My top 10 male athletes of 2013
LeBron James - will he right the wrongs of The Decision? (Image: NBA)
From football all the way to the AFL, there have been a select few male athletes who have stood out above their peers and achieved some amazing things in 2013.
In my opinion these ten men deserve the most recognition for their achievements, and I have ranked them in order of the level of success they have achieved individually.
10. Gary Ablett
When this man moved to the Gold Coast Suns, many were unsure as to whether he would maintain his high standard of football. In his three years there he has answered these questions by racking up numerous disposals on a regular basis.
The little master won his second Brownlow Medal in 2013 after averaging 31.2 disposals per game, while he also kicked 28 goals.
There is little doubt that he is the best player in the AFL at the moment, and this is beginning to translate into debate as to where he ranks in the list of the all-time greatest.
9. Chris Froome
After helping his teammate Sir Bradley Wiggins win the 2012 Tour de France, Kenyanborn Chris Froome stepped up this year to take the mantle as the number one rider for Team Sky.
He proved his talent to the cycling world by convincingly winning the 2013 Tour de France. While 2013 was a drought-breaking year for this man, many believe that the sky is the limit for him.
8. Miguel Cabrera
In a tough season for Major League Baseball with drug scandals coming out of the woodwork, one of the shining lights was Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
After winning the American League MVP and the Triple Crown in 2012, Cabrera won the American League MVP in 2013 hitting .348 with 44 home runs and 137 RBI.
Even though he suffered from a various range of injuries during the season, Cabrera’s efforts in 2013 deserve him being in the top 10 athletes of 2013.
7. Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams’ return to the NRL had everyone interested to see how he would be received by the supporters and how he would perform. All things considered, the move was a great one by Williams and the Roosters benefited profoundly from having the dual international in their team.
Williams would play a major role in the Roosters 2013 premiership triumph, while he also added serious X-factor to the eventual World Cup runner-up Kiwis.
During the World Cup, he was named as the best rugby league player in the world.
6. Rafael Nadal
After an injury-plagued 2012, Rafael Nadal came back with a vengeance in 2013 as he finished the year as the No.1 ranked male tennis player in the world.
An amazing athlete, Nadal won a total of ten tournaments in 2013. This included a win at the US Open, and victory at Roland Garros which was his eighth French Open title.
With Roger Federer looking as if he will struggle to win another Grand Slam, it is anyone’s guess as to how many Grand Slam titles Nadal will win.
5. Michael Clarke
With the Australian Test cricket captaincy regarded as the second most important job in Australia behind being Prime Minister, Michael Clarke has embraced it and some would say it has made him a better cricketer.
Despite suffering constant back problems, Clarke seems to take everything in his stride and continues to pump out the runs. Having just regained the Ashes, Clarke was also named as the ICC cricketer of the year, which more than gives him the right to be talked about on this list.
4. Adam Scott
If there was an award for having the most positive impact on the sport of golf, Scott would win it hands down after a year that most golfers can only dream of.
Going about it with class and staying humble was a trademark of Scott’s year as he racked up the wins. The highlight was without a doubt winning the US Masters at Augusta in a playoff against Angel Cabrera, and in doing so he became the first Australian to win the prestigious tournament.
Finishing the year at No.2 in the world rankings, Scott has said that the top spot is his main goal for the New Year.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
When you talk about the best footballers in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the names that comes up on a regular basis. Along with Messi, Ribery and Neymar, Ronaldo is one of those players who can carry his team and win a game off his own boot.
A regular nominee for the Ballon d’Or award for the best footballer in the world, Ronaldo broke his own record for most goals scored for club and country in one year.
While he dominates on a regular basis for Real Madrid, Ronaldo also led his home country of Portugal through World Cup qualification and booked their spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
2. Peyton Manning
One of stars of the NFL, Peyton Manning continues to amaze fans and opposition players with the high standard of play that he continues to produce.
In his first year at the Denver Broncos after leaving his long-time home team the Indianapolis Colts, Manning took the Broncos to the AFC Championship game before losing to eventual Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens.
This season he has continued on with his good form, breaking Tom Brady’s record of most touchdown passes in one season, while his team also have the best win/loss record going into the final week of the regular season.
Even though he is mentioned in the greatest of all time conversation, many say he still needs another championship to cement his legacy.
Going in full of confidence, there is no doubt Manning has a great chance to win another Super Bowl and finish off a memorable season.
1. LeBron James
Known as King James, LeBron won his second NBA Championship in 2013, while he also won his fourth NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP.
Questioned by many after leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to be a part of the big three at Miami, James has answered his critics by showing that he is the best basketballer in the world on a nightly basis. A star on both offence and defence, James’ all-round game is what sets him apart from his opponents.
To add to his accomplishments, James just moved up to 29th on the all-time scorers list with age still well and truly on his side.
With plenty of individual success already achieved, many believe that he needs a couple more championship rings to be on the same level as the great Michael Jordan.