I have always wondered which sport has the best athletes. I look at professional athletes that play in the NBA, NFL, MLS, and MLB and wonder how you can compare the athletic abilities of some of the world’s best competitors. This conversation also leads to the discussion of where Olympic athletes play into the mix. Do world class sprinters, gymnasts, rowers, or other Olympic athletes compare to American professional superstars? While I can now appreciate the determination and hard work of endurance athletes, I have to say they are not, in my mind the best athletes in the world. Although it takes years of training to be an elite endurance athlete, I almost feel like their skills are limited. Which leads me to endurance sports such as soccer. Soccer adds agility and speed to the equation along with limited amounts of jumping. I also think that the size of athletes has to be a part of the answer. Soccer players, although very athletic, have a lot less to move around then say players in the NFL or NBA. So, I believe that the debate about the world’s best athletes comes down to professional Football and Basketball players.
The players in the NBA and NFL have size and speed, agility and quickness. They are constantly in contact with one another, and in a lot of situations put their bodies into uncomfortable positions to make big plays. I personally have a slight bias towards football players because it is the sport I love. When it comes down to athletic ability, however, I really think that professional basketball players are the greatest in the world. Basketball players have to poses all forms of athleticism. They have to be fast and have great endurance to run up and down the court for sixty minuets every game. They have to posses the hand-eye coordination to pull up and make shots, or pass the ball through traffic while running at full speed. What they also posses is the agility to cover the most agile point guards in the world. All these attributes are impressive, but the fact that most of the players in the NBA are over six feet three inches tall makes it that much more impressive. If you look at a player like LeBron James, it is almost unbelievable that he is able to do what he does. He stands at six feet, eight inches tall and weights any where between two hundred and fifty and two hundred and sixty pounds. Watching a man of that size run up and down the court and make some of the most acrobatic plays ever seen shows just how athletic the elite players in the NBA are.
In my opinion, professional basketball players are the most athletic athletes in the world. Who are the most athletic in your opinion? What makes them more athletic than other athletes? Is it fair to compare one set of athletes to another?