ESPN recently came out with a list of the top 20 most dominant athletes of the last two decades. To say they butchered this list would be an extreme understatement. Take a look at the list below:
Before I go into my thoughts on this list, it should be noted that these are the guidelines ESPN used when creating this putrid list:
We used our unpatented five-step process to determine the most dominant athletes of the past 20 years. First we looked at the top league in every sport that has global annual revenues of $100 million or more and for which there are reliable annual overall rankings or ratings of individual athletes for all or most of the past 20 years. Then we rated those sports’ athletes in each of the past 20 regular seasons by the best single performance metric available, adjusted these ratings to normalize athletes’ scores in each sport across time, narrowed our focus to the top four athletes each year in every sport, then adjusted the data again to put these players, across sports, on a common baseline. Then we added up the results to achieve this list, in which one “dominance share” equals one standard deviation of performance by an athlete beyond the top four players in his or her sport for one season.
As a diehard sports fan for the last 20 years, you would think that I would be able to recognize every single name on a list of the top 20 dominant athletes of this time. For those wondering at home, Lauren Jackson is a WNBA player, Marta is a Brazilian soccer player, and Allyson Felix is a track and field athlete.
Tom Brady barely made this list. He is listed as the 20th most dominant athlete in the last 20 years. This is where I am convinced that ESPN is doing this just to create headlines. I don’t care if you include postseason performances, Tom Brady has led his team to a Division Championship FIFTEEN times in the last twenty years. FIFTEEN TIMES! Tom Brady and Peyton Manning should trade places for God’s sake.
Another glaring omission from this list, the most decorated Olympian of all time Michael Phelps. In the last 20 years, he has won 28 medals in the Olympics. ESPN must not think that is good enough to crack their hallowed list.
Why is the postseason just thrown out the window for this list? Is it that hard to compare postseason accolades across different sports? No, it is not. This person has this many championships compared to this person. It is pretty simple ESPN.
How are there not more basketball players on this list? Where is Kobe Bryant? He will go down as one of the greatest players of all time. Sorry Kobe, you can’t crack the top 20 on this list. ESPN had to make room for Mike Trout who has never won a playoff game. Where is Steph Curry? His Warriors have the best regular season record of all time in the NBA. I guess that doesn’t count for anything.
There are so many more athletes I can name that belong on this list. ESPN, when you wonder why your ratings suck and no one watches you any more just please remember this dumb list.