I recently took a Sporcle quiz counting down ESPN's list of the top 100 athletes of the 20th century. While I could easily write a post decrying my problems with the list (Secretariat? That doesn't seem fair), it instead occurred to me that we're getting close to being able to fire up a list of the best athletes of the 2000's.
So, here's my take on the top sports stars of the decade thus far. A few major caveats....
* Like ESPN's list, I stuck to just North America-born athletes, which is why there's no Federer, Lidstrom, Ronaldo, Santana, Kaka, Ovechkin, etc.
* This is based solely on personal opinion and with only minimal glances at statistics. I have no doubt that there are cases where I've put a statistically inferior player lower or off the list entirely, but I'm also weighing things like championships won, impact on the sport, etc. Basically, I tried to go by the credo of who would you remember the most if you're thinking about sport in the Oughts.
* Athletes are only judged by what they did in the Oughts themselves. A number of these people would be much higher if I factored in what they did before January 1, 2000, but then it wouldn't be a proper 21st-century list, now would it?
Argue away! I look forward to finding out which athletes I unforgivably omitted. There have to be at least, like, a dozen that I will smack my head over forgetting.
100. Kurt Warner 99. Hines Ward 98. Hale Irwin 97. Vince Young 96. Randy Couture 95. Walter Jones 94. Steve Hutchinson 93. Shane Mosley 92. Jeff Kent 91. Misty May 90. Roy Oswalt 89. Tony Stewart 88. Simon Whitfield 87. Roger Clemens 86. Ben Roethlisberger 85. David Ortiz 84. Orlando Pace 83. Mia Hamm 82. Michael Strahan 81. Larry Johnson
80. Donovan McNabb 79. Bernard Hopkins 78. Dany Heatley 77. Randy Johnson 76. Todd Helton 75. Jason Taylor 74. Champ Bailey 73. Rafael Marquez 72. Lorena Ochoa 71. Adrian Peterson 70. Clinton Portis 69. Derrick Brooks 68. Edgerrin James 67. Dara Torres 66. David Wright 65. Chipper Jones 64. Ed Reed 63. Tony Gonzalez 62. Brian Westbrook 61. Chase Utley
60. Drew Brees 59. CC Sabathia 58. Joe Mauer 57. Pedro Martinez 56. Curt Schilling 55. Jeff Gordon 54. Jonathan Ogden 53. Trevor Hoffman 52. Chuck Liddell 51. Brett Favre 50. Lance Berkman 49. John Smoltz 48. Allen Iverson 47. Paul Pierce 46. Cindy Klassen 45. Joe Sakic 44. Priest Holmes 43. Landon Donovan 42. Vladimir Guerrero 41. Joe Thornton
40. Torry Holt 39. Usain Bolt 38. Derek Jeter 37. Jimmie Johnson 36. Jarome Iginla 35. Vincent Lecavalier 34. Matt Hughes 33. Roy Halladay 32. Randy Moss 31. Phil Mickelson 30. Sidney Crosby 29. Floyd Mayweather 28. Ray Lewis 27. Terrell Owens 26. Steve Nash 25. Jason Kidd 24. Georges St. Pierre 23. Marvin Harrison 22. Cael Sanderson 21. Dwyane Wade
20. Tim Tebow 19. Venus Williams 18. Manny Ramirez 17. Mariano Rivera 16. Shaquille O'Neal 15. Kevin Garnett 14. LaDainian Tomlinson 13. Martin Brodeur 12. Peyton Manning 11. Tim Duncan 10. Serena Williams 9. Alex Rodriguez 8. LeBron James 7. Tom Brady 6. Albert Pujols 5. Kobe Bryant 4. Barry Bonds 3. Lance Armstrong 2. Michael Phelps 1. Tiger Woods