The 25 Biggest Badasses in Sports Right Now

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2012

The 25 Biggest Badasses in Sports Right Now

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    No guy ever wants to be called a pansy—or any other "P" word—so when you get recognized for being a badass, it feels really good. But to get there, you have to be more than just a jacked-up, juiced-out meathead that loves being in the gym. You have to go above and beyond the competition, bring it on every play, and dominate your position or sport.

    Since not everyone can do that, other athletes might just want to take some notes from these guys, because love 'em or hate 'em, we guarantee you'd fear the hell out of them if you ever saw them on a field, court, or down a vacant alley. To save you embarrassment of what would happen, we really hope you never have to be in any of those situations.

25. Paul Rodriguez

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    You might not think much of pro skateboarders, but we guarantee you P-Rod fits the bill. He's a 27-year-old millionaire, has his own Nike line, and will skate on any street in the world, and dominate. You couldn't even stand on a board for more than five seconds.

24. Mariano Rivera

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    He may be out for the year, but the dude's about to be 42-years-old, and he's still the most terrifying closer in the game. If the game is close, and the song "Enter Sandman" plays, it's bad news for opposing teams. As in, lock it up, it's over.

23. Derrick Rose

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    One might not think a dude who cries is much of a badass, but the reason bro even tore his ACL in the first place was because he goes all-in, all the time. Like a Lamborghini, he's at his best when revved and racing, so here's to him getting back to blowing by fools, taking it the the cup, and sinking it amongst giants in the paint. 

22. LeBron James

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    He's too nice to be any higher, but Bron's just too much of a physical freak not to add him to the list. With a 6'8" frame without and not an ounce of fat on it, it's insane he's as athletic and agile as he is. When you're the greatest player in the world, you have to be a pretty big badass, especially after the year he's had.

21. Adrian Peterson

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    AP is as dominant a running back as we've seen in the past 20 years. He's what everyone wanted Herschel Walker to be in Minneapolis, constantly carrying the load for the Minnesota Vikings. Did we mention he completely tore up his knee last December, rehabbed like a beast, and is back to being a fantasy stud already this season?

20. Lionel Messi

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    Most people may not associate soccer players with badasses—unless you know Gennaro Gattuso—but make no mistake, the Little Lion is about as BA as anyone. He's almost averaged a goal per game over the past four league seasons, somehow gets to open spaces, and stands at a mere 5'7". Yes, that's what most of us measured in at in about 8th grade.

19. James Harrison

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    He's slowed down a little bit thanks to injuries, but just look at the dude, he probably scares the hell out of you. We envision someone doing something really nice for him, and he is still not smiling. You know what? He might just be more mean, than a badass. Guess that's part of it though.

18. Shaun White

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    Where to start with this one? He's the bro-est bro on our list, but still he's still the boss in extreme sports. It's gotten to the point where The Flying Tomato can turn anything into gold, which ironically is about the only color medal he wears these days. Think he's undeserving? Go try a backflip on a trampoline, now multiply that and try it on a mountain. Yeah, he does that.

17. Dirk Nowitzki

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    Dirk Juice is one bad man. Not afraid to put his Mavericks on his back, then take the blame if he just happens to miss the final shot, the White Mamba transformed what a non athletic, German seven-footer should be able to do in the NBA. On the court fear him. Off the court, party with him. That's a dude right there.

16. Rob Gronkowski

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    Like most on our list, he's just a complete freak. His hands are behemoth. He reels in football's like an angler does a fish. And we're convinced he can bench an entire city. Maybe we're drinking the Gronk kool-aid, but with the season he had last year (90 catches, 1,327 yards, 17 TD's), he deserves to be on the list. If not for his football skills, maybe for his bedroom skills.

15. Dwight Howard

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    Sure, he's a little bit of a drama queen, but when you're as talented as he is, with the leaping ability he has, you're a little scary. A basketball hoop stands at 10 feet, with Howard defending the paint, it's more like 12 feet, so good luck trying to score on him.

