Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, international soccer players Trinity Rodman and Sam Kerr, tennis player Carlos Alcaraz and U.S. sprinter Erriyon Knighton were named to the Time100 Next list for 2022.
Time's Next list identifies rising stars in the cultural landscape before they become crossover mainstream names.
Already a human highlight reel in his first two NBA seasons, Morant emerged as a bonafide superstar last season. He averaged 27.4 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds while leading the Grizzlies to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, earning an All-Star berth and All-NBA selection along the way.
"We’ve got a unicorn in Memphis, my hometown," pop star and Grizzlies part-owner Justin Timberlake wrote in Time. "Every once in a while, certain players come along and really change the culture of the game. Ja is emerging as a face of the NBA for good reason. The only thing missing for him is championship hardware."
Rodman, the daughter of Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, has already built her own impressive resumè and appears to be emerging as the next face of American women's soccer. The 20-year-old became the youngest player ever drafted into the National Women's Soccer League last year, and just a year later she was nominated for the Ballon d'or Féminine.
"She could literally shred the fences internationally worldwide in time," women's soccer legend Brianna Scurry wrote of Rodman. "That’s going to be really exciting to see, because I think as she grows, she will become unstoppable. Literally. It’s all there. The wealth of potential is off the charts."
Knighton has an equal chance to etch his name in the record books as the next great American sprinter. The 18-year-old set the under-20 world record in the 200-meter dash in April and won bronze at this year's World Championships.
Alcaraz, the 2022 U.S. Open champion, became the youngest player to ever reach the No. 1 spot in men's tennis history at 19 years and 130 days old. In a period of tennis where Roger Federer is stepping away, Novak Djokovic is playing a part-time schedule due to his vaccination status and Rafael Nadal is approaching his late-30s, Alcaraz is potentially in the process of filling the sport's desperate need for a new superstar.
Kerr is the oldest athlete on the list at 29 and is already cemented as a legend. She's the only woman to win the Golden Boot in three different leagues and has been one of the most prolific soccer players on the planet for a half-decade.