The Most Amazing Partnerships in All of Sports!
Ah…the waltz. Perfect partners twirling around the dance floor in each other’s arms. As Astaire and Rogers proved long ago, a perfect duo knows every step – yet they also know every reaction of their partner. They can almost ‘feel’ the thoughts going on inside their partner’s minds, and can adapt at a second’s notice to make sure the show goes off without a hitch.
We sports fans have seen this off the dance floor, as well. Leaving the tuxedo’s at the door, there are duos who have gone out on courts, fields, ice – who have brought their fans to the height of excitement. They have a fluidity that can only be found in professional dancers who have the perfect steps, the perfect timing, and offer the audience perfect symmetry. I know, I know, Matthew Morrison is appearing in your mind as he shines brighter than the actual lights glaring down on him – but I am speaking about the beauty and grace of sports. I am taking away the fights, battles, red flags, wrestling matches – all of that stuff – and presenting the perfect match-ups that have sparked our minds, engaged our senses, and brought us home our trophies! They have instilled pride in their ‘hometowns’ and should get credit for every performance they gave.
Below are the superstars of sports – at least from my point of view and, frankly, is there anyone else who counts? J These were the partners who hooked up for the touchdowns, goals, slam dunks, etc. With their huge talent and incredible drive to always win, they had the power and the ability to confuse their opponents in order to achieve their goal. I have to give it up for everything from baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and tennis, here today – but I still have that love for my men of soccer. Christiano Ronaldo/Tevez/Rooney – but these particular triplets are being saved for another article…
Even though there is only one who receives that coveted MVP title, sports is truly made up of an ensemble cast. And the duos who were as dynamic as Batman and Robin (scratch that, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee were cooler) – who treated fans with thrills and chills are recognized today!
Seeing as that basketball is headlining the news, I begin with Shaq and Kobe. Their relationship was one of an abusive marriage in many ways. They despised each other; their egos could not fit in the same room even if that room was Westminster Abbey. Yet something happened during their (too short) time together – and they ended up becoming the most dominant and amazing duo to watch on that court. Kobe is like electricity in a bottle, and having that ability to see every single player on that court and be able to shoot like Billy the Kid, he somehow perfectly complemented Shaq’s truly lethal, all-powerful play. Everyone from coaches to opponents seemed to have a hazy look in their eyes when they watched these two haters become best friends and perfect mates when the buzzer sounded and the game began. This unbeatable combination led the Lakers to three NBA championships before Shaq decided his ego, perhaps, needed to move on and leave Kobe behind. But those games – those seasons – WOW!
Now, give it up for the sisters! Serena and Venus know their s**t, and the Williams’ women bring the most amazement to the game of tennis than anyone who came before. Yes, there were the bad boys, bad girls, hot guys…you get the point – that everyone loved along the way – but when these women stepped on the court, time stopped.
Individually they were (are) stunning, but the amazing doubles tournaments showed that they have been each others’ opponent since they were born. It’s hard enough to go against one of them, but when you have the intense power and speed of both sisters standing across from you – forget it! It’s over for you, but at least fans will really enjoy the ride.
The ice is nice! Or, at least when Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri were together the ice was better than nice. When they played, NHL suddenly took over the NFL as being the most entertaining and thrilling to watch. Yes, hockey players operate as trios usually, but no matter who the third happened to be, when Gretzky and Kurri matched up there was nothing to stop them. They knew where the other would be, they sensed what the other would do, and every single time they were on their game (which was 99% of the time) the goal that they wanted became a reality. If you went into any bar across this amazing country, at any hour of the night, you could sit with any group, have a beer, talk about the NHL, and 100% of the individuals would agree that Wayne Gretzky will never be replaced as the greatest hockey player there ever was. His career numbers are unparalleled, but Kurri was a major reason for those numbers. He was the one on the end of those famous Gretzky passes and truly made the Great One great!
Ah…the history. The photos are still available; even old videos still exist on YouTube (God bless technology). Without the modern age some generations would never know the brilliance of Babe Ruth and Lou Gherig. There are new names, there are overdriven egos and men who are great hitters yet pull down billions of dollars even when they’re not all that great. But way back when, baseball was simply a game that everyone loved. You were thrilled to be in that ballpark watching your idols – in fact, it was a dream come true. Whereas now you can head to YouTube and see your ‘new’ idols acting like major morons – which will probably turn you off immediately. I’m not saying these two Yankees were ‘clean and sweet’ – well, one of them certainly wasn’t – but what I am saying is that everything else dimmed when it came to their time on that diamond…
At that same bar after you speak about Gretzky, Ruth and Gehrig will be praised as the two best sluggers to ever hold a baseball bat in their hands. They are legends. Ruth is 3rd in career home runs with 714, and if he’d played more games he would have been first. Gherig gave his mighty fans 23 career grand slams (still the most in MLB history). Their stats and accomplishments were long – but what they were was not only a dynamic duo of baseball, they were THE duo of sports, and forever will be.
Everyone who compiles things like this speaks loud and proud about Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen…and should! They led the most dominant team in basketball and showed the world they were the ‘best of the best.’ However, I have to say there was a duo far better than they were. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were what I thought basketball represented. When I was younger, my father would speak about them and tell me all there was to know about this dynamic duo that will remain unmatched for all time. He, as did many others, gave Magic and Kareem the titles of being the best NBA players of all time – in ANY position. The Lakers were the lucky dogs who had them at exactly the same time. Magic could pass like Dumbledore could create spells – flawlessly and completely outsmarting his opponents. Kareem would appear with his skyhook, a signature move that all of his opponents could only stare at with wide eyes. In fact, in some of those games it looked like the other team simply wanted to sit down and watch, so they wouldn’t miss a second of what these two men could produce: 5 NBA championships and sheer perfection.
I know, people will say I’m prejudice, BUT I am not. I swear. I love football. I love to banter and yap about all things football. I even love to fight with those older VFW men in the bar who protect me like their granddaughter about who was the best and who really blows nowadays. But the one thing we agree on – even though they really don’t want to agree on it sometimes – is the fact that when Joe Montana and Jerry Rice stepped on a football field, everyone took a deep breath. Fans felt their palms sweat and hearts race as they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were about to see two future legends show them exactly how football was supposed to be played!
Rice would eventually go on to create another dynamic duo with Steve Young, but with Montana it was a Broadway show, with each performance filled with elegance, beauty, and pure symmetry. They excelled, and they never backed down. Somehow they always brought out their best on the ‘big game’ days, and left the field with the win, the trophy, and fans whose mouths were agape – in complete awe of the talent they’d just witnessed.
There are unknown duos out there right now getting ready to take on the world and make their dreams come true, but these are the men and women that they need to emulate in order to become the next batch of true superstars.
Until Next Time, Everybody,