Special Report

37 Most Successful Athletes of the 21st Century

Source: Julian Finney / Getty Images

Novak Djokovic
> Sport: Tennis
> Championships: 15x Grand slam
> Team or country: Serbia
> Career length: 2003-present
> Other accomplishments: 255 weeks as #1

In 2016, Novak Djokovic became the first man in nearly five decades to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once. He’s won a total of 15 majors in his career. As of 2019, he is still the top-ranked tennis player in the world.

Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

Patrick Kane
> Sport: Hockey
> Championships: 3x Stanley Cup
> Team or country: Chicago Blackhawks
> Career length: 2007-present
> Other accomplishments: 3x All-star, 1x Hart, 1x Conn Smythe

Patrick Kane has more than lived up to expectations as the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft. By the time he was 26, Kane had three Stanley Cups and a Ross Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player. At 30, he is playing some of the best hockey of his career.

Source: Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

Peyton Manning
> Sport: Football
> Championships: 2x Super Bowl
> Team or country: Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos
> Career length: 1998-2015
> Other accomplishments: 14x Pro Bowl, 7x All-Pro, 5x MVP

Peyton Manning more than lived up to the hype of being a top overall pick in the NFL Draft. Manning won five MVP awards and two Super Bowls, one with the Indianapolis Colts and the other with the Denver Broncos.

Source: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Rafael Nadal
> Sport: Tennis
> Championships: 18x Grand Slam, 1x gold medal
> Team or country: Spain
> Career length: 2001-present
> Other accomplishments: 196 weeks as #1

Rafael Nadal is the King of Clay, winning 10 French Open championships, which are played on a clay surface. Despite facing stiff competition from Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, Nadal holds 18 Grand Slam titles. He’s won each of the four Grand Slam tournaments at least once, and he took home the Olympic gold medal in 2008.

Source: Al Bello / Getty Images

Ray Lewis
> Sport: Football
> Championships: 2x Super Bowl
> Team or country: Baltimore Ravens
> Career length: 1996-2012
> Other accomplishments: 13x Pro Bowl, 7x All-Pro, 2x Defensive Player of the Year

Ray Lewis established himself as one of the most fearsome defensive players in NFL history, winning two Super Bowls and two Defensive Player of the Year awards as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.