The Best Winners in Sports Today

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2013

The Best Winners in Sports Today

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    When I was asked to put this article together, my first instinct was to naturally put those athletes in here with the most championships.

    But, coming to my senses, I remembered that former NBA player Robert Horry has seven NBA titles, or, in other words, one more than arguably the greatest player to ever lace up some kicks, Michael Jordan.

    So what's my criteria for this article now?

    Winning in everything.

    That means that these players and teams don't only have the rings, but have become icons based on what they've done in combination of their athletic prowess.

    These are the guys that always seem to "win, win, win, no matter what," so it's OK to be jealous.

Patrick Kane

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    Has Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane taken over the league like some of his counterparts have—namely Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos?

    Not in regards to being labeled the next big thing, but, in case you missed it, this kid is the real deal.

    Finishing fifth in the NHL in total points this past season, 'Kaner' made his mark in the playoffs, collecting his second title in four years, and earning the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP.

    Oh yeah, and the 24-year-old is also pretty well-known when it comes to absolutely bro-ing out whenever the hell he wants to.

Spanish National Soccer Team

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    If you're looking for the preemptive style of play to model a soccer team after, the Spanish national team is definitely a good start.

    Under the guidance of manager Vicente del Bosque, Spain has won the last three major soccer tournaments in the world (Euro '08, World Cup '10, Euro '12), helping their players become hugely popular around the world, while earning them serious bragging rights amongst their peers.

    They may have gotten fried in last month's Confed Cup final on Brazilian soil, but "La Furia Roja" is poised to make a run at next year's World Cup in defense of their 2010 title.

Shaun White

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    As I've said before, Shaun White is the LeBron James of action sports.

    Proving to be a stud at an early age in snowboarding, White took his talents to the street, conquering skateboarding on the extreme sports circuit.

    With two Olympic gold medals on the slopes and other numerous accolades thanks to his sport, the 26-year-old White is rightfully on top of the world.

UConn Women's Basketball

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    Just as I used to dream about playing for the North Carolina men's basketball team growing-up—till I realized I was a 5'8", white kid—all female ballers fantasize about becoming the next UConn Huskies star.

    Thanks to the leadership of head coach Geno Auriema, the reigning national champion Huskies have won a record-tying eight national titles—seven which they've captured since 2000.

    With those type of numbers, it's no wonder UConn is naturally the first team that comes to mind when talking about women's hoops.

Peyton and Eli Manning

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    It would have been easy to pick either Peyton or Eli Manning to put individually, but I thought it would have been an injustice to keep one of them out since they've both proven to be big-time champions.

    Both No. 1 picks (Peyton in '98 and Eli in '04), the Manning brothers have lived up to all the expectations and led their teams to great heights.

    Older brother Peyton won a Super Bowl in '06 (reaching, but losing, the big game again in 2010), and tossing himself into the "Greatest Ever" conversation, while Eli has scooped up a couple rings in his career ('07 and '11) to go along with his individual accomplishments.

    Add in the marketability the two have, and these bros are the perfect QBs for any team.

Serena Williams

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    How good is tennis player Serena Williams at her sport?

    Good enough that I named her the top woman in sports who would absolutely destroy any guy who dare challenge her in a tennis match.

    Gender differences aside, Serena just so happens to be pretty damn good against females too, as she's won 16 Grand Slam singles titles in her illustrious career.

    Adding in an additional 13 Grand Slam doubles titles with her sister Venus, as well as successes in business off the court, and Williams is the gold standard for women tennis players.

Tim Duncan

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    Though Tim Duncan never captured a national title in his four-year collegiate career at Wake Forest in the mid to late-90s, I'd say he more than made up for it by capturing four NBA titles in his career thus far, narrowly missing out on No. 5 this year.

    As classy as he is great, Duncan is already being mentioned as the greatest power forward in NBA history, and his relationship with coach Gregg Popovich is one that is unmatched in all of sports—in my opinion.

    Reaching the playoffs every season since coming into the league in 1997, winning and Duncan go hand-in-hand.

Martin Brodeur

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    Although I mentioned him in a recent article for having an embarrassing stat for most losses in NHL history, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is arguably the greatest net-minder to ever play the game of hockey.

