Throughout sports history, there is one question that continues to draw debate across every category: Who is the greatest athlete ever?
In their own respects, there are multiple “Greatest Of All Time” (G.O.A.T.) athletes, but only in their respective sports. When you look at the NFL you are thinking of players such as Tom Brady or Jerry Rice or even Joe Montana. Then you look at the NBA and the argument for the G.O.A.T. is either Michael Jordan or Lebron James. Tennis claims Serena Williams as their G.O.A.T. Finally, we have baseball, and nobody other than Babe Ruth is the face of the MLB.
Here is where this conversation gets interesting. Let’s first start with the NFL.
Seven championships, five super bowl and three league MVPs, two-time offensive player of the year and 14-time pro bowl player, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. is the G.O.A.T of the NFL. From the year Brady joined the league in the 2000 NFL Draft with the 199th pick in the sixth round by the New England Patriots, Brady began his climb to be labeled the greatest of all time in the NFL. Brady has become the only quarterback to win the Super Bowl in three different decades since he began his career and continues to win at the age of 43. Brady has 34 playoff wins to add to his championship wins and has 230 regular-season wins. Brady has thrown for 91,653 yards in the regular season and postseason. With the most passing touchdowns in the regular season and postseason combined at 664, he also has won 17 division titles. Brady has won two unanimous awards: Sports News NFL Athlete of the Decade for the 2010s and the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. Brady also won the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 2007 and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2005. Brady also won the Bert Bell award in 2007. Brady has won the Best NFL Player ESPY Award in 2008 and 2018. There is no debate of who the G.O.A.T. in the NFL is anymore.
Moving to the NBA, Lebron James’ biggest argument for labeling him as the G.O.A.T. is his all-around dominance of the sport. However, Michael Jordan has been the idol of the NBA for decades. The G.O.A.T. debate of the NBA boils down to Jordan and James. Jordan played a 15-year long career and won six NBA championships and was named the finals most valuable player in all six championship games. Jordan also added five total MVP awards and was a 10-time scoring champion with 14 all-star appearances. While Jordan is impressive and hard to beat, James continues to chase Jordan as the G.O.A.T. in the basketball realm. James continues his 17-year career as he adds more NBA championships to his four rings. James has won the finals MVP award each of the four times he won the championship, but has appeared in ten NBA finals. James so far is a four-time MVP and was the scoring champion of the 2007-2008 season. James has been a 16-time all-star, but continues to play today and add to his career accolades.
“He’s still breaking records and adding so much more in his basketball resume and has changed the game for my generation,” Ferris State men’s basketball wing Deng Reng said. “He’s exceeded everyone’s expectations and can be the runner up as the all-time leading scorer of all time with a chance to win another ring. I don’t think anyone will ever get to the level Lebron is at.”
With these three athletes in the biggest conversations when it comes to who is the G.O.A.T of their sport, we cannot leave out tennis and the mention of Serena Williams. Ferris State women’s basketball sophomore guard Mallory McCartney said Williams is the true G.O.A.T in all sports. For any athlete to win an overabundance of titles is insane and Williams has won 23 grand slams. Her 23 Grand Slam titles are the most by any player, man, or woman, in the Open era, and the second-most all-time behind Margaret Court, who has 24. Serena is the only player to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles on multiple occasions. Williams adds 73 Women’s Tennis Association titles and four Olympic gold medals.
“She is the most decorated athlete of them all, being able to step away and have a kid then come back to the sport and still be the best in the world speaks to her ability and her constant fight,” McCartney said. “She to me is the great athlete in all sports.”
Every sport has an established athlete that claims the G.O.A.T. status. However, the one athlete that stands out above everyone else is none other than Tom Brady. Brady threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns in 2020 while he led Tampa to a Super Bowl victory. Brady is one of just two quarterbacks to lead two different teams to Super Bowl titles. Jordan is the closest in the ranks to be crowned the G.O.A.T. of G.O.A.T.s but what puts Brady over the top is his legacy of championships and accolades, which continue to grow. Brady has stated he wishes to play until at least 45 but admitted he would play longer if he continues to perform like last season. When his time is up, Brady will have a legacy that will be untouchable and the sports world will miss this great legend.