The Top 10 Athletes of My Generation

Let’s first begin this post by defining my generation. For the sake of this list, the athlete must have played the majority of their career between 1990 and 2010.

So what makes an athlete the best? Championships, pure talent, statistics, and longevity all certainly play a large role. But this list is more than that. These are the athletes who in my opinion, did their respective sports in a way that made us say “WOW!” A way that the game or event or match had never been done before. I must say that compiling a list like this is very tough, and I’m not even sure I’m 100% convinced on this list. So please, feel free to argue and suggest other athletes — but you’d better back it up. In no particular order…..

1) Michael Jordan
Why he’s on the list? 31 points per game, 6 NBA championships, a clutch competitor, and spectacular talent.

2) Shaun White
Why he’s on the list? The best snowboarder in history. Including the Olympics and the X-Games, he has 10 Gold medals, 3 Silvers and 2 Bronze.

3) Michael Phelps
Why he’s on the list? He’s not quite human. He went 8 for 8 in Gold Medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing — and won several events by absolutely silly margins.

4) Tiger Woods
Why he’s on the list? With 14 majors and counting, he’s still the 2nd best golfer ever to Jack Nicklaus. But, he’s got at least 10 years of his prime left. He’s hit more money shots than Ron Jeremy.

5) Roger Federer
Why he’s on the list? He blew past Pete Sampras with relative ease to become the greatest player in tennis history.

6) Tom Brady
Why he’s on the list? He’s young, he’s cool as hell under pressure, he’s won 3 Super Bowls and set all kinds of records. And he did it at first without a legitimate receiving crew.

7) Wayne Gretzky
Why he’s on the list? He’s far and away the greatest hockey player ever. Look at any all-time hockey statistic — there are way to many to mention just one.

8)Lance Armstrong
Why he’s on the list? He beat cancer and won the Tour de France 7 consecutive times. I couldn’t complete it once.

9) Manny Pacquiao
Why he’s on the list? He’s the first fighter to win 7 different titles in 7 different divisions — and Floyd Mayweather is afraid of him.

10) Ken Griffey Jr.
Why he’s on the list? 630 home runs, 10 Gold Gloves, and never a mention of steroids. Junior could do it on both sides of the field. In 6 seasons in his prime (2001-2006) he averaged 92 games per year (not including several other injured seasons). If he’d averaged 150 games per year instead, he would have ended up with 875 home runs. That’s right, I said it, 875.

I know you all disagree so have at me. Also look for the Top 10 Hitters and the Top 10 Pitchers of my generation coming up soon.

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Filed under Baseball, Basketball, Golf, NFL, Player Comparisons

44 responses to “The Top 10 Athletes of My Generation

  1. J-Bone

    Come on hometown, I could argue 10 football players over Brady from 1990 to 2010. You put the best hockey player ever behind him? Put Derek Jeter’s name in with the same description but add a few championships and subtract receivers. Not saying Jeter should be on there but the logic is the same and possible more impressive. I also don’t like White number 2, I can see him on the list but now way that high.

    • The list is not in order, homie. And no, you can’t argue 10 football players over Brady.

      • J-Bone

        Emmit Smith, Jerry Rice, Marino, Irvin, Manning, Favre, Elway, Reggie White, Moss, Ray Lewis, Strahan, Aikman

      • Irvin, Emmit, and Troy all had each other. Marino and Favre didn’t win enough. Strahan? Moss? Give me a break. Jerry Rice is the best of your arguments by far I think.

  2. A. Rab Money

    i agree that 10 football players is steep, but there are other out there as good or better. how about peyton manning with his 4 mvp’s. the only player in nfl history to win that many. and i know you’re going to say he only has 1 super bowl, but take into account the defenses that brady had, not to mention a kicker who made game winning field goals in 2 of those super bowls.

    • The kicker would never have had the chance if Brady had not put together epic last minute drives the length of the field. Peyton’s got fewer Super Bowls and records than Brady. Who cares about MVP’s?

  3. J-Bone

    Brett Favre- 2 super bowls 1 win, 3 MVPS. Most passing yards, tds, wins. playoff yards and 2nd in tds. and i hate him

    Emitt Smith- 3 superbowls, mvp, rookie of the year, must career rushing yards and touchdowns

    Manning- 4 time mvp 2 super bowls 1 win, more touchdowns, yards, wins and higher qb rating the Brady, you say records, the guy had one season with the records when he had a receiver whose previous qb had the record. Manning has more total records.

