#TBT Sports Blog: FREE Sports Comic Book on Favorite Non-Athletes

Rudolf Wanderone Minnesota FatsToday’s #TBT sports blog recalls my FREE sports comic book Favorite Non-Athletes.

Updated in 2017, the ebook reveals a different side of sports for inquisitive fans.

If you’re as rabid a sports fan as me, you’ll agree that sports comprise the best form of entertainment.

NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and FIFA games showcase some of the greatest athletes on the planet.

But, sports entertainment is more than just watching phenomenal athletes ply their craft on the ice, field, diamond, hardwood or pitch.

What provide the extra sizzle in sports are countless non-athletes that make the games possible and entertaining. They enrich the overall fan experience.

A number of non-athletic performers and icons deliver invaluable appeal and bring the entertainment aspects of sports to greater levels.

I highlight them in my FREE book Favorite Non-Athletes in Sports.

FREE MIKE sports comic bookSome picks are as obvious as the bowtie I’m wearing. And, others on this list may surprise you.

None Are Actual Athletes

None are actual athletes. A few aren’t even real at all. But, all of them show up at NFL, MLB, NCAA and NHL games.

You will adore one of the most unlikely sportscasters on television.

You will envy the driver of the baddest maintenance vehicle in sports.

You will wince at the thought of a big mouthed bloviator.

You will probably scowl at the refs I feature. But, you’ll immediately recognize that games don’t get played without them.

You’ll recite familiar lines from a series of iconic movies starring a fictional fighting sports character.

You might proudly don the ridiculous foam hats worn by the loyal fans of this historic NFL franchise.

You will certainly agree that this guy’s no athlete, but he was an incredible showman in a non-sport sport now seen regularly on ESPN.

You will smile at the awe inspiring godlike figure in an imposing mural, perhaps the most recognized image in NCAA college football.

You’ll cheer madly over packaged meat products racing awkwardly around a baseball field.

Finally, you’ll sing along with a likeable large lady who needs to belt out a few bars, so fans in the stands can finally go home.

Enjoy my FREE book Favorite Non-Athletes in Sports!

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: All Sports Footer

#TBT Sports Blog: ESPN’s Chris Berman

ESPN Announcer Chris BermanToday’s #TBT sports blog remembers one of the sports world’s all-time favorite talking heads – ESPN’s Chris Berman.

Berman may have only retired a year ago, but for many of us it seems like decades since he’s no longer a regular on ESPN telecasts.

Plus, you don’t need to be a swami to predict this ESPN legend’s inclusion in my sports comic book Favorite Sportscasters.

Check out this excerpt about one of the most revered talking heads in sports.

 

…..Synonymous with the ESPN brand, Chris Berman started with the then fledgling network way “back…back…back” in 1979.

He appeared on camera just one month after the cable sports giant officially launched on air.

And, then, “Whoop!” His career was “gone” and quickly transported into the national spotlight.

Since then, no one ever questioned whether Berman “could…go…all…the…way” to stardom in the ESPN television studio.

Confident, witty and fun, the exuberant Berman with the booming voice – hence the nickname Boomer – became a trusted household name in sports reporting.

Sports fans were immediately addicted listening to the large (6’5”) sportscaster reporting on sports with a style unlike any other.

During the next 30 years, his format evolved into the standard that viewers watched every evening around dinner time.

Who hasn’t been smitten by the intoxicating sound of “da da dunt, da da dunt” that preceded Berman behind the desk?

Chris Berman Anchored ESPN’s Iconic Sports Center

ESPN exploited Berman’s magnetic and magnanimous television appeal. The network appointed Berman anchor of its now iconic Sports Center show. He’s also regularly hosted Monday Night Countdown, Sunday NFL Countdown, US Open Golf and Stanley Cup Final shows. Plus, he’s covered 30 Super Bowls and hosted ESPN NFL shows for 28 years.

Berman’s studio brilliance has earned him ten Sports Emmy Awards and six NSSA Sportscaster-of-the Year Awards. He’s also become a beloved broadcaster in US sports and entertainment culture.

Although he’s not an actor by trade, Berman boasts his very own entertainment star. In 2010, he received the rarefied symbol of celebrity on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The full-time television celebrity and part-time entertainment personality has eclipsed the bright ESPN cameras. He’s also appeared on stage with Huey Lewis and the News twelve times and has graced Hollywood movies eleven times.

