The legacies of the greatest athletes are often measured by the totality of their careers, whether greatness is achieved over a long, historic run, or tragically cut short by injury, illness or personal failing.
But an athlete generally creates and solidifies his legacy during the prime of his career in a given sport. That's when they constantly make headlines by racking up stats and, ideally, winning championships.
When we talk about the historic career of Joe Montana, we focus on his glory days with the San Francisco 49ers during the heyday of the Bill Walsh era, not his final season as a Kansas City Chief.
When a young, talented hockey prospect with unlimited potential is compared to Wayne Gretzky, he's being compared to the man who anchored the Edmonton Oilers dynasty of the 80's, not the man who retired in a Rangers uniform.
Many athletes play well beyond their prime and remain productive contributors; some overstay their welcome and play well beyond their expiration date, while others know just when to walk away. But, either way, there's nothing better than watching an elite athlete playing in his prime and performing with ease.
Here are 10 athletes who are in their prime right now.