxing. The popularity of boxing in the 70s was roughly equal to baseball or football. Boxing used to be so big, now most people couldn`t name the current heavyweight champion . It`s fallen off steadily in the 25 years since he left.

    Hockey fans should be fortunate that our two greatest players ever (Gretzky and Orr) have been first-class individuals off the ice. Especially compared to some of the "role models" in the other major sports (O.J. Simpson, Pete Rose, Mike Tyson, etc.)
     
  6. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    now is not the time to speak against anything Gretzkyesque...
     
  7. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    Yes, Gretzky is the greatest ambassador ever.
     
  8. Tricolore#20

    Tricolore#20 PK PK PK

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    It's hard to put anyone ahead of Gretzky. He has grown the game, and is still used heavily to market it (Gretzky video games, his presence in television commercials, etc).

    I would agree with Pele being close to Gretzky. Everybody in the world knows who Pele is, and know that he is the greatest player ever in football. Like Gretzky, he is still used to promote the game via commercials, promotional tours, etc. Pele and Gretzky are comparable IMO.
     
  9. NobodyBeatsTheWiz

    NobodyBeatsTheWiz Happy now?

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    Tiger Woods. He has done more to popularize the game of golf than anyone has done for another sport since Babe Ruth. And he has done it not only through his play, but through his philanthropy. He's transformed a overwhelmingly white elitist sport and helped to make it accessible to virtually anyone.
     
  10. WVP

    WVP Registered User

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    I'd think Michael Jordan would have a say in this.
     
  11. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    I think his divorce, publicized adultery and gambling have soiled his image somewhat.
     
  12. Little Wing

    Little Wing Registered User

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    I take it you have never seen the green fees in Arizona during the seven winter months.
    Only the white elitists are playing down here this time of year.

    My home course cost $19.95 with a cart and breakfast for 18 holes in may thru sept. And Oct. thru april it is $87.00 plus $10 per person for the cart

    those figures are state wide and the local golf industry hardly does anything for full time residents.

    Also just because tiger is a great golfer does not mean he is a great ambassador at the same time. His character is not ambassador material. He is all about tiger you know 99% of all the athletes most people google about are all about ME,ME ME and what have you-John Q fan done for me at the ticket office lately.

    There was a time when athletes played sports to play sports. Hockey was the last of it's kind. Enter free agency and you have the mess we all call sports today.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2005
  13. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    I am not sure that I would agree. I think golf was very popular before Woods. He has helped but, non golf fans like me still do not watch and have no interest in tuning in.

    Again, I am a non golf fan but, the little that I do know about Tiger Woods is that he is an excellent player but has a very short fuse. I would consider him unapproachable in public but, Gretzky seems the type that he would be very accomodating - much more so than Woods.
     
  14. NobodyBeatsTheWiz

    NobodyBeatsTheWiz Happy now?

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    Do you know ANYTHING about him? He is a terrific ambassador of the game. He makes EXTENSIVE efforts to spread the game to American youths, especially those less privelaged. The Tiger Woods Foundation also provides various scholarships and grants to kids outside of the realm of golf.

    I would really like to know what makes you think his character is not ambassador material, because that is a ludicrous statement.

    And on another note, golf is MUCH more popular today than it was 10 years ago, and that can be attributed largely to Tiger. It maybe not as noticable with the older generation and on private courses, but many more young players are picking up the game.
     
  15. Little Wing

    Little Wing Registered User

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    Well quite frankly, i don't need to justify my opinion. Golf is much more popular today, that goes without saying. But Tiger is not the sole proprietor of this new phenomenon. The golf channel has alot to do with it too. Tiger also fell off the face of the earth for a year or so not too long ago. Was he an ambassador during his hormone hiatus too?
    Ambassador (definition) the highest ranking diplomatic representative of one country to another. When golf becomes a country I'll consider rescinding my Tiger is not Ambassador statement.
    Until then i will stand firm and think of all the times this so called ambassador of the links continously skips the Phoenix open year after year.

    EDIT;
    For the record Tiger is the reason i started to play golf 10 or so years ago, however i never looked at him as more of an influence then Jack Nicklaus or Nancy Lopez for that matter. Hopefully that doesn't make me a hypocrite
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2005
  16. NobodyBeatsTheWiz

    NobodyBeatsTheWiz Happy now?

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    What the hell are you babbling about?
     
  17. Little Wing

    Little Wing Registered User

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    Were the words too big for you? Hopefully this helps out a little:


    Proprietor >an owner
    Phenomenon > any observable fact or event that can be scientifically described
    Ambassador > defined in previous post
    Rescinding > revoke or cancell

    Babbling > to talk like a small child
     
  18. Frightened Inmate #2

    Frightened Inmate #2 Registered User

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    I think this one has to go to Lance Armstrong, don't get me wrong I think that many people think he doped, and he very well might have. Without concrete proof however he can still be called the worlds best cyclist and well his battle with cancer is well documented.

