Three Pretenders To The Throne. And One King

At least four major athletes have carried the handle of “Rocket” during their careers.  I wonder who the real holder of this title is? Hmm.

ismailRaghib ‘Rocket’ Ismail? He was a star football player in college, the Canadian Football League and the NFL, made millions, and promptly went broke after losing his fortune with bad investments in restaurants, movies and phone card dispensers among others. Now he gets jobs on reality shows like Pros vs. Joes, where average guys try to deke him out on the gridiron, and Ty Murray’s Bull Riding Challenge. He also coaches Slamball, whatever that is. Is he The Rocket? Not a chance.

clemensRoger ‘Rocket’ Clemens? One 0f the greatest pitchers in the history of the major leagues with over 4000 career strikeouts. Unfortunately, this Rocket was discovered to be juiced up on steroids for much of his career and has had several extra-marital relationships, including adultery with a then-15 year old country singer named Mindy McCready. And in Joe Torre’s book ‘The Yankee Years’, Torre writes that Clemens would soak in extremely hot water and then have the hottest possible muscle liniment applied to his genitals during rub-downs. Would he be the true Rocket? Not even close. 

burePave Bure, ‘The Russian Rocket’? A great hockey player, speedy, tricky, slick. Also a prima donna who had his own room in the dressing room, apart from his teammates, a la Barry Bonds. He’s now General Manager of the Russian Oympic team. Bure has also had his share of controvery. He apparently started dating tennis star Anna Kournikova while she was still Sergei Fedorov’s woman and endured his share of gossip column chatter. And then there were those alleged ties with the Russian mafia.

Is Bure the true Rocket? A great player, but no way.

And then there’s the other Rocket. The only Rocket. I don’t have to go any further.

5 thoughts on “Three Pretenders To The Throne. And One King”

  1. Good comparisons Dennis,although the Russian Rocket aka Pavel Bure was a speedster,had great moves and a very good shot he was but a one way hockey player, like Ovechkin,who would shoot on a three on one or try to make a deke,not my idea of a great player.

  2. I agree with Derry, Bure was a star, but he was not great. He was the distraction for the opposing teams while better players like Linden went and did all the important stuff including scoring the big goals.

    If you’re including qualifiers, you missed a biggie. But he wasn’t pretending, his nickname was given to him to honour his big brother, the one and only Rocket.

  3. I think Bure was a great player. When he was a junior, he along with Fedorov and Mogilny made up the most potent junior line in the world. He and the other two were men against boys. Sure, he wasn’t a two-way player, but he was a dangerous, speedy, tricky guy with lots of tools. In my estimation, a better player than Linden. He could be a one-man show, take the puck end to end, and score high-light reel goals.
    Yeah I could’ve included Pocket-Rocket but he’a saint. Not like these other guys, which is what my post was about.

  4. I went to the 4th game of the Stanley Cup final in 94 in Vancouver.Trevor Linden was by far the better player in this game,as well as the series.Bure would have his little streaks of energy ,didn’t have the fortitude to go the playoffs.My money would be with Trevor for sure.

  5. I’m not saying Linden wasn’t a great player, he was. And one of the best leaders ever. But Bure was more dynamic, more of a game-breaker, and a sensational skater. At least in my book.

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