Top 10 Athletes in 2012 by Sport


Professional sports are a major form of entertainment around the world.  People love to follow their favorite teams and root for a championship.  The world of sports is an extremely lucrative business, and athletes are paid extremely high sums of money to perform.  This article will examine the top ten athletes in the world. It is categorized by sport and looks at players that are among the most respected.  Unfortunately, I could not discuss all the popular sports, and was forced to leave off some great games such as golf, rugby, field hockey, volleyball, winter games, table tennis, and most forms of racing.

10.  Tennis – Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal


Tennis is one of the most popular spectator sports in the world.  The game originated in England, and tennis players are among the highest paid athletes.  Being an individual sport, players are not paid by salary, but instead by winning individual tournaments.  Based on fan base, tennis ranks extremely high in popularity.  Tennis involves a quick pace, lengthy matches, and high action.  The players are among the best conditioned athletes in the world, and regularly display impressive feats of stamina.  The longest tennis match in history was 11 hours, 5 minutes, and covered 183 games.  As of 2012, the best men’s tennis players in the world include Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray.

The Athletes

Since July 4, 2011, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has been ranked #1 in the world.  In 2011, Djokovic became the sixth man in history to win three of the four major tennis tournaments, including the Australian Open, Wimbledon Championships, and the US Open.  Djokovic is an extremely popular athlete, and the first Serbian player to win a Major singles title.  He is currently only 24 years old, and is projected to be the #1 player for many years to come.  Djokovic is a dominant personality and plays with finesse and power.  In 2011, he received a large number of international tennis awards, including the honor of being #1 in the world.

Rafael Nadal is regarded as the greatest clay court tennis player in history.  He is currently ranked #2 in the world.  Nadal has been ranked in the top two of the world rankings every year since 2005.  He has officially held at least the No. 2 ranking for an ATP record 232 weeks, and won the French Open seven times.  As of June 25, 2012, in their playing careers, Djokovic and Nadal have met 33 times, with Nadal having a 19-14 advantage.  Nadal has won the last three matchups, and Djokovic the previous seven.  The rivalry is considered to be the top match in professional tennis.

9.  Auto Racing – Jimmie Johnson vs. Sebastian Vettel


Auto racing is one of the most watched televised sports in the world.  There are many different forms of racing and the two most popular organizations are Formula One and NASCAR.  In order to be a great race car driver, one needs to display stamina, strength, precision, and a strict knowledge for how a car reacts at fast speeds.  Professional driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and athletes have to be highly skilled to compete at the top level.  Professionals are usually paid well, and the richest contract in the history of auto racing belongs to Kimi Räikkönen, who signed a three-year deal with Ferrari in 2007 worth $153 million ($2,942,307 per race).

The Athletes

Jimmie Johnson is widely regarded as the best driver in the world.  He currently competes in NASCAR, and drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.  In 2006, Johnson won his first Sprint Cup Series Championship and then continued to take the honor over the next four years.  Between the years of 2002 and 2011, Johnson scored 55 wins and 230 Top 10 finishes.

In 2009, Johnson was named the AP Male Athlete of the Year.  He is known for being a fierce competitor who can maneuver a car with ease.  In 2011, Johnson struggled toward the end of the season, and finished the Sprint Cup Championship in sixth place.  After the Daytona 500, Jimmie got off to a strong start in 2012 and will compete for another title.

The Formula One World Drivers’ Championship (WDC) is awarded to the most successful driver in the Formula One season.  Similar to NASCAR, the honor is determined by a points system.  For the past two years, the WDC has been won by a German man named Sebastian Vettel.  Vettel is sponsored by Red Bull Racing, and is the youngest driver to ever win the Formula One Championship.  At the age of 24, he holds a large number of records in Formula One.  In 2012, Vettel has begun to receive comparisons to the great driver Michael Schumacher.  In February 2012, he was given the highest sports honor in Germany, the Silver Bay Laurel Leaf.

8.  Hockey – Henrik Lundqvist vs. Evgeni Malkin


In 1875, the first organized game of hockey was played in Montreal, Canada.  Since that time, the sport has expanded and become a popular game in North America, Russia, and other sections of the world that receive cold weather.  In Canada, hockey is the national winter sport.  Some countries that excel in hockey include Canada, Russia, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Sweden, and the United States.

