Sports are primarily watched because of the supernatural athletes who play them who make the seemingly impossible possible. And at times, some athletes are so much better than their competitors that it almost seems unfair for the matchup to even occur. Here is a list of the Top 10 Most Dominant Athletes of the 21st Century.
10. LeBron James
Arguably the greatest player that has ever dribbled a basketball has clearly been the best player in the world for over a decade. Blessed with the size and strength of a power forward, and the speed and ball-handling of a point-guard, James has won 4 NBA MVPs, 3 NBA Championships, 3 NBA Finals MVPs, 2 Olympic Gold Medals, 12 All-NBA First Team Selections, 5 All-Defensive First Team Selections, 15 All-Star Game selections, and 3 NBA All-Star Game MVPs. His career averages of 27 PPG, 7 APG and 7 RPG have never been accomplished by anyone else in NBA history and the man has made a habit of turning the insane into a routine. James has made his name synonymous with basketball and is one of the biggest stars the sport has ever seen.
9. Cristiano Ronaldo
The Portuguese legend is universally praised as one of the most prolific goal scorers in the history of world football with over 700 and counting. Ronaldo has won 5 Ballon d’ors, 6 League titles, 5 UEFA Champions Leagues, 4 European Golden Boots, and 3 Domestic Cup trophies. Ronaldo has done all of this while completely obliterating 3 different leagues. The English Premier League with Machester United from (2003-2009), the Spanish La Liga with Real Madrid from (2009-2018), and the Italian Serie A with Juventus since 2018. He also added to his collection with two international trophies with Portugal, winning the UEFA European Championship in 2016 and the UEFA Nations League in 2019. With a work ethic glorified by his peers and competition, he just may be the greatest footballer of all-time.
8. Tom Brady
The California kid is the most winningest quarterback in NFL history with a record 6 Super Bowls and 9 Appearances in the final game. Brady is also a 3x NFL MVP, a 4x Super Bowl MVP, and a 14x Pro-Bowler. Brady has been the catalyst for potentially the greatest dynasty in NFL history having won 16 AFC East titles while never having a single below .500 record and also has an NFL record 244 wins over 19 seasons. His immeasurable will to win and clutch gene has been the focal point of his 35 4th quarter comebacks, which is second all-time among quarterbacks. Arguably the greatest NFL player of all-time, even at 42 years old, Brady is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.
7. Lionel Messi
Easily the greatest football talent the world has ever seen, Lionel Messi has masked his seemingly small stature with God-like ball control, agility, speed and quickness that makes his opponents seem like amateurs. Messi has made Spanish Football his own game park, winning 10 La Liga titles, 6 Copa Del Reys and 8 Spanish Super Cups with FC Barcelona. Messi and Barcelona have also celebrated tons of continental success, including winning 4 UEFA Champions Leagues and 3 UEFA Super Cups. Individually, Messi is the most decorated footballer of all-time, with a record-tying 5 Ballon d’ors and a record 6 European Golden Boots. With analysts having described him as “A God Amongst Men,” many have wondered if he is even of this planet.
6. Tiger Woods
The Golf phenom who is universally regarded as one of the greatest golfers that have ever lived, has spent over 20 years wreaking havoc on the PGA. Woods has won 81 PGA Tour Events, 41 European Tour events, 5 Masters Tournaments, 3 U.S. Opens, 3 Open Championships and 4 PGA Championships. He is also an 11 time PGA Player, has been the highest-earning golfer in the PGA in 10 seasons, making him the most lucrative golfer ever and has spent a record 683 weeks as the #1 ranked golfer in the world. And after winning the Masters Tournament this past season at the age of 43, Woods continuously keeps proving that age is just a number.
5. Simone Biles
Olympic Champions and coaches have called Simone Biles the greatest gymnast ever at just 22 years old, and even at her young age, has won more medals than any gymnast in history. Biles has won a record 35 World Medals including 4 Olympic Gold Medals, 19 Artistic Gymnastics World Championship Gold Medals, 2 Pacific Rim Championship Gold Medals, 2 FIGA World Cup Gold Medals An Olympic Bronze Medal, 3 World Championship Silver Medals, a FIGA World Cup Silver Medal and 3 World Championship Bronze Medals. Her short stature of 4’8 allows for her to have incredible balance, agility and flexibility and combined with excellent creativity and one of the greatest gymnastics teams ever in the current Team USA, Biles has taken gymnastics by storm.
