Game, Set, Match: 15 Black Athletes Who Are Dominating
The world’s biggest athletes will receive honors for their achievements at the 2015 ESPY Awards tonight. With so many Black athletes commanding their courts, fields, stages, and rings, we decided to look at 15 of today’s biggest and most dominant Black athletes in the world of sports.
With dozens of awards under her belt, there is no denying that Serena Williams is the best tennis player and perhaps the best athlete in the world. Her talent and her commitment to obliterating her opponents on the court while dealing with a herd of haters makes Williams a true example of Black excellence.
At 14, Davis has broken a slew of records: She is the only girl to earn a win in a Little League World Series game, and the only Black girl to ever play in the Little League World Series. She has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and had a Spike Lee-helmed documentary done about her and the world of Little League baseball. She even squared up against Kevin Hart in the 2015 Sprint Celebrity All-Star Game during NBA All-Star Weekend. With her talent and humility, Davis has a long career ahead of her.
This year has proven to be the Year of Curry. Stephen Curry was voted MVP of the 2014-15 NBA season, and he won the 2015 NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors. And just this week, Curry and his wife, Ayesha, welcomed a new member to their family: Ryan Carson. As the tip-off of the 2015-16 NBA season draws near, expect big things from this phenomenal athlete.
Ballet is a sport, and Misty Copeland has made it her mission to share this message with the world. Last month, Copeland became the first Black female principal dancer in the history of New York’s American Ballet Theater. Her dedication and talent are opening doors and changing the way we look at ballet as both the sport it is and as an art form.
There is no doubt that LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players ever to play the game. During his finals run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James carried the entire team further than most ever thought they could go. He is in his prime, and we’re sure that he will bring Cleveland a championship win and break a few scoring records while he’s at it.
While Mayweather is definitely a love him or hate him type of personality, he is also one of the best boxers in the history of the sport. Mayweather’s professional boxing record is untarnished, as he is completely undefeated. The athlete is looking to go out on top as he is rumored to be preparing for retirement.
Soccer is not as popular in the U.S. as it is internationally, but there is one player besides David Beckham some of us might know by name: Tim Howard. The gorgeous goalkeeper became a national hero last July when he broke the record for most saves in a World Cup match while playing for the U.S. national soccer team. Howard has played around the world and is one of the most respected goalkeepers in soccer–er, football.
When Wilson is not making headlines for his relationship with Ciara, he’s a quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks and a really good one too. After signing with the team in 2012, Wilson won the Rookie of the Year award and led the team to their first ever Super Bowl victory in 2013. The following year, the Seahawks made it back to the Super Bowl and narrowly lost the trophy to the New England Patriots. We already have a feeling that he will lead the team back to the Super Bowl for a third consecutive year.
Skylar Diggins has been killing it on the court since her high school basketball days. She was a two-time Gatorade Indiana Girls Basketball Player of the Year and was named a WBCA All-American. She moved onto Notre Dame where she would become their all-time leading scorer. Now, Diggins plays for the Tulsa Shock in the WNBA. Diggins had an exceptional 2014 season with the team, winning the Most Improved Player Award and being ranked second in the league in scoring.
While Serena and Venus Williams are the most famous Black athletes in tennis, Sloane Stephens is being touted as the future of tennis. In her young career, she has already defeated Serena Williams and has been holding her own ever since. Despite having a rocky 2014-15 season, Stephens has regained her form and is looking to make a name for herself–and move away from the Serena comparisons.
Douglas has accomplished a lot in just 19 years. She is the fist Black woman in the history of the Olympics to become the individual all-around champion in gymnastics. She has won multiple gold medals and wrote a book about her life that was turned into a Lifetime movie, all while serving as an inspiration for many young girls. She has resumed competition after a brief break, and this year, she helped the U.S. team win another gold medal in an international competition.
While he may not have time for the press and any of their shenanigans, Lynch is a force to be reckoned with on the football field. Nicknamed “Beast Mode” for his aggressive demeanor on the field, Lynch’s strength and talent nearly won the Seahawks their second consecutive Super Bowl championship earlier this year. Amid retirement rumors, Lynch recently extended his contract for two more years with Seahawks. Looks like another trip to the Super Bowl may be in his future very soon.
Allyson Felix is one of the best track and field athletes in the world. She specializes in the 200 meters and has won Olympic silver and gold medals in her sport. She’s also been a part of the record-breaking 4×100-meter relay team. After suffering a hamstring injury that left her out of competition for nine months, Felix returned to win the 400-meter dash at the 2015 U.S. Track and Field Championships.
One of the few brothas in Formula One Racing, Lewis Hamilton has made a name for himself on the racetrack by bringing home both the 2008 and 2014 World Championship. He is also the first Black driver to win a major race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hamilton has been driving competitively since he was 13 years old. His passion, quick maneuvering, and handle of the wheel make him one of the best drivers to race in the history of Formula One.
Move over Mayweather, there’s another boxer aiming to take the boxing world by storm. With 52 wins and one loss under her belt, Claressa Shields is knocking out the competition. Hailing from Flint, Mich., the middleweight boxer recently won a gold medal in the 2014 World Championships. With her agility and lightning-fast hands, Shields has not lost a match in three years.