Top five Georges in sport

George Best (L), George Foreman (C) and George Herman (Babe) Ruth. Photo / Getty Images.
George Best (L), George Foreman (C) and George Herman (Babe) Ruth. Photo / Getty Images.

When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today revealed that their son will be called George, the response among the nzheraldsport staff was quick and predictable.

We fired away our favourite sporting Georges. Here are our top five.

George Best

If you're listing the best, you might as well start with the best. Despite having a career plagued by drinking problems, Best was one of the very top players to ever play football.

His talent and impact are legendary and his dribbling ability was unparalleled.

He won the 1968 European Cup and two league titles during his time with Manchester United. As an attacking midfielder he scored a remarkable 205 goals in 579 games and won the Ballon d'Or in 1968.

As the old saying goes: Maradona good, Pele better, George Best.

Also, check out this killer George Best anecdote.

George Foreman

Now famous for flogging grills, Foreman was a fearsome boxer and ferocious puncher who, in his day, was the top man in the game.

Foreman first took the world crown as a big underdog when flooring Smokin' Joe Frazier six times in two rounds before losing his crown to Muhammed Ali in the classic Rumble in the Jungle in 1974.

He quit boxing a few years later only to come back as the Punching Preacher after a decade out of the ring and became the oldest heavyweight champ ever by knocking out Michael Moorer in 1994 - he was 45.

Also, he named his sons George Jr, George III, George IV, George V, and George VI. Oh, and his daughter is called Georgetta.

George Headley

George Headley was one of the greatest batsmen to ever take the crease. He was regarded by everyone outside the Caribbean as the `Black Bradman', but within the Caribbean Bradman was regarded as the `White Headley'.

Headley finished his career, with 2190 runs from 22 tests, with 10 hundreds and a career average of 60.83 - an average only surpassed by Graeme Pollock and Sir Donald Bradman. Headley was a one man batting line-up, hence his nickname `Atlas' as he carried the West Indian side.

Proof of Headley's dominance is the fact that, of the first 14 test centuries from West Indian's, Headley made 10 of them.

George Herman (Babe) Ruth

Ruth is not just regarded as the greatest baseball slugger of all time but also one of the best sportsmen in American history.

At his retirement in 1935, after 22 seasons, the Yankees outfielder held the all-time home run record (714) and the single season home run record (60). He hit more than 50 home runs in a season on three other occasions and his career home run record remained until it was broken by Hank Aaron in 1973.

The `Bambino' led the Yankees to seven World Series titles after being traded to New York from rivals the Boston Red Sox. Boston failed to win another title until 2004 with the title drought nicknamed the `Curse of the Bambino'.

George Nepia

Nepia became an instant All Black great after playing all 30 games of the Invincibles Tour of Europe in 1924-25. The skilful fullback amazed British fans with his booming punt and strong tackling technique.

At the time, an English scribe wrote: "It is not for me a question of whether Nepia was the best fullback in history. It is a question of which of the others is fit to loose the laces of his Cotton Oxford boots.'' Unfortunately, that would be the peak of his international career.

He was unable to tour South Africa in 1928 because of his race, which stalled his career, as Nepia managed only nine tests for the All Blacks. Regardless, he is still considered one of the country's greatest fullbacks.

Special mentions: George Gregan, George North, George Graham, George Weah, Temepara George.

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