- Jackie MacMullan, ESPNBoston.com columnist
- 0 Shares
Jackie goes on the clock to explain her top 5: Watch
Tasked with the unenviable job of coming up with five -- and only five -- Hall of Fame candidates from among Boston's rich tapestry of sports figures, here are my picks:
Which active players would have made our top 20? Watch
Check out the 20 candidates for the
ESPN Boston Hall of Fame: Gallery
The argument could begin and end with 11 championships in 13 seasons. Yet that gaudy achievement is only part of Russell's story. He was a defensive wonder who changed a league that was bent on offensive achievement. He was a civil rights crusader and the ultimate team player, as well as the first black coach in the NBA. A consummate winner, Russell also boasts two NCAA championships and an Olympic gold medal on his résumé. The most decorated Boston athlete of all time ... and the best.
Another athlete who revolutionized his sport. No one had ever seen a defenseman rush end to end with the style and grace of No. 4. He captivated the city of Boston, delivered two championships and, if not for serious knee injuries, might have shattered a number of NHL records. It didn't hurt that he was one of the most self-effacing and congenial superstars in Boston sports history.
One of the greatest hitters in baseball history (hard to declare him the best in a sport that includes Babe Ruth), and the last to eclipse .400. Williams won two Triple Crowns (only Roger Hornsby did the same), was a lifetime .344 hitter and reached legendary status at Fenway. He was such a student of hitting that few cared whether he could field the ball. "Teddy Ballgame" never won a World Series ring, but that should not diminish his stature in our city's history.
He epitomized qualities the city of Boston loves: fearless, gritty, arrogant, passionate and relentless. Bird won three championships but could have easily had a handful more had his teammates matched his intensity ... and if his body hadn't so cruelly betrayed him in his final years. One of Boston's best clutch athletes of all time.
Auerbach's fingerprints are all over the Celtics dynasties of the '60s, '70s and '80s. He was a head coach, assistant coach, general manager and scout, all in one. He galvanized his teams and was a staunch supporter of the integration of African-Americans into his beloved sport. And once he retired from coaching and moved into the front office, Red repeatedly fleeced his counterparts with one blockbuster deal after the next. He was the Celtics.
LeBron James attacked from the start and scored 33 points, Kyrie Irving added 21, and the Cleveland Cavaliers evened their semifinal series with Chicago with a 106-91 victory over the Bulls.
Former eight-division world titleholder Manny Pacquiao underwent arthroscopic surgery on his injured right shoulder on Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles and is expected to make a full recovery.
The NFL has found that it is probable that New England Patriots employees deliberately deflated balls during the AFC Championship Game in January.
The Bills' new franchise running back discusses his trade to Buffalo, his impressions of coach Rex Ryan and whether there is a race issue with his former coach, the Eagles' Chip Kelly.
Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan said that he's going to let his players say what's on their minds. "I'm not going to put a muzzle on any of our players," Ryan said.
The Big 12 reached unanimous agreement on a new tiebreaker process Wednesday that ensures the conference will no longer have co-champions.
Todd McShay identifies the most improved teams out of the 2015 NFL draft.
The mother of three of Floyd Mayweather's children has sued the undefeated champion for defamation over his recent comments about a 2010 domestic violence incident in Las Vegas.
Andre Burakovsky proved he belonged in Washington's lineup, scoring both goals in a win that pushed the Presidents' Trophy-winning Rangers to the brink of elimination.
A day after he was waived by the New England Patriots, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was claimed Wednesday by the Arizona Cardinals, according to a source.
Class action lawsuits suing Manny Pacquiao and his promoters for failing to disclose his injury to consumers before his fight against Floyd Mayweather are piling up.
Tom Brady has taken plenty of hits over the years, but none has been as damaging to the all-time great QB as the Wells report findings about his role in Deflategate, Ian O'Connor writes.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was hospitalized Wednesday to have his appendix removed.
Kyrie Irving, even though he scored a game-high 30 points in Game 1, said he cost the Cavaliers by getting tired out late in the fourth quarter.
ESPN 300 quarterback Kyler Murray announced via Twitter that he will bypass the upcoming MLB draft and head to Texas A&M.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul is doubtful to play in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday because of a strained left hamstring.
Cavaliers coach David Blatt has changed his starting lineup by inserting Tristan Thompson for Game 2 against the Bulls.
Money as motivation on the PGA Tour -- where there is a $10 million purse up for grabs this week at the Players Championship -- often changes, sometimes from shot to shot.