In no specific order, these five athletes seemed to be playing on another level when compared to others in their sport over the last 10 years.
Albert Pujols – Baseball
Albert Pujols burst onto the Major League Baseball scene in 2001 and since then he has consistently been among the best if not the best player in the league. Some might be surprised to see him on this list considering he has struggled a bit since joining the Angels, he just recently hit his 500th home run and is looking more like the player we’ve seen this past decade where he dominated the league.
- 9 Time All-Star
- 3 Time NL MVP
- Led NL in WAR 2006-09
Peyton Manning – Football
Benefiting from genetics that are obviously suited for being an elite quarterback (his dad played in the NFL, and his younger brother currently does), Peyton Manning has shown that even age won’t slow him down as he yet again won the NFL MVP in 2013 at the age of 38.
- 13 Pro Bowls
- 5 Time NFL MVP
- Super Bowl XLI MVP
Tiger Woods – Golf
There has arguably been no single person in sports that has dominated his competition in the last decade to the extent that Tiger Woods did. Yes, he may have had an extended rough spot surrounding his “scandal”, but that was a very small part of the decade and he proved he hasn’t changed by coming back to win the PGA player of the year in 2013.
- 10 Time PGA Player of the Year
- 4 Time AP Male Athlete of the Year
- 14 Major Championship Wins
Kobe Bryant – Basketball
While Lebron James has technically been around long enough to be considered for player of the decade conversation, his career is still young and less decorated compared to that of Kobe Bryant. Playing for the Lakers his entire career, he has started every All Star game since he was 19 years old in his second season.
- 16 Time All-Star
- 11 Time NBA First Team
- Youngest Player to Reach 30,000 Points
Lionel Messi – Soccer
Though he was only 16 ten years ago, his achievements since then are remarkable enough to still make him one of the most impressive athletes of the last ten years, which started off with him winning World Soccer Young Player of the Year in 2006-09. Since then his performance has only gotten better with many considering him a candidate for the best player of all time.
- 4 Time FIFA Ballon d’Or/World Player of the Year
- 91 Goals in 2012 (World Record)
- 3 Time Golden Shoe Winner