Becoming a top class athlete is no easy feat. From an early age there is a high level of dedication involved and there are also often sacrifices from those who are the athlete’s nearest and dearest. The lows are often bigger and more frequent than the highs, and at the very top level the eyes of the world are upon you. To be a professional athlete is an outstanding achievement and something to be proud of and with sports such as college football becoming increasingly popular, even to the point of it becoming a top betting sport with tips and NCAAF consensus picks to help out fans, more and more professionals are rising. However, there is an elite even in such an elite world. There are those who are more than simply successful athletes; there are those who come to be universally accepted as the world’s best. 

To be the world’s best at a sport is something that most can only dream of and those who hold such a coveted title have often given something special to their sport and the leagues in which they have played, and it is always something that very few others have managed to. Here we take a look at some of the world’s best athletes and the US sporting leagues that made them.

LeBron James 

Oct 11, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) and forward Anthony Davis (3) celebrate during the fourth quarter in game six of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena. The Los Angeles Lakers won 106-93 to win the series. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsMandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With four NBA MVP awards and four Finals MVP Awards to his name, LeBron James is the undisputed king of the NBA. James also holds the record for playoff points and a sure thing when it comes to placing a bet. James is rarely a bad beat and remains a gambler’s favourite. The debate still goes on as to James’ status as the greatest basketball player of all time – a title that many see as being challenged only by Michael Jordan. Off the court James has a large following and has become one of the most influential athletes in the world. On the court his understanding of the game, his athleticism and skill are unrivalled and clearly cement him as one of the world’s best athletes.

Natasha Watley 

The NPF is not the first sporting league that comes to mind when you think about the world’s best athletes. However, it is the league that nurtured one of America’s finest, often overlooked, athletes: Natasha Watley. Not only is Watley the career batting average leader in NPF, she was also the first African American woman to play on the USA’s softball team in the Olympics. And with two Olympic medals to her name – gold in 2004 and and silver in 2008 – her contribution to the sport and the league is undoubtable. With outstanding skill and athleticism, Watley is a legend of the sport and her induction into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014 is more than enough evidence to secure a spot on this list of the world’s elite athletes.

Wayne Gretzky 

February 8, 2020; Pebble Beach, California, USA; Wayne Gretzky smokes a cigar on the third hole during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Known to sports fans and bettors alike as ‘The Great One’, Gretsky is widely considered to be the greatest NHL player of all time. Whether watching him as a fan of the game or a bettor with a wager, he never disappointed when it came to delivering on the ice. Gretsky remains the league’s leading scorer and he also garnered more assists than any other player in the league’s history. Gretsky’s reading of the game, his understanding of his opponents and his pure joy at being on the ice made him one of the game’s brightest stars in his playing days – a light that has never been extinguished. He remains the NHL’s greatest player and one of the world’s greatest athletes.