A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from March 20, 2012
“You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him”

"You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him” means that a sports superstar can be expected to perform well “you can’t stop him"), so the secret to winning a game against his team is to limit his effectiveness and to shut down the effectiveness of his teammates. Dan Patrick popularized the line on ESPN’s SportsCenter in the 1990s, but Patrick used the line with irony, applying “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him” to a non-superstar who has a surprisingly good game.

“Can’t stop him...try/hope to contain him” has been cited in print since at least 1958, when New York Giants’ football player Kyle Rote spoke about the defense against Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown. The expression was used in 1971 to describe playing against basketball’s Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).

Wikipedia: Dan Patrick
Daniel Patrick Pugh (born May 15, 1956), professionally known as Dan Patrick, is an American sportscaster, radio personality, and actor from Mason, Ohio. He currently hosts The Dan Patrick Show which is broadcast on radio on Premiere Radio Networks, and on television on The Audience Network for DIRECTV subscribers, co-hosts NBC’s Football Night in America, and serves as a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. He previously worked at ESPN for 17 years, where he often anchored the weeknight and Sunday 11 PM edition of SportsCenter.
Music videos
Dan Patrick has appeared twice in music videos:
. The 1995 Hootie & the Blowfish song “Only Wanna Be With You.” In the video, the group use their money to purchase several sports teams. Patrick said of the group, “Dare I say they’re anything but ‘en fuego’.” He also uses another one of his famous catchphrases, “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.”

The Internet Movie Database
Memorable quotes for
“SportsCenter” (1979)

[repeated phrase]
Dan Patrick: You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.

17 December 1958, Boston (MA) Herald, “We’ll Do It. Says Rote,” pg. 38, col. 2:
Someone suggested that New York’s success against Cleveland resulted from the Giants’ stopping Jim Brown. Rote nodded, interjecting, “That’s not quite right. We don’t stop him—nobody does that to Brown—but we contain him better than the other clubs.”

Google News Archive
19 October 1963, Miami (FL) News, “Trippi’s Teaching Pays Off” by Jim Hardie, pg. 2B, cols. 5-6: 
“Mira hips that ball when he passes. We didn’t think we could stop him,” Rakestraw said. “Our plan was just to try and contain him.”

21 April 1971, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), “Analysis: Bullets vs. Bucks” by Seymour S. Smith, pg. C1:
The Bullets know cannot stop him (Lew Alcindor—ed.), but if they contain him then they may tle up his supporting cast.

Google News Archive
1 March 1976, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Things Look Up” by Russ Brown, pg. 17, col. 3: 
“We’ll probably try to front Scheuermann,” Thompson said. “I really don’t think you can stop him, you just try to contain him.”

11 October 1977, New York (NY) Times, “Steelers Run Short of Quarterbacks” by William N. Wallace, pg. 62: 
Of the Raiders’ Ken Stabler, Alzado said, “I don’t think you can stop him, but you can contain him.”

27 April 1980, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “If Celtics want to go on, they’d better act fast” by Alan Greenberg, pg. D3:
“You can’t stop him, all you can do is try to contain him,” Carr said.

Google Books
23 December 1980, Merced (CA) Sun-Star, “Raiders-Oilers: Reunion set in Oakland,” pg. 11, col. 2:
“I’ve practiced against Dave (Oakland’s Dave Casper—ed.) for three years. You can’t stop him, just try to contain him.”

Google News Archive
24 May 1982, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “Can Sixer Stop Magic Show?,” pg. C3, col. 1:
“It will take a lot to contain him but you can’t stop him,” Johnson said. “He and the Doctor (Julius Erving) are their big guns.”

Google News Archive
6 May 1983, Williamson (WV) Daily News, “Philadelphia readies for battle with Bucks” by Ken Rappoport (AP Sports Writer), pg. 12, col. 6:
“You’re not going to stop him — you just have to contain him,” says Gilmore of Jabbar, who averaged 23.6 points a game against the Spurs during the regular season.

23 April 1987, Orlando (FL) Sentinel, “Can new pizazz of Jazz hold up for playoffs?”, pg. D1: 
“You try to contain him Jordan, but you can’t stop him,” Jones said.

10 May 1988, Chicago (IL) Sun-Times, “Celts aren’t taking hot Hawks lightly,” pg. 96:
“You can’t stop him,” Jones said. “You have to try to contain him.”

10 November 1989, Chicago (IL) , “Thanks to Lee, no dog days for Thornton” by Paul Sullivan, Sports, pg. 1:
“You can’t stop him,” said CVS coach Chuck Chambers. “You just try to contain him.”

Sports Illustrated
February 13, 1995
Just Tell It Like It Is
Awash in overwrought TV-speak, sportscasters can’t seem to “get the job done”

Steve Rushin
You cannot stop the Niners’ Jerry Rice, you can only hope to “contain” him. In fact, the Chargers couldn’t “contain” Rice if they were an Uncle Ben’s box, but so what? Not since the cold war has “containment” been such a “focus.”

Google Books
The Big Show:
A tribute to ESPN’s SportsCenter

By Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick
New York, NY: Pocket Books
Pg. 27:
You Can’t Stop Him, You Can Only Hope to Contain Him: (Dan) For the purpose of expressing respect bordering on fear for an unlikely hero in any sport.

Google Books
The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English
By Eric Partridge, Tom Dalzell and Terry Victor
New York, NY: Routledge
Pg. 715:
you can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him
used as a humorous comment on a high achiever. Popularised by ESPN’s Dan Patrick US, 1997

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, March 20, 2012 • Permalink