POLL QUESTION – AUGUST 23
By Leo Haggerty

WHAT 3 ATHLETES WHO ARE DECEASED WOULD YOU LIKE THE HAVE DINNER

It’s Sunday.  Poll Question time.

Here’s this weeks query and, if you’ve been following our weekly questions, you’ve probably figured out what we’re asking our staff for comment.  This week’s teaser is:

WHAT 3 ATHLETES WHO ARE DECEASED WOULD YOU LIKE THE HAVE DINNER?

Below are the answers that our staff has sent to me.  Some are short and directly to the point.  Others are long and contain great detail like the first one from Mike Simzak who is picture is featured in this column.

In my book, both are excellent.  Enjoy.

MIKE SIMZAK – KSP AFC NORTH CORRESPONDENT
1) Jack Johnson: The first black heavyweight champion during the height of the Jim Crow era, his victory over James Jeffries in 1910  touched off race riots throughout the country, novelist Jack London described it as a tragedy for the white race, and Congress attempted to ban all tapes of the fight. The “Galveston Giant” was one of the most feared fighters of the time and frequently toyed with opponent until the later rounds of a fight before quickly dispatching them. He was known for his love of fast cars and speeding and once (reportedly) paid a $50 speeding ticket with $100 bill saying “I’m coming back this way too”. He was the only person ever convicted of white slave trafficking under the Mann Act and, while in prison, he modified a monkey wrench to loosen his handcuff which were too tight, for this he received a patent.
2) Jack Roosevelt (Jackie) Robinson: Robinson came from an athletic family, his brother Mack won a silver medal in the 200 at the 1936 Olympics, finish second to Jesse Owens. Jackie was a 4-letter athlete at UCLA and the sport he would become most well known for (baseball) was his worst, he hit .097 in his only season for the Bruins. Robinson was an NCAA champion in the long jump and possibly would have made the Olympic team if not for WWII. A commissioned officer during the war, Robinson was court martialed for refusing to moved to the back of a bus in Texas, he won. Of course, he is most famous for breaking baseball’s modern color barrier (Moses “Fleetwood” Walker was the first black Major League player) and Robinson lead the Brooklyn Dodgers to their only World Series title in Brooklyn in 1955. During his Hall of Fame career, Robinson batted .311 and stole home 19 times, winning Rookie of the Year and an MVP. After baseball, he controversially testified before the McCarthy committee and named names. He became the first athlete to have his number retired league wide in 1997.  3) George Best: If you’re known as the ‘Fifth Beatle’ and they sing songs about partying with you in the stands of your club’s stadium, you’re probably a good time. Best once said “ I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.” and “ I used to go missing a lot… Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World.” Beyond that, he was one of the greatest soccer players ever, he won the 1968 European Player of the Year and finished 6th in the voting for Player of the Century. Best scored 137 goals in 367 appearances for Manchester United and led them to League titles in 1965 and and 1967 as well as the 1968 European Cup.

ANGELO DIBIASE – KSP NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL ANALYST
Payne Stewart.  Kobe Bryant.  Babe Ruth.

JOHN LENTZ – KSP NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL ANALYST
Lou Gehrig.  Wilt Chamberlain.  Pete Maravich.

KAZ RIVARD – KSP NFC NORTH CORRESPONDENT
Bart Starr – As a lifelong fan of the Pack, this would top my list.  Jackie Robinson – Would be fascinating, and maybe even sad to hear some of his stories.  Aaron Hernandez – Just watched the Netflix documentary on him a while ago. Would be interesting to see where it all went wrong for him.

JEFFREY NEIL FOX – ISM PUBLISHER
Leroy Selmon.  Muhammad Ali.  Babe Ruth

WILL SMITH – KSP AFC EAST CORRESPONDENCE
Great question, and one of the hardest to answer as I’ve been bouncing names around like a pin ball game.  So, I’m going to have to make two reservations please.  I’ll go ahead as settle on Jessie Owens, Jim Thorpe and Jackie Robinson, as this group of athletes had to battle more than just the game.  Second group, just for the crazy stories and over the top characters, are Wilt Chamberlain, Muhammad Ali and Babe Ruth.
LEO HAGGERTY – ISM EDITOR
Jim Thorpe-I grew up in Pennsylvania borough of Jim Thorpe.  Used to be called Mauch Chuck.  Talking to the greatest athlete of all time over a meal is a no-brainer.  Wilt-Chamberlain-Who wouldn’t want to break bread with the greatest basketball player, sorry MJ and LeBron, of all time.  Muhammed Ali-Lunch with The Greatest?  Wouldn’t pass that up