Less than 1% of all collegians end up becoming professional athletes. It’s hard enough to make it pro, but it’s even tougher to have skills that people enjoy to watch. Here’s a list of guys that I could watch conduct their craft all day long.
Ray Allen- The all-time NBA leader in 3-pointers has one of the sweetest releases I’ve ever seen. It’s seriously poetry in motion.
JJ Redick- Has absolutely perfect, text book form on his jumper. It’s a work of art to watch Redick shoot.
Stephen Strasburg- Much to the chagrin of opposing batters, this phenom can unleash a 100 mph fastball and knee buckling curve ball. It’s almost unfair because his control is fantastic for a rookie. Here’s hoping to him remaining healthy after Tommy John surgery.
Greg Maddux- Mad Dog’s fastball rarely hit 90 mph, but his uncanny control, location, and movement kept hitters fooled for almost 20 years.
Tom Glavine- Just like Maddux, Glavine didn’t beat you with an overpowering fastball. He changed speeds with his legendary changeup, had perfect location, and ridiculous consistency.
Of course Maddux and Glavine realized strikeouts were cool, but homeruns were better.
Ken Griffey, Jr- The sweetest swing in major league history. Griffey wasn’t a big guy, but he made up for it with amazing torque and lightning quick bat speed.
Usain Bolt- How in the world can one not watch a guy who runs so fast he would get pulled over in a school zone?! Bolt is the only person in history to have both the world and Olympic record in both the 100m and 200m races.
Dominik Hasek- Easily one of the greatest hockey players of all time, the “Dominator” was a stand-up, butterfly, or hybrid style goalie. He used his own technique that awarded him 6 Vezina Trophies (top goalie), 2 Hart Memorial Trophies (league MVP; he’s the only goalie in NHL history two win this award twice), a Stanley Cup, and a gold medal.
Pete Sampras- Tennis isn’t fun to watch when guys just slug it out along the baseline. Sampras is arguably to best all time because he had a vicious serve and some of the best volleying skills the sport has ever seen. (Personally I think he’s better than Federer, and faced exceedingly harder competition. Federer couldn’t ever beat the one other great player of his era.)
Jeff George- I would love to watch George throw the football all day, but he wasn’t a very good quarterback. The guy had an absolute cannon, and the ball always came out one a line in a tight spiral. What a prodigious waste of an unforeseen gift.
Barry Sanders- He may not have the all time rushing record, but Sanders is clearly one of the top running backs ever. He combined an electric combination of size, strength, speed, agility, and elusiveness.
Ernie Els- Some people think that The Big Easy doesn’t have much fire in his belly, but that’s completely inaccurate. His golf swing is so smooth and effortless it makes him look like a slacker. Whether it’s a driver, iron, or wood, Els; stroke is as silky as it gets.
Lionel Messi- I’m not a big soccer fan, but I can easily identify talent like Messi’s. No matter how boring I think the “beautiful game” is, I can watch him dribble, shoot, and pass all day long.
Walter Ray Williams, Jr.- No bowling is not a sport, but Williams, Jr. is the best ever at this drunken recreational activity. “Deadeye” owns tens Professional Bowling Association records, and has done things no other bowler ever has, including knocking down the 4-6-7-10 split on television.