Berman’s most popular films include Necessary Roughness in 1991, The Waterboy in 1998, The Longest Yard remake in 2011 and Grown Ups II in 2013.

All films aside, Berman’s best entertaining remains in the broadcast booth or in an ESPN studio.

Chris Berman Became Known for His Clever Nicknames

Here, the talented talking head on sports may be best known for his litany of clever nicknames. These may be Berman’s most notable monikers: Bert Be Home Blyleven, Curtis My Favorite Martin and Roberto The Alomar.

In 2010, ESPN signed Berman to an undisclosed contract extension. In exchange, Berman pledged his loyalty to the network by indicating he could never work with another media company.

In typical Berman catch-phrase fashion, the iconic anchor quipped about wanting to be a like Tony Gwynn, George Brett, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Walter Payton.

For this broadcast legend, retiring with the team he originally came in with would be the greatest honor.

With that said, what rumblin’, dumblin’, stumblin’ sports fan would ever doubt him?

That’s why ESPN’s Chris Berman is an easy choice at #6 in Favorite Sportscasters.

Favorite Sportscasters

Download the entire book for only 99 cents on Amazon.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!Football footer

#TBT Sports Blog: Ozzie Smith or MLB’s Wizard of Oz

Former St. Louis Cardinals' Ozzie SmithToday’s #TBT sports blog features one of my favorite MLB players ever – former St. Louis Cardinals’ shortstop Ozzie Smith or The Wizard of Oz.

If Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow were baseball fans, they’d be off to find Major League Baseball’s wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Ozzie Smith played not to far from the Gateway Arch in the old Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, MO.

Ozzie Smith’s incredibly quick reflexes, unparalleled aptitude with his glove and accurate arm contributed to his magical, wizard like play at shortstop. Smith’s skills made him a most worthy recipient of his clever Wizard of Oz nickname.

The Wizard of Oz is Also Featured in Favorite Sports Nicknames on Amazon

The Wizard of Oz is also included in the #19 spot in my sports comic book titled Favorite Sports Nicknames available for only 99 cents on Amazon.

Osbourne Earl “Ozzie” Smith retired in 1996 as arguably the greatest shortstop in Major League Baseball history. A 1982 World Series champ with the St. Louis Cardinals, Ozzie Smith ended his stellar 19 year career as the all-time leader in career assists (8,375) and double plays by a shortstop (1,590). The “Wizard of Oz” also set a National League record of 2,511 consecutive starts at his position.

The 5’10” and 175 lb. magician with a glove captured the National League Gold Glove Award an unprecedented 13 years in a row. He was named National League all-star shortstop an incredible 15 times.

Baseball’s Hall of Fame Inductee: Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz’s defensive brilliance, coupled with an impressive 2,460 career hits and a lifetime .262 batting average, enabled him to whisk down baseball’s proverbial “yellow brick road” directly into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2002.

The St. Louis Cardinals retired Ozzie Smith’s #1 jersey in 1996. The Sporting News recognized his amazing defensive play and 2,000+ career hits by naming him #87 on its list of the top 100 greatest baseball players ever.

Baseball fans everywhere, even Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow would do back flips of excitement, just like the Cardinals’ Ozzie Smith, while watching this dazzling Wizard of Oz perform on the baseball field in St. Louis.

Remembering the Wizard of Oz in today’s #TBT sports blog is as easy as Ozzie Smith handling a ground ball from his shortstop position in a Cardinals’ uniform.

Shop for Thousands of Authentic Autographed MLB Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comFor baseball fans interested in authentic Wizard of Oz or MLB collectibles and merchandise, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Chicago Cubs’ Ernie Banks

Mr. Cub Ernie Banks

Today’s #TBT sport blogs remembers Ernie Banks, the greatest player in Chicago Cubs history.

To Banks, the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field served as home for 19 Major League Baseball seasons.

Affectionately known as Mr. Cub, the soft spoken Ernie Banks easily stole the hearts of loyal Chicago Cubs fans.

Defined by his passion and purpose for the game, Banks excelled in a multitude of ways for the only Major League Baseball team he ever knew.

However, during his lengthy and storied baseball career in Chicago, the beloved #14 amazingly never saw post season action. Never!

