It finally happened everybody. Tom Brady retired from the NFL.
Please, take a second before continuing to read to thank the Lord Almighty for this joyous event. No longer can he (or his superfans) terrorize the league. No longer will I have nightmares about him holding the Lamar Hunt Trophy after Dee Ford’s offside penalty lost the 2019 AFC Championship Game for the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s finally over.
However, with the news of him leaving football, many people have started to wonder who the most dominant athlete, in their respective sport, has been. Now to help narrow things down, I will only be talking about the four major leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA) in North America.
So I’m sorry to Serena Williams, with her 23 Grand Slam tournament titles, to Michael Phelps with his 28 Olympic medals, and to all the other athletes who are considered to be one of the greats that will not be mentioned. While your work is recognized, this column would be too long if I included everyone.
Now then, if you’re still reading this, I want you to come up with who you think is the most dominant athlete to ever play in those four leagues.
Got one? Good.
If that athlete wasn’t Wayne Gretzky in the NHL, please reconsider the entirety of your life’s choices.
“The Great One” is by far the best player ever to play in a league. My personal favorite stat of his is that if he never even scored a goal in the NHL, he would still hold the league record for career points. Gretzky finished his NHL career with 894 goals and 1,963 assists, adding up to 2,857 points in total. At one point, Gretzky and his brother Brent had combined for the most points among family members in the league. Wayne had over 2,000 points, and Brent had four.
Of course, Michael Jordan comes to mind when this debate comes up. My counter? While Jordan is truly one of the greats, he doesn’t hold nearly as many NBA records as Gretzky does in the NHL. Gretzky is tied for or owns 61 records in the official NHL rulebook. How could someone deny 61 records?
Babe Ruth could be considered, but at the same time I don’t think a Ruth in his prime could be as great as Mike Trout during this day and age of baseball.
And of course, the man who started this column needs to be mentioned as the candidate for the NFL. Brady’s seven rings speak for themselves, as many Brady fanatics would point out. But his rings only prove that he is the best player of his game, not necessarily the best athlete. That sounds confusing, but Brady played the game at an intelligence level that will never be seen again. That doesn’t mean he’s on Gretzky’s level though.
No one can ever be on Gretzky’s level. It’s just a fact of life.
Aubreigh Heck is a Las Vegas sophomore studying journalism. She is the Collegian’s Co-Sports Editor.