By Charlie Balk
C’mon, no brainer: LeBron James. There’s no clear–cut best in baseball, football, hockey, golf or tennis right now. In fact, stick James in almost any of those sports, and he’d dominate those as well. Well, except maybe golf. But, Tiger’s going to have to get back in his usual form to even garner mention in a discussion of “greatest in the world.”
Regardless of the vitriol directed at the (former?) “King of Akron” in response to the public relations disaster known as “The Decision,” James still is, as he was before, without question, the best basketball player and the best athlete on the planet. Remember when you were a kid and you’d play hoops – or any other sport really – and one kid would be so much better than everyone else that it almost seemed unfair. That’s what LeBron is to the NBA at this point: a man among boys.
Every opponent facing ‘Bron has one eye on him, whether assigned to defend James or not. What makes his dominance even more impressive? Take away one, even two of LeBron’s strengths, and he’s still an elite athlete. Remove his handles and quickness and he’d be a dominating power forward. Remove his size and he’d be a weird mix of Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd and Mark Jackson in their primes. Now, whether LeBron is one of the greatest athletes of all-time is a better question. We’ll have to save that for the next Around the Hill.
By Rebecca Silberman
Alright, so Chris McCormack is not a name one sees on Nike commercials or chatting up talk show hosts, but as the winner of this year’s Ironman World Championship, I think he deserves some recognition; indeed, this is the second time that he has won the brutal triathlon.
The framework of the competition is astounding – each athlete must swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and then run a full marathon. This year, McCormack won with a time of 8 hours, 10 minutes and 37 seconds. In my mind, that is roughly eight hours longer than the average professional bowler or the Canadian National curling team would last in this competition.
For all of his success and toil it looks like McCormack is finding the kind of attention befitting an athlete of his status – after all, Wheaties did just announce that McCormack would be the first Ironman ever to grace its box. So maybe McCormack cannot hit homers as far as A-Rod, sink a putt like Tiger or bend it like Beckham, but I’d love to see any of those guys try his sport.
By Jordan Plaut
Assistant Sports Editor
The best athlete in the world is without a doubt Usain Bolt. Period. Bolt is not only the most dominant athlete in his sport right now, he’s also the most dominant athlete in the history of his sport. Bolt is far and away the best sprinter of all-time, having set world records in both the 100 and 200 meters and doing so convincingly.
Remember the 2008 Olympics in Beijing? In the 100 meters race, Bolt sprinted for the first 60 meters, made sure he was comfortably ahead and then celebrated for the last 15 before crossing the finish line in a world-record time of 9.69 seconds. He didn’t even go head first through the line to get the extra time off and he still broke the record; he simply coasted in. When he re-set his record a year later in Berlin with a time of 9.58 seconds, he still did not run as hard as he could go.
After breaking the 9.4 mark, Bolt wants to play professional soccer and there’s every reason for him to try. After all, he is the greatest athlete in the world.
By Michael LeClair
When this question is posed to most, the response is almost always incredibly America-centric. Some analysts and “experts” will even go as far as to choose a baseball star like Alex Rodriguez or Ryan Howard as their answer, neglecting the fact that you can weigh 300 pounds and still be an MLB All-Star.
While the admiration of baseball players’ athleticism might be misplaced, one need not look further than America’s borders for the world’s greatest athlete. That man is Kevin Durant.
Coming from a huge soccer fan, proclaiming a basketball player as the world’s top athlete is a leap that should have been difficult to make. However, while a guy like Cesc Fabregas might run a 10k in a soccer match, he does not have the ability to physically dominate a game like Durant. Quite frankly, no one does.
Durant was the lynchpin of the United States at the FIBA Worlds this fall, carrying the team to gold and simply crushing everyone in his path. He’s 6’9″ with a 7’4″ wingspan, but is still lightning quick. He has an outrageously smooth touch on his jumper, but can slam it down like Shaq in his prime.
Durant might not be the best player in basketball yet. But as far as athleticism goes, there’s no question: Durant is the greatest athlete in the world.