Selfless. Determined and courageous. Perpetual learner. Focused.
These are just some of the qualities I saw from the world-class athletes I put on my all-time favorite list.
1. Earvin “Magic” Johnson—typified the unselfish pro basketball player of his time. Played for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979-1980 season, the year LA began its “Showtime” Era under coach Paul Westhead before Pat Riley took over.
Magic, a monicker that stuck after leading Michigan State to the US NCAA title against the Indiana Sycamores and Larry Bird, was the glue that kept the Lakers together.
His no-look passes, big smile and desire to put the team first than personal accolades are things I truly like about Magic.
Under his court leadership, the Lakers won five NBA championships, while LA appeared in the Finals nearly all throughout the 1980s.
2. Manny Pacquiao—there are hundreds or perhaps, thousands of Filipino athletes who have made our country proud. But nothing comes close to “the Pac-man’s” iron-fisted rule in the featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and welterweight divisions.
His cool under pressure attitude, his big, fighting heart in spite of the fact that he came from a poor family in Mindanao as well as his unmatched courage to face the world’s best ring gladiators are qualities that made Pacquiao part of my all-time favorite list of athletes.
He’s actually part of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential personalities in the world in the May 2009 edition.
3. Tiger Woods—he’s the world’s richest athlete with a total earning of US$110 million last year. But what made him what he is today wasn’t simply because of his immense talent in putting the golf ball on the hole, but because of his insatiable appetite to learn.
I remembered a story I once heard. Tiger, after winning a titled tournament, the next day, he went back to his swing coach and asked what else he needs to do to constantly improve on his swing.
Wow! A top-caliber asking his coach to teach him what else to improve on his game? Certainly, that’s one attitude I need to continually develop.
4. Michael Phelps—He set a new Olympic gold medal-haul record after splashing his way to a perfect eight-of-eight in all his swimming events in last year’s Beijing Olympics.
But probably not everyone knows that this swimming sensation battled through ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) during his childhood years, a deficiency that brought tension and pressure on his mother Debbie, who still managed to raise him up well.
Yet, through the patient guidance of his mother, Phelps by the time he reached sixth grade, overcame his ADHD. And by the time he reached the age of 18, was already a multiple gold medalist in the Olympics after bagging six mints.
Well, here are my short list of all-time favorite athletes in the world.
Who’s on your list?