Hockey is a quick moving game and involves strategy, finesse, and power.  Similar to soccer, hockey players only get a certain amount of scoring opportunities per game, so shots need to be precise and on target.  Hockey is violent and is one of the last sports to allow fighting.  The NHL is the largest hockey organization in the world and employs the best players from 20 different countries.

The Athletes

Henrik Lundqvist is the best ice hockey goaltender in the NHL.  He was born in Sweden, and currently plays for the New York Rangers.  Lundqvist displays a dominating presence on the ice, and is the only goaltender to record 30 wins in each of his first seven seasons.  In 2006, Henrik led Sweden to their second Olympic gold medal.  In 2012, Lundqvist had a great season, and led the NHL in almost every goaltending category.  He recorded 39 wins in 62 starts, and was one of three players nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy, which is the NHL’s MVP Award.

Evgeni Malkin is a center who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  He was born in Russia, and selected second overall in the 2004 draft.  After an international transfer dispute, Malkin was allowed to join the Penguins in 2006 and was named the NHL Rookie of the Year.  In 2012, Malkin had a great season.  He scored 50 goals for the first time, and was the only player to record over 100 points.  Malkin is outstanding with the stick, and rarely misses when given the opportunity to score.  He has a physical presence, and understands hockey strategy.  In 2012, Malkin won the Hart Memorial Trophy.

7.  Cricket – Jonathan Trott vs. Sachin Tendulkar


Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world.  It is primarily played in England, Australia, the Indian subcontinent, the West Indies, and Southern Africa.  According to statistics, cricket has the second highest fan base of any sport after International football.  In order to be a great cricketer, one has to be fast and highly skilled with hand/eye coordination.

Similar to baseball, cricket uses innings, and the ultimate goal is to score the most runs.  Currently, England is in first place on the ICC Test Championship board, but India captured the 2011 Cricket World Cup, with man of the tournament being Yuvraj Singh.  In the 2012 Asia Cup, Pakistan won by beating Bangladesh by 2 runs.  In the 2011 Champions League Twenty20 cricket competition, the Mumbai Indians captured the title.

The Athletes

Jonathan Trott is a South African-born cricketer who currently plays for England.  He is an extremely talented right-handed top-order batsman.  In 2011, Trott had a great season and scored 1,042 runs in 12 Tests, including four centuries at an average of 65 per innings.  On May 29, 2011, he recorded the highest score for an English batsman against Sri Lanka with 203.  Trott is widely considered the greatest all-around cricketer in the world.  He was given a collection of awards in 2011, including the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy.

Sachin Tendulkar is an Indian cricketer, who is considered one of the greatest batsmen of all time.  At the age of 39, he still ranks among the top cricketers in the world.  In 2010, Tendulkar won the Cricketer of the Year Award and, in 2011, he was the runner-up.  Tendulkar holds a large number of world records in the sport of cricket.  He was the first player to score a double century in ODI cricket.  In 2009, Tendulkar passed 30,000 runs in international cricket, and the following year he was the first player to record 15,000 runs in Test Cricket.  Tendulkar is the first sportsman in Indian history to receive the honorary rank of Group Captain by the Indian Air Force.

6.  Basketball – Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James


In 1891, basketball was invented by P.E. teacher James Naismith.  Since that time, the sport has become one of the most popular in the world.  Basketball is an exciting game to watch.  It moves at a fast pace and the athletes display incredible ability, physical conditioning, and coordination.  The NBA is the most prestigious basketball association in the world.  The sport is extremely popular among America’s youth, and the NBA Finals have recently overtaken the MLB World Series in television ratings.  Unlike other team sports, the small number of players on a basketball court enables individuals to control the pace of the game.  For this reason, NBA franchise players are extremely important.

The Athletes

Kevin Durant is a basketball star who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.  He is an exceptional athlete, and has led the NBA in scoring for three consecutive seasons.  Durant is only 23 years old, and was drafted in 2007.  He is 6’9″ (2.1 meters) and holds an incredible 7’5″ (2.28 meter) wingspan.  Durant is one of the best shooters in the NBA, and has the ability to jump over any player.  He has a humble personality and shows incredible energy and poise on the court.  In 2010, Durant announced that he signed a five-year contract extension with the Thunder, worth about $86 million.  After an exceptional 2012 season, Kevin Durant finished second behind LeBron James in the MVP Award voting.

