George Retzlaff vs. James Naismith

Naismith gave us basketball, but it was Retzlaff who allowed us to watch buzzer-beaters over and over again

George Retzlaff

Why he’s famous: Retzlaff took (most of) the risk out of a mid-game bathroom break by introducing the instant replay.

Why he deserves to win: The aesthetics of modern hockey broadcasts owe much to Retzlaff’s pioneering ways as the first producer behind Hockey Night in Canada. His greatest innovation? Using film he could develop in 30 minutes to replay goals. At first the replay wasn’t so instant—goals were replayed during intermissions. But the technique was eventually refined to allow producers to integrate it into the play-by-play broadcast. The bladders of sports fans have been thankful ever since.

James Naismith

Why he’s famous: You have heard of basketball, right?

Why he deserves to win: Naismith is widely credited as the inventor of basketball, which he reportedly developed while working as a phys-ed instructor at his local YMCA in Massachusetts. Naismith needed a sport to keep his otherwise unruly charges happy, but didn’t want to indulge their more boisterous tendencies. Soon enough, inspired by a childhood game bearing the unfortunate name of “duck-on-a-rock,” Naismith had them tossing a soccer ball at a peach basket placed at the top of a 10-foot pole. So we have Naismith to thank not just for giving non-hockey players something to do in the winter, but also for the social relevance of Shaq’s Twitter feed.

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Next: Mike Lazaridis vs. Robert Mundell

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