Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Top 50 black athletes poll worth a look. ... and a drink

The first thought when reading The Undefeated’s announcement of the 50 Greatest Black Athletes was who came up with this list.

Then I learned it was done via polls of more than 10,000 adults by Survey Monkey, an online survey development cloud-based software company in San Mateo, CA.

Two questions were asked to garner a group of 200 athletes. Next it was pared to 60 and then 50. It’s the result of polls more than a list.

Hmm, Monkey, huh?

Then I thought back to the polling results that sent this country into a tailspin last November when I consistently read how there was no way Donald Trump could defeat Hillary Clinton.

My perception, without a poll but the experience of living in America and yes, as an African-American, Trump very much had a chance to win. Yes, I believed there were enough frustrated and insecure white (and perhaps some Black and Latino) men who couldn’t see turning over the presidency to a woman. I didn't realize there were enough dumb women to vote for a man who'd openly disrespected them.

Well, you see where we are today.

Perhaps my next thought was why Gallup, the company long used as the U.S.’s polling staple, never has once called me or anyone I know. OK, this was an online poll. Most people have online capabilities, but this poll did miss a group of those who, 1) don’t go online and 2) won’t take the time to do any type of survey.

How many times do you respond affirmatively when a company asks you to assess its performance in a brief after-call survey?

The Undefeated and SurveyMonkey attempted to use data from the census bureau to best compile an accurate depiction of race, gender, age, education and geography from those polled.

All of those factors are important in determining why people may have voted the way they did.

The Undefeated took on a nearly impossible task in attempting to establish an accurate and legitimate order. There is little doubt no matter how close I am with 10 of my best and oldest friends, we’d all have different lists.

Many of the same athletes, if not most, would be our lists, but the orders would be different. In some cases, the orders would be markedly different.

Enough of the foreplay, I’ll get to The Undefeated/SurveyMonkey poll results. Michael Jordan was chosen as the greatest black athlete in terms of dominance (20%), societal impact (20%), inspiration (20%) and overall rating (40 %).

Muhammad Ali would have been my No.1, and knowing what I know from knowing MJ, I think he’d agree. I could be wrong, but Ali made it fashionable to be black when American society blatantly was telling us it wasn’t.

Why do you think James Brown’s hit, “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud,” was so popular? It was like a black national anthem. It didn’t take the place of “Lift every voice and sing,” often referred to as the Negro national anthem, but Brown’s cut was the anthem of the streets.

It’s important to check out the Undefeated/SurveyMonkey poll. The results lead ESPN’s sports page today. It’s beautifully laid out and the profiles of the top 50 are well-written by Justin Tinsley, Jerry Bembry and Aaron Dodson. I know Bembry well, and I believe Tinsley attended the alma mater, Hampton University (Institute). I don’t know Dodson.

The poll definitely is worth a look-see, even though I have major disagreements with many rankings. I mean Roberto Clemente at No. 40, Bill Russell at No. 36, Jim Brown at No. 30, LeBron James at No. 29 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at No. 13 means I must shake my damn head. And that’s just to name a few.

A case could be made for each of those five to be placed in the top 10.

However, it’ll be interesting to see the racial, gender and age breakdown of those polled. It only makes sense that Ali means more to me than to someone that may not have seen him fight or watched him endure the plight of living in racist society.

What's crazy is there is no Tiger Woods in the top 50. Sorry, Tiger, who may not roll with being black, but you are, blood. Now, where golfers are athletes can be debated as I've done before with Jordan. But Woods changed the face of an entire sport. I even watched when he played. He should be somewhere, perhaps No. 50, moreso for what he hasn't done than what he has.

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