As a huge sports fan my entire life, I appreciate greatness (even if it’s not being achieved by one of my two teams: Ohio State football and the New York Knicks).
I think Ian O’Connor’s assessment below of the great dynasties is spot on in many ways.
The biggest disagreement I have is that, from my perspective, the UCLA dynasty under John Wooden was the greatest of my lifetime.
I absolutely hear where O’Connor is coming from re the dynasties in college sports (although Wooden didn’t always have the best talent during his remarkable run of 10 titles in 12 years—but admittedly he did most of the time).
The thing is, Wooden’s teams did win it all 10 times in 12 years and they accomplished this in single-elimination tournaments.
Plus, they were a perfect 10-0 in championship games.
They did it at a time when there was no shot clock—so opponents could stall or severely slow down the game.
They did it in a sport where, as basketball fans well know, one guy on the opposing team can get a really hot hand on a given night and your team can go cold, even if the plays are well executed on offense.
Wooden’s team in the 1965-66 season wasn’t that good. It finished 18–8 and the frosh team featuring the top recruit in America, then known as Lew Alcindor, decisively beat the varsity in a preseason exhibition game.
So, in reality, his teams competed for the national title in 11 years of the 12, and they lost only once in the NCAA tournament during that time—in the semi-finals in OT in 1974 to a tremendously talented NC State team.
There were fewer rounds in the NCAAs back then; on the other hand, you had to win your conference or be a top-ranked independent to get in.
We all know how, in sports, even the favored team doesn’t always prevail in key games. Wooden’s teams managed to come out on top in 10 NCAA tournaments out of 11 in a 12-year run.
That’s what I call dominant!
Last, but not least, it seemed everyone had respect for Wooden. He was looked upon as such a high-character person even by his opponents.