This has been a bad year for music icons as both David Bowie and Prince have passed away. An argument could be made that each was a Top 5 music icon at the time of their death. And it led to an interesting conversation amongst friends and social media about who the Top 5 music icons alive are now following the death of Prince. Now what makes a music icon? I think longevity and worldwide recognition are the top 2 factors. Having a long career at or near the top of the music world and having the ability to be recognized by a large majority of people. If people wouldn’t know you if you were standing in front of them, I’m not sure how big an icon you are. For instance, some argued Robert Plant should be considered. I would argue most people wouldn’t know if he was eating at the table next to you. My opinion on the current Top 5:
- Sir Paul McCartney: 1 of 2 unarguable locks
- Madonna: The other lock.
- Bob Dylan
- Mick Jagger
- Stevie Wonder (even though he isn’t blind)
Others under consideration would have to be Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, and Bono, in my opinion. And I would bet 30 years from now we might see Justin Timberlake or Taylor Swift on that list but not for a while.
But let’s bring this back to UK land. What would the 5 for UK (in all sports) be? Remember, these people have to be living. My top 5:
- Dan Issel: The greatest college career in UK history by a looooonnnnnggggg way. The best pro career. This can’t be questioned him being #1.
- Joe B. Hall: Done more for his image and popularity after his coaching tenure than during it. Still had a great tenure too. Will be a sad day when he passes.
- Goose Givens: Best nickname. Best single game clutch performance. Still easily recognized by all fans.
- Kenny Walker: I don’t know if he’s one of the 5 best players in UK history, but he’s remained around the program, always shows huge support for the team and remains a fan favorite.
- Rex Chapman: Despite his recent struggles, UK fans still love the King. He’s an icon.
Now, this list doesn’t mean there aren’t other icons still living for UK. I think Jamal Mashbuirn is a living icon. Pat Riley is an icon although not as much for his UK days. Hell, John Calipari should probably be considered for this list and he certainly would make it sooner than later but I’d like to see him coach 10 years before we give him Top 5 icon status.
What do you think? Who should and shouldn’t be on the list?
By the way, of the players/coaches who have had a jersey retired at Rupp, a total of 26 of 43 still remain alive (Hagan, Ramsey, Evans, Rose, Bird, Burrow, Hatton, Cox, Nash, Dampier, Riley, Issel, Grevey, Givens, Robey, Macy, Bowie, Walker, Feldhaus, Farmer, Woods, Pelphrey, Mashburn, Delk, Hall, Pitino)