Ernie Banks Enjoyed Only 1 Winning Season in 19 Years

Ironically, Banks experienced 18 out of 19 losing seasons with the Chicago Cubs. As a result, he became known as the consummate good sport. He never complained openly about the Cubs’ losing ways.

Because of his bright smile, gentle spirit and always positive disposition, Banks also picked up the appropriate nickname Mr. Sunshine.

In spite of the Cubs’ futility, Banks gained a 1977 first ballot entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He posted impressive career statistics as both a shortstop and then first baseman for the Chicago Cubs.

A two-time National League MVP in 1958 and 1959, Banks retired with 512 dingers, 2,583 total hits and a lifetime .274 batting average.

Although Banks was named to baseball’s All-Century team in 1999, he often expressed during his playing days that he wanted to be remembered as more than a baseball player.

Fortunately, he has.

Since his retirement in 1972, Banks has been revered for the way he comported himself both on and off the baseball field.

In addition to his stellar play as an athlete, Banks brilliantly followed Jackie Robinson’s lead as an esteemed example of baseball integration.

The Baseball Hall of Fame player also was greatly respected for advocating for assistance for Chicago’s poor.

In 2013 President Barack Obama Presented Ernie Banks with Presidential Medal of Freedom

What is perhaps this Chicago sports legend’s greatest lifetime achievement came to fruition in 2013. That’s when President Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The award not only acknowledged Banks’ outstanding baseball career, but, it recognized #14 as an extraordinary human being. Despite a quiet demeanor, Ernie fought racism in our country with an excellent and courageous spirit.

His example to overcome adversity through quiet strength and determination helped unite people of all races.

For that reason, Mr. Cub will always be remembered as more than the Chicago Cubs’ greatest player ever. It pleases me to pen this #TBT sports blog.

Ernie Banks will be forever recognized as both a hero and a great man who proudly represented baseball as the sport’s unofficial ambassador.

Shop for Authentic Autographed Chicago Cubs Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comFor baseball fans interested in authentic Ernie Banks or Chicago Cubs memorabilia, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Major League Baseball’s Shoeless Joe Jackson

MIKE Comic 70 Shoeless Joe JacksonToday’s #TBT sports blog features Shoeless Joe Jackson – one of the most enigmatic as well as talented Major League Baseball players ever.

Baseball fans have always been intrigued by the genesis of Jackson’s legendary Shoeless nickname. That’s because Jackson actually removed his new cleats because of a blister, then batted in his socks and ran the bases shoeless.

Yes, the lore was true. Witnesses indicated that way back in 1906, a heckling fan at an amateur baseball game in Anderson, SC coined the name Shoeless as Joe Jackson ran to third base wearing no cleats.

Joe Jackson Famous For More Than His Shoeless Nickname

Joe Jackson’s Shoeless nickname is not the only thing for which this 12-year major league star is immediately and infamously remembered.

Believed to be illiterate, Jackson could certainly read pitches. He currently retains the third highest batting average in Major League Baseball history. Purportedly, Babe Ruth emulated Jackson’s hitting stance after Shoeless Joe hit .408 as a rookie in 1911, a record that still stands today.

At #12 in my sports comic book Favorite Sports Nicknames, Shoeless Joe Jackson is not immediately recognized for his hitting prowess. Unfortunately, Jackson’s baseball legacy has been forever sullied.

Favorite Sports NicknamesShoeless Joe Jackson was implicated, but never indicted, in the legendary 1919 World Series scandal memorialized in the movie Eight Men Out. His name is also referenced in movies like The Natural starring Robert Redford, and Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner.

Coincidentally, today – September 28th – marks the day that the US. Government actually indicted 8 players purportedly involved in the scheme.

Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven of his Chicago White Sox teammates were accused of fixing the 1919 Fall Classic in which they lost to the underdog Cincinnati Reds.

Since the White Sox supposedly soiled the game with their scheme, the alleged fix became forever known as the Black Sox Scandal.

Shoeless Joe Jackson Acquitted in 1921

Although acquitted in 1921 by a Chicago Grand Jury, the other White Sox players, along with Jackson, were banned from baseball by newly appointed commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Joe Jackson passed away in 1951. He spent nearly 30 years of his post baseball life proclaiming that he was not involved in the scheme.

Major League Baseball records and subsequent accounts point to his innocence. He hit an impressive .375 in the 1919 World Series with error less play in the outfield.

