I looked at you and got that old feeling

February 9, 2011

I knew I was in trouble when one of the co-hosts of last night’s What’s On Second program on BlogTalkRadio didn’t know who the Smothers Brothers were (are, actually). I figured the SB’s were one of those cultural icons that transcended age, but I guess I was wrong.

Then I look at GQ‘s poll of the 25 Coolest Athletes and got a shock there, too.

The list includes, in no particular order:

  • Baseball’s Bob Gibson and Tim Lincecum
  • Golfers Gary Player and Arnold Palmer
  • Basketballers Allen Iverson, Walt Frazier, Julius Irving, Pete Marovich, and Michael Jordan
  • Football’s Joe Namath, Jim Brown, Bo Jackson, Tom Brady, and Kenny Stabler
  • Hockey’s Derek Sanderson
  • Skier Jean-Claude Killy
  • Race car driver Mario Andretti
  • Tennis stars Bjorn Borg and Arthur Ashe
  • Surfer Kelly Slater
  • Daredevil Evel Knievel
  • Soccer players Pele and George Best
  • America’s Cup sailor Ted Turner
  • Boxer Muhammad Ali

As of this writing, and without knowing how many took the time to vote, the leader is not who I would have expected; it’s Marovich, with 14 percent. I know, right? Wouldn’t you have though Ali? Or even Namath?

I’m guessing the magazine’s demographic skews younger and whiter, but some of the athletes here — several from the from the sixties and seventies (GQ started the timeline in 1957, the year it launched) — are bizarre, given the possible choices.

The baseballers strike me as quite odd, although, with 12 percent, Lincecum is the second coolest. Bob Gibson? Granted he was a great pitcher, but he was hardly the most gregarious guy. How do the GQ editors define “cool”? Looking at the on-line version, it’s impossible to know the criteria for consideration.

Ali and Slater tied for third (11 percent each). No one else garnered more than 9 percent (Jordan and Namath). Turner, Sanderson, and Player received no votes.

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