    Marino-statistically much better had shitty teams.

    Steve Young- 3 time champion 2 mvps, highest passing rating, most touchdown passes in a super bowl, more td passes than brady.

    • Favre — 1 super bowl win, longetivity is all he’s got.

      Emmitt — a fair comparison

      Manning — He’s played more games than Brady, has 2 less super bowls, and has generally been dominated by Brady head to head.

      Marino — it’s a shame he never had a team.

      Steve Young — underappreciated for sure — a fair comparison even. But he had his boy Jerry all along.

      Emmitt and Jerry are fair comparisons, but I don’t think you provided an argument that makes me feel like I need to take Brady off the list.

      • j-bone

        I am counting steve young, and using your argument why no Jeter? Records, clutch, championships

      • So here’s the scoop on Jeter. Is he clutch? definitely — he scores high here. Does he have lots of championships? sure does — but I’d weight championships as much less important for a baseball player than say a quarterback or a basketball player who I feel ultimately have a much greater impact on whether their team wins or not. As for records, Jeter has a bunch of Yankees records but not a whole lot of other significant records. He has 4 Gold Gloves as opposed to Griffeys 10 defensively. Offensively, Jeters brilliance is his ability to get hits. That is far and away his most impressive statistic. He doesn’t have 3000 hits yet, and thats the benchmark of a great hitter. He’ll get there, likely next year, but until then he’s still a bit short on whats considered the benchmark for great pure hitters. Also, some of his other stats are actually pretty dismal. 232 home runs in 15 seasons? With that many at bats? I know he’s not a power hitter, but his HR’s and RBI’s are not very impressive.

  4. A. Rab Money

    based on your arguement of winning championships, in the nba and nfl since its more relied on one person, how about robert horry. he has 7 with 3 teams, maybe he was a role player, but a guy who wins wherever he goes must be up there according to how your rankings go.

    heres another way of putting it, would tom brady have 3 rings and those records without the pats, bilichick and randy moss, likely not. so guys like farve and marino can definitely be considered as the best of a generation.

  5. A. Rab Money

    im not saying brady isnt great or deserves to be where he is, i just dont see him is far above the rest as you do. and the horry thing is simply to make a point, i know he is not one of the best of our time, but if you go by what your saying, then he could be

    • I know what you mean — I’d obviously give Horry lots of credit for being part of that many championship teams, but the rest of his numbers/talent take him out of the conversation. The thing with Brady is, he didn’t have Moss — although I give it to you having Bill as a coach is huge. Don’t discredit some of the Packers teams that Favre was on — Marino on the other hand never had anything.

      • j-bone

        I am a little curious about all these records that tom terrific has, the only real record i see is most touchdown passes in a season, the very same season randy moss showed up.

  6. j-bone

    As far as homeruns and jeter he is a leadoff or number 2 hitter, he is supposed to get hits, that is like knocking marino becuase of his lack of wins.

    • True — I’m just saying for the number of at bats he gets, a lot of his numbers other than hits are not very superlative. You can start by looking up the youngest quarterback to win 3 super bowls, and we’ll go from there.

      • j-bone

        Sure thats a record, Ben Grey Weiner wins this year I am pretty sure that he ties that record, does that make him the best football player over the past twenty years.

        That is a team record, I am sure there are some players on the cowboys or 49ers in the 90’s that we the youngest to win this or that at their position. Since the Patriots won three in such a sort period there are probably 10 players that were rookies in 2000 that are the youngest players at x position to win. That record really does not mean a whole lot, and fine count that and the td’s in one season, that is not “all types of records.

      • Some food for thought:

        Highest completion percentage in a post season game (92.86% January 12, 2008), most passing touchdowns in a season (50 in 2007), most completions in a Super Bowl (32 in Super Bowl XXXVIII), most completions in a Super Bowl career (100), and he is one of only three others to win multiple Super Bowl MVP’s.

        In other words, he makes it rain when it counts. That’s why he’s on the list.

      • j-bone

        So now you making it all about clutchness? I will then thrown Whitey’s Horry at you, clutch no doubt, probably one of the most clutch in history, and an absurd amount of titles.

        Derek Jeter- Most post season hits, most post season runs, post season total bases, world series mvp, 5 time champions

      • No, it’s not all about clutchness. That is definitely a big factor, and one that Jeter does well on. He also does well on championships, which I already said, are not as important in baseball as they are to a quarterback. The problem is that other than clutchness, Jeter is a very non-superlative player. He gets tons of hits, but its not like he’s that remarkable offensively or defensively in any other way.

