Players Who Change the Landscape of Sports with Oliver Barron
Players Who Change the Landscape of Sports with Oliver Barron
On this holiday episode of Hustle and Pro, we’re talking about changing the outcome. I’ve invited one of our own Lifestyle Frisco family sports fans, Oliver Barron, to run through a few of our lists on game changers in sports.
Growing up overseas, Oliver played cricket, soccer, and rugby. Having moved to the US as a teenager, he adopted American sports quickly and developed favorite teams and players. Oliver shares his perspective on who has impacted basketball, football, soccer, golf, tennis, and more.
Sports keep us entertained and amazed. Sports make us happy and sometimes sad and disappointed. But, no matter what, sports create memories and bring people together for the love of the game.
We hope you enjoy our casual chat. Leave a comment and tell us who you think is a SPORTS GAME CHANGER!
And don’t froget to check out other episodes of Hustle and Pro.
- [:30] Quick hits with Oliver Barron
- [2:47] Game Changers – Basketball (Fact check: Dirk is 6th after Kareem, Karl, Koby, LeBron, and Jordan)
- [7:40] Football
- [14:00] Tennis
- [16:30] Baseball (Fact check: #42 was retired in 1997 before a Dodgers vs Mets game)
- [20:25] Golf
- [23:00] Soccer
Resources within this episode:
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco:
This is Hustle and Pro with Kelly Walker. Join Kelly as she talks sports with players, coaches, organizers and entrepreneurs from Peewee League to Pro. Now here’s your host, Kelly Walker.
Welcome to Hustle and Pro. Changing the outcome. That’s what we are talking about today. This is the game changers episode. I asked my friend Oliver Baron to help. How are you Oliver? I’m good, Kelly, how are you? I’m great. Thanks for joining us. So let’s do what we do here on Hustle and Pro and do a couple of quick hits to get to know you a little bit. Who’s your favorite team? I would say St Louis Cardinals baseball, obviously. Is baseball your favorite sport to watch? It isn’t actually. I’ve just been a Cardinals fan for most of my US life, so I grew up overseas primarily. Where’d you grow up? So I was born in South Africa. I lived in Hong Kong and Singapore and I’m from an English father. So my sports as a youth were primarily the English sports, like cricket and rugby and soccer. That you played? I did, yeah. You played cricket and soccer and rugby? Oh yeah. Not for extended periods of time, but I’ve definitely played in a season or two in all of those, soccer more, you know, through my freshman year in high school until we moved to the US. So what’s this sport that you’d say you’ve played the most? Soccer probably. Yeah. And is that one of your favorite still? It is. I mean, World Cup time, obviously that’s the most glorious time, you know, every four years. Right. So definitely, you know, but as far as following the pro leagues during the professional seasons, a little bit difficult, I think just having to have, you know, the particular channels and things to watch those games. So yeah, it’s not always easy to follow the English premier league champions league soccer all the time. My husband tries. So I’m sure that you wish you had more time to watch that all weekend too. It’s all hours of the day, right? Absolutely.
So what is the farthest distance you’ve ever traveled to play sports or to watch sports? Yeah, so that’s a good question. That, I guess if we’re measuring from where we’re sitting today, it would be Indonesia. I played soccer there when I was living in Singapore, but so that’s actually a very short distance. So, but maybe that’s an answer to your question. Short distance from where you were living at the time, but far from here. Right, exactly. Probably one of the farthest I’ve ever had someone say. And so then I know we’re going to talk about game changers today, but if you had to pick one athlete overall who was like a favorite of yours, who would it be? That’s easy. Actually. Michael Jordan. So we moved to the U S in 89 and so he had just, you know, sort of what, three years into his career. And you were either a Bulls fan or you are not right at that time. And so I was a huge Michael Jordan fan. He was amazing. He is definitely a game changer. So that’s what we’re going to talk about. So a game changer is, I guess it could mean anything to anybody, but it’s really like a shift, someone who changes the course of doing something or how you see something. And like in sports it’s really players who changed the game, right? It could be good or bad. While I was brainstorming to talk to you, I thought, man, some of these are not great connotations of game changers because sometimes people spoil the game or I don’t know for whatever reason. Like there’s a particular baseball name on here that that might be a negative perception sometimes. But let’s go through and see who you think some of the game changers are in sports.