    With more wins than any masked man in league history, Brodeur hasn't only played for the Devils franchise his entire career, but has also led them to three Stanley Cup wins while picking up four Vezina Trophy's in his career, given out to the top goaltender in the league that season.

    If that's not enough, he's added two Olympic gold medals for his native Canada during international play as well, further entrenching himself amongst the greatest ever.

Mariano Rivera

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    There might not be a classier athlete in sports today than Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera—and it just so happens that he's the best closer in the history of baseball.

    Anyone who saw last week's All-Star Game knows how much respect players, coaches and fans have for this guy, recognizing that there will probably never be another one like him in any of our lifetimes.

    With five World Series titles and the reputation he has as a nice guy, it's no wonder some think he'll become the first ever unanimous Hall of Famer ever.

Miami Heat

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    With three NBA titles, a Finals MVP and nine All-Star appearances, I could have put just Dwyane Wade here.

    Or how about LeBron James, with his four league MVPs, two Finals MVPs to match his back-to-back titles and label as the best player on the planet?

    Then there's Chris Bosh, and his shared rings with Wade and James and eight All-Star Games in his own right.

    Instead, I put the entire Miami Heat team here because, since constructing the "Big Three" back in 2010, they've won 74 percent of their regular season games, made three-straight Finals trips and are the reason you either love or hate everything about the NBA.

    That's called having a major impact on fans.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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    He may be one of the most obnoxious athletes in recent memory, but there's absolutely no denying that boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best at his sport.

    Carrying an undefeated record with 44 wins (26 by KO) since turning pro, 'Pretty Boy' will run his mouth and back it up about as well as esteemed fighter Muhammad Ali once did.

    Topping Forbes' highest paid athlete in the world list, it's no wonder one of his nicknames is 'Money,'—because he cashes in on pretty much everything he does.

Tom Brady

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    Is Patriots quarterback Tom Brady the greatest ever?

    Well, if it's not the aforementioned Peyton Manning, it might just be Brady.

    If a guy carries that kind of weight—and is still active—then he has to be a winner, and that's exactly what Brady is.

    Making it to a record five Super Bowls and winning three, he's just one ring shy of the all-time record for a QB, trailing both Terry Bradshaw and childhood idol, Joe Montana.

    With a couple league MVPs ('07 and '10), an undefeated regular season, eight Pro Bowls and a career winning percentage of nearly 78 percent as a starter, Brady's definitely a once-in-a-generation signal caller.

Derek Jeter

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    If there's one athlete on this list that every guy should be jealous of, it's the Yankees' Derek Jeter.

    He's the Pinstripes' all-time hits leader (3,305), been named to the All-Star Game 12 times, picked up five Gold Gloves at shortstop and, most impressively, won five World Series titles.

    But on top of this all, he's been winning off the field just as much, dating lovely ladies like Minka Kelly, Jessica Biel and Vanessa Minnillo, among others, at one point in time.

    He's absolutely the 'King of New York'.

Tiger Woods

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    Tiger Woods might be in a slump when it comes to winning Majors—he hasn't won since his dramatic '08 U.S. Open—but we all know that that doesn't discount anything he's achieved in his golf career.

    Even with his five-year slump in Major victories, he still trails Jack Nicklaus by just four on the all-time list, and has proven to be the most consistent player in the world thanks to his record 281 weeks as the No. 1 golfer in the world.

    Consistently finding himself amongst the highest paid athletes in the world, Woods' impact on golf is unmatched by any golfer to ever swing a club thanks to his play and marketing success.

Roger Federer

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    I don't even know where to start with Roger Federer.

    It would seem his record-setting 17 career Grand Slam singles titles would be a good place, but that might be discounting the fact that he reached 18 of 19 Grand Slam finals between '05 and '10.

    Holding yet another record, Federer held the No. 1 world ranking on the ATP tour for 302 total weeks—along with a stretch of 237 consecutive at one point—helping his argument as the best ever in his sport.

    Like good friend Tiger Woods, Roger always seems to find himself in the top-five of the richest athletes list, and his philanthropic work is recognized as some of the finest by any athlete.