The G.O.A.T. you never considered

Sun, Nov 15

On Sunday, the greatest athlete of our generation will once again be starring on televisions across the country … and it isn't who you think.

It's Mario. The giant-bucket-of-awesome plumber turned hero by the people of Nintendo.

Yes, Mario is back in an all-new version of the game that made him a legend: New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Why shouldn't Mario be considered a great athlete? So what if he's what some people may call "fake" or "pretend" or anything else that describes not existing?

If you're reading this, chances are you participate in a fake football league and have been invited to be in a fake mafia, start a fake farm or join a fake vampire war.

You also probably also watch shows that are called "reality" but involve things like people being sequestered in Malibu mansions or racing across the globe on someone else's dime.

My point is that whether you want to admit it or not, there is no reality in your reality.

Look a little further at Mario's credentials and you will see the truth in his fiction:

• While Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders were praised for playing football and baseball, Mario is legendary in the world of auto racing, soccer, football, hockey, baseball, tennis, golf and, most recently, the summer and winter Olympic Games.

• He's made a million comebacks, but spared us the indignity of a million tear-filled retirements.

• While technology and sports medicine have advanced for all athletes, only Mario looks better every year.

• He's scrappier than Dustin Pedroia, Wes Welker and David Eckstein combined.

• While other legends might get a SportsCentury, just the early work of Mario's career spawned a hypnotic documentary.

• Trouble with the law? Mario is the law in the Mushroom Kingdom.

• And finally, and probably most importantly, the game and brand of Michael Jordan have become so iconic that LeBron James recently hinted that Jordan's jumpman should be the NBA's logo. Mario's name when he debuted in "Donkey Kong" in 1981? Yup … Jumpman. Nice try, MJ.

So while you read this on the Internet as you charge your smart phone and check your Wi-Fi signal, remember who is the true athletic giant of the fake wired world we all live in.

All hail, Mario!