So how do you want to tackle this? You do you have a list for me? I kind of do. Yeah, It’s in my head a bit. So with all apologies to Michael Jordan, my favorite athlete of all time, I’m gonna sort of go to a more modern player. I think maybe it’ll be more relevant for your audience. I don’t wanna get too old school here. Right. But Steph Curry, you know, and I think obviously the thing that stands out, you know, immediately with him is he’s basically revolutionized the long distance game. Right? And maybe fans like myself who loved the Jordan era and loved, you know, sort of the big man and the post and all of that. He’s really just kind of killed the game, if you will, because he’s so good from long range, but he’s definitely a game changer just because of what he’s done with the three point shot, you know? And off the court too, I think he is. People see him differently than sort of the eras before him and best basketball players or I don’t know, maybe it’s just me that sees him differently. But he’s family sport, right? So his dad and his brother are also basketball players, were and is. Um, but he just has there something different about him. Right. The way he, he talks to people and treats people and family. I don’t know all these things where he just sort of has a different persona than some of the guys who came before him. Right? Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, it’s probably a lot to do with the current age of basketball. You know, I think of like the, you know, the Pistons, the nasty boys, right. And, you know, Carl Malone, you know, famous jagged edge elbows and sort of the really rough game right back in the day, Bill Ambeers, and probably can name all the Pistons because I’m just, and obviously Malone wasn’t, but, being a Bulls fan. So yeah, I think he’s, he’s like a gentleman, you know, to your point, you know, of sports today. I don’t even know if I’ve ever seen him talk trash perhaps, you know, maybe or sort of, there’s absolutely no Steph rules, right? Like the Jordan rules. Right. Or, you know, so he’s just a, he’s a great role model. Absolutely. You know, and he’s created some really memorable moments in sports, you know, and I think it dates back to like, you know, obviously NCAA tournament time. You know, when he was at Davidson, I mean, people quickly heard, you know, Hey, there’s this really thin, lanky guy and he’s just killing it, you know, because he’s just so, he was so dominant, you know.
Speaking of thin, lanky guys and also in this market, you gotta say Dirk for longevity. Right? As far as a game changer, especially when we’re in the world of, everybody says I like basketball, but I don’t follow a team,I follow a player nowadays. So, but Dirk is is different than that because he was a one team guy and now that he’s officially done, like you can say that. He’s not one of these guys that was a one team guy and then moved at the last minute because there was some other opportunity or contracts went the wrong way or something like that. So I see him, because I am a Homer, as a game changer in basketball. Do you? I totally do. I think, you know, that would have been the obvious answer. I probably should have, in the market we’re in, you know, from a basketball perspective, I mean there’s no question. He’s probably what, like two or three now in total points for his career. Obviously he’s retired now, but he got that last one I think. I feel like he got one more number up there, the last one or two seasons. So there’s not many ahead of him. I was going to say four or five. Yeah, sorry. You’re probably right. We’ll fact check that later. Yeah, Jordan’s two I think. And then you’ve probably got Wilt or anyway, so I better not get into the stats of that. We can do that another episode. Exactly. So any other basketball players you want to throw out there? No, I think, you know, as, as a game changer, he’s the one that really stands out just because of, you know, like I said, him just, just changing the game. And so everybody now is looking right to shoot from 30 you know, beyond the three point line, yeah moving back, right? Exactly. And another three point line probably for the traditional basketball fan is, you know, sort of a modern gimmick, if you will, of the game. But I think the point is the guy can hit from pretty much anywhere, you know, inside of half-court. Right. And just with, with finesse, consistency, smooth. Yeah exactly.
