Seven Sports Heroes that were Really Heroes

    February 21, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Being a hero goes beyond performing physical feats.  Every athlete does that.  It’s their business   It’s the ones who are heroic away from their respective sport, the ones who sacrifice their time, money, and sometimes even personal well-being for the betterment of others, that are actually worthy of our admiration.

    And here are six that deserve that admiration…..

    Michael Jordan

    There’s no doubt that Mr. Jordan is a little lacking in the personal sacrifice department.  Not to mention he’s kind of a jackass and a degenerate gambler.  However,  he deserves to be on here for starting a revolution that was clearly much bigger than sports.  Bottom  line is that Jordan should perhaps be considered the first great celebrity of the wired world.  His appeal as a celebrity was able to transcend national boundaries and became a kind of figurehead for the modern age.  It might not be hero in the technical sense but he’s certainly a hero to all of sport.

    Terry Fox

    You’d never know this guy from looking at him but did you know that prior to 1977 there were barely any charity races?  Fox was a distance runner and basketball player who had his right leg amputated in 1977 after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancerous condition.  In 1980 he organized a run called the “Marathon of Hope.”  Nowadays everywhere you turn there’s a charity run of some sort and we have Fox to thank.

    Pat Tillman

    Pat Tillman cut his football career short so he could enlist in the U.S. Army and fight in the War on Terror.  And it’s not only that.  He turned down $3.6 Million to continue his play in the NFL.  How many people do you know that made a sacrifice like that?  Unfortunately Tillman was killed in duty but his actions were about as patriotic as the nation has ever seen.

    Billie Jean King

    Billie Jean King once said, “I’ve never cared that much for cementing my place in history. Sports is so transitory, so ephemeral…. One lesson you learn from sports is that life goes on without you.”  That’s easily part of why Billie Jean King is so important.  She was a key figure in the fight for women’s equality during the 1970s, the time in which her famous victory over Bobby Riggs took place.  If it weren’t for King, women’s sports wouldn’t nearly be as popular as they are today.

    Arthur Ashe

    It would have been enough if Ashe was remembered solely for being the first great African American tennis player.  But he used his celebrity to further civil rights causes, most notably the movement against Apartheid.  And that’s something to be remembered for.  Most athletes don’t use their celebrity status to help.  They use it for their own personal gain.

    Jackie Robinson

    Do I even need to get into this?  In the words of the late David Halberstam, “What made him so important was… that he stood at the exact intersection of two powerful and completely contradictory American impulses, one of the impulse of darkness and prejudice, the other over the impulse of idealism and optimism, the belief in the possibility of true advancement for all Americans in this democratic and meritocratic society.”

    Jessie Owens

    Jesse Owens was the star of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, which was supposed to be a showcase for the so-called “master race.”  If anyone deserves to be on this list it’s an individual who was able to personally piss off Adolf Hitler.

    1. TheReviewer says:

      I’m glad Tillman made the list because that’s a real hero…that’s an athlete that kids really should look up to

    2. wufs says:

      Hello–LOU GEHRIG???? Monty Stratton?
      Michael Jordan is a good player, but hero? What the heck is your definition of a hero? Heroism is facing horrific odds, coming through when things are against you and persevering.
      Jordan is a good player and a CELEBRITY. NOT a hero.

    3. Kait says:

      What about Roberto Clemente? He was a hero to many, many people.

    Speak Your Mind
    Tell us what you're thinking... and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!