A group calling themselves the SURVEY MONKEYS & THE UNDEFEATED of ESPN teamed up to select The 50 Greatest Black Athletes of All-Time, it was a gross injustice to the rich history of the Black Athlete. This was Monkey Business with a bunch of monkeys who didn’t have a clue. It was the blind leading the blind.
How can anyone pick the 50 greatest black athletes in one survey swoop? To be fair you would have to divide the survey into three 50 year segments starting with 1900–1950 for the first 50 years and 1950–2000 for the second 50 years. The athletes born between 2000–2050 will just have to wait their turn and see if they stand the test of time. Especially, if you are going to measure their greatness on Player Domination—Impact, and Community Service!
By that criterion alone there is no way you can pick Michael Jordan over Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown or Jackie Robinson. Jordan’s impact in the community was “Ground Zero.” I was not surprised that Major League Baseball (MLB) owners may allow him and Derek Jeter to join their “Good Old Boys Club” as the first minority black owners. Neither will have the final word or control. According to sources Jordan is mostly lending his name, the sale is not yet final.
The barriers (racism) were completely different in the first 50 years and the same can be said for the second 50 years and the third 50 years. The problem, it is evident the Survey Monkey and the Undefeated of ESPN who teamed up to vote for this top 50 black athletes had no clue when it comes to the history of the Black Athlete. This is a sham—anytime you name two female gymnist who just turned 21 in the top 10 proves that you have no clue. The group should re-name themselves from the Monkey Survey & the Undefeated to “Monkey See, Monkey Do.”
The black slave was the first pro athlete, therefore, my top ten of the first 50 would have to be athletes who fall before or after the time constraints of 2000-2050.
My TOP TEN in the first 50 years would include four boxers with names like Joe Gans, Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, and Sugar Ray Robinson, adding to the list would be Paul Roberson (Football), Isaac Murphy (horse racing), Jesse Owens (track & field), Athea Gibson (tennis), Jackie Robinson (baseball), and Josh Gibson (baseball) and not necessarily in that order.