So who are these people on my list? My rule is that they need to be alive and I need to be able to meet them. Here it is:
1. Any living former or current president. That leaves Jimmy Carter, George Bush, George Bush II, and President Obama. I have met Bill Clinton. Presidents are so rare to meet and get an autograph from and the respect I have for these men is enormous. It is such a treat to be around them.
2. Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky. I am not a huge hockey fan and if it wasn't for the Bruins Stanley Cup championship, I'd have hardly any hockey autographs. Yet, in the history of the NHL, these 2 men really transformed how the game was played and were superstars at the their respective positions.
3. Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. I grew up watching these three men play the game of basketball. Being a diehard Celtic fan in the 80's Larry is a no brainer. Watching him compete in championships against Magic was MUST SEE TV for any fan of sports. Michael is another who transformed the game in the late 80's/early 90's. At their peak, all 3 were unstoppable and it's no surprise that together they won a combined 14 NBA championships. (Bill Russell was on this list until I met him almost 2 years ago).
4. Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan. Both men did so much for the game of baseball, especially on the pitching side. They were tough, hard nosed pitchers, who competed harder than anyone. Most importantly, they weren't on any drugs or PED's that we are aware of. They still have such a positive impact on the game today. Their autographs are also rare to get in person. (Pedro Martinez, my favorite pitcher of all time, was on this list until I met him 6 months ago. That was such a treat.)
5. Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Bart Starr, Bill Belichick. Just like hockey, I'm not a big football fan. However any collector cannot ignore the impact they have had on the sport of pro football. Aside from their personal and team accomplishments, they continue to influence how the game is viewed and played today.
6. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer. I place golf in the same category as football and hockey with regards to my personal interest. However, Woods and Nicklaus are the top names in golf, even today. They are the only reason I have any interest in watching golf or playing a round on my Wii gaming system. Sports fan can argue that aside from Jackie Robinson, these 3 men have had more impact on a sport than any other athletes in history.
7. Carl Lewis. The best and truest athletes, even today are olympic athletes. And no disrespect to Michael Phelps, but Carl Lewis still has a more cache and popularity for his olympic feats than anyone else in olympic history. People today compete in track and field because of Lewis. You rarely hear any other current names mentioned, unless drugs are involved.
8. Harrison Ford and Gene Hackman. These 2 actors have appeared in some of my favorite all time movies. I will be so overjoyed if I was to meet both of these men. To be able to meet or acquiring an autograph from them would add so much sentimental value to my collection.