7 Athletes Any Dude Who Grew Up In The 2000s Remembers And Idolized At Some Point

7 Athletes Any Dude Who Grew Up In The 2000s Remembers And Idolized At Some Point

As kids, we recognized that these athletes made sports entertaining again.
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I grew up in a generation where sports was becoming hot again: basketball had amazing athletes winning multiple championships; football was a breeding ground for exceptional players mastering their craft; baseball had curses broken with the swing of a bat; and finally, golf managed to become a watchable sport again with talented golfers sniping their shots for eagles and birdies alike.

These seven athletes have become synonymous with those (like me) who grew up in the 2000s watching these various sports.

1. Tiger Woods

One of the most recognizable names in golf next to Nicklaus and Palmer, Tiger Woods was one of my childhood heroes during the early 2000s. Although the controversy facing him in 2009 was a thorn in his side, you cannot deny the talent he had back in the day.

In fact, signs of a resurgence have been seen this past year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, an event he's won 8 times. Incredibly talented, undeniably gifted, and overall, purely sensational.

2. Tom Brady

The epitome of great Boston-based athletes, this No. 199 overall draft pick has become one of the most important students of the game! Having won five Super Bowls with the same team and still itching for a sixth, Brady has also won various awards and spokesman for Uggs and other brands. His athleticism has developed over the years that still have mouths dropped for his fourth-quarter comebacks and the like.

Also, since being a Boston-raised kid, Brady is the ONLY football player that people in Boston will remember. Well, maybe him and Vince Wilfork.

3. Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq made quite the impressive track record when he became a legend in the NBA. Originally winning championships with the Lakers, his move to Miami was also met with some recognition as he won the NBA Championship with the Heat. Shaq also played with a young LeBron James and even joined the Boston Big Three of Pierce, Allen, and Garnett in 2008.

Though now in movies and an analyst for NBA on TNT, Shaq is an athlete we will remember, even by his height.

4. Derek Jeter

Being a Boston Red Sox fan, this choice was hard to make. However, the class Jeter had while being a member of the Bronx Bombers was actually cool, to say the least. He was humble even when they beat the Red Sox, and his commitment to being a team player has been recognized by even Sox fans.

When he retired in 2014, I realized he was the single member of the Yankees I actually respected. Plus, you can't argue that he was one of the best baseball players for New York for a long time. #Re2pect

5. Kobe Bryant

Although I could've placed Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett due to my loyalty to Boston, this spot is a definite for a man that transcended basketball in the 2000s. As Jordan retired, it was time for a new star.

Enter: The Black Mamba. His skill on the court has somewhat been matched by LeBron James, yet Bryant continued to showcase his athleticism even as he retired. Dropping over 60 points in one game is impressive enough, too.

6. Phil Mickelson

Another big name in golf, Mickelson has actually become a recognizable game for coming up big in important tournaments. A personal favorite of my dad's, Mickelson's skill on the greens has been more than impressive.

Winning multiple Masters and Opens, "Lefty" continues to be a threat to other golfers... when the course is right. His upset win at the 2013 British Open even had my dad stunned.

7. David Ortiz

How was Big Papi not going to make this list? He is the best representative of the Boston Red Sox during the 2000s that he deserves this spot. Even if you're not a fan of the Sox, you have to admit Ortiz made baseball fun again when you watched him crush a homer in your beloved ballpark or even at Fenway.

Winning three World Series in a short time period, as well as being the beacon of hope after the tragic 2013 Marathon Bombings, Ortiz has become a legend in baseball that we all remember as new stars are made in the MLB.

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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5 Tasks The Detroit Pistons Must Do To Change The 8th-Seed Stigma

After speaking with my lawyer, blackmailing Tom Gores into selling the team is off the table.

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The Detroit Pistons returned to the NBA playoffs following a three-year hiatus. Unfortunately, the newest acquisitions to the coaching staff and roster weren't enough to change the narrative of Detroit Pistons basketball and first-round playoff sweeps. Milwaukee dominated the Pistons into a third-consecutive first-round playoff exit since 2009. What can the new titleholders of the NBA consecutive playoff game loss record do to revitalize their early 2000s reign as tenacious contenders within NBA's Eastern Conference?

1. Don't trade Andre Drummond

With the 9th pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons selected Andre Drummond from the University of Connecticut. Throughout Drummond's six years in the NBA, he continues to adapt, learn, and overcome the adversity surrounding his athleticism and play-style.

The 2018-2019 NBA season was arguably best offensive and defensive season for the 25-year-old center. Trading the three-time NBA total rebound champion that led the league in defensive win shares the past two years is not the answer to our problems.

2. DEFINITELY (and I can't stress that enough) trade Jon Leuer

Jon Leuer received a four year, 24 million dollar contract in 2016 under the management of Stan Van Gundy. As Pistons fans suffering slowly comes to an end, we still have an opportunity to trade Leuer to acquire a player or draft picks that are basically guaranteed to prove more beneficial than Leuer's inconsistent run as a backup power forward.

The Detroit Pistons trading for Thon Maker mid-season was the nail in the coffin for Leuer's run as a Piston, finishing the season averaging 3.8 points, 2.4 rebounds throughout 41 games. We're already paying Josh Smith $5.3 million to sit at home and watch us get swept in the playoffs, we don't Jon Leuer sitting on the bench doing the same thing.

3. Acquire size, strength and defense on the wings

Whether it's in the NBA Draft, a trade (hopefully involving Jon Leuer) or even a free agency signing this off-season, the Pistons desperately need to establish depth of wing players. Currently, the Pistons don't have a single small forward on the team.

The Pistons current depth chart (considering we do not re-sign any expiring contracts) is made up of a single point guard, five shooting guards, three power forwards and one center. A wise man once advised the Pistons to use their size and strength to "form a fuckin' wall." Without small forwards, forming a wall isn't an option and mismatches will be an easy exploit for larger teams.

4. Weigh every option with the 15th draft pick

Due to our past drafting history, it's crucial for the front office and coaching staff to weigh every option before we use our 15th overall draft pick. It's common knowledge Detroit has struggled when it's come to the NBA Draft. The narrative began after skipping over talents like Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh in 2003 and most recently with Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, and Giannis Antetokounmpo in recent drafts.

Trading the pick away, trading down in the draft, even trading up in the draft must all be considered. Shopping the draft pick should rank above using it specifically based on our shameful lack of cap space. The Pistons' picks in the 2019 NBA Draft are the only elusive assets Detroit has left until 2020.

5. Find a legal way to force Tom Gores to sell

Since blackmail is illegal, how about brainwash? Tom Gores bought the struggling team in 2011 for $325 million since then not much has changed. He's proved he isn't capable of responsibly owning the team after allowing Stan Van Gundy to take over as head coach and president of basketball operations on top of approving ridiculously priced contracts for players. I'm grateful he gave the Pistons a shot to prove themselves when rumors of relocation circled like vultures but it's time to move on.

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