      • j-bone

        I am just saying you seem to pick and choose what counts for Brady, but are very critical of everyone else. Before the most TD’s in a season Brady was a winner of super bowls, nothing else jumped of the page for him. He has one outstanding record breaking season and that puts him in the top 3 of the last 20 years, I just dont see it.

      • No championships count in a major way for any quarterback. I said this about Steve Young. Clutchness counts equally for everyone. Nothing jumps off the page for Jeter — he doesn’t have one crazy superlative record breaking season — so how can you argue him?

      • j-bone

        How can you argue that Moss did not affect Brady but then use Bradys year with Moss as a detrement for Jeter?

      • Oh Moss definitely affected Brady’s numbers. Brady just didn’t need him to win a Super Bowl.

  7. j-bone

    Never said he did, but you are saying he has all types of records but with out Moss he really doesn’t, being the youngest to win something doesn’t really amount to anything.

  8. j-bone

    I never said anything about Manning in this argument, Manning does have better numbers and more MVP’s and a little brother that beat Tom Terrific in his record breaking season, but I didn’t say anything about him.

  9. A. Rab Money

    His name is Eli Manning. He beat out your team, and quarterback, and won the mvp of the only superbowl he played in. Oh yeah, and he had 2 touchdown drives in the 4th quarter to win the game. His name is Eli Manning.

    • Doesn’t ring a bell, sorry. I vaguely remember some jamoke throwing a hail mary up and a great catch being made by David Tyree. There’s a name for you.

  10. J-bonr

    What makes me the most happy about Eli is that you would be screaming about the undefeated season in the case for brady but Eli’s huge balls and clutch 4th quarter prevented that

    • Nah. 18-0 versus 19-0? Who cares. It’s more about losing the Super Bowl, honestly. The 16-0 regular season is still pretty ballin’.

      • j-bone

        yeah it is but it loses alot of its luster because its 18-1 and not 19-0. They will get their graphic on the screen everytime some team is 14-0 but they can be topped if a team runs the table.

  11. Teck

    Yea but its no undefeated season and superbowl like my miami dolphins…Also Dan Marino is the greatest passing QB of all time, he just got stuck on teams with no other good players, you substitute either Manning or Brady on those dolphins teams and they dont perform nearly as well as Marino did. And marino on any of those teams, your looking at the all time great.

    I’d like to submit Pujols into the conversation for baseball…the timing is slightly off becasue hes still going but 3 MVPS and a world championship certainly speak for themselves…ive always been a huge griffey fan and without those injuries hed be the greatest baseball player of all time and probably has the best swing ever. I do think Pujols deserves to be in the convo

    • Sure, Pujols is fair to throw into the conversation. Your comments on Marino are fair as well, except that they are heresay because that didn’t happen. Sucks for him.

  12. Teck

    i could care less about Shaun White…hes probably the best of that sport. I’m fine with Woods, phelps, federer, armstrong and gretzky. Jordan is obvious as well…if were talking influential nba players i say iverson is on there too, but thats a completely seperate list (but i had to give him some love)

    Brady, Griffey, Pacquio are probably the most debatable. I honestly dont know enough about boxing but i gotta think altho mayweather is being a pussy now hes gotta be in the convo, not sure about older players tho

    Id have to go against Brady…because there has been alot of great nfl players including emmitt, aikman, marino, manning, ricky williams (errr) and def Jerry Rice…my vote goes to the Rice man

    Baseball i love Griffey, but winning a championships gotta count for something. I think Griffey, Bonds*, Jeter and Pujols are all in the conversation for baseball with the nod actually going to Griffey from me

    • I don’t care much about Shaun White either, but he does dominate his sport. Allen Iverson is a scrub. I’m fine with your vote for Jerry Rice, and you are right with choosing Griffey.

  13. No track stars? What about Usain Bolt?

  14. P. Omar

    I’d knock Armstrong off that list if likely PED use is an issue. If it is not, then I’d dump White for Barry Bonds. Snowboarding may be a sport, but a snowboarder doesn’t deserve to be in a conversation with the likes of Tiger Woods and Junior.

    • I think Barry Bonds is anyone is the likely PED user. I agree that snowboarding is not as big of a sport worldwide, but White made the list because he has dominated his sport in a similar fashion to how Tiger has dominated golf.

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