Too often we hear the term "GOAT" being floated around, especially in the NBA and NFL. Guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Lebron James and Steph Curry are being compared to guys that played 20+ years ago, and it just isn't fair.
The respective sports have changed so much as of late, such as quarterbacks essentially not being able to be touched, superstars in basketball cannot be breathed on without a foul being called, and fighting/physical play being eliminated from the NHL. I hate having to talk about GOATs, because comparing Tom Brady to Joe Montana, or Lebron James to Michael Jordan is one of the most difficult tasks for a writer, or really any fan of sports.
Nonetheless, I have conformed to the people's demand and offer a compromise: here is a list of the best current professional athletes in their specific sport.
Mike Trout, 24, CF
Career Statistics (5 yrs):
652 games, 744 hits, 139 home runs, 397 RBI, 113 SB, .304 AVG
Simply put, Mike Trout is one of the best young athletes in North American professional sports. At the age of 24, Mike Trout may not have even hit his ceiling yet as a baseball player. Bursting onto the seen in 2011 as a 19-year-old, Trout played in 40 games for the Anaheim Angels and has not looked back since. At 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, Trout has a unique blend of raw power and speed that we have not seen from an athlete since perhaps Ken Griffey Jr. in Seattle. Two years ago, I made the trek out to LA to see the Red Sox take on the Angels, and can truthfully say I have never seen a baseball jump off a player's bat quite like his.
From his defense....
To his offense.....
Mike Trout has the ability to be a once-in-a-generation-type of player, if he isn't already.
Bryce Harper, OF, WAS
Clayton Kershaw, LHP, LAD
Carey Price, 28, Goalie
Career Statistics (8 yrs):
438 GS, 233 wins, 2.43 GA, .920 SV%, 36 SO
Out of my four picks, this one was my most difficult to choose. Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and even Steven Stamkos could all be a recipient of this accolade. However, after seeing how poorly the Montreal Canadiens have been playing since he went down with a right leg injury nearly two months ago, I realized just how important a solid goalie is to a team. In that time, the Habs have gone 5-20-1, and are sitting 12th in the Eastern Conference basement.
However, when Price is on the ice, he is undeniably the best goalie, and perhaps player, in the entire NHL. Last season Price tied for the Jennings Trophy with Corey Crawford (Blackhawks) for fewest goals allowed, won the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender), Lindsay Award (MVP, NHL Players Association), Hart Trophy (MVP, Pro Hockey Writer's Association), and was elected to the NHL All-Star team.
As Bruins fans, we have all seen what a great goaltender can do in the playoffs (Remember Tim Thomas?). While an elite forward can win you a game, an elite goaltender can win you The Cup.
Sidney Crosby, PIT
Alexander Ovechkin, WAS
Stephen Curry, 27, Guard
Career Statistics (6 yrs):
465 games, 47.5 FG%, 44.2 3PT FG%, 90.2 FT%, 21.9PPG/4.3RB/6.9AST
This one wasn't even a contest. Steph Curry has emerged as one of the most dominant players in the entire NBA. Even when he is having an off-night, he is able to score 20 points and will his team to a victory. In Golden State, Curry has the perfect supporting cast around him that compliments his offense-heavy style of play. After winning the MVP award last season, don't be surprised if he snags it again this year.
Curry may not be the best defensive guard in the NBA, but he may be one of the best pure shooters the league has ever seen. If he can keep up this pace, he could turn into one of the best shooters-of-all-time.
Lebron James, CLE
Kevin Durant, OKC
Tom Brady, 38, QB
Career Statistics (16 yrs, 1 lost to injury):
63.6 comp.%, 58,028 passing yards, 428 TDs, 150 INTs, 96.4 Passer Rating
Simply put, Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. He may not be the fastest, or have the best arm, but if you are down by 2 or 6, with 2 minutes left on the clock, there is no one I would rather have on my team than Touchdown Tommy. There is ice in his veins. And I'm not just being a Patriots honk.
Tom Brady is on the back-9, there is no question about that, but last season, at the age of 38, Tom Brady had one of the best seasons of his career. Check out his 2015 stats: 64.4 comp.% (T-12th), 4,770 (3rd), 36 TDs (1st), 7 INTs (T-1st), and a 102.2 Passer Rating (4th).
Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback-of-all-time, and that is not up for discussion. With 4 Super Bowl rings, as a quarterback, only Joe Montana can match him, and I would not be surprised if he gets one more before he hangs up his cleats. But that is a another argument for a different day.
Aaron Rodgers has a better arm than Tom Brady. Cam Newton has more versatility and elusiveness than Tom Brady. Peyton Manning can audible at the line better than Tom Brady. However, the great thing about sports is that you can't rip open a guys chest and look at his heart. Some guy may look like a scrub (or a cornball, according to Bart Scott), but that only fuels one's proverbial fire. If you bust your ass, then the results will follow.
No one in the history of the NFL has ever had the will to win more than Tom Brady. His teammates love him, and the opposition hates him.
Aaron Rodgers, GB
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
Do you agree or disagree with my list? Comment below and let me know your thoughts.