For this week’s column, I could talk about Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown’s alleged fake vaccination card or Loyola leaving the Missouri Valley.

Instead, I wanted to take a step back and just be in awe of the professional athletes that have cropped up in my lifetime that can arguably be heralded as the best in their sport of all-time.

Of course, leagues are always changing, adopting new rules, adding expansion teams and athletes are always getting bigger, stronger, faster.

But, within the last few decades, there have certainly been tremendous athletes crop up that have held their own and are deserving of some calling them the “GOAT” or Greatest of All Time.

Now, I just turned 30 years old in August, so a lot of what I’ve seen in my lifetime is who I’ll give the upper hand to, but I believe every generation has a GOAT.

It’s hard to compare players of different eras, for example the NFL is a pass-happy league now, throwing the ball more than ever.

Quarterbacks routinely throw for 4,000 yards whereas that was a high benchmark at one time.

But, for every Tom Brady, there was a Joe Montana or a Rodger Staubach or what have you.

However, in my opinion, we’ve likely been witness to the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady.

Though this man is likely largely hated because of various reasons, all he does is win.

He is a seven-time Super Bowl champion across his now 21-year career and up until the last two games, he has played his best football of his career at age 44.

It’s amazing he’s able to continue to play as well as he has for as long as he has, and he may not slow down.

He famously once said he wanted to play until he’s 45, which he will turn next August. His current contract with the Buccaneers runs through next season.

Since making that statement years ago, Brady said he believes he could play until he’s 50.

Whether he will or not is up for debate and Brady and his family to know and decide.

This year’s NFL seems like there is some parity going on and I don’t know that I honestly believe at this point in the season there is a clear-cut favorite as we head to the second half of the season, but Brady’s Bucs can win an eighth Super Bowl for Brady.

Then, heading to the NBA, there is no doubt that LeBron James has been one of the best, if not the best player in the NBA throughout his career.

While that is certainly up for debate because Kobe Bryant played through the first half of LeBron’s career and Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry have been hard to stop in LeBron’s latter half of his career, there is no denying that any team that features LeBron will be a favorite to contend for the Larry O’Brien trophy at season’s end.

LeBron’s career has been so prolific that many believe that he is better than the well-perceived GOAT Michael Jordan.

I grew and fell in love with basketball because of Jordan, so my view is likely pretty biased, but I can’t put LeBron ahead of Jordan because of several reasons, but that’s neither here nor there.

LeBron doesn’t have a strong Finals record, holding a 4-6 record, but he continually sets records and is one of the better physical specimen’s basketball has ever seen.

But, that also brings reason to revisit that Michael Jordan did, in fact, play the latter half of his career when I was growing up.

And, being a kid that lived in Missouri in the 90s, there was no bigger basketball player than Jordan.

People may harp on his early career because the Chicago Bulls weren’t good enough to get over the hump, but in the 90s, the Bulls owned the NBA with Jordan at the center of it all.

Switching to baseball, though the past several decades have been marred by steroid and HGH usage, we’ve seen some pretty great baseball players.

Had Barry Bonds allegedly not taken any HGH, he would likely go down as one of the best to ever do it. He had a tremendous career before he started juicing and had a terrific career after, of course with the help of steroids.

More recently, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels has overwhelmingly been seen as baseball’s best player since his career began and people are starting to make the argument he’s the best to ever do it.

While that may be subjective in some areas, he’s a tremendous athlete that I am proud to say I’ve been able to watch his career unfold.

It’s unfortunate that he has only been to the playoffs one time through his career thus far, but he’s deserving of baseball’s current best, unless you want to talk about his teammate Shohei Ohtani, who had a fantastic season of hitting and pitching.

Now, over to hockey, Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin is creeping ever closer to Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record.

Gretzky is largely regarded as hockey’s best to ever do it. So much so that his No. 99 is retired league-wide, joining baseball’s Jackie Robinson as the only number to be retired across their respective league.

But, Ovi recently passed Brett Hull for fourth all-time in goals scored, and now trails Gretzky by 152 goals.

Ovechkin is currently 36 years old, so he may be running out of time career-wise to catch Gretzky, but he has averaged roughly 43 goals a year, so he could catch Gretzky before his career is over.

Elsewhere, Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have been at the top of the men’s soccer world for years.

Tiger Woods was once the best golfer in the world and on pace to win more Majors than anyone.

Serena Williams has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era and is the second-most all-time.

In men’s tennis, we’ve been hit with a trifecta of greats as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal all share the all-time record for Grand Slam wins.

Again, being the greatest of all time is subjective, but there’s no doubt we’ve seen great athletes in recent years.

Andy Robertson is the sports editor of the Log Cabin Democrat and can be reached at arobertson@thecabin.net.

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