    He would get my vote.

    I don't know any of these players personally so it is hard too determine with any degree of accuracy/
     
  19. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I like him but the fact that he probably doped doesnt quite make him the American hero that he was perceived to be. And battling through cancer is very commendable but Mario Lemieux did the same thing and won a scoring title too. I'd say Lance Armstrong is more of an inspiration than an ambassador. I'm not sure he's convinced kids to turn to cycling.
     
  20. NobodyBeatsTheWiz

    NobodyBeatsTheWiz Happy now?

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    I was referring to the fact that you bring in facts that have nothing to do with the argument, i.e. the dictionary definition of an ambassador and Tiger's participation in the Pheonix Open. You didn't address a single point I made and even helped my argument by saying that he was the reason you started to play golf.

    I see what youre saying about him falling off the face of the Earth, I mean, he fell to *GASP* #2 in the world. Jeez, he's an a**hole.
     
  21. Frightened Inmate #2

    Frightened Inmate #2 Registered User

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    Would you hear about the Tour de France if it was't for Lance Armstrong? I would have to say the answer to that question is no. Not to sound rude or anything but he is one of few athletes who at least in north america is bigger than the sport in general. I guess you could make the arguement for Gretzky but Armstrong has had the same impact.

    But I don't know if you can make the judgement as to whether kids are turning to cycling right now, in 10-15 years time we will be able to see the effects, sort of like the US Hockey system right now, this recent surge in tallent is in large part due to Mr. Gretzky.

    Pele and soccer is up there as well I just thought I should point that one out there.
     
  22. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    We always heard about the Tour de France before Armstrong. Greg LeMond ring a bell? I am 34 years old and I can't remember a time that the Tour de France was not extensively covered by Canadian media.
     
  23. Pete Rock

    Pete Rock Registered User

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    Though not as talented, I think a serious case can be made for Jarome Iginla who has made acts of kindness an everyday occurence.
     
  24. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Tiger Woods has done more for golf than Gretzky has for hockey.

    Jordan, Tiger, Gretzky... were always seen first and foremost as a player of their sport.

    Ali was bigger than boxing, he was an ambassador, an icon, a man of the times.
     
  25. chooch*

    chooch* Guest

    Phil youre not thinking Big: 99 is the greatest ambassador in the history of civilization!

    See below:

    Other facts linking Nixon to the JFK assassination emerged years later during the Watergate conspiracy, some of which were revealed by Nixon's former chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman. In his book, The Ends of Power, Haldeman cites several conversations where Nixon expressed concern about the Watergate affair becoming public knowledge and where this exposure might lead. Haldeman writes:

    "In fact, I was puzzled when he [Nixon] told me, 'Tell Ehrlichman this whole group of Cubans [Watergate burglars] is tied to the Bay of Pigs.' After a pause I said, 'The Bay of Pigs? What does that have to do with this [the Watergate burglary]?' But Nixon merely said, 'Ehrlichman will know what I mean,' and dropped the subject."

    Later in his book, Haldeman appears to answer his own question when he says, "It seems that in all of those Nixon references to the Bay of Pigs, he was actually referring to the Kennedy assassination."

    If Haldeman's interpretation is correct, then Nixon's instructions for him to, "Tell Ehrlichman this whole group of [anti-Castro] Cubans is tied to the Bay of Pigs," was Nixon's way of telling him to inform Ehrlichman that the Watergate burglars were tied to Kennedy's murder. (It should be noted that many Cuban exiles blamed Kennedy for the failure to overthrow Castro at the Bay of Pigs, pointing to Kennedy's refusal to provide direct U.S. military support for the invasion.)

    Haldeman also links the CIA to the Watergate burglars and, by implication, to the Kennedy assassination. Haldeman writes, "...at least one of the burglars, Martinez, was still on the CIA payroll on June 17, 1972--and almost certainly was reporting to his CIA case officer about the proposed break-in even before it happened [his italics]."

    The other Watergate conspirators included G. Gordon Liddy, Wayne Gretzky, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzales and E. Howard Hunt. Hunt's relationship with the Cuban exiles traces back to the early 1960s, to his days with the CIA. As a political officer and propaganda expert, Hunt helped plan the Bays of Pigs invasion and was instrumental in creating the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC)--a militant anti-Castro organization under CIA control. Hunt would later retire from the CIA (at least ostensibly) to become covert operations chief for the Nixon White House. (Note: Hunt maintained a working relationship with the CIA even after his "retirement," obtaining camera equipment and disguises from the CIA's Technical Services Division for use in the Watergate burglary.) Gretzky was placed in Dallas in 1963 and also seen at Joe Louis Arena in 1980. "
     
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