In researching 20th-century newspaper reportage for the stories of the great all-time athletes (thus far Jim Thorpe, Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Angelo Mosca), it is becoming pointedly obvious that much sports journalism was not subject to, likesay, very rigorous editorial scrutiny.
As an example, check out the below story published in the Evening Star newspaper of Washington, D.C., following Thorpe’s incredible success at the 1912 Olympic Games.
The entire premise of Truly the GOATs is about challenging the notion of labeling sports’ players, teams or events hastily and clichédly “Greatest of All-Time.” My theory – still doing research on this – is that the tendency began with Michael Jordan and/or the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team, a.k.a. The Dream Team.
One can easily see why: Not since the days of Pelé and his Team Brazil football sides of the 1950s and 60s had the wide world of sports so clearly witnessed once-in-a-century greatness. Team USA ultimately lived up to the pre-Olympics hype by winning every game – by an average score of 43.8. Even Brazil drew a couple of matches in their three World Cup-winning runs.
The Dream Team was so great that they even enjoyed one of the best Hall of Fame enshrinement speeches 20 years after the 1992 Olympics Games, courtesy Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Bird, in fact, solidifies his bid for the Greatest Trash-Talker of All-Time by closing out the speech with the last word on the ridiculous 1960 Team USA vs 1992 Team USA debates leading into both squads’ indubction in Springfield. Check it out: Even Jordan can’t maintain his cooler-than-thou demeanor when Larry starts dropping bombers like he was killing the Lakers with jumpers.
The complete transcript of the speech runs below the video.