After picking out some of the top athletes of the past decade from the three major sports, I feel there should be an ultimate top five for all sports combined. These players are the ones who have dominated the most not only individually, but experienced team success as well. There will be a few returning names from previous lists, and it wasn’t an easy choice picking and ordering them, but I gave it a go and had some fun with it.
5. Kobe Bryant. It would be pretty tough for any NBA player to replicate Michael Jordan’s dominant career, but Kobe is trying his hardest to catch up. Kobe’s four NBA championships are still trailing Jordan’s, but is still a great number for today’s time where teams come and go so often much like Chris Paul’s Hornets did last season. Kobe’s Lakers have been in contention for what it seems like forever, and having back to back titles the past two seasons has showed Kobe still has a lot left in the tank. He is going to dominate the Western Conference for many more years to come.
4. Peyton Manning. The most important position in the NFL is quarterback, and no one plays that position better than Manning. After one rough season as a rookie, Manning has kept improving and stifling defenses all year every year. Any fan would want a quarterback that can carry the load on his shoulders and lead his team to 12 win seasons annually. That is what Manning has done for the Indianapolis Colts, and you can bet that the front office isn’t going to let him go anywhere this offseason.
He makes every one of his teammates better by coaching and practicing in any way he can. What impressed me lately is that when the league was threatening to make the season longer which would cut into Manning’s offseason workouts with his receivers, he became a strong voice against it, because it would affect their ability to get better. He is always trying to get better and he has done so. With a questionable run game and a pitiful defense, the Colts are going to be relying on Manning more than ever, and the safe bet is that he will be rewarding them with a successful season.
3. Roger Federer. Tennis isn’t the most glamorous or exciting sport to watch, but that doesn’t mean I can exclude the players from this discussion. Federer has be considered by many analysts, critics, and former and current players to be the greatest tennis player of all time. To give you an idea of how good the man is, he held the number one position for a record 237 consecutive weeks at one point. That’s over four and a half years! He has won 16 Grand Slam singles titles since 2003, making me wonder how any other competitor could stand a chance in any tournament. He has experienced some success in doubles as well earning eight career titles and also brought home the Gold medal in doubles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics for Switzerland. At the end of his career, he will undoubtedly be declared the greatest tennis player of all time, and he is very deserving of it.
2. Albert Pujols. Where would the St. Louis Cardinals be without Albert Pujols? The Cards are often associated with our Minnesota Twins because they are a (relatively) low market club in the Midwest. We make the most out of our money and seem to be a contender year in and year out. Well Pujols is to the Cards that Joe Mauer is to the Twins. They are two players that a team, city, and even state can be proud to have on their team. Pujols dominance has been ridiculous since he entered the league in 2001. A career .331 hitter while also averaging over 40 home runs a year is just absurd. With all the accusations of steroid use in the past decade, Pujols has been dominating and showing people you don’t need performance enhancers to be a great player in Major League Baseball. He is also a leader in the locker room as well, keeping players in check and telling troubled ones like Colby Rasmus to leave if they don’t like it there. I cant imagine the Cards letting Pujols go when his contract is up, as he is sure to pump out quality play at the first base position for many years to come.
1. Tiger Woods. Golf, such a boring sport to watch with it being so lackadaisical and slow. This does not mean it is an easy sport to be great at, especially at the professional level. In the past decade, Tiger has won 12 Major Championships, he has 71 PGA Tour wins, good for third all time. With his recent personal life troubles, many people have disowned him completely, which is not good at all. Anyone can have troubles in their personal life, that shouldn’t affect how we feel about a player when he is on the course, court, or field. A player can be really good at golf for a really long time. If Tiger can manage to get over his recent struggles, he will be shattering records left and right as he is only 34 years old. Who knows, he could be the top player of this upcoming decade, only time will tell.