LeBron James is a basketball player for the Miami Heat.  He was selected as the #1 pick in the 2003 NBA draft and quickly became an All-Star.  James displays a remarkable ability to control his body in the air, and stands at 6’8” (2.03 m) and 250 lbs. (113 kg).  He is a great ball handler and shows discipline, energy, and pure scoring vision.  Since undergoing a public move from Cleveland to Miami, James has been criticized by a large number of media publications.  He has since looked past the event, and is strictly focused on winning NBA titles for the city of Miami.  In 2012, James recorded one of his best seasons and finished with 27.1 points per game.  For the effort, he was awarded his third NBA MVP Award and also won his first NBA Championship.

5.  Baseball – Justin Verlander vs. Matt Kemp


In order to be a great baseball player, you have to display stamina and determination.  One of the most incredible records in all of sports is the consecutive games streak (2,632 straight games) achieved by Cal Ripken, Jr.  As we move into 2012, baseball has started to move past the Steroid Era.  Players hit less home runs, and the overall pitching velocity has decreased.  Certain athletes have emerged as All-Stars, while others have disappeared from the league.

The Athletes

Justin Verlander is a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers.  He stands 6’5″ (1.98 meters), and was selected 2nd overall in the 2004 MLB draft.  Verlander is an intimidating presence on the mound and has become known for his power, endurance, and control.  In 2011, Justin finished the season with a 2.40 ERA, 24 wins, and 250 strikeouts, giving him the Triple Crown for a pitcher.  He was named the AL Cy Young winner and AL MVP.  It was the first time that a pitcher won the MVP Award since Dennis Eckersley in 1992.  In 2012, Justin Verlander is among the league leaders in ERA, wins, and strikeouts.

Matt Kemp is an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He was drafted in 2003, and became an All-Star in 2011.  Kemp is known for his incredible power in all fields.  In 2011, he led the National League in home runs (39) and RBIs (126).  He was the first Dodger to accomplish the feat since Dolph Camilli in 1941.  Kemp also played in every game of the 2011 season, and extended his streak to 364 consecutive ballgames.  He signed an 8-year, $160 million contract extension in the offseason.  In 2012, Kemp started the season on a torrid hitting pace, but then suffered a series of injuries.  With the long MLB season, he looks to be an important factor for the Dodgers in October.

4.  Combat Sport – Anderson Silva vs. Manny Pacquiao


A combat sport is any regulated competition in which two people fight each other for points and advantage.  The history of combat sports dates back to the Olympic games of 648 B.C. and the sport of Pankration.  The only rules of Pankration were no biting or gouging of the opponent’s eyes out.  Combat sports involve incredible displays of strength, agility, power, and pure physical dominance.  In the 1900s, the sport of boxing became extremely influential.  The top boxers were seen as the world’s premiere athletes.  In the last 15 years, the sport of mixed martial arts has expanded, and fights have become popular.  In 2012, the fighters of the UFC are often viewed as the most dominant combative athletes in the world.

The Athletes

Anderson Silva is a Brasilian mixed martial artist, who currently holds the UFC Middleweight Championship belt.  He is recognized as the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by a large number of reputable publications.  In June of 2006, Silva made his UFC debut and knocked out Chris Leben.  The following October he won the Middleweight Championship in a fight with Rich Franklin.  Since that time, as of June 2012, Silva has defended his title in 12 consecutive fights.

Anderson Silva is an absolutely devastating striker, and has the ability to knock out his opponent with punching, kicking, and other Muay Thai techniques.  Silva has extremely strong grappling ability, and is a black belt in Brasilian Jiu-Jitsu, and judo.

Manny Pacquiao is a Filipino professional boxer, who is widely considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.  Pacquiao holds a current professional record of 54 wins (38 knockouts), 4 losses, and 2 draws.  In his career, Manny has captured six world titles in four separate weight classes.  He is one of the best conditioned athletes in the world, and holds an incredibly strong punch.  Pacquiao is a smart boxer and controls the ring with a quick pace.  As the fight progresses, he always holds the advantage and understands stamina.

Unlike UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre, Manny Pacquiao has performed on a regular basis for the past five years.  On June 9, 2012, Pacquiao suffered a controversial loss to contender Timothy Bradley in Los Vegas, Nevada.  Pacquiao clearly controlled the fight, but the judges voted Bradley the winner.  Unlike anything seen before, eight days after the fight, a review committee announced that Pacquiao should have won.  However, the WBO can’t overturn the official result, and recommended a rematch.

