The great thing about sports is that they (seemingly) have always been here, and they will continue to exist for a long, long time. With the storied history of sports in this country and around the world, it’s no wonder that every time 40 year old men sit down at the bar for a couple of pops, they end up arguing about something sports related – because so much of it is arbitrary. We will simply never get an answer to some of these questions, but thinking about what would happen is enough to keep some sports fans entertained. As always, please strap in, as we discuss some dream sports match-ups that have never, can never and will never happen.
Pele vs. Cristiano Ronaldo
Novak Djokovic vs. Pete Sampras
Tiger Woods vs. Jack Nicklaus
Usain Bolt vs. Carl Lewis
If you’re on this short list, you’re objectively part of a potential dream match up for some. But not for me. Truth be told, I don’t give a bullocks about these four sports but felt these legends would be pretty offended if I didn’t include them. So, enjoy your bone, gentlemen.
Aroldis Chapman vs. Mark McGwire
We’re kicking off this list with a match-up that could replace your morning coffee. IMAGINE THESE TWO 60 AND A HALF FEET APART. Heat on juice. 105 on 545. Cuban genetics vs. androstenedione. Some reference: Big Mac hit a baseball 545 feet – FIVE HUNDRED FORTY FIVE PISSING FEET – off of some shmuck throwing low 90s. A rough estimate is that every one mph increase in pitch speed results in ~5 feet of extra distance traveled. I don’t think I have to explain what could happen next. Then again, watching Chapman against anybody is kind of a dream scenario for fans, so either way we would walk away smiling. This one would’ve been so great, man. A true match-up to make old-school #BaseballGuys hide their eyes.
Larry Bird vs. Lebron James
I don’t really like Lebron James, but I really don’t like Lebron James’s fans. They’re the type to hate Kevin Durant for joining Golden State but also quickly reminding you how IT WAS WAY DIFFERENT, MAN when Lebron went to the Heat. They’re the type to try and discredit Kobe Bryant’s career – Kobe. Bryant. – by ripping on his field goal percentage. But more than anything, they’re the type to say that the players of old can’t hold a candle to players of today, especially Lebron James. I know two things: 1.) Bird could not stop Lebron James from scoring. 2.) Larry Bird would absolutely make Lebron stans eat their words. Larry Legend was a-small-forward-but-also-the-best-passer-in-the-league before it was cool. Before it was STOLEN by LBJ. I have no prediction for final stat lines here, but Bird hitting a slower than molasses fade away jumper right in #23’s face would be worth the price of admission for me. Shut up, fanboys.
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan
A blog post with zero pro wrestling is a blog post I don’t wanna know. And considering that these are all one on one match-ups and this is a largely one on one sport, it felt natural. What else feels natural? The two biggest stars in the history of wrestling, squaring off (sorry Flair; sorry Rock – this doesn’t count movies). Austin/ Hogan is a match-up that everyone thought we’d see at some point – but it wasn’t in the cards. Hogan jumping ship to WCW in the late 1990s, Austin dealing with multiple injuries, Hogan having a very limited match output upon his return to the ‘E… it just never materialized. And it’s a cryin’ shame. Interestingly enough, these two were technically opponents for a tag match on Raw in the early 2000s, but never shared the ring. Sad. At least we got Hogan and The Rock at ‘Mania X8. But, honestly, that only makes this one seem like it could have been even better.
Shaquille O’Neal Vs. Wilt Chamberlain
This one was a real slam-dunk!
Sorry. But really, this one has layers. Both stars in smaller markets before turning to the bright lights of Tinsel-Town. Both dominant for their era. Both larger than life physically and personality wise. Shaq’s brutal power against Wilt’s finesse and lanky post offense. This one would be really, really cool. It’s easy to say Shaq would overpower Wilt the Stilt but Wilt has made a good point about this in the past: how many points could he have averaged in the 1960s if they had the 2000s rule book? Maybe more than his 50 a game in 1962? Yeah, maybe. MAYBE THAT. Even Golden State would look to the post if the basketball gods could’ve somehow given us this match-up.
George St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva
This is the worst one, by a mile. Because it should have happened! They were 15 pounds apart and both champions! At the same time! Conor Mcgregor fought up 25 pounds on two weeks notice to fight Nate Diaz, with no belt on the line. Just for the bullocks of it. Cormier won fights at 205 and 240 in a calendar year. I went out drinking last Friday, and woke up dehydrated: 6 pounds gone! We’re all fluctuating weight here gentlemen! And two guys on the UFC’s Mt. Rushmore (probably) can’t go up/down 15 bloody pounds? Have a catch-weight if you have to. Make it 177.5. I DON’T CARE JUST TAKE MY MONEY. It’s a shame this never happened. An absolute shame. Also, Silva would’ve gotten punked cause he’s overrated and wailed on nobodies for most of his title reign (thank you for coming to my TED talk).
Pedro Martinez vs. Babe Ruth
If you go strictly off of numbers, Babe Ruth is the best player in the game’s history and it’s hardly close. While Bonds’ 2001-2004 is by far the most impressive stretch in sports history, when you factor in era, Ruth from 1920-1932 (13 seasons) slashed .356/.489/.730 and hit 603 home runs. I mean.. I MEAN. But, conveniently enough as a Red Sock, Pedro Martinez had himself a stretch for the ages too, and probably the most impressive from the bump in baseball history: 7 seasons. 2.20 ERA. 1761 Strikeouts. IN THE STEROID ERA. Against guys that looked like they sat on a cattle tranquilzers, Martinez had a 1.74 ERA in 2000! Maybe these are two of the best three stretches ever, maybe they’re not. All I know is this would Yankees/Red Sox. It would be power on power. It would be man who would get body shamed in today’s MLB vs. man who would get body shamed in today’s MLB. This would be, by far, the best dream match-up we could ever come up with on the diamond.
Mike Tyson vs. Muhammad Ali
Okay, look. I could’ve made this whole list boxing, but that’s not what they pay me for. I have to be diverse and appeal to the masses. BUT. Some of the fights we can make up in the squared circle.. I mean, come on. Floyd Mayweather and Sugar Ray Robinson. Lennox Lewis and Joe Frazier. George Foreman and Deontay Wilder. Klitschko (or Klitschko) and Riddick Bowe. Needless to say, the long history of boxing + the one on one nature of the sport = the perfect storm for endless dream match-ups. But nothing is more intriguing then Tyson and Ali. The most discussed boxing hypothetical of all time. Would Tyson connect, or would he punch himself out? Would Ali be quick enough to not get smoked by a Tyson left hook? Would Ali be the aggressor or pick his spots. It’s impossible to tell. There are two things that favor Ali in this situation. The first is that Tyson never fought a man of Ali’s caliber, whereas Ali fought multiple men of Tyson’s caliber (or very close to Tyson’s caliber). The second is that once upon a time, the whole world thought that Ali would be knocked out by a big puncher. That big puncher was named George Foreman, and he ended up on his back in Kinshasa, Zaire, the loser of the Rumble in the Jungle – the biggest fight of any kind, of all time. Ali has the superior resume and is higher on any sane person’s list of all-time greats. But, when it comes to Iron Mike, all it took was one punch.