By Ryan of The Sportmeisters
While over here in Afghanistan, a few of us got to discussing about the athletes that shape our generation, and considering most of my co-workers are older than me, the names they brought up were people that I could only read about or watch in old highlight films.
Start like Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron, Jim Brown, Terry Bradshaw, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, and Bobby Orr, to name a few, defined their respective sports with their play and achievements.
So I got to wondering, when I have a kid, and he/she becomes old enough to who wonder who the stars in different sports, who will I tell him about, and how do I tell him?
My focus will be mainly on athletic achievement. I’m looking at mainly current athletes, especially those in their current prime or getting close to it, who have years left, but by the time I have kids, and they start grasping and understanding sports, these players will either have retired, or are on the way out.
Finally, I don’t feel hockey has had that one player who defined my generation, and all the current players are way too young to make that choice about.
As a disclaimer, I’m 25, born in 1983, and I’m basing these on the fact that I didn’t start truly grasping and understanding sports until at least my pre-teen years.
Without further ado, my picks for the athletes that shape my generation:
Alex Rodriguez: He still has plenty years to go (currently in his 16th season, and only 33), and at 578 home runs, he could clearly end his career with the career home run title. A lifetime .305 hitter, A-Rod is also a 11-time All-Star through 2008 as well as a 9-time Silver Slugger and a three time MVP.
He is one of the most popular players in sports, and despite his admitted performance enhancer drug use and post-season struggles, he still has plenty of time to grab his first World Series ring (possibly this season?), and earn a handful of more awards.
With the DH option available as well, and in the first year of a new contract, I would imagine a good 6-7 more years out of A-Rod before hanging up the cleats.
Tom Brady: No player screams excellence and perfection quite like Tom Brady. A mere 32 years old, he already has garnered achievements some players never reach in their career. He is a four-time Pro-Bowler, a first team All-Pro in 2007, and the 2007 Offensive Player of the Year and MVP.
He currently holds three Super Bowl rings to go along with two Super Bowl MVP awards. The current holder for most touchdowns in a single season (50), he also holds numerous post-season records as well.
Despite coming back from season-ending surgery in 2008, Tom Brady has started off 2009 with a bang, and will be a fixture in the NFL’s post-season for at least the next four or five years, before I believe time will begin to catch up on him.
Tim Duncan: A man who was chosen with the first pick in the draft, and lived up to the hype. When the San Antonio Spurs grabbed Duncan, to them it was a perfect complement, and eventual transition from David Robinson.
Duncan started hot, taking home Rookie of the Year honors in his first season, and hasn’t looked back. He’s a two-time MVP, a three-time NBA Finals MVP, a 11 time All-Star (to include ten straight appearances), and has been named on the All-NBA and All-Defensive team every year since 1997-98 (his rookie season).
To top it all off, Duncan already has four rings, and he’s hungry for four more, easy. He’s going to be 33 years old heading into 2009, and has a double-double career average (21.4 ppg and 11.7 rpg).
Duncan could easily play another four or five years, make the playoffs each year, and field a competitive Spurs team that could potentially win one or two more titles before he makes his exit.
Got a gripe or a complaint? Let me hear it at firstname.lastname@example.org. These are my picks, but I’d like to hear yours.