Century's Best
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Century's Best at its best

Time to cast your opinion into history's vacuum

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Posted: Friday May 21, 1999 08:41 AM

 

By Adam Levine, CNN/SI

The end of the 20th century is upon us. Now it's time to be heard.

Each week, you and other CNNSI.com users will get the chance to vote for the Century's Best athletes. It is our way of celebrating the men and women who have left marks on their sports and on our imaginations during the last 100 years. Every two weeks a different Sports Illustrated writer will submit a Top Eight list in each of the following sports: College Basketball, Golf, Hockey, Boxing, Soccer, Motor Sports, Pro Basketball, Tennis, Baseball, Olympics, Pro Football and College Football.

The Top Eight athletes will face off in user polls, until one athlete per sport emerges as the Century's Best sport champion. If you don't agree with the Top Eight, you will get a chance to submit the name of an athlete who you think was overlooked.

After you have voted for the 12 sport champions, those 12 and four wildcards will compete for the honor of Century's Best male athlete.

Then, when the Round of 16 starts for the men, we will unveil our list of the Top 16 women athletes of the century, who also will square off until a women's Century's Best is crowned.

Many sports news organizations force feed you the picks of their experts. Not here. At CNNSI.com, we let you decide.

Did you say Luisetti?

Hank Luisetti. Luisetti is one of many names and faces you might not remember. That's OK. We will provide you with background information on each matchup to help inform your vote.

There are far more people who have seen a silky Michael Jordan drive and finish than the methodical Don Hutson run a perfect pass route. But picking the Century's Best Athlete is not simple and it should not be a popularity contest.

In making each pick, consider not just statistics but also what each athlete did for his or her sport -- or even for society. How do you compare the off-the-field contributions of Jackie Robinson or Billie Jean King, for example, to the on-the-field power of Babe Ruth or on-the-court dominance of Martina Navratilova? Do the failings of Ty Cobb or Pete Rose or Lawrence Taylor diminish their tremendous careers?

Figuring it out. That's the challenge.

So, we invite you to participate for the next seven months. Express your opinion. Have fun. And help us crown the Century's Best.

Adam Levine is the Century's Best project producer.

 
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