Manny Pacquiao and the Top 10 Pros to See Now so You Can Say You Saw Them Later
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So many great athletes come into our lives that we sometimes forget to treat the truly great ones with the reverence they deserve.
Pros like Michael Jordan or Walter Payton only come around once in a lifetime, but how many of us have seen them play in person?
Too often we miss out on seeing the great ones before they retire. There are a few athletes that are still active that will eventually no longer perform on the field.
Will you be able to say you where there when these men were on the field?
10. Albert Pujols
Pujols may hit enough long balls to make the home run title legit again.
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Certain guys over time made you stop and watch their at-bats because you knew something great might happen.
From Darryl Strawberry to Barry Bonds to Mark McGwire, the chance of a home run made us all pay attention. The steroid era took some of that luster away.
We need to believe that our baseball heroes are not cheating. Pujols seems to have brought respect back to the art of hitting a four-bagger.
9. Peyton Manning
A great sight for fans, a terrible sight for opposing defenses
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By the time Manning retires, he will probably have broken most of Brett Favre's passing records. Plenty of quarterbacks have the will to win. Very few have ever had Manning's drive for perfection.
8. Brett Favre
There may come a time that Brett Favre actually retires.
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He's won MVPs and a Super Bowl, and holds nearly every passing record ever posted. His love of the game is only surpassed by the drive to win one more Super Bowl... and possibly his love of publicity.
It's often stated ad nauseam that "Brett is having fun out there." The fact is that for the most part, he is.
7. Roger Federer
Federer is worth the price of admission
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I don't know who these people are that attend tennis matches, but I have seen quite a bit on TV. In my opinion, and most everyone else's in the civilized world, Roger Federer is the best player in the history of tennis. Not a bad reason to go to a match and see him play.
6. Manny Pacquiao
Pacquiao is one of the reasons that the best boxers are still a bigger draw than MMA.
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Pacquiao is considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. One day, if MMA has its way, great professional boxing may become a distant memory. Pacqiuiao is a throwback who reminds us of how great boxing can be.
5. Tiger Woods
It doesn't get any better than a focused Tiger on the prowl.
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Putting aside his recent brushes with mortality, on a normal day, Tiger Woods' bad days on the course are better than 99 percent of the professionals playing.
Woods seems to have already put his turmoil behind him, and looks to have plenty of Woods-type-days in his future. Bad news for the rest of the professionals out there. Good news for the PGA, which has gotten extremely fat because of the money and interest Tiger has brought back to golf.
4. Shaquille O'Neal
Big Aristotle ponders his future.
Shaq has been as big a figure as there has ever been in the NBA. His domination of the lane wowed his fans and frustrated his opponents.
The namesake of the Hack-a-Shaq defense doesn't look to have that much more time left on the court. It might be wise to buy his early season game tickets rather than late season.
3. Martin Brodeur
Brodeur might be the only thing left on TV with the name New Jersey attached to it worth watching.
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Brodeur has lived in the shadow of Patrick Roy for quite a while, but the three-time Stanley Cup winner seems to be getting better with age. He's been accused of benefiting from a defensive system, but somehow has maintained an elite level of play for more than 15 years. What is never brought up is the lack of scoring in front of Brodeur for nearly his entire career, yet he still manages to win games.
Brodeur owns nearly every goal-tending record possible, but a few stand out among the rest:
110 regular season shutouts—nearly a season and a half worth of shutouts... mindboggling.
Eight 40-win seasons—the next closest in NHL history has three.
602 regular season wins—it is possible that if Brodeur plays another three years, that he will win 700 games. This would make him the Cy Young of hockey, and could possibly be the most untouchable record in all of sports.
2. Derek Jeter
One of the greatest Yankees ever.
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With a team that has had all-time greats like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle wear its uniform, the Yankees have been a notch above the rest of baseball for nearly a century.
Whether it be because of inflated payrolls or an over-zealous owner or just having more talent than the rest of the league combined at times, the Yankees have found a way win almost a quarter of all World Series played. A big part of that is Derek Jeter, who has played the game with class and dignity and remained relatively controversy free.
Jeter embodies what a leader should be. One of the most clutch performers of his generation, Jeter deserves our respect (even if he did ham it up a little on the hit-by-pitch that didn't even touch him.)
1. Kobe Bryant
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I personally have hated Kobe Bryant for years. I still do.
What I can't deny, though, is that when Michael Jordan retired, we all knew that no one would ever fill his shoes. I don't believe Kobe has, but he has come pretty darn close.
He has that "it" factor and killer instinct that made Jordan so unstoppable. Kobe will never be the face of basketball in the way Jordan was. He came into the league more hyped than any phenom ever, excluding LeBron James.
He has been immature and combative, but there's no arguing that when it comes to winning in the clutch, Kobe is the marquee player in the NBA.