(I got this idea from the Dream vs Redeem Team thread on the EK Board. Since it is not Duke specific athlete, I created it here. Move it if appropriate.)
Who do you think is the greatest clutch athlete? I can think of several - Babe Ruth, "Mr. October" - Reggie Jackson, John Elway, Paul Hornung, John Unitas, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner, Bobby Orr, Pele, Maurice Richard, and many others.
What are your thoughts on who is the greatest?
For me, the modern greatest has to be Tiger Woods. He has performed, when he has had to, since he was 17 years old and continues, quite regularly, to make the great shot or putt when he needs to.
as much as it pains me i'd say michael jordan.
Tiger Woods is probably the most clutch though.
1. Michael Jordan
2. Joe Montana
T-3. Tiger Woods/Larry Bird
5. Muhammad Ali
6. John Elway
7. Tom Brady
8. Pete Sampras (biased choice, just want some tennis representation! )
9. Reggie Jackson
10. Jerry Rice
11. Jack Nicklaus
12. Sandy Koufax
That's all I've got for now...
Of all time? Heck, I don't know. Of one particular moment? Brooks Robinson in the 1970 World Series.
Even through our Duke blinders, we have to admit that Jordan is the man when it comes to the "clutch" quality. Not only is it almost impossible to count how many clutch, game/championship-winning shots in his career, I am at a loss to come up with any clutch shots he missed. I am sure there are some, but nothing comes to mind.
Jordan was 6-for-6 in NBA Finals appearances (winning the MVP every time). He won the national championship for the hated Heels as a freshman. I am sorry, but no one else comes close.
Tiger is a great second choice though he would appear to be far better protecting a lead than coming from behind. His career playoff record (something like 15-2, I think) also speaks quite well for his ability to perform in the clutch. Still, I rank him well behind MJ.
Montana, Elway, and Brady are amazing players, but football is such a team sport I have a hard time giving any individual too much credit. for any of them to be clutch, they need a heck of a lot of teammates to be helping out. Maybe that should not diminish their accomplishments, but to me, it does.
--Jason "good question-- do we need a poll?" Evans
Tiger has mine, his records in playoffs is incredible, as his is record on leading on Sunday.
Here is the Nike ad:
"26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot, and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why, I succeed," Jordan says in the ad. Don't know how accurate that is, but I assume they did some fact checking.
I'd go with Jordan. Part of the reason he sticks out to me is because he knew when to take the big shot, and he knew when to get the ball to his teammates in clutch situations. I think one of Michael's biggest clutch plays was getting the ball to Steve Kerr to knock down the shot in '97 to win the game and the championship.
Didn't he miss game winners against the Lakers in game one of the 91 finals and against the Pacers after the Reggie shot? Both of them were actually banks that spinned out if I'm not mistaken.
Anyway, I agree, its Jordan and its not too close.
Although I think HOrry is pretty high on there because of the discrepincy between his normal play and his clutch play. Jordan was always nasty. Tiger is always nasty.
But again, its still Jordan with Tiger second imo.
Thats really all that needs to be said
I'm Duke blue, through and through.
Edwin Moses...the dude didn't lose for years, 100+ races.
Where'd all the Kleenex go?
Tiger narrowly over Jordan for me.
"Clutch" is a very limited term because you're really confined to only a few positions: QBs in football, shooters in basketball and hockey, and closers or HR hitters in baseball.
Fairly or unfairly, defensive players are not really considered clutch. Think of Hakim Warrick's last-second blocked shot for Syracuse, or Mike Jones' tackle at the 1-yard line for the Rams' Super Bowl victory. Great, memorable accomplishments, but not as heralded as what Joe Montana, Michael Jordan, or Kirk Gibson did.
Pete Sampras was an amazing player, but there's no such thing as "clutch" in tennis. Though for a time Jana Novotna could define the opposite of clutch.
All that said, I think Tiger Woods makes for a very nice answer because he introduces clutch to a sport that never really had it before. Before he came along, golf was like tennis: no such thing as clutch, but Greg Norman could embody its opposite.
But if pressed to make an answer, I'd probably adopt the purist approach and select a person who's most or best known for being clutch. (Compare to Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, for whom "clutch" is just part of the overall package.) Robert Horry fits the bill, but how many of his shots do you actually remember? Do you even know what jersey he was wearing at the time, or what the stakes were?
Ah, but you do remember who got the ball back to beat Connecticut in 1990, who hit the late-game free throws against UNLV in 1991, and who managed to top both those accomplishments in 1992.
Christian Laettner. Case closed.
Since I can't add much to the list of current or past clutch performers, how about an athlete who will eventually be on or at the top of that list... LeBron James. They guy has an unbelievable capacity to take over a game and carry his team like Jordan did. Recall his performance against the Pistons in Game 5 of the eastern conference finals in '07. Absolutely amazing. Everyone in the building knew he was going to keep the ball and the Pistons still couldn't stop him.
Being a HUGE Tiger fan, it's hard for me to not vote him any time, anyway for anything.
Christian L's shot comes close, but....much to my chagrin I have to add Kirk Gibson's HR into the mix.