Who else ya got? So someone, this is a more recent player too, but, so Patrick Mahomes from an NFL perspective. You know, I’m a Texas Tech gal. Perfect. I love Patrick Mahomes. So, and you know, I’m a big fantasy footballer and so, you know, we’re supposed to distinguish of course, right between fantasy and real life, but this guy is like, statistically right, has just put up some unbelievable numbers in his career. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I was looking up some of his stats and just even in college, right, so you talked about Tech and I think like he had a game where he passed for 734 yards. Really, honestly? Apparently. You know, and then just thinking about like what he did in his rookie year, you know, is pretty remarkable, right? He’s, I mean, he’s matched, stats with some of the all time greats, right, like Brady I think in as far as how many touchdowns he’s thrown in a season, you know, and yards as well. I love it because a lot of college or a lot of quarterbacks come out of college and everybody thinks they’re going to be the one that can make the jump. But most of the time they’re not going to be at the top of the list that rookie season or the next. But he just came out and never faltered. Exactly. I mean now, so when we’re recording this, he’s a little injured right now. Right. So hopefully when this airs he’s back on track and doing his thing again cause he is fun to watch and another good role model guy. For sure. Absolutely. I think everybody looks up to him. There’s a couple of the stats that I was thinking that just really distinguished him as a game changer so early in his career. So you know, basically he’s the only quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards in a season, both college and the NFL. Oh wow. Ever. Like of all the massive passers, right, of all time. That’s pretty wild. And thanks to that Texas Tech offense though. Yeah, that’s true. Not everybody has the chance to do that. Exactly. And then you know, when I mentioned Brady and Manning, so the stats there are basically, you know, they’re the only players in history to throw 50 touchdown passes in a single season. Oh wow. That’s wild for a guy who’s just new to the league, right. Think of what we’re going to be saying about him in a few more years once he’s had even more time to rack up those stats.
So you mentioned somebody a couple of times who is definitely on my game changers list for football. I mean, some people like him, some people don’t, but doesn’t matter. Tom Brady is definitely up there. And just the amount of consistent, well, playing and winning. I mean, nobody else can win as much as he does and as long as he has. Without a doubt. Secretive, anti-aging tricks. Exactly. Yeah. It’s amazing. He, he’s a better athlete now than basically when he was in the combine. Right. They have that really fantastic footage of him running, you know, the 40 slower than some of the offensive linemen, you know, or whatever the, you know, dig was on him that made him fall so far. Right. And now I think he’s on, I don’t know, he’s on like an all plant based diet and stuff, but the guy’s a specimen, right, for how to do it. Maybe he was a pool shark. Maybe he was, maybe he threw his, um, combines and everything back then just so that he could come back and surprise everybody. There you go. Yeah, exactly. Well, in talking about him, I do think game changer wise in the sport of football, back to longevity is Belichick, just because again, he’s doing, he’s winning longer at the same place than a lot of people are. Without a doubt, the team that everybody hates. But I think if we could all switch with that stable sort of system, right, of continuous winning and Superbowls. And I mean, as a Cowboys fan, I would take that model in a second.
Speaking of Cowboys, so well, do you have any other football guys on your list? No. Okay, so because I’m a Homer, again, I have to say like from my personal experience as football game changers, the triplets just because like that’s just the iconic who I think of when I think of football and, and change the game here in Dallas. Right. So, I mean, I love Troy and love that Troy is still in the picture and I hear him on the Ticket and see him or listen to him all the time on broadcast. And Michael and Emmett, they’re just, I just love those guys and I think them together as the triplets was a game changer. No doubt. No doubt. I mean, you’ve got, you know, with Aikman, and this is before my NFL watching career, but as a Cowboys fan now I’ve had to sort of go back and, and watch, right. You know, there’s no question. Like, if you put Aikman in like the run and shoot of the Oilers at the time, he would’ve been throwing, you know, for thousands and thousands of yards. Right. But that was just not the system he was in. And then you had Emmitt of course the all time rushing leader. But it’s funny when you said Dallas Cowboys triplets, you know, because my history in Dallas doesn’t go back beyond 2004, you know, the triplets for me is either, you know, Romo, you know. Oh, the newer world. And I feel like we have a current triplets, you know, perhaps. And obviously with Amari Cooper, you know, that’s a new triplets, right. It’s not even a full season yet. But yeah. And I see, you know, it’s hard not to see Emmitt out there when you see Zeke out there running. For sure.There’s just these similarities, right? Yep.
