It’s my legacy
Well the sporting weekend provided fans with a great deal of spectacle and some great individuals efforts by athletes and teams alike. While in the world of thoroughbred racing American Pharaoh made history as the first Triple Crown winner in almost four decades, having won the Belmont Stakes in Pimlico, New York with effortless ease. It begs the question will the feat itself provide the world of horse racing with enough interest where the “Sport of Kings” is now taken more seriously ?
Thoroughbred racing remains in a rut , and it has not been helped by a litany of controversy and the illegal actions of a number of trainers in recent years with their drugging of the equines (horses) to facilitate their running in races while obviously injured. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association for their part have simply been negligent with their overseeing of the sport on a national basis.
American Pharaoh’s trainer Bob Baffert now adds to a long list of achievements in his racing career while for jockey Victor Espinoza , he joins a select few of jockeys to have won the Triple Crown , compromising of the Kentucky Derby , Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. It is undeniable that horse racing in North America needed something to take it out of its doldrums and add to its history. Whether or not American Pharaoh now races again will be dependent upon owner Ahmed Zayat and Bob Baffert , but clearly the horse will be worth untold millions by being put to stud , and likely bringing vast sums in breeding fees for Zayat Stables .
The second of Tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments ended in a fizzle rather than a great deal of excitement. Serena Williams won her twentieth Grand Slam singles’ title with some ease (6-3,6-7,6-2) , defeating Lucie Safarova for her third French Open title. For Williams she remains atop of the WTA rankings and by far the best female tennis player of her generation and likely to be seen as one the all-time greats, once she decides to call it quits. There have been few female players as dominant as Williams at her very best. .
For Williams, having already won a career Grand Slam , Australian Open , French , Wimbledon and US Open . All that now remains for the US player , is the fact of winning at several more Grand Slam singles’ titles, while looking to supplant legends such as Martina Navratilova , Margaret Court , Steffi Graf and Billie Jean King as the greatest female player in the history of the game. She will head into Wimbledon as the clear and unequivocal favorite, while looking to win her sixth title at the All England Tennis Club (AETC) .
If Serena Williams was seen as the clear-cut favorite at the French Open, then Novak Djokovic on the Men’s side had to have been viewed in the same light. As the world number one in the Men’s rankings, Djokovic was seeking to win the Men’s Singles title and with it a career Grand Slam. Rod Laver , Andre Agassi , Roger Federer , Rafa Nadal , Roy Emerson , Fred Perry and Donald Budge are the only men to have achieved the feat of winning all four Majors. This event was not to be for the Serbian as he fell to Stanislaw ‘Stan’ Warwinka in the Men’s Singles Finals, in four thrilling sets. As to what this might suggest about Djokovic’s failure, may explain a great deal about the competitiveness of the Men’s game and the very fact many have questioned why there no longer appears to be a truly dominant male player in tennis.
Novak Djokovic has now come to the crossroads, where if he is to be considered one of the greats of the modern era , his adding the French title to his mantel of Slam successes will have to come sooner , rather than later. Granted , Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl , never achieved a career Grand Slam , but the longevity of their individual careers and the titles won has added to their respective legacies.
Baseball’s season is slowly meandering to its midway point and already we have seen the teams have their highs and lows. Players in particular are now looking to make a name for themselves this season, with Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals finally putting together the type of season and productivity , many thought he was capable of doing. Among pitchers, the Tampa Bay Rays’ starting pitcher Chris Archer became the first pitcher in history to have pitched three consecutive games with double-digit strikeouts in each of the contests in question. The Rays for their part are currently challenging the New York Yankees for divisional prominence in the AL East division. Rookie manager Kevin Cash and his managerial staff have seen the team play some inspired baseball over the course of their schedule thus far. .
Both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays have won seven of their last ten games , with the Yankees currently on six-game winning streak. New York has a home game facing the Washington Nationals , whereas the Rays take on the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida in a slew of games taking place on Monday, 8th Juneand Tuesday, 9th , 2015. From my own perspective, while the season still in its infancy , I believe the New York Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals still have a great deal to prove over the remainder of this season !
