Originally Posted by Seamus
Remember the old Scotty Pippen commercial where he's playing in the 1950's and the recruiter says... "Son, you could make hundreds of dollars playing this game"?
Well, now, it's millions for not even playing very well, and many millions more if you get a shoe deal... and many, many millions more if the shoe company gets the right endorser. So, the recruitment has been ratcheted up about a billion fold.
I even heard an interview last week with Kobe Bryant lamenting the demise of the big man, asking "Where did they all go? It's like someone pushed a button and they disappeared." He was speaking entering the league in an era of Shaq, Rik Smits, Ewing, Mourning...
From my Google warrior research, it seems the height of the average adult US male is in fact going down, even accounting for immigration, due to sedentary lifestyle and poor diet (junk food), two problems from which Marciano did not suffer. You can follow the links I posted above to read more.
If you take further in consideration that he was the son of immigrants from Abruzzo and Campania, both in Southern Italy, you will realize he already was a giant for that particular gene pool. Having often visited there I can attest anecdotally that the folks just aren't that tall down there. Statistically, men in Southern Italy still only average 5 foot 8, about the same as Japan.
And again, the point has been made, that all the conjuring, compensating and imagining has nothing to do with Marciano, the actual fighter.
growing up in the NY area I have had the experience of being around many different kinds of ethnic groups and I can tell you American Italians and Italians are 2 different types of people. There are many types of Italian Americans ...not all Italians are tough but there are shortish Italians that have freakish strength, I know 2 brothers that are smaller than 5"8 that are legends in the boroughs of NY for there street fighting and are known for there one punch power. I know Italian,Irish,Poles,Germans,Jews of all nations that are tougher than there European cousins... Italian Americans for one have some shorter but wider and heavier boned or steel boned people and some are freakishly strong...they may be 5'8 5'9 and 230 lbs, not always suited for the boxing ring but strong dangerous people...I have also seen tough Jews and Puerto Ricans and Blacks that are small in height but freakish strength.....Northern Americans may not be as tough today as in the last 100 years but have been historically tougher than Europeans
I have to say these days it seems like Europe has a large edge on America today but America mostly dominated in the past 10 decades