How much does winning a championship matter? Can it propel you from being a top 5 player in your sport to being the greatest of all time? How much should it really matter in determining someone’s greatness? I would say that it depends on the sport.
In baseball, a World Series Championship is nice to have when being looked at when getting into the Hall of Fame, but most of the focus is on whether or not they think you took PEDs, their likability as a person, and then they look at statistics (I am clearly over the Hall of Fame voting fiasco). The reason a World Series title isn’t vital when discussing greatness is baseball is a team sport where one player can’t really change the entire outlook of a team.
In basketball, I think it is all that people look at, and as I have said before, I think that is stupid. While basketball is a sport that can be drastically altered by one person, it is still a very team based sport. One player can’t defend or beat 5 other players. I don’t care if you put together the talents of LeBron, Kobe, Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, and Magic Johnson into Shaq‘s body; you aren’t going to win 1 on 5. That’s why I think LeBron is the best player I have ever seen play basketball even though a lot of people say MJ because of the 6 titles. *Full Disclosure: I wasn’t old enough to see MJ. I only see highlights that glorify him as a player. That’s a reminder to everyone my age who says MJ is the greatest basketball player of all time.* It has little to do with championships, but it is not the most important thing.
In the NFL, it doesn’t matter for 21 guys on the field. It does matter for quarterbacks. Again, I think there is way too much emphasis on it, but it’s just the way it is. That’s why Dan Marino doesn’t get as much love as he should. The quarterback has the more control over a sports game than any other position in any sport. He dictates the actions of the whole offense. While he needs to be protected, he can help the protection protect him (Yes, I know that sounds weird). Anyway, this brings me to my point that Peyton Manning‘s legacy as a big talking point this week. I think it shouldn’t be. This one game shouldn’t change anything. In a lot of people’s eyes, Manning will jump to the greatest of all time if he wins this game. In my eyes, his legacy is set in stone as this… He is the greatest quarterback of all time in controlled environment, but wouldn’t be considered that great if he played in New England his whole career.