3.  American Football – Aaron Rodgers vs. Calvin Johnson


American football is the most popular sport in the United States.  It is a violent game that is full of action, aggression, and emotion.  The rules can be traced to early forms of association football and rugby.  In 2011, the average attendance for an NFL game was 66,960 fans, making it the most attended sport in the world.  In addition, the 2011 Super Bowl was the most-watched American television program in history with 111 million viewers.  Super Bowl Sunday has become known for large parties, good food, and celebration.  The Super Bowl is the second-largest day of food consumption in the U.S. after Thanksgiving.

The Athletes

On the football field, the quarterback is the most important position.  In 2012, the best quarterback in the NFL is Aaron Rodgers, who plays for the Green Bay Packers.  Rodgers led the Packers to a 15-2 record in 2011 and was named the AP Male Athlete of the Year.  Since taking over for Brett Favre, Rodgers has become the NFL’s career leader in the category of passer rating.  He is an amazing athlete and can deliver a football with exact precision.  Rodgers has one of the strongest arms in the league, and has become known for his quick mechanics.  In 2012, Aaron Rodgers is projected to be the NFL MVP for the second consecutive year.  He holds a slight edge over other great quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Michael Vick, and Cam Newton.

Calvin Johnson is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.  He stands 6’5” (1.96 m) and has incredible leaping ability and enormous hands.  In 2007, Johnson was selected by the Detroit Lions and has since blossomed into a premiere athlete.  The presence of Calvin Johnson on the football field has caused defensive coordinators to adjust their defensive strategy.  He regularly faces double coverage, and opens the field up for quarterback Matthew Stafford.  In 2012, Johnson signed one of the largest contracts in sports history, when he agreed to a 7-year, $132 million dollar deal.  He will receive over $1 million per game for the next seven years.

2.  Summer Olympics – Usain Bolt vs. Ryan Lochte


The 2012 Summer Olympics will take place in London from July 27 to August 12, 2012.  Many of the ceremonies will be held in a new 200 hectare Olympic Park located in east London.  It is the first time that London has hosted the Summer Olympics since 1948 and it should be a remarkable show.  In the 2008 games, the United States won 110 medals, followed by China (100), Russia (72), Great Britain (47), Australia (46), and Germany (41).

The official mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games are Wenlock and Mandeville.  The medals were designed by David Watkins and made by the Royal Mint.  The Opening Ceremony is named “The Isles of Wonder”, and a short film starring Daniel Craig as James Bond will be shown during coverage of the ceremony.  The games will feature 26 different sports in 39 disciplines.

The Athletes

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter and the fastest man in the world.  He currently holds the record time in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, and the 4×100 meters relay.  Bolt is 1.95m (6’5”), and runs with long strides.  He is the most explosive athlete in the world and possibly the quickest man to ever participate in competition.  At the 2011 World Championship in Daegu, Bolt was eliminated from the 100m final after a false start, but captured first place in both the 200m and relay races.  At the 2012 Olympics, Bolt’s biggest challenge will be his teammate, Yohan Blake.

For the last two years, a man named Ryan Lochte has dominated international swimming competition.  He was named the World Swimmer of the Year in 2010 and 2011, and is a world class athlete.  Similar to Ian Thorpe in Athens and Michael Phelps in Beijing, Ryan Lochte has a chance to make history in London.  Lochte is older than teammate Michael Phelps but, as of June 2012 has only three Olympic gold medals.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Lochte is going to compete in a large number of events, and could win a handful of gold medals.  Before 2011, Phelps beat Lochte in every international race but, after Ryan beat his friend he said: “Once I was able to beat Michael, it gave me a motivation, an edge.  I told myself, I can do this.  Once I beat someone, they won’t beat me again.”

1.  Association football – Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo


Association football is the most popular sport in the world, with an estimated 250 million players.  The FIFA World Cup is the most widely viewed event in the world and the 1950 match between Uruguay and Brasil holds the attendance record for a team sport (an estimated 210,000 people).  Association football has come to symbolize the highest level of athletic achievement and competition.    Many people consider Brasilian star Pele to be the best footballer ever.  He is the top scorer ever, recording 1281 goals in 1363 games.  However, as football has expanded, the game’s strategy has followed.  Some feel it is harder to score a goal in 2012 than ever before.

