When Kelly Slater climbed back on top of the ASP rankings back in September the magnitude of his career accomplishments demanded a closer look under the microscope.
After Slater won the Hurley Pro at Trestles nearly 20 years to to the day after his debut win as a pro, I wondered whether Slater belongs in the conversation as the best athlete of all time or not?
The response I got to my post on the matter was pretty astounding.
The story took on a life of its own, and the debate actually spilled over into the mainstream press across the globe. Whether or not the question was ever answered is still up for debate, but with Kelly about about to lock down his 10th world title, it’s likely to be revisited.
Naturally, mainstream sports pundits struggle with anything that’s not stick and ball related. This includes Dan Patrick, a man who helped make ESPN the sports powerhouse it is before leaving the “mother ship” to start his own radio show in collaboration with Sports Illustrated and spread his television broadcasting wings to other networks. The Dan Patrick Show is already the best sports show on the radio.
After spotting the story on Slater, Patrick posed the whole surfer question to his morning crew. “Can a surfer be considered the best athlete ever?”
While Patrick himself sounds hesitant about such a notion, he gives Slater some thought, and plays both sides of the argument well as their conversation unfolds. Slater wasn’t there to defend himself (which he’s unlikely to do anyway) but he likely will be joining Patrick for an interview after he clinches. We’re looking forward to that exchange. In the meantime, have a listen to how one of the most authoritative voices in sports addressed the Slater question back in September.