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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Kings of the Modern Sports Era

The Kings of the Modern Sports Era

Kings of the Modern Sports Era?
Publish Date: 08/10/2018
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Right now, as in any era, there are athletes who stand head and shoulders above all others in their fields. Whether this standing is based on skill, history, or even just name brand power, they are truly the Kings of sports. Every one of the athletes in this article will be remembered for as long as their sports are played. I’m writing this article to acknowledge the Kings and celebrate their accomplishments.

To clarify how I’m defining a “king”, it’s a player who might not be the best in his/her sport right now but is clearly the headliner, the one who’s been there, done that and is a walking legend. Essentially, who combines the best amount of skill and name brand attractiveness to rule over their sport.

Football – Tom Brady

This is an easy selection. Brady is in the conversation for being the greatest football player in history, which makes him by far the best active player in the game. While he was never known for his pure athleticism, Brady has mastered his role at quarterback and has won five Super Bowls, more than any other player at his position in history.

Soccer/Football – Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi

Honestly, I hate the idea of a tie in an article that is supposed to clearly establish who the best player in every sport is. But splitting hairs here doesn’t feel right either. Yes, Ronaldo had a better showing at the World Cup, but that doesn’t break the tie for me. Accept that this generation has two Kings, neither of which have actually won the World Cup by the way.

Basketball – LeBron James

The conversation about who the GOAT in basketball is has arisen several times over the last few years. It’s still Michael Jordan, but James is inching closer. The King is three-time NBA Champion and has been accepted as the best player in the world for many years. Physically, James is the purest definition of a freak athlete, standing apart from anyone else on this list.

Baseball – Mike Trout

In his age 26 season Trout is already an eight-year veteran in the MLB. While he’s always been on subpar teams that have kept him from ever sniffing the World Series, he’s already been an MVP twice, All Star seven times, and Silver Slugger five times. And remember, he’s only going on 27 years old. The only thing that would make him more terrifying for opposing teams would be if he was on a competitive roster.

Tennis – Roger Federer

Props to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the other members of the once unbeatable big three, but Federer is clearly the king here. He’s the greatest male tennis player of all-time and is still a force to be trifled with at 36. He’s won the most Grand Slams in men’s singles history, with 20 and has a career grand slam. He never did win a gold medal at the Olympics as a singles player, the closest he came was silver in 2012, but he did win gold as a doubles player in 2008.

Women’s Tennis – Serena Williams

She might have lost in the finals at Wimbledon recently, but Williams has returned from childbirth to compete at the highest level of tennis in a relatively short span of time. She has 23 Grand Slam tournament titles as a singles player, second most only to Margaret Court’s 24. Williams also has 14 Grand Slam titles as a doubles player, tying her for tenth all-time. She also has four gold medals from the Olympics, one as a singles player and three as a doubles player.

Golf – Tiger Woods

Lately, Woods is a shell of his former self, but not even the younger stars of this generation create as much excitement or hold as much international attention as Woods does. He is second all-time in career major championships with 14 total. Only golf’s GOAT, Jack Nicklaus has more major victories with 18. The closest player to Woods in major championships has just 11 (Walter Hagen) and the closest player to him who has played since the turn of the century is Phil Mickelson with only five. Yes his play has diminished immensely, but even now he stands alone as the King of golf’s current era.

Hockey – Sidney Crosby

Whether he’s actually the best player in the game is highly debatable, but he’s won the Stanley Cup three times in his career. He’s also won the Hart Memorial Trophy, Art Ross Trophy, Maurice Richard Trophy, and Conn Smythe Trophy twice, and the Ted Lindsay (Pearson Award) Award three times. Crosby has accomplished so much and so has Alex Ovechkin, who I almost put here.

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