The Athletes

Lionel Messi is an Argentine footballer who plays for FC Barcelona.  He is currently only 24 years old, and already recognized as the best soccer player in the world.  Messi won the FIFA Ballon d’Or (World Player of the Year) in both 2010 and 2011, and the Ballon d’Or in 2009.  He is one of only two players to win three consecutive MVP Awards, the other being Michel Platini.  Lionel is known for his ball handling, unselfish play, trick shots, and incredible accuracy.

In 2012, Messi scored five times in a UEFA Champions League match and finished the season with 60 goals.  It was the first time that a player had finished with 60 goals in a European league since Gerd Müller in 1972-73.  Messi also holds the goal scoring record for FC Barcelona, with a total of 243 goals.  He is the clear favorite to win a fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or in 2012.

Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese footballer who plays for Real Madrid.  He is one of the highest paid athletes in the world ($400,000 per match), and holds a contract buyout clause of €1 billion.  Ronaldo is an incredible goal scorer, and is known for his acrobatic dribbling skills and power.  He is a relentless striker, and rarely misses opportunities to score.  Behind Messi, Ronaldo is recognized as the best soccer player in the world.  In 2008, he won the Ballon d’Or.  In 2011-12, Ronaldo scored 56 times in European league play and led La Liga with 42 goals.

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  1. This is horrible since when were Henrik Lundqvist and Evgeni Malkin rivals? Neither player ha any history against one another. Also how do Justin Verlander and Matt Kemp have a rivalry when they barely play against each other. Justin Verlander is in the AL while Matt Kemp is in the NL I’m a huge Los Angeles Dodgers fan and know that there is no rivalry of any sort between those two players.

  2. Sachin is the GOD of cricket. He can only be compared to the late Sir Don Bradman.

  3. i completely agree with the Ronaldo and Messi one. i mean come on, everyone knows about this rivalry. Even when I went to Asia I heard people talking about Ronaldo and Messi. But the others ones I dont understand come on, comparing Usain Bolt with Ryan Lochte is like comparing cars with food, it doesnt make sence.

  4. THis is one pathetic list.
    Jonathan Trott vs. Sachin Tendulkar? Are you kidding the world. Even those who do not watch cricket know, there is no comparison between the two. One is a living legend, holding almost every record in Int’l cricket and the other is a mere beginner to the game.

  5. Hello, how about the king of racket sports….Badminton. These are phenomenal athletes in insanely great shape. Get your facts right.

  6. Rubbish comparison, particularly about cricket. Sachin has very poor game in year 2012, Not like his class. Comparing Jonathan Trott for his performance in 2012 is not right. Comparing Jonathan Trott’s game overall with Sachin Tendulkar is very sad. Sachin has class of Don Bradman and only greatest player in modern cricket.
    In india he is god of cricket and in World the history of cricket ends with the name of Sachin Tendulkar.

  7. terelle suggs and tom brady. Actual rivalry, and the most dominent players on there respective unit. (defence and offence).

  8. This is a terrible list. There is no comprehension of either sport or rivalry. Absolute nonsense.

  9. Notable Omissions

    10. Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray

    9. Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle

    8. Steven Stamkos and Alexander Ovechkin

    7. Dale Steyn, Shakib Al Hasan, Kumar Sangakkara, Alan Richardson, Glen Chapple, and Tim Bresnan

    6. Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Love

    5. Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, Jered Weaver, and Clayton Kershaw.

    4. Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Junior dos Santos, Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, and José Aldo

    3. Drew Brees, Darrelle Revis, Tom Brady, DeMarcus Ware, Larry Fitzgerald, and Haloti Ngata.

    2. Michael Phelps, Yohan Blake, and Rebecca Soni

    1. Samuel Eto’o, Xavi, and Robin van Persie

    • “7. Dale Steyn, Shakib Al Hasan, Kumar Sangakkara, Alan Richardson, Glen Chapple, and Tim Bresnan”

      Seriously what cricketing source have you been following, Alan Richardson is a english county player and hasnt ever played international cricket, and Glen Chapple has played a single international match for about six years.

      If i comment about baseball you will certainly ridicule me, because apart from Derek Jeter i don’t know any other names in baseball, so please just dont blindly list some cricketing names :).

        • Chapple was appointed as Lancashire’s captain from the 2009 season onwards and led the county to victory in the 2011 County Championship. That year he became the fifth player to score 7,000 runs and take 700 wickets for Lancashire. In 2012 he was named as one Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year.

        • They are not nominees but winners of the award.

          “Excellence in, or influence on, the previous English summer are the major criteria for inclusion as a Cricketer of the Year.” “No one can be chosen more than once”.

