Sports history is filled with stories of athletes and players who were born with rare and exceptional talent, but never achieved success in their careers. This is because talent alone will only get someone so far—inevitably the challenges that lie ahead will demand talent paired with desire, hard work and a little luck.
The greatest players—the Hall of Famers and those just shade from joining them—almost always share one element…consistency. No one is immune to slumps and missteps, but some athletes just know how to step-up and minimize the damage.
There is no way to divorce tangible achievements—stats, honors, wins and losses—from the potential to be great. So consistency and the ability to stay healthy are often a defining feature of those people who made the greatest impact in their sport. Not only did they have the talent, but they had the stats.
Some athletes just seem to produce year after year—through ups and downs, team strife and the unexpected. They are almost something more than human.
These are the 20 biggest machines in sports.