There are a lot of athletes out there who deserve recognition for work on the field over the last 10 years, but some athletes stand out because they are just almost too good to be true. Athletes get paid a lot of money to do what they do, but usually it is because they work hard and dedicate their life to their craft. Here are five athletes that I believe deserve to be the top five of the decade, and possibly the top five of all time.
Kobe Bryant, also known as the Black Mamba, is definitely one of the best athletes in the past 10 years, and his talent with a basketball can’t be challenged. Bryant has won five NBA Championships, 16-time All Star, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team. One great thing about Bryant is it seems that he just gets better with age, kind of like wine. Bryant scored 81 points in one game in 2006, making him second in the NBA record books for most points in one game. He has won the All-Star MVP award four times, and he won gold at the 2012 Olympics. Bryant has to be one of the top three in the NBA of all time, and you can tell he enjoys what he is doing, which might be why he is so amazing on the court.
You can’t have any top five list without mentioning Peyton Manning, who has become not only one of the best in the past 10 years, but one of the best quarterbacks of all time. You might say that his last Lombardi trophy was years ago with the Indianapolis Colts, but to come back from his neck injury like he did in 2012 and 2013, there is no denying he is an amazing talent. Statistically, Manning was on fire in 2013, breaking records for throwing four or more touchdown passes in multiple games, helped the Denver Broncos get the most points ever in a National Football League season with over 600, and just was a completion machine. Not only did Manning break records in 2013, he also is a multiple time MVP with five wins, but he was nominated to the Pro-Bowl 13 times, and has gotten seven First Team All-Pro nods. I may not be a Colts or Broncos fan that much, but what Manning can do on the field is just like watching a doctor, the way he slices defenses, throws various signals and changes them in seconds, and it’s just amazing to watch him play.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr., is likely one of the most elite boxers of all time, and not just within the past decade. Mayweather Jr., is an orthodox boxer that has 45 wins and 26 losses, and has made over $350 million dollars throughout his career. He has some outstanding skills and knockout abilities, which goes with his natural gut instinct in the ring. I can’t think of many others that have the speed he has, which may be why he his a five-division world champion. He has also won the Lineal championship in three different weight classes, which just shows his versatility and skill level. Most people couldn’t fight in different weight classes and keep winning, but Mayweather Jr. does it all.
Roger Federer is a name that people know, even if they have never watched professional golf before, and that is when you know you are one of the best athletes out there. Federer is ranked number four according to the Association of Tennis Professionals, and has been in the top 10 ATP list since 2002. Federer held the number one position for 302 weeks, has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, and reached the finale of Wimbledon a total of eight times. Federer is the only male tennis player to reach the semi-finals in 23 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, has won the Australian Open, US Open, French Open, Grand Slam, and Wimbledon at least once. Federer is just so fast on the tennis court that his opponents have a hard time keeping up with him, and his skills just seem so natural. Federer is like the guy you want to be like if you start playing tennis, because he truly has won so many titles that it makes him a role model to adults and children alike.
Lionel Messi is a tremendously talented soccer player, and he has won World Player of the Year three times, all by age 26. Not to mention the fact he has over 60 goals to his name, has broken many FC Barcelona records, and he is Champions League top scorer. While I am not a soccer fan, but I do see that Messi is just an amazing talent, with speed and skill that makes even people like me interested in the game. I think that you can have mass respect for an athlete that you know has skills and talent, even if you aren’t into that particular sport, and this is one of those situations. Messi has also won World Youngest Soccer Player three different times, and is also one of the highest paid athletes. There is no doubt, Messi is truly one of the best soccer players of the decade, maybe even of all time.