I got one more football one I want to mention real quick. On the field sure, but off the field, I feel like JJ Watt has changed the game and the way people that aren’t so much football fans paid attention to football a little bit in the last several years. No doubt. Yeah. He’s so big and dominant to your point as a football player, but the guy has such a personality. Right. I think, you know, the huge weather issues, right. In Houston. I think he basically just thought he was going to say something and raise a bit of money and then it ended up just absolutely blowing up. And I can’t remember the exact number they ended with. Me either but it was a lot, it was impactful for sure. If nothing else, it changed what was happening there in his town, which is amazing. Exactly. I just feel like people paid attention to that. Yeah, no doubt. Yeah. He’s larger than life. He feels like either a WWE personality, you know, in a sense or even like maybe your most polished politician, like you can do it all right. Yeah, that’s right. The good guy. The one with character, if there is one. Right. So, okay.
Who’s next on your list? Yes. So this one for me, I wanted to try to get to a lot of the sports that I love and follow. So Serena Williams, I think you know, and so when I, you know, I followed tennis my whole life. I didn’t mention that as a sport that I actually played, but I did play tennis. And so I’ve followed it probably definitely my entire life. And so when I think about her, you know, when I started watching tennis, it was kind of like when you are around the age of 27, Martina Navratilova not withstanding, you know, 27, 28 29 you’re kind of towards the end of your tennis career, but she’s just totally blown that theory out of the water, right? She’s like winning tournaments in her mid thirties. She’s, I mean, she won an Australian Open two months pregnant, you know, and then her stats speak for themselves. She’s just got unbelievable, you know, sort of statistics. She’s, and I would think she, or do you have statistics here? Go for it. I do. So some of the things I was looking at is this Speaking Tour longevity, we could go to almost any category of how, you know, what a game changer she is. But you know, she’s won a slam in three different decades. A grand slam in three decades. And we’re about to start a new decade. Right and she’ll do it for sure. She’s at the top of her game. That’s amazing. Yeah. It really is. Especially for such a physical sport that wears your body down. No doubt. Yep. Exactly. The only thing I would add to that is changing the sport by way of audience. Just opening it up to a whole new world of people that might not have been watching it before. Yeah, exactly. There’s no question. You know I sadly can recall, you know, obviously there’s been Arthur Ashe. This may be where you were going earlier in, you know, sort of, pivotal in changing the sports landscape. But I think, you know, she absolutely, I think just, you know, the type of player she is and, you know, some of the athletes we’ve mentioned too, you know, sort of have a farther ,like Steph too, they’re almost like, sort of cultural figures right, too that kind of make them even put that, you know, sort of solidify their game changer. With Serena, I feel like it’s the girl power thing. Yeah, that’s true too. There’s probably way more little girls really into tennis and watching tennis because of her. Sure. And their ever happen. Yeah. Which is awesome. Definitely a game changer.
Who else ya got? Yep, so this is probably a little bit of a Homer pick. Well not a little bit of a Homer pick, but it definitely is. But I felt like I might need to educate some of your American League and the Texas Ranger fans here and sadly, but this is, this is probably going to be a little bit of a sore spot, right when we think about World Series, but Albert Pujols. So Albert Pujols you know, being a huge Cardinals legend, right? But, but I think what people don’t realize that some of the things that he had done in his career, like, you know, the first 10 years of his career, he basically hit 30 homers, 300 batting average, a hundred RBI’S for 10 straight and a hundred runs scored for 10 straight seasons, which has not been eclipsed or achieved by anybody. That’s some consistency that you don’t see much. Absolutely. With that much consistency. Batting 300 and what did you say, 30 home runs? 30 home runs, you know, more than 30 home runs every season in his first 10 seasons of his career. People will get pops, you know, few seasons here and there, but to have it that long. Exactly. When did he finish playing? So he’s still playing. Seriously? Oh yeah. I thought he retired recently. No. So I think this may be his 19th season. He’s basically, I mean, you know, obviously there’s a couple of steroid users ahead of him riding like homers and RBI’S in Arod and Bonds. Right. But he’s basically in the top three, you know, five, let’s say in Homers and RBI’S and things of that nature. So he’s, he’s definitely a game changer the way he hits. I’ve read some things about him too, where people have indicated, you know, he’s maybe the best one of the better hitters ever in history, you know, and, and if we had, if there’s some baseball fans, you know, that are listening, they would know the stats, right? Like the war, the ops and some of the categories where he’s just like pretty close to off the charts yet totally dominates, especially in this era as well, you know. So I mean he’s in categories with like Babe Ruth. He’s in categories with Lou Gehrig, you know, just some of the all time greats.
