Watching Tiger Woods and Tom Brady squaring off on the golf course led me to rank the current athletes who are in the discussion for the Greatest Of All Time in their respective sports. A debate of the GOAT among GOATs.
The candidates are LeBron James, Tom Brady, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among team sport athletes. Among individual sport athletes, the discussion revolves around Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and Tiger Woods.
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While Michael Phelps is the greatest swimmer of all time it’s difficult to include him in this discussion as is the case with brilliant gymnast Simone Biles and sprinter extraordinaire Usain Bolt. Their greatness is unquestioned, but they do not go through the week
in, week out grind that the aforementioned athletes do.
So we proceed with the ‘magnificent seven’ of candidates. Here is my list in descending order.
7. Cristiano Ronaldo
6. Lionel Messi
Ronaldo and Messi. Messi and Ronaldo. These two greats are as synonymous as peanut butter and jelly, Mantle and Mays, Magic, and Bird. Ronaldo and Messi along with Pele and Diego Maradonna constitute Soccer’s, Mount Rushmore.
Messi has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or (World Player Of The Year) a record six times. Ronaldo is next on the list with five. Slight edge to Messi.
5. Tiger Woods
In 2008, at the age of 32, Tiger Woods owned 14 major’s, trailing Jack Nicklaus by only four for the all-time record. It was a fait accompli that Tiger would blow by the Golden Bear. Since then, Woods has won only one major. If Woods had finished the feat, he most likely would top this list.
4. LeBron James
Has been the best player in the NBA for nearly a dozen years. He, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabber are the only four possible answers to the question of who is the greatest basketball player of all time?
3. Tom Brady
The winningest team sport athlete this century. The greatest quarterback of the Super Bowl Era is looking to add a 7th Lombardi Trophy in his first season with Tampa Bay. In conducting this list, it is difficult to compare team sport athletes to individual sport athletes. Thus our top two GOATs are the greatest men’s and women’s tennis players ever.
2. Rodger Federer
Longevity and grace describe the greatest men’s tennis player ever. Federer won his first major in 2003. I wouldn’t bet against him at nearly 39 years old adding another major to his record of 20.
1. Serena Williams
There is no doubt that Serena is the greatest female tennis player ever. Case closed. Williams has won 23 majors. Incredibly, she was pregnant with a child when she won her most recent major, the Australian Open, in January of 2017. 18 years after her first major.
Serena Williams. The greatest women’s tennis player ever. The greatest female athlete ever. And the GOAT among GOATs who are still playing.
Serena Williams. Game. Set. Match.
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