14. Chris Pronger

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    We thought and thought about what hockey player we were going to include, and when it came down to it, it just had to be Pronger. One of the most feared defenceman in NHL history, the mammoth 6'6" will get under opponents' skin like a bad rash, push them to their limit, and completely mind-F them out of their game.

13. Michael Phelps

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    The only piss in a pool with Phelps in it comes from his opponents when they see him on the starting block. That might be a stretch of a comparison, but you know what? When you're the winningest Olympian in history, it's probably a little bit true.

12. Troy Polamalu

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    He's got hair that looks like he should be in an 80's rock band, pounding brews, ripping it on the guitar, and pretty much scaring the hell out of everyone who sees him. Now translate that to the football field, and that's what you've got.

11. Calvin Johnson

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    Megatron is faster than you. He's stronger than you. His hands are softer than your lotion-wearing ass. If you don't believe us, go check film and see why anything you toss around him he'll pluck out of the air. There's a reason he made the cover of Madden this year - he's quite frankly the ideal receiver.

10. Jon Jones

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    To be a UFC fighter, you have to be somewhat crazy, and if you're stepping into the Octagon with Jon Jones waiting for you, you fit the bill. With only one loss in his career, he won't just physically hurt you with kicks and punches, he'll scar you for life by mentally breaking your soul.

9. Ndamukong Suh

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    If you strike fear in your opponents, than you're a badass. So while Suh might be associated more for being a dirty player, we think the fact he's got a couple screws loose up top is enough of an intimidation factor to be considered a badass. 'Cause come on, to actually stomp on a grown-ass man? No one does that, except Suh.

8. Clay Matthews III

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    His hair alone makes him kind of off-putting, but once you actually see him hit a fool, you really don't want to mess with him. The Thor comparisons are endless, so we'll try to avoid them, but we will say he's about as close to having a superpower as anyone on this list.

7. Kobe Bryant

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    What else can we say about Kobe that hasn't been said already? The Mamba was supposed to be broken down after knee surgery last year. All he did was go out and finish runner-up in the scoring title. At 34 he says he's winding down. But don't put it past him to play another six years, win two more titles, and keep being the most clutch player in the league.

6. Jared Allen

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    Allen by far has the most fun of anyone on this list. For God's sake, he wears number 69! Anyone with a mullet usually gets crap, but he pulled it off, cut it off, and is still as much of a hard-ass without it. You probably eat a nice ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, you know what he eats? Quarterbacks.

5. Patrick Willis

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    He's just about the second coming of Ray Lewis, protecting the middle of the field as if it's his own child. Willis isn't just a freak, he's a monster, so if you're someone who likes messing with a 6'2", 240-pound rock who can outrun you, and drive you through a steel door, be our guest.

4. Miguel Cabrera

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    It's not that Cabrera is the best athlete, but when you're close to winning the first Triple Crown in the majors since 1967, you're pretty good. It's absolutely perplexing that a guy whose diet probably consists of twinkies and beer can be as talented as he is. For guys who actually give a damn about being in shape, he's about the worst enemy. 

3. Manny Pacquiao

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    The same way that no one wants to hear him sing, there's not a soul who wants to step on the canvas with him either. He's won eight first-division titles, 10 world titles, and named "Fighter of the Decade" from 2000-10. He may have gotten gypped in his last fight this summer, but we won't hold it against him.

2. Ray Lewis

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    How can't Lewis be close to the top of this list? A natural-born leader, Ray Ray is the type of guy who'd run through a brick wall if it meant making a tackle, just to show his teammates that's how crap gets done in Baltimore. Did we mention he's already got a spot in Canton reserved for him?

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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    First off, man gets paid. Even if he wasn't undefeated in the ring - yep, he's 43-0 in his career - he commands such a price tag to even step into the damn thing, that he can make it rain more than a rainforest. But that whole unbeaten thing is pretty much why we'd only say really, really nice things to him.