Awesome. Yeah, I didn’t realize, I never followed him that closely, so I didn’t realize that he was that dominant. So, I know you mentioned Barry Bonds and so like I said earlier, not everybody’s a game changer in the, in the way you, you might want to think originally, but like I did think of Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire, I’m just kind of back in the day like that. Just sort of catapulting home run competitions among each other and mid season to really make people pay attention to that back, when was that? I don’t know. Yeah, like 90’s maybe? You might not have lived here. And I think of Pete Rose and folks like that that have just changed how the game is ,the competition of the game and, and how the game is managed and coached and those kinds of things. So I think he’s one. My first on my baseball game changer list, my first one is Jackie Robinson. For sure. I just love Jackie Robinson’s story and every time I’m at the Ballpark, well I will never probably look up and see the 42 sign again. Hopefully they won’t take that off. I don’t know. Maybe they will, I don’t know, but he’s got, you know, over third base foul line I think, his little placard. But I just like him as a game changing story in the history of the sport. For sure. And to your point with this number 42, I think it’s been retired, right? Like you can’t wear it. This may need to be fact checked here, but I think it’s been retired by all major league baseball teams. I’m going to think you’re right. And my favorite day is Jackie Robinson day on the baseball field when everybody’s wearing 42. You do a double take and then you just realize, wow. I mean that is how powerful his impact on the sport is. Absolutely. That everybody out there honors him all at the same time. It’s so cool. All right. Who else?
So probably when we think about game changers, probably you know, there needs to be names like Muhammad Ali and whatever. But Tiger Woods, I mean, you know, just unbelievable player, right? I think, he, yeah, I’m not even, you know, a golf fan per se. I don’t play, just don’t have the patience, but he makes me want to be a golf fan. And obviously when he was sort of down in the middle back end of his career, it’s like people aren’t watching you know, the tournaments and stuff, the stuff like they were when he was playing. So, so definitely a game changer I think is, you know, sort of accomplishments early in his career speak for themselves. He’s definitely in my mind, a game changer. Yeah, for sure. He brought a whole new element, I think, to the sport ,a new age group of people and got everybody excited again, watching what he was able to accomplish and his story of being off and then being back on. And gosh, this last year, his last season, I mean, I know overall it’s probably not what he wanted, but when he was competing to still stay in some of those majors, I mean, people were glued to the TV again just to see and I don’t know if they rooting against him or for him, doesn’t matter. No, but they were watching. Yeah, exactly. And you know, when I think of Woods, I mean we could go over all the great accomplishments of his career, but it’s that 2005 Masters where it’s the final round and you know, it’s his iconic red shirt, right? It’s the 16th hole, I think he’s got a one shot lead basically. But his opponent basically hit a tee shot that’s like in the best position for him. Right? And then Woods is like on the outside of the green and it’s just like this impossible trick shot that he has to basically hit. And I think, you know, he chips it and hits it like 20 feet north of whatever, you know, left of the hole essentially. And then it just rolls and rolls and rolls and it sits on the lip. Righ?. And then it’s almost like the crowd, just like somehow wills that ball right in and it just drops in. It’s like a movie. Yeah, it was. Yeah. You know, and so, um, I kinda feel like, you know, and then that really iconic fist pump, you know. Um, and then, you know, he looked like a linebacker playing golf too, you know, like just this big dude, you know? And, and then his numbers speak for himself. I think, you know, he’s, he’s just right up there. Right. Or just maybe like three or so away from all time, you know, records right now. I don’t know how much he’s got left or not, but I’ll be watching to see.
