An obvious but thoroughly worthy representative on this list, Michael Jordan was the most legendary NBA player of all time, and people were fully aware of it even while he was still in the league. In any tight game the Bulls played in, the guys on the other team knew Jordan was going to be the one with the ball in the final seconds, locking in and knocking down the winning shot while falling away from the basket to avoid some tight coverage.
Jordan’s basic NBA resume is daunting by itself—six championships, winning the Finals MVP award in all of them, five NBA MVPs and the highest average points per game of all time, just to name a few highlights. He achieved all this through a work ethic that could never be quenched, drawing a significant amount of motivation and determination from being left off his varsity basketball team in his sophomore year while one of his taller classmates (a trivia answer named Harvest Leroy Smith) was brought on.
Of course, this setback got him to play harder throughout high school, and even in the pros, he continued to put in constant practice outside tough team sessions. Who knows if we’ll ever see the likes of him again, although another guy on this list has gotten close, and don’t count Lebron out yet—Jordan entered the NBA in 1984 and didn’t lead the Bulls to a championship until ’91, another demonstration of his ongoing, unbroken focus.