Is Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback who's ever lived? He has the awards to back it up, but his accomplishments and fame go beyond that. He made "Omaha" into a household name. He made people laugh as a Saturday Night Live host and in commercials. He won one Super Bowl, and played in two others. He donated lots of money for an Indianapolis children's hospital. And when everyone thought his career was over because of a herniated disc in his neck, he proved them wrong with yet another NFL MVP performance. Why has Peyton Manning been so good for so long? Let's take a look.
Brace to meet some of the biggest baseball stars of the Negro Leagues. They were men and women of glory and achevement, of spectacular ability and heartbreaking obstacles. They rose above discrimination to pursue their dreams. Cool Papa Bell was once said to be so fast, he could outrun electricity. Another story had Josh Gibson hit a towering fly ball in Pittsburgh that didn't land until the next day-in Philadelphia! Pitcher Satchel Paige won with a blistering fastball when he was young, and then with experience and creativity when he was old. He played with charm and witty sayings: "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." Nobody messed with Oscar Charleston or fielded better than John "Pop" Lloyd.Women such as Peanut Johnson and Toni Stone also made big impressions. These are among the brightest stars of a league, gone but never forgotten.
Like America in the first half of the twentieth century, baseball was still segregated. Every road to the major leagues was blocked by unwritten agreements never to allow black athletes entry. It seemed like the better they played, the further they were pushed back. Until, that is, a plan was hatched by two men. One seized an opportunity to advance the game of baseball forever, and the other ran a path through bigotry like he ran the bases, with strength and grace. Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson would work together to break down the color barriers of baseball, and show the world that African-American athletes were as good and as worthy as anyone to put on a major league uniform. They were not alone. From Larry Doby to Monte Irvin, and the irrepressible Satchel Paige, baseball was gifted by the emergence of a weath of talent and personality that would truly make it, at last, America's pastime.
Before and after the Civil War, the African American community held the same passion for baseball as the rest of the nation. But black players faced prejudice. They were banned from the major leagues. From this group emerged Andrew "Rube" Foster, one of the greatest pitchers and managers of the early twentieth century. The founder of the Negro National League, Foster was called the Father of Black Baseball. Thanks to his vision and efforts, black players were finally respected. The doors to Major League Baseball were opened to black players, and the world could enjoy such superstars as Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron.
Banned from professional baseball in the late 19th century, African-American players were forced to go on the road to make money playing the game they loved. Enduring poor fields and long journeys between games, teams brought their unique and entertaining brand of baseball to towns big and small. Even when they had trouble securing food and lodging because of the color of their skin, these players persevered, opening the door for the ultimate return of African-American athletes to big-league baseball.
He was a man who fought like no other inside the ring, yet outside the ring he fought for peace. "The Louisville Lip" went on to become a three-time champion, beating some of boxing's greatest fighters, including Joe Frazier and George Foreman. He stunned the world when he beat Sonny Liston for the title. He stunned the world even more when he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He was stripped of his title and banned from boxing for refusing to join the military because of his religious beliefs, then returned to become one of the most famous athletes in history. Not even Parkinson's disease could stop him. A fighter, poet, civil rights leader, humanitarian, and more, Ali remains, in his own words, the king of the world.
Mo'ne Davis did what most people thought couldn't be done. She dominated like no girl had done before, showing that girls could beat boys at their own Little League baseball game. At 13 years old, during a spectacular month in August 2014, Mo'ne became the most famous baseball player in the nation. She threw fastballs to rival the form of major league pitchers. She showed maturity and poise beyond her years. And perhaps the most amazing thing is, baseball is probably not her best sport. You might someday see her playing professional basketball. When it comes to Mo'ne Davis, all things are possible.
Kevin Durant is a kid at heart when he's not busy being a basketball star. He is a 6-foot-9 forward with guard skills and a drive to be the best in whatever he does. That includes acting-Durrant starred in the movie Thunderstruck. He made such an impression in his one year at the University of Texas that he became the NBA's no. 2 draft pick. Before he was 25 years old, Durrant was a three-time NBA scoring champion and an Olympic gold medalist. He rates as one of the NBA's most popular players-you can catch him on Twitter-and goes out of his way to help those in need. Durrant is a superstar in every sense of the word.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, also known as "RG3," is not Superman, although he sometimes wears Superman socks. He has become one of the nation's most popular athletes. He set Texas state track records in high school when he wasn't dominating in football. Griffin won the Heisman Trophy while at Baylor University. He became the NFL's no. 2 overall draft pick by Washington, then won NFL offensive rookie of the year honors. In his spare time, Griffin does things for those less fortunate. He is a superstar in every sense of the word.