Conor McGregor tribute – Multi-sport athletes: 10 hits and misses
The Mayweather v McGregor fight was one of the most anticipated events in the history of men punching each other in the head. Furthermore, it lived up to the hype which was the biggest surprise of the night. In honour of Conor McGregor’s impressive boxing debut, we look at ten hits and misses from multi-sport athletes.
Erin Phillips – Hit
Premiership captain, MVP, All-Australian selection, best on the ground in a grand final, the goal of the year and a nomination for the mark of the year. Fair to say Erin Phillips had a decent return to AFL football, her second sport. Phillips was a long serving WNBA star who represented Australia in basketball before taking on the AFLW competition earlier this year. While her WNBA playing days are behind her, she still has an off-court role with the Dallas Wings.
Darko Milicic – Miss
Darko Milicic is one of the most infamous players in recent NBA history. He was selected second in the historic 2003 NBA draft, behind LeBron James and before Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. To say Darko didn’t reach the heights of those players selected around him was quite an understatement. Nine years and six sides later, Darko left the league. After he left the NBA, he took up kickboxing. His second sport went even worse than his first. Darko had one fight, which the referee stopped after he was bleeding too much. I don’t know a lot about kickboxing. However, I do know that ‘bleeding too much’ is never a good thing.
Ellyse Perry – Hit
To play for the Australian women’s cricket side and the Matildas is quite a mean feat. To make your debut for both teams at the age of sixteen is staggering. Ten years later (feel old yet?) and Perry nearly has 100 ODIs to her name, and has represented the Matildas eighteen times. A great role-model and fantastic multi-sport athlete, to call Perry an all-rounder is an understatement.
Bo Jackson – Hit
An All-Star in both American Football and Baseball, oh, and he has also had run a 10.38-second 100m sprint. Bo Jackson was one of histories greatest multi-sport athletes. A hip injury forced Jackson to eventually focus on baseball, however, Jackson was an unstoppable force in both sports. I honestly could talk about Bo Jackson all day, but if you want to learn more start with the ESPN 30 for 30 film, You Don’t Know Bo.
Isreal Folau – Miss
Call it a marketing ploy, call it taking a punt on a talented athlete, whatever label you put on it Isreal Folau was one disappointing AFL player. In two seasons with the Giants, he played thirteen games and kicked two goals. All the athletic gifts that Folau had, he could never work out the game after coming to the AFL expansion side after leaving Rugby League.
Folau stayed in the AFL system for two seasons before jumping ship back to Rugby. This time playing Rugby Union, where he is back to being a stud.
Anthony Mundine -Hit
The self-proclaimed best “all-round” athlete in Australia, Mundine reached the pinnacle of two completely different sports. Mundine played State of Origin for NSW and scored a try on debut. However, after not achieving the representative honours he believed he deserved, Mundine took to boxing, violence does indeed solve some problems. Mundine, the son of the former boxer, Tony Mundine, took to the sport instantly and became one of the best pound-for-pound fighters that Australia has ever produced.
A rare miss for Mundine though was rapping with that beatboxing dude from Australian Idol.
Jarryd Hayne -Miss
The Hayne train left the NRL in a sudden rush. Hayne dominated the NFL like a ten-year-old playing with his younger brother but saw a future for himself in the cashed up NFL. After a long-winded lead up to his NFL career, Hayne was given a chance with the San Francisco 49ers. Hayne played well in the practice matches, and the buzz was real. The feel-good story from the other side of the world had the NFL captivated. However, a few fumbles in the regular season saw Hayne lose his spot, and when the minutes dried out, he left the NFL to play for Fiji in the Rugby 7s at the Olympics. Again, the Olympics didn’t eventuate, and Hayne found his way back to the NRL where he has kept himself entirely out of the news. Nothing. To. See. Here.
Nova Peris – Hit
The first Aboriginal Australian to win an Olympic medal, Nova Perris was a vital part of the Australian Women’s Hockey team. After her Hockey career, Perris competed in the 1998 Commonwealth games, and 2000 Olympic games as a sprinter. Perris won two Commonwealth gold medals in 1998, in the 200m and the 4x100m relay.
After Perris’ athletic career, she spent time in parliament, spending three years as a senator.
Edwin Flack – Hit
Being 1/2 of the reason this website got its name, it was hard not to include Edwin Flack. Flack was Australia’s first Olympian and our only competitor in the 1896 games. Flack won two gold medals as a sprinter and bronze in the doubles tennis. Without doing the background check, I am pretty confident to say we would be the only nation to have a single competitor in the games and win a doubles medal. He is the first Australian multi-sport athlete, and still one of the best.
Michael Jordan – Miss
As a single sports athlete, Michael Jordan is the greatest ever. As a multi-sport athlete, on the other hand, not so much. Michael Jordan was so bad at baseball that conspiracy theories started as to why he took the sport up in the first place. That says it all.
However, I do believe that calling it a ‘miss’ is a bit harsh as we are comparing his baseball to his basketball achievements. He was in the handful of people who could pick up a baseball bat at age 31 and get a chance as a pro. Still, compared to his basketball, his baseball stint was a forgettable error in his career. Although I am sure every other NBA side would have been happy to see the back of him.