Today is Ken Griffey Jr.'s birthday. He's 44, and that should make us all feel terrible. He joins many of the other stars of our youth who are now pot-bellied and, many of them, retired to a lifetime of golf far away from Dan Patrick and Keith Olberman hosted Sportscenter highlights. If ever there was a star associated with the '90s it was Junior. Then 2000 came and he slowly deteriorated like he sold his soul to the devil but didn't plan for the ironic twist. For one day we focus back on his glory days for a decade we view with rose-tinted goggles.
The '90s are over. True NBA centers are an endangered species. Boxing is too. Quarterbacks get "roughed" by getting pushed down. Sports are lengthened by instant replay. There's no more Third Eye Blind on the radio. And as far as we know (or care) Jonathan Taylor Thomas has fallen off the face of the earth. Some of this sucks but most of this is progress. For example, finally doing something to fix the NFL concussion epidemic. You may not want to hear it, but a team doctor issuing a mandatory benching to prevent life as a vegetable for your QB takes precendent over a Fantasy win.
Still it emphasizes the fact that we've see a generational shift in sports over the past twenty years. The evolution of our favorite athletics is something we gradually accept to avoid the appalling fact that we really don't have much to talk about beyond sports. It's an awkward social trait that we picked up in our childhoods passed down from parents and grandparents who parked us in front of our TVs way back in, you guessed it, the '90s. Today in honor of Griffey we flash you back to those days along with some of the biggest and baddest names of the bygone decade. Here are The 25 Most Badass Athletes of the '90s.*
*Sure to cause a debate.