How ahead of their time was…

Greg Graffin– “I’m a twenty-first century digital boy, I don’t know how to read but I got a lot of toys. My daddy’s a lazy middle class intellectual, my mommy’s on valium, so ineffectual.” 1990

Ray Allen– a math player (3 and D) before the NBA was a math league.

Madonna– hot, bold and sexual way before that was easy for a woman to pull off.

Barry Sanders– left football young and healthy before the world acknowledged how much of a death sentence the game is.

Martin Luther King Jr.– Civil rights leader in a time when it was not easy to be one (I know it’s still not easy, but now doesn’t even compare to then/civil right leaders are always ahead of their time).

George Orwell– this dude was standing up to nits/speaking out about them back in the early 1920s

RuPaul– on that gender choice shit early

Allen Iverson– the first big athlete to embrace hip hop culture in his appearance (see tats and corn rows)

Jackie Robinson– if you don’t know…

Muhammad Ali– charisma for days, but fading the war was bold af

Ellen– I used to hate her for stealing Anne Heche when I was a kid, now I just respect the hell out of her.

Steve Jobs– I mean…

Tiger Woods– golfers will forever be athletes moving forward

Art Davie– the man who created the UFC

Rich Rodriguez– invented the spread option

Haralabos Voulgaris– OG “sharp”

Chuck Berry– no big deal, he just sped up the blues and invented rock ‘n’ roll

Ignaz Semmelweis– started hand washing before surgery

Jimmy Valvano– started fouling at the end of basketball games when losing


I have a very limited sense of History. I’d much appreciate your thoughts on this in the comments section (obv there needs to be way more women on the list). If I agree with you after researching, I’ll add to/subtract from my list. Lists are fun- this one seems important though too.

Clarification: I’m looking for people who were pioneers for stuff that became popular later, not just genius or high achieving. I started thinking of this list when I played some Bad Religion for my kids the other day…


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10 thoughts on “How ahead of their time was…

  1. Catherine Hoke
    JK Rowling
    Richard Branson
    Stu Ungar
    Bobby Fischer
    Arnold Schwarzenegger
    Jim Brown
    Marcus Aurelius
    Laird Hamilton
    Royce Gracie


    1. Thanks man. I’m going through all the names now. Sorry I just added the clarification to my post. Who started UFC? Who had the vision? I love Laird Hamilton but I think he might still be ahead of his time. Going through the rest…


  2. Good call – Art Davie had the vision. Also one more – Babe Ruth


  3. Randall Cunningham
    Tony Gonzalez
    Dirk Nowitzki
    RZA/Wu Tang
    Bill Belicheck
    Jimmy Valvano


    1. Rich Rodriguez (not a ton of coaching success, but created the zone read, that like 90% of college football teams run nowadays)


    2. Rich Rodriguez (that’s obscure lol but I like it/didn’t know that) definitely meets the criteria. How do those other guys? I want to know who turned basketball into a math equation- was it Darryl Morey? On that note, I’m adding Haralabos Voulgaris. I want to add Randall but the best QBs to this day aren’t especially mobile. Inform me plz. Who revolutionized things? I thing Belicheck is maybe in the” just a genius” category.


  4. Randall Cunningham – I’m slightly too young to know for sure but I’m pretty sure he was the first real dual threat QB before that was even a thing. I know the best QBs of all time are pocket passers, but the dual threat is way more popular nowadays.

    Tony Gonzalez – I believe he was the first tight end that could split out and basically play receiver and get those size mis-matches like Jimmy Graham, Gronk, Antonio Gates, etc.

    Dirk – Big men that can handle the ball/play out at the perimeter.

    RZA/ Wu Tang – one of a kind group, incorporated eastern culture/martial arts into rap

    Belicheck – prob right about just being a genius/just always one level ahead

    Jimmy V created fouling at the end of the game when you’re down and there’s not much time left. Doesn’t work a ton today but it worked when he first did it and helped him win a national championship


  5. Lucille Ball
    Doug Kenney
    Gilda Radner
    Ignaz Semmelweis – The man who first suggested that surgeons who wash their hands lose far fewer patients than those who don’t, died unhappily in a mental asylum obviously.


  6. These are awesome, and I think pretty worthwhile. Please include descriptions (like was done with Ignaz) moving forward. Thx!


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