Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

1990s Best Decade for Pro Sports Fans

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

1990s Best Decade for Pro Sports Fans

Article excerpt

The view from our living rooms, cheap seats, luxury boxes and

bar stools isn't always pretty. Too often, we have watched

sports in the 1990s at their all-time ugliest, decaying like

spoiled food right before our disbelieving eyes.

It has exposed us to ills, foibles and eyesores never thought

possible in previous generations: crybaby athletes,

grandstanding agents, labor disputes, a canceled World Series,

Dennis Rodman, a player who spat on an umpire, meaningless

suspensions/lifetime bans, salary caps, Marge Schott,

inmates-running-the-asylum franchises, a referee shoved to the

scoring table, female-abusing players, bad shooters, a

convicted heavyweight champion, teams blackmailing cities, the

short passing game, bamboo pole-sized putters, setup relievers

and Don King.

And that's just the tip of sports' downside. I didn't even

mention the X Games, which, if justice prevails, will soon be

known as the X-tinct Games.

But along with all that baggage, this decade in professional

sports also has produced unparalleled beauty. Looking beyond the

unsavory element of sport, we have been privileged witnesses to

the greatest collection of athletes in history. Any

counter-argument put up by your father or grandfather would be

as weak as you trying to justify breaking curfew by two hours

because you misplaced your watch.

Think about this 1990s lineup and name any period where a more

elite athletic group has passed before us. Let's start with

Michael Jordan and the five NBA championships he has brought to

the Chicago Bulls. For sustained excellence in performance and

image, he sets the standard for any player in any team sport.

In golf, you couldn't pick a better decade. You're around to

watch the ascendancy of Tiger Woods, while catching the sunset

of Jack Nicklaus, who is possibly the greatest athlete of the

20th century and still made the U.S. Open cut at age 57.

Football has given us Dan Marino, Jerry Rice and Barry Sanders. …

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