When talented amateur players advance to the professional ranks, there is usually something different about the way they play that sets them apart, leading to excitement and expectations for their organization and its fan base. Behind each of these stars and remarkable talents is a special athlete who is able to use this athleticism to excel and set themselves apart from others in their particular sports. In some cases, these athletes are not just remarkable, but their athleticism might just be more noteworthy than their actual performance or results.
In the past, you would have to consider Jim Brown (running back), who was a standout track star and All-American in lacrosse during his college days, to be one of the greatest athletes of his era. Bruce Jenner then captured our imagination by winning the gold medal in the decathlon in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The 1980's were highlighted by the unbeatable gladiator, "Iron" Mike Tyson. The next decade was dominated by the high flying Michael Jordan and the quick feet and ridiculous movement of Barry Sanders. Since these times, athletic marvels are now at the core of many of today's sports adding to their allure and captivating fans who are in awe of what they are able to do.
The following 20 athletes have typically been stars in multiple sports. From the ridiculous size, speed and strength of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to the unstoppable full court drives ending with airborne assaults on the rim that Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westrook likes to unleash, the pro sports phenoms of today are considerably more athletic than those of the past. These players all might have the talent to stand out in their respective sports, but their special athleticism is what fans really revere and you get the feeling they would excel in multiple sports.
20 20. Rob Gronkowski, TE - New England Patriots
19 19. Steven Stamkos, C - Tampa Bay Lightning
18 18. Colin Kaepernick, QB - San Francisco 49ers
17 17. Rafael Nadal - Tennis
16 16. Luke Kuechly, LB - Carolina Panthers
15 15. Mike Trout, OF - Los Angeles Angels
14 14. Cristiano Ronaldo, Forward - Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo might not be able to dribble and distribute the ball as well as Lionel Messi, but he is arguably one of the most feared players on the break when opposing players are unable to draw him offside. Ronaldo has terrific speed, power, and acceleration, with the ability to split defenders to get free in open space and powerful legs that allow him to get off serious shots while on the move or when breaking down defenders. Many of his goals are things of beauty, with shots that sail to the far corner of the net or rockets that freeze the goalie and closest defenders. Ronaldo's explosive play comes from his athletic prowess and long but powerful 6-foot-1 frame. He is strong for a soccer player and has legs that look like an NFL running back, and nobody plays the game with more power and aggression. Ronaldo is a talent who could have easily excelled in whatever sport he decided to play.
13 13. Vernon Davis, TE - San Francisco 49ers
12 12. J.J. Watt, DE - Houston Texans
11 11. Brock Lesnar, Wrestler, Retired MMA Fighter - WWE
If this list was made 10 years ago, Brock Lesnar would probably be in the top three. At 37 years old, Lesnar is still a freakish enough athlete to land on this list. He's the WWE's most 'legitimate' competitor, having won an NCAA Division I championship in wrestling, and being a former UFC Heavyweight Champion. Lesnar's size (6-foot-3) 290 pounds, combined with his speed and explosiveness had him primed to excel in just about any physical sport he wanted to pursue.
10 10. Steve Weatherford, P - New York Giants
9 9. Russell Wilson, QB - Seattle Seahawks
8 8. Adrian Peterson, RB - Minnesota Vikings
7 7. John Wall, G - Washington Wizards
6 6. Jon Jones, Fighter - UFC
5 5. LeBron James, F - Cleveland Cavaliers
4 4. Floyd Mayweather, Boxer
3 3. Ronda Rousey, Fighter - UFC
2 2. Marshawn Lynch, RB - Seattle Seahawks
1 1. Russell Westbrook, G - Oklahoma City Thunder
There are many players who can shoot and score in the NBA, but few drive to the basket with the aggression and athleticism like Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is "only" 6-foot-3 tall, but he gets to the rim so quickly that there are very few big men who can get off the ground fast enough to cut off his drives or get a hand on his shot. Westbrook has a way of turning defenders around and exploding to the rim once they miss a step. He has had to take more initiative this season, with the absence of Kevin Durant, boosting his scoring average to 27.6 points per game. He is also creating more opportunities for his teammates, averaging a career best average of 8.6 assists. This season, he is proving his worth and in the process, he has been creating even more highlight reel clips. There are plenty of great athletes in all the major sports, but few have the speed, quickness, and strength packed into a toned 200 pound frame.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!