As we look back on this prolific player’s checkered past, it may not be so that he participated in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.

What is certainly so, and should never be forgotten, is that Shoeless Joe Jackson was a fabulous baseball player.

He’s worthy to be acknowledged as #35 on The Sporting News’ list of the top 100 Major League Baseball players ever.

And, I’m happy to report on him in today’s #TBT sports blog.Shop for Thousands of 100% Authentic Autographed Sports Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comAlso, for fans interested in authentic sports merchandise or collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: FIFA’s George Best

FIFA footballer George BestToday’s #TBT sports blog remembers the greatest band of all time along with one of FIFA’s most amazing, yet troubled players.

The year 2014 celebrated 50 years since the iconic boy band The Beatles first appeared in America on the Ed Sullivan Show.

2014 also recalled that it was 50 years ago that Northern Ireland’s fabulous footballer George Best became known as the Fifth Beatle.

Not only did the British group become the greatest band in music history. But, its global fame and distinct look engendered one of the best (no pun intended) nicknames in sports history.

Flamboyant FIFA footballer George Best from Belfast, Northern ireland became known as the Fifth Beatle.

At the time, Best’s new moniker was regarded as the best sports and entertainment nickname on the planet.

Here’s a chapter excerpt from my best selling book Favorite Sports Nicknames available for just 99 cents on Amazon.

Favorite Sports Nicknames

..…Music lovers believe that Great Britain’s Pete Best, the drummer who preceded Ringo Starr for the British band The Beatles, holds the revered rock n’ roll title as the Fifth Beatle.

However, soccer fans, especially those of British descent, strongly disagree. They recognize Northern Ireland’s George Best as the Fifth Beatle. For his iconic celebrity, he’s idolized as one of the most gifted and entertaining soccer players ever.

This 5’9″ Northern Irishman plied his trade for eleven years with Manchester United in the vaunted English Premier League. During that time, he scored an astounding 179 goals in 470 appearances.

Best’s speed, acceleration, brilliant footwork and hard charging style quickly made him a fan favorite and an elite EPL performer. His ability to regularly put the ball in the back of the net earned him the European Footballer of the Year Award in 1968.

Best’s emergence as a beloved English athlete took place in the British music era of the Beatles. They were exploding as the rock ‘n roll band that would eventually sell one billion records and become a world wide entertainment sensation.

FIFA Great George Best Partied Like Rock Star

Though he excelled as one of FIFA’s most dynamic stars while on the pitch, George Best also partied like a rock star when away from it.

Unfortunately, Best’s undisciplined and extravagant lifestyle contributed to his demise as a player and also as an individual.

One of the many colorful quotes attributed to this Fifth Beatle reads, “I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted.” The words were funny, but sadly, true.

George Best died an alcoholic in 2005 due to complications from a liver transplant.

On a mural in his native Belfast, Northern Ireland, these words are written to memorialize George Best. They illuminate what any soccer fan, plus all of the musical Beatles, would agree with concerning this Fifth Beatle, “Maradona good. Pele better. George Best.”

Shop for Thousands of Authentic Autographed Soccer Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comFor soccer enthusiasts looking for authentic international football merchandise, simply click on the ad above. And, if you opt to purchase any product, thank you because we earn a small commission on each sale.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: Soccer Footer

#TBT World Cup Sports Blog: Montenegro’s The Genius

FIFA footballer Dejan SavicevicWith a nickname like The Genius, you’d expect to find this former FIFA midfielder leaning over library books or toying with boiling beacons in a university laboratory.

The origin of this brilliant player’s nickname came from his spectacular play on the soccer pitch in Serbia and Montenegro as well as throughout Europe and in two FIFA World Cups.

Few American sports fans may know Montenegro’s Dejan Savicevic. But, all European football (soccer) fans, and especially those in northern Italy, carry vivid memories of this fantastic midfielder.

The Genius Starred for A.C. Milan in Serie A

In addition to representing his homeland in the 1990 and 1998 World Cups, Savicevic starred for A.C. Milan as a relentless attacking center back. His stellar play helped lead the premier Italian team to three Serie A titles in the 1990s.

The Genius will be best remembered for his role in the 1994 UEFA Champions League title game against FC Barcelona. The Genius was instrumental in two goals during the match.