          That award doesnt prove that they are the best, and one who has already won cant be named again. Anyways you know nothing about cricket, and this discussion is waste of time.

          Most prestegious award in cricket is the ICC Cricketers of the year, please follow that award, Wisden award is mostly given to domestic players in England, or for players who played against England(I am not really sure since i am an Indian and do not follow English domestic cricket).

        • Good to know. I have never watched cricket, but wanted to include the sport on this list because it was so popular around the world.

  10. this list is a joke…..

    JIMMY JOHNSON is regarded as the best driver in the world? my god

    some of this comparison is like saying who would win between a lion and a shark hahahahhahaha

  11. I think most of my comments on this horrible list have already been said. Kemp? No. Plus comparing a pitcher with a dominant hitter is absurd especially when they’ve never faced each other. What about Pujols? Hamilton? Atleast choose a player who is great on both sides of the ball.

    I despise auto racing but even I know that comparing formula one with NASCAR is foolish.

    There are better players on the Pens roster, let alone the entire NHL.

    Where’s Kobe? I’m a Kobe hater but he deserves comment.

    Two offensive players noted for the NFL? What about many of the notable defensive stars, especially in an era where it’s proven that strong defenses win championships?

    Michael Phelps?

    Ronaldo is hardly the second best footballer in the entire world. Messi, however, yes.

    This list is pretty bad.

    • I wanted to highlight the most dominant baseball pitcher and hitter. If it wasn’t for his injuries, Kemp would dominate Pujols or Hamilton. In fact, Matt Kemp currently has 14 homeruns in 45 games with a .358 batting average. Pujols has 18 homeruns in 96 games and is hitting .280. Hamilton has more homeruns, but his average is not as good.

      Formula One and NASCAR both involve driving a car around in circles don’t they?

      Please list the hockey players you are referring to?

      Kobe is not as good as LeBron or Durant.

      I looked at defensive players in the NFL, but there isn’t one that stands out. Who do you think the best defensive player in the NFL is?

      Michael Phelps or the other Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake could have been included, but I couldn’t list everyone.

  12. Sorry, and I don’t like him either, but Mayweather is better than Pacquiao. 0 losses should ALWAYS beat out 4 losses.

      • For them to not even consider Badminton,the king of racket(racquet) sports. That tells me they’re badly in need of facts. These athletes train insanely hard. and are in as good shape as marathoners if not better. So much for rank ignorance!
        In order to do a write up like this the pathways in the brain have to be wide open. I don’t believe they are….and you can choose to live in the dark.

  13. This list had a title that was incorrect and changed from the author’s original suggestion. The title has been corrected so hopefully this list makes more sense, as it reflects on the best athlete’s in their sport for the year 2012.

    On a side note, our foreign visitors should be happy we focused on some sports popular outside the United States. I mean, come on, we added Cricket. 😉

  14. When I submitted the list, I named it Top 10 Athletes in 2012 by Sport. The article is composed of people I felt were the top performing athletes in the sports I chose to highlight. When the word rivalries was introduced to the title and opening it made some entries make no sense. The rivalry between these people is for the top honors in their sport as being named “the best.”

    My original opening was changed around a bit. This is what it originally said:

    “The world of sports is an extremely lucrative business and athletes are paid extremely high sums of money to perform. This article will examine the top ten athletes in the world. It is categorized by sport and looks at players that are among the most respected. Unfortunately, I could not discuss all the popular sports and was forced to leave off some great games such as golf, rugby, field hockey, volleyball, winter games, table tennis, and most forms of racing.”

    This is why each entry holds the two athletes that I considered the top performers, which is up to much debate, as the sports world is so dynamic and changes often.

    • Bryan, Thanks for responding. I have changed the opening paragraph back to your original text. And fixed the title. Our apologies for changing the context.

      • Thanks TopTenz Master. I think the list makes more sense with the new title. I have always loved sports and writing about the world’s best athletes. There is something to be said about being the best and I do believe it is a form of rivalry, so I do see the original angle.

        • Explain your choice of Jonathan Trott? and believe me when I say this, there is NO correct explanation. If you don’t know the Sport, don’t wing it. It makes a fool out of yourself.

        • My explanation is that he was the ECB Cricketer of the Year in 2011. Please name a better cricketer that plays for England in 2012.

        • Alastair Cook, James Anderson, Ian Bell or Kevin Pietersen. You’re talking about players with a SPORT, not a country.

