During a 13-year career with the 76ers, Clippers, Warriors, Cavaliers and Rockets, the man born Lloyd Free never met a shot he wouldn't take. But being a gunner in the NBA didn't make him unique. He achieved that distinction by legally changing his first name to World to capitalize on the nickname "All World."
Call him Rickey; that's how he refers to himself. But he's earned the right to call himself anything he wants; he's only the major league career leader in runs, stolen bases and walks. But he's equally famous for snapping his glove down when he makes a catch, having a signature home run trot and wearing neon batting gloves. Maybe they'll be put on display when he enters the Hall of Fame.
Call him T.O. too. Frankly, we think his touchdown skits (they're WAY beyond dances now) are more imaginitive than T.O.'s. (We can't decide between the cheerleader proposal and the putting-with-a-pylon thing as our fave.) And of course, there's the whole name-change thing from Chad Johnson.
The World's Fastest Man set both the 100-meter record and the mark for taunting in an Olympic final in Beijing last summer. The Jamaican started celebrating and posing for the cameras during the race, winning in 9.69 seconds. To put this in better perspective, he slowed down the last five meters to lengthen the time of his celebration.
Chi Chi Rodriguez
How does a golfer make this list? By inventing the "sword dance," in which, after making a big putt, he pretends his putter is a sword, "unsheaths" it, acts out a little duel and triumphantly puts the thing back in his imaginary scabbard. Beats fist-pumping any old day.
He had nicknames -- The Bambino and Sultan of Swat -- to go with numbers on the field that were surpassed only by his alleged exploits off of it. And he was a prolific consumer of food and beverages, to boot. The story about him calling his shot in the World Series? He may have actually been pointing to the hot dog vendor.
We don't even have to mention his name, but you know who we're talking about (you didn't need the picture, either, did you?). Between the end-zone celebrations, the endless locker-room drama and, let's be fair, the amazing talent, the new Buffalo Bill is bringing a hotdog vibe to the land of chicken wings.
It's no easy task to be singled out as a hotdog in a sport filled with them. But Hector "Macho" Camacho pulls it off. Start with the nickname, but that is almost too obvious. Then go to the outrageous outfits (see below). There's no denying that Camacho, who still gets into the ring at age 47, understands the fundamental truth about boxing: It's entertainment.
When you christen yourself "Prime Time," you're a hotdog. Deion was a world-class trash talker as an NFL cornerback and punt returner, but he had the skills to back up his mouth. And nobody could high-step like Deion, end zone-bound with a punt or a pick. We were going to call him a two-sport hotdog, but his modest achievements in baseball pretty much kept his flash under wraps.
How do you know Favre's on-field fist pumps and off-field retirement flip-flops have earned his place in the discussion? Well, just ask someone to name the greatest American diva. His name now comes up ahead of Barbra Streisand.
Reggie called himself "the straw that stirs the drink" and had a candy bar named after him, but he was, at heart, a wiener. Our favorite quote about Jackson came from former Oakland A's teammate Darold Knowles: "There isn't enough mustard in the world to cover Reggie Jackson."
One word: poetry. "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." "They must fall, in the round I call." And "Me, whee!" (which he claimed was the world's shortest poem). Oh, and he christened himself "The Greatest." He was right, but still ...
Let us now praise hotdogs
Is there anything more closely identified with sports than hotdogs? The old Chevy ad talked about "baseball, hotdogs and apple pie," but when's the last time you had pie at the ballpark? No, for viewing sports, hotdogs are practically the Official American Food, which is why we note with sadness the reports that Oscar Mayer has died at the age of 95. So in tribute to Mr. Mayer (and his Oscar Mayer Wienermobile), we celebrate sports' other kind of hotdog, the athletes who sometimes entertain and sometimes infuriate, but always give us memories to relish.