There are some athletes who it is impossible to imagine surpassing. Take Muhammad Ali. No boxer has ever come close. It’s impossible to imagine any horse surpassing Secretariat. And Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who died Thursday is and always will be the best soccer player in the world.
Known around the world as Pelé, he did things in the sport that still have not been equaled. And it’s nearly impossible to imagine that someone could so radically reinvent a sport that was already well-established. Maybe Babe Ruth did in baseball. Knute Rockne revolutionized football with the forward pass and Hank Luisetti changed basketball when he showed the world the jump shot.
But those things happened long ago, when those games were still young. When Pelé came along, soccer was well established, and globally.
He took the sport from something that was fairly conventional and, well dull, to something that, at its best, was electrifying.
Take a look at this video, especially the slo-mo replays. Even today, the moves are stunning. As we said, the man will never truly be surpassed.