Special Report

40 Most Successful Athletes of the 21st Century

The goal of every professional athlete is to win championships. While many talented players have come up short, others have been able to excel, winning multiple titles, tournaments, or medals.

Since the turn of the century, a select few athletes have managed to dominate their competition year in and year out. Players like Tim Duncan and Tom Brady have taken their team to the top of their sport again and again. Others, like Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, and Jimmie Johnson, have established their place as some of the most dominant individual athletes of all time.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed sources like the Sports Reference family of sites, as well as other athletics databases, to determine the most successful athletes of the 21st century. Athletes in team sports were only considered if they won multiple championships since the year 2000. Athletes in individual sports were considered if they won multiple major championships in top leagues, either as a professional or an Olympian.

Many of the most successful athletes of the 21st century seem to have been destined for greatness from a very young age. Players like LeBron James and Sidney Crosby were labeled once-in-a-generation talents even before they finished high school. They managed to live up to the hype, boosting their struggling franchises from the worst in the league to champions. These are the greatest #1 overall draft picks of all time.

Click here to see the 40 most successful athletes of the 21st century

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