It's a rare occasion when an athlete comes along with just the right mix of talent, drive and longevity required to make a run at becoming the best of all time.
Transcendent athletes like Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan won the genetic lottery, in terms of talent. They possess the rare ability to stay driven long after punching their ticket into the Hall of Fame early in their careers. And they just lucked out in the injury department.
The careers of many promising superstars end far before their time because of freak injuries. The careers of Gretzky and Jordan spanned decades.
But talent is something that can matched or surpassed someday, if the right athlete stumbles into the right set of circumstances at just the right time. Character, on the other hand, cannot be duplicated.
For everything Gretzky accomplished during his legendary career, he's relatively forgettable—you know…as a person.
On the court Shaquille O'Neal didn't come anywhere close to reaching MJ status, but he's even more universally beloved because of his persona.
We're always talking about the next Gretzky and the next Jordan—which means it's universally agreed that it's possible that person my come along. But we can all agree there will never be another Shaq.
So here is Shaq, and 19 other epic athletes that cannot and will not ever be duplicated.
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