Okay. So for somebody who’s, you know, soccer was one of your main sports, you have not thrown out soccer names yet. I know. You got any on your list? You go first. Surely. Well, I mean mine is super obvious. People like Messi, just because I love watching him play. But I tried, I thought, well, let me go back and who else? I don’t know everything about everybody who’s ever played soccer. So I don’t even want to pretend that. But people who I remember and like just play differently, like Ronald Nino, the way he just dribbles in play, like all the more trickery and different things. But I just will never forget, I think you can go watch all the YouTube videos for forever I can watch him play. And this is so like American, but David Beckham, like when he came to the MLS, it changed the way people in America at least started paying attention a little bit more. I know it’s still got a long way to go, but that changed the American landscape of soccer and it opened the gate for others to do the same. I mean, you know, we went to a game in Frisco this year with Wayne Rooney and I mean, I almost every time somebody came comes in now to Frisco to play FC Dallas there’s a really big international superstar on the other end of the bench. And yeah, they’re done probably close to being done with their career, but they’re still out there competing with our guys. And it’s fun to watch. And so I don’t know, I think of Beckham as that game changer to bring people here. And then on the sport side, Pulisic bringing our players to Europe. And then I hope there’s more FC Dallas guys that follow in his path, like I think Paxton Pomykal and some of my favorite guys here. But so Pulisic is kind of the most recent, but those are kind of my probably low hanging fruit names. So who do you got?
No, I, you know, unfortunately I can’t differ much. You know, my dad’s actually English so I was trying to think of, he probably would want me to say, you know, an English all time great. My mom’s German one of the German players that sort of just, I think recently retired Bastian Schweinsteiger I think was, you know, just kind of a player that I really admired. I saw him score goals, you know, that are just like, were trick shots, right? In like big spots in like world cups and things, you know, but it’s Messi. I know it’s probably the easiest answer, but it’s amazing. You know, sometimes when I see him dribbling the ball, I feel like, you know, it’s like trying to catch a chicken on a soccer field. He’s so elusive, you know, and so adept, you know, with the ball, I can’t recall if it was, you know, the last World Cup or not, but he basically was presented with like a really long field pass that he was able to catch on his foot. And, and you know, from like 30, 40 yards, right. And tap it in the goal, you know. He makes it look like nothing. Exactly. In reality, it’s so incredibly hard to do. Exactly. He’s the one that stands out for me, I think, you know, and you know, you could say Pele and you can say so many other, you know, but for sure I agree with you on them. You know, I really, he’s kind of in a league of his own for myself and Beckham too. You know, the whole bend it like Beckham and you know, um, you know, I’ve, somebody had said to me one time that they thought David Beckham was overrated and I said, you know, overrated because he looks like a GQ model? He’s In the news a lot. And his wife had been, maybe they meant over done, overexposed. Yeah. But I think, you know, if you’re looking at him as maybe being the best player, I don’t know if people were saying he was necessarily the best player, but he was a complete player and could play obviously in every facet of the game. So I think he’s a game changer for sure, you know, with what he’s accomplished.
Me too. So okay. Do you have anybody else you need to get out there for we wrap up? That’s all I had to get off my chest. Yep. We have, some mutual game changers of course. But then, um, some of that I hadn’t thought of. So thanks for coming by today. You’re welcome. Thank you, Kelly. And we can hop on again to cover fantasy football next fall to see who you’ve got going on there. And then what else are you saying? Oh, the Bulls? Yeah, anything. I don’t know how to talk Chicago basketball, but I’ll let you do that. Yeah, sure thing. Thanks, Kelly. Thank you for listening to Hustle and Pro today. So however you’re listening to us subscribe so that you will get alerted about our episodes each week.