Alex Rodriguez may well be inching his way to baseball immortality or as some might suggest, infamy. I have to wonder how his career and legacy will be viewed by baseball historians once it comes to an end. . Rodriguez recently passed Hall of Fame great Willie Mays for fourth all-time on the home-runs’ career list and is slowly making inroads on the career RBI list. The seven hundred career home runs’ plateau may not be reached this season by Rodriguez , but two thousand runs batted in , will be the next milestone reached in his career . Something likely to be achieved in his next game for the Yankees as they look to solidify their position within the division.
Chris Archer has proven himself to be one of the better young pitchers on a Rays’ staff , which as an organization has been built upon their pitching rather than their offense. Archer and the Rays will have to play at a high level over the course of this season, if the ball-club is to have any chance of winning the AL East or actually gain a wildcard berth and the chance of making the postseason.
The NBA Finals are now proving to be something of a one-man show as LeBron James seeks to do his utmost to bring the state of Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers their first professional sports’ title in the last four decades. Cleveland evened their series , taking game two against the Golden State Warriors , in a thrilling contest marked by several intense performances , but perhaps none more so than James’ triple double performance . Steph Curry may well have been outshone by the performance , but he was no slouch in the contest as the second leading scorer for the Warriors in game two. Certainly Curry played well below par and the expectations sought by Steve Kerr , his coaching staff and undoubtedly the Golden State fans.
LeBron James has been inching his way towards postseason history and is now averaging one of the highest points per game averages in playoff and NBA Finals’ history. The fact he is now doing this all almost single handed, while looking to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title makes his performances all the more astonishing . Bear in mind the team is without All Star players Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love , while rookie head coach David Blatt is being asked to out-coach his counterpart Steve Kerr, someone with vast playoff experience as a player, having won titles with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs . A pivotal game tonight in Cleveland, Ohio at the Quicken Loans Arena beckons, with LeBron James and the Cavaliers looking to take the upper hand in this series. This will be the third game in the best of seven-game series, where both teams will now be looking to reassert themselves in this series .
If LeBron is able to capture his third NBA title and quite possibly the Finals’ MVP Award , then the continued comparisons now being made with Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson , as to where he now ranks among the all-time greats to have played the game as well as creating a legacy in Playoff history will continue. Certainly, something achieved by both Hall of Fame inductees Jordan and Johnson with both having won multiple titles over the course of their respective careers.
With a reputed $150 million payday after his clinical dismantling of Manny Pacquaio , Floyd Mayweather has no real challenges left on the horizon in terms of his boxing career and legacy. Forty-eight bouts, 48 consecutive victories , with twenty six coming by way of a knockout . The only remaining mark the multi-titled fighter seems eager on pursuing , is to reach a career-goal of making it to 50-0 .
Over the past four years, Mayweather has not fought anyone of significance and while his opponents have been hand-picked , one has to admit an aging and waning Manny Pacquaio was simply a complete waste of time as an opponent . Even if this alleged mega-fight had taken place five or six years ago, when both fighters were deemed to be at their peak , Pacquiao would still have wounded up on the wrong side of a rather embarrassing defeat . The hype over the Filipino fighter simply acknowledged what many already knew , he is not that great a boxer and he simply cannot take a punch . His knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez showed the fighter to have a glass jaw and the very fact he chose to sidestep Marquez and a rematch, instead seeking to pursue a big money fight against Floyd Mayweather, indicates just one thing. Pacquiao was running scared and in need one last big payday as his career is now on the downside .
Floyd Mayweather for his part, will take some time away from the ring , though still craving the glare of the limelight though not always acting like the icon he believes himself to be. He cannot be seen as a role model, but as the best boxer of his generation , that fact is undoubted . As to his being the greatest of all-time, historians and fans can now begin to debate his legacy and list of achievements and estimations of his wealth and influence on the sport of boxing . His retirement will leave a vacuum within a sport which is all but dead and with no real challenger in sight , even if the likes of Amir Khan , Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin are being bandied about as future opponents. Mayweather’s only concern will not be the caliber of his opponent , but how much his next paycheck is likely to be. “ Show me the money mother-##cker or just get the ##ck out of my way “ !
I firmly believe it is hard to adjudge a player and their greatness until their careers have to come to an end ! Making claims or seeking place them among the ranks of the greats of a game is simply meaningless on so many levels, especially when you consider the eras when these athletes are said to have played. It is even more difficult to make such a judgment when seeking to evaluate an athlete in a team sport.
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What, do you believe, defines a dominant athlete during the modern athletic era? Is it their longevity within a sport or the level of consistency shown and the success attained ?
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