Savicevic assisted on one goal. Later, he sent a splendid, unexpected 35 yard half volley into the Barcelona net that caught its goalkeeper totally off guard.

The Genius’ goal is widely regarded as one of the most amazing scores in the history of the UEFA competition.

Sporting the number 10 jersey, Savicevic’s superior tactical knowledge, superb vision and overall ball mastery earned him the coveted nickname The Genius.

Some may struggle to remember exactly what Dejan Savicevic accomplished on the soccer pitch.

But after watching this Montenegran on film, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to admit that Savicevic is spectacular on the soccer field.

The Genius is certainly one smart choice at #8 in my sports comic book about my all-time FIFA Favorites.

MIKE FIFA FavoritesClick on the blue cover image and safely download FIFA Favorites from Amazon.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: Soccer Footer

Friday Sports Funny: Clean Sheet in Soccer

soccer shut out

Today’s Friday Sports Funny features the “clean sheet” in soccer.

That’s because no other sport flaunts its language with the poetic depictions and eccentric expressions like soccer or international football.

Whether it’s a bookable offense for wayward defending, bringing one’s side level in a match or dispossessing the ball from an unexpected midfielder, soccer’s colorful language truly entertains.

A nil nil match serves as another example of the sport’s unique language.

Instead of applauding the goalies for their shut out work in goal, announcers gush over the keepers’ clean sheets.

Sure, you may need an interpreter or a glossary of terms to understand the eccentric vocabulary of soccer.

But, you’ll instinctively know that a goalie’s clean sheet is something to cheer about – if he’s defending your side’s goal.

Shop for Thousands of Authentic Autographed Soccer Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comFor international football fans interested in authentic soccer collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

#TBT FIFA Sports Blog: Brazil’s Pele

Brazilian soccer great Pele

With the 2018 World Cup gearing up in Russia, it’s only fitting that today’s #TBT FIFA sports blog remembers Pele – universally considered soccer’s greatest player ever.

Here’s a chapter excerpt from my Favorite Single Named Athletes sports comic book that acknowledges the incomparable Pele.

…..Mention the name Edson Arantes de Nascimento and only staunch soccer fans will recognize it.

However, say the simple name Pele, and nearly everyone on the planet, whether soccer fan or not, will immediately recognize this extraordinary Brazilian.

Pele is synonymous with the world’s most popular sport. Universally regarded as the best international footballer (soccer player) of all-time, Pele received his simple nickname as a child in Brazil. A priest bestowed the moniker on him which, in Portuguese, aptly means “always playing soccer.” And that’s what Pele did; he always played soccer – often and brilliantly.

King Pele, the King of Football or the Black Pearl dominated international football whenever and wherever he took the pitch. Pele’s storied resume is perhaps the greatest in the sport’s history.

For starters, Pele’s individual accomplishments are staggering. In 1958 the powerfully built 5’8″ and 180 lb. Brazilian became the youngest player to ever compete in a World Cup. He was also the youngest to record a hat trick in World Cup play (that same year).

In addition, he scored an incredible 1,281 goals in 1,363 career matches. His speed and athleticism on the pitch were equalled by his uncanny footwork, ball control and pin-point passing.

Pele honed his amazing soccer skills by playing futebol de salao (indoor soccer) in Brazil where the action was faster on a much shorter and narrower field.

Pele Recognized as Footballer of the Century

Pele’s awesome career was recognized in 1999. He was named Footballer of the Century by the International Federation of Football and Statistics and named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee.

On a broader scale, Pele’s team accomplishments are unrivaled. Pele stands as the only player in soccer history to play on three World Cup championships teams. He starred on Brazil’s 1958, 1962 and 1970 title teams. While teaming with fellow legendary Brazilian Garrincha, the duo never lost a match while wearing the Brazilian colors.

Thirdly, Pele’s off-field resume is extremely impressive as he has utilized his athletic fame for the overall good of society.  In 1992, this Brazilian was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Ecology and Environment. In 1997 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

More than 40 years after his retirement, Pele’s legend continues whenever the sport of soccer is discussed. Perhaps the best way to remember this extraordinary athlete and his soccer brilliance is through the words of two other universally recognized international football legends:

Dutch midfielder Johan Cruyff claimed, “Pele was the only footballer who surpassed the boundaries of logic.”

