For sports fans, the past decade has been a great one. From basketball to football and all other sports in between, we have been thrilled by the achievements of our favorite players and suffered at their losses. This article will cover the best of those athletes in the past decade. In order to entice debate, I have picked five athletes from five different sports. Because the required skill level is different for all sports, I will not rank the athletes. Instead they will follow in a random order.
Sidney Crosby, Hockey Center, Pittsburgh Penguins: A list of the five greatest athletes of the past decade can’t exclude this fine hockey player. According to his profile at The Hockey News website, Crosby is seen as a feisty and gritty player with great speed and exceptional lower body strength which allows him to be a great passer. The list of awards is very large and includes two Art Ross Trophy wins along with a Hart Memorial Trophy win (NHL MVP). Team awards include Crosby leading the Penguins to a Stanley Cup Championship in the 2008-09 season and two Olympic Gold Medals with Canada including the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games where Crosby scored the winning goal in the Gold Medal game vs the United States.
Usain Bolt, Sprinter, Track & Field: Bolt is the unquestioned star of Track & Field (Athletics outside of the United States). He broke out in the big way by smashing records at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. This included a then unheard of World Record of 9.69 seconds in the 100m followed by a 19.30 second 200m record later in the same week and topped off with a world record of 37.01 seconds in the 4x100m relay as Jamaica’s anchor. Since his breakout performance, Bolt has been nearly flawless in the three events he enters at worldwide meets. With the exception of a disqualification for false starting the 2011 100m World Championships final, Gold has be usual result of Bolt’s efforts.
LeBron James, Forward, Miami Heat: It is okay to hate some of the athletes that are on this list. However, James is here because he is one of the best players in the NBA as well as the world, to the point that he is big in China. LeBron James is one of the last players to successfully make the transition from high school to the NBA. Drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 draft, James has made his mark on the league. To date, he has played 842 career regular season games with 27.5 points per game and averaging 37.9 minutes per game. His awards include being named the NBA’s MVP four times as well as being a two time Finals MVP for leading the Heat to the last two championships.
Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Denver Broncos: Peyton is on this list because he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Bar none, the list of achievements would dwarf most other football players, but that is the way standards are measured. For starters, Peyton is known as the sheriff for his presnap routine. Since the 2003 season, he has won five MVP trophies, the 2012 NFL Comeback player of the year award, and various other awards including the MVP of Super Bowl XLI which the Indianapolis Colts won. Finally, Peyton has a list of league and franchise records that is so long, it is impossible for me to list them all on one page without this link or this one.
Michael Phelps, Swimmer, United States: Michael is the unquestioned champion of his sport and the most decorated Olympian of all time. In the Olympic Games alone, Michael holds the record for most career Golds (18), Most Individual Golds (11), and most medals for a male (13) second only to the former Soviet Union’s Larisa Latynina (14). In addition, Michael currently holds seven world records and has set a total of 39 records including 10 in relays. Outside of the Olympics, Michael has won a total of 48 medals in World Championships and Pan Pacific Championships including 38 Golds.
Outside of Michael Phelps, there will be disagreement on who should be on this list. Have your say in the comments below.