4. Serena Williams
The most famous, credited and revered female athlete of all-time and it’s not even close has made more noise in her sport than any of her male counterparts. Williams has won a record 23 major Grand Slam Singles titles, 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, 4 Olympic Gold Medals, 4 mixed doubles titles and 5 WTA Singles Finals. Her 319 weeks as the #1 tennis player in the world is third all-time and she has made over $92 Million in prize money, more than any woman ever. She has been described as having the greatest serve of all-time, a high-risk player who loves to control the baselines, having tremendous powerful swings and ball placement and having a superb will to win that has generated many late comebacks. Having made women’s tennis seem so effortless that she won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant, Williams has a career singles record of 85.3% and a career doubles record of 85%. Even at 38 years old, the transcendent athlete is far from done with the sport.
3. Michael Phelps
The “Flying Fish” is the most decorated Olympian in history is often labeled as the greatest swimmer to ever dive into a pool. Phelps has won 81 Medals representing the United States, including 33 World Championship Medals, 28 Olympic Medals and 21 Pan Pacific Championship Medals competing in freestyle, backstroke, individual medley and butterfly. Phelps has set world records for the fastest 400-meter individual medley, 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly, and 200-meter individual medley. His incredible physique of being 6’4 194 lbs with a 6’7 wingspan and size 14 feet allow him to paddle and flipper better than virtually all of his opponents and he has made the sport of swimming his own one-man show.
2. Usain Bolt
The fastest man that has ever lived is Jamaica’s pride and joy in the world of athletics with a last name more fitting than one could imagine. Bolt is the world record holder for the fastest 100-meter dash ever of 9.58 seconds as well as the 2nd and 3rd fastest times ever of 9.63 and 9.69 seconds. Bolt also holds the record for the fast 200-meter dash ever at 19.19 seconds and was part of a Jamaica team that broke the world record for the fastest 4×100 meter relay with 37.04 seconds. Bolt has won 29 world medals in his career, including 23 Gold Medals and 9 Olympic Gold Medals, where he won the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 4×100 meter heats in three consecutive competitions in 2008, 2012 and 2016. Bolt had a streak of never losing a single 100-meter race from 2013-2017 when he retired. Bolt is blessed with an incredible physique, standing at 6’5; he has a ridiculously long stride, and at 207 lbs. of pure muscle, he runs with so much power. “Lightning” Bolt has become so famous for his speed that the benchmark for fast is Usain Bolt.
1. Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
The word dominant is synonymous with Floyd “Money” Mayweather for one reason and one reason only, HE NEVER LOST! With a perfect 50-0 record, no man has been able to best Mayweather for a single fight during his career, which lasted from 1996 to 2017. Names such as “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Canelo Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao and Connor McGregor, who have all been world championship fighters, looked like virtual amateurs in the ring with Mayweather. He has won 6 ESPY fighter of the year awards, 3 BWAA Fighter of the Year Awards and two The Ring Magazine fighter of the year awards. He has been ranked by BoxRec as the best pound-for-pound boxer of all-time and the best boxer since 1990 by ESPN. A defensive mastermind that has a knack for making fighters miss Mayweather has only been knocked down once in his career, and “Pretty Boy” Mayweather is virtually never punched directly in the face. Mayweather is easily the most lucrative athlete ever, in 2017, he made more money in about 40 minutes of boxing ($275 Million) than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi made during the entire calendar year. In the ring, on social media and in his bank account, Mayweather is leaps and bounds superior to all of his opponents.
The all-time leader in career home runs was a 4x NL MVP between 2001 and 2004 and is one of the most exceptional talents the sport has ever seen. He was selected to 14 MLB All-Star Games and is the MLB career leader in bases on balls with 2,558. Although his inability to win a World Series, and his suspected use of PEDs during his career demands the question, how much of his dominance was genuinely legitimate.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Easily two of the greatest tennis players of ever who’ve spawned a rivalry that has been compared to the Messi-Ronaldo or Johnson-Bird rivalries. They have both earned over $115 Million in prize money from singles and doubles prize money, and are worldwide recognizable figures. But, the two haven’t brought a clear distance between them and their competitors as much as the likes of Serena Williams and Tiger Woods. With names such as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray always knocking on their door.
One of, if not the most skilled player to ever play basketball is without a doubt an all-time great. The 5-time NBA Champion, NBA MVP and 18-time NBA All-Star is known for his mindboggling clutch ability, difficult shot-making and entertaining play style on the court. He is the closest thing to Michael Jordan that has ever existed and spent much of the early 2000s as the best player in the world. Bryant’s dominance, however, was plagued by injuries, playing alongside the great Shaquille O’Neil early in his career and stars such as Duncan, Nowitzki, Garnett and LeBron, never allowing him to gain clear long-term separation between himself and the rest of the league.