German defender Franz Beckenbauer remarked, “Pele is the greatest player of all time. He reigned supreme for 20 years. There’s no one to compare to Pele.”

Wow! What endorsements for Pele from two of FIFA’s greatest footballers ever. It’s no wonder that the immensely likable, universally popular and inordinately talented Pele tops my list of all-time favorite Single Named Athletes.

Favorite Single Named Athletes

Click on the yellow image above to safely download Favorite Single Named Athletes from Amazon for only 99 cents. 

Shop for Thousands of Authentic Autographed Soccer Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comFor soccer enthusiasts looking for authentic international football merchandise, simply click on the ad above. And, if you opt to purchase any product, thank you because we earn a small commission on each sale.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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On This Day in Sports in 1972 Title IX Became Law

Title IX

Today’s sports blog recounts the 1972 ground breaking law known as Title IX that changed the landscape of women’s sports in our country.

On June 23, 1972 former President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the landmark civil rights legislation known as Title IX.

Long overdue in American education, this transformational living law not only protected against discrimination in education.

But, it breathed life into moribund and nearly non-existent women’s athletic programs at the United States collegiate level.

Women’s sports constituted only one of 10 key areas that Title IX addressed. However, the sweeping Title IX legislation brazenly broke down doors for women to compete and succeed in college sports like their athletic male counterparts.

The Reach of Title IX Law in 1972 Was Astounding

The widespread athletic reach of Title IX athletic was truly astounding.

Before Title IX, no official university or college level athletic programs existed for women. Back then, cheer leading and square dancing (seriously!) were recognized as the two most popular, though unofficial, sports for women.

During the early 1970s, less than 2% of a college’s athletic budget was spent on women’s sports.

At the time, only one out of 27 high school girls participated in sports.

Title IX Law Becomes Game Changer

When Title IX came along, it instantly became the game changer in women’s sports and afforded female athletes, like former UConn basketball champion Sue Bird pictured in the comic below, to excel on the college level.

Former USA Olympian Sue Bird

This ground breaking legislation, plus its 20 subsequent amendments and Supreme Court reviews, brought a greater balance of gender equity in college sports.

The 1972 Title IX Law Enabled female Athletes to Flourish

Because of Title IX, thousands of eager, purposed and talented female athletes have flourished while competing on the college level in sports they love.

I can offer a list of incredible athletes who have directly gleaned from the opportunities that Title IX presented and who, after college, emerged as Olympic or world champions.

Take Olympic track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee (UCLA).

heptathlete Jackie Joyner Kersee

Consider WNBA greats Lisa Leslie (USC), Candace Parker (Tennessee), Sheryl Swoopes (Texas Tech), Cheryl Miller (UCLA) and former UConn National Champions Swin Cash, Sue Bird, Maya Moore, Tina Charles and Diana Taurasi.

Former WNBA great Lisa Leslie

Ponder soccer stars Abby Wambauch (Florida), Alex Morgan (Cal), Mia Hamm (UNC), Christie Rampone (Monmouth) and Julie Foudy (Stanford).

Ponytail Princess Mia Hamm

And, remember softball pitchers Jennie Finch (Arizona) and Lisa Fernandez (UCLA).

Certainly, Title IX paved the way for and was instrumental in their amazing individual successes.

However, let’s not forget the legions of unknown female athletes at little known colleges and universities. These young women have skated on the ice, run on the track, dribbled on the soccer pitch or basketball court, slid on the softball diamond, sprinted on the lacrosse field, dove into the swimming pool, volleyed on the tennis court and bumped, set and spiked on the volleyball court.

Before Title IX Only Cheerleading & Square Dancing

Before Women’s World Cups and NCAA Women’s College Basketball Tournaments, female college athletes had few opportunities other than cheerleading or square dancing.

As a collective piece of legislation, Title IX profoundly impacted women’s sports and leveled the playing field for aspiring females.

Bravo to all the female athletes who have benefited since Title IX’s 1972 passage.

And, let’s cheer on the young females who will take advantage of this groundbreaking legislation in the future!

Shop for Team USA 2015 Women's World Cup Champions MemorabiliaFor sports collectibles of your favorite female stars, click on the Sports Memorabilia ad above. If you opt to purchase anything, please know we earn a small commission. So, thank you.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: Soccer Footer