          Don’t include players by accolades without watching them. Trott is a fine player, but to pick him out of the sport of cricket in the echelon of Sachin Tendulkar (who a poor year by his standards) is poor.

  15. 1.I agree with Ronaldo vs Messi rivalry, one of the greatest rivalries in sporting history.
    2.Bolt vs Lochte- How is this considered a rivalry, completly differnt form of events.
    3.Cant comment because i dont follow American football.
    4. Again cant be compared of sonsidered a rivals
    5.Cant comment since i dont follow baseball.
    6.Limited knowledge about basketball.
    7.Trott vs Tendulkar? lol, although Tendulkar hasnt been that great in 2012, mentioning him and trott in the same sentence and considering them as rivals is a joke. Tendulkar arguably is the greatest bastman of all time and has been at the top for more than a decade, whereas Trott started playing international cricket not so long ago.
    10.Nadal vs Djokovic- This should been way above in the order.

    All in all a very bad list.

  16. worst list ever.trott vs sachin is comparing a tiger with cat.only true were messi vs ronaldo & nadal vs djokovic

  17. I have been reading this website for years, this is the worst list i’ve come across, surprised it was approved.

  18. Trott you must be joking or smoking some weed seriously just leave real sports out of your lists if you don’t know anything about them

  19. Seriously Jonathan Trott vs Sachin Tendulkar?, do the This American oriented website follow cricket?, in what basis this is considered a rivalry?.

    • This is not the fault of the writer. We changed the title and gave the article the wrong context. This isn’t about rivalries, it is about showing the two best athletes in the sport. Does this change make the article a better read now?

      • Well there are more than 10 athletes in the list, and i dont think Trott and Sachin have been the best players in 2012 when current years stats are considered. Maybe the article is slightly better now but no 7 is far from reality even now.

        • Please list the players you think are the best in 2012, better than Trott and Sachin?

        • Sachin has hardly has played matches this year, where as Trott has been decent in test matches and mediocre in ODIs. Kumar Sangakkara, Micheal Clarke, Virat Kohli have been the pick of the batsmen in 2012 whereas Saeed Ajmal and Sunil Narine(including IPL) have fared well among the bowlers.

          You can google ICC player Rankings for detail ranking on current form in all the 3 formats of the game.

        • Thanks for the response. All these guys look like great players. They could have easily been included. I had a good time reading about their accomplishments.

  20. Sachin Tendulkar and Jonathon Trott are nowhere near comparison. while Trott has enjoyed a purple patch and has had a good couple of seasons, but Sachin, has been playing the game and has been on top for more than 20 years now. He is among the all time greats of the game, and very few batsman in history, let alone Jonathon Trott can be compared to his class and consistency.

  21. Seriously? Formula One v/s NASCAR – they have to be in the SAME ARENA to be a rivalry.
    Bolt vs. Lochte – a sprinter v/s a swimmer??? see comment above
    Trott v/s Tendulkar – what did you do throw darts at a bunch of names in cricket? Trott is a LOOONNG way off Tendulkar – Tendulkar v/s Gavaskar I’d accept but Trott???
    and MMA v/s a Boxer???

    I wonder if you even understand the concepts of either “rivalry” OR sport!

    • Yeah, that was completely random. I think it was an editing mistake and he originally wrote about GSP. I think GSP is a better fighter than Silva. Silva was dominated a couple times. GSP has looked flawless since his last loss.

  22. How are most of these rivalries? In some, they aren’t even in the same sport, and in things like Verlander vs. Kemp, you just took a good pitcher and hitter and referenced both. Thing is, there’s no rivalry going on with that pair, and being in different leagues, they don’t even regularly match up. A rivalry would be one where the two specific athletes compete directly and notably. Pacquiao could be matched up with Bradley, for instance. And Ryan Lochte with Michael Phelps or a swimmer from another country.

    • They haven’t ever matched up, Kemp has had 40 at bats against the Tigers, 0 have been vs. Verlander.

  23. I was disapointed with this list, as very few of these are rivalries in the true sense of the word.

    • I agree. This appears to have been written for a 7 year old, and while some of these entries are rivalries, others are just two players who play the same sport. And there is no history given as to why the rivalry exists. Poor.

        • flabbergasted on

          actually this title makes less sense than the original. You’re still facing the fact that some of the comparisons are people who don’t play the same sport, which makes “Top 10 Athletes in 2012 by sport” a pretty weird title.