20 Most Athletic Players in Professional Sports

1 of 21

20 Most Athletic Players in Professional Sports

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

To be the most athletic player in a given sport is no easy task. For some, the ability to be the best just comes natural, while others have to put in the time and effort to be considered the most talented at their profession. However, what all 20 athletes on this countdown have in common is that they utilize raw talent with an unmatched work ethic to improve their athleticism on a daily basis.

How does one even make a list of the most athletic players in professional sports? It’s one thing to say that a specific person is the best in their given sport, but are they the most athletic? Some people will say that being the best player makes them the most athletic. Even though there are plenty of cases where that is true, I don’t necessarily believe it’s always the case.

There is no question slugger Miguel Cabrera is one of the most talented baseball players alive. With that being said, the word athleticism doesn’t necessarily come to mind when I think of his name. In fact, the word offense comes to mind because that’s what he really is. On the other hand, when I think of an athletic baseball player I believe Mike Trout would be a more realistic option because he can do it all.

Make sure to click through the slideshow to see the 20 most athletic players in professional sports. Also, make sure to leave a comment if you don’t agree with some of the names on the list.

2 of 21

20. Blake Griffin

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin uses his supreme athleticism to soar through the air and slam down a ferocious dunk. The fact that he can post up anyone in the NBA is evidence enough. Not to mention, how can a guy who dunked over a car be kept off the list?

3 of 21

19. Russell Wilson

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Wilson was said to be too short to play the quarterback position in the NFL. However, his unbelievable athleticism allows him to make plays no other signal caller could dream of making on the gridiron. He will beat teams with his legs or his arm, which is why he’s the reason the Seattle Seahawks could reach the Super Bowl this season.

4 of 21

18. Giancarlo Stanton

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Giancarlo Stanton puts up big-time power numbers at the plate and is an incredible defensive asset in the field. His cannon for an arm is the reason why no one ever tries to run on him. Even though his .265 career batting average isn’t exactly ideal, the 24-year-old has plenty of time to put up some awe-inspiring power statistics over the course of his career.

5 of 21

17. J.J. Watt

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Watt is a great example of a player who combines raw talent and an outstanding work ethic to become one of the best players in the business. Watt will use his tremendous power and speed to get after a quarterback, while he also can drop back and make a play in the open field.

6 of 21

16. Robinson Cano

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best offensive threats in Major League Baseball, Robinson Cano makes everything he does look easy. His performance at the plate is by far the best part of his game and the biggest reason why he will become one of the top paid players in baseball. Cano’s ability to hit for power and average makes him incredibly dangerous.

7 of 21

15. Andrew McCutchen

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The recently crowned National League MVP is most certainly one of the most athletic players in baseball. Andrew McCutchen may not be the best defensive outfielder in the game, but he definitely makes up for it with his speed and bat. He hits for average, displays nice power and racks up stolen bases, which makes him one of the most athletic players in the world.

8 of 21

14. Kevin Durant

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant can do it all, which is why he is considered to be one of the most athletic players in the NBA. He can knock down shots from anywhere on the court and can use his quickness to blow past defenders on his way to throwing down a hard dunk. Durant also can play stellar defense in which he has averaged 1.0 block per game in his career.

9 of 21

13. Novak Djokovic

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

Tennis is considered to be one of the most athletic sports on the planet. The endurance, strength, and mental toughness needed to compete in long matches is certainly not for the weak to handle. Novak Djokovic has been in his fair share of lengthy battles and he understands what it takes to defeat some of the best players in the world.

10 of 21

12. Vernon Davis

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Vernon Davis is one of the most ripped players in the NFL, which is why it’s hard to imagine him also as being one of the most athletic. However, Davis’ 4.38 40-yard dash, 33 reps on a 225-pound bench press and jaw-dropping 42-inch vertical jump speaks for itself. He can consistently be seen making acrobatic catches and leaping over defensive backs on his way to scoring touchdowns.

11 of 21

11. Yaya Toure

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Like Tennis, soccer is considered to be one of the toughest sports in the world where athleticism reigns supreme. One of the most athletic players in the game is Yaya Toure, who uses his stamina and speed to beat opponents. Not to mention, it’s his raw power and size that makes him stand above the rest.

12 of 21

10. Adrian Peterson

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson isn’t called “All-Day” for nothing. The workout warrior uses his unbelievable strength to bust through tackles and explode in the open field. The biggest testament to his athleticism is the fact that he played Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season after he tore his ACL and MCL just eight months earlier. Peterson went on to produce one of the greatest seasons for a running back in league history on his way to winning MVP honors.

13 of 21

9. Rafael Nadal

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

Rafael Nadal’s unbelievable athleticism is on display every time he steps onto a tennis court. He utilizes his phenomenal speed, quick feet, anticipation, coordination and endurance into a package that makes him the greatest tennis player in the game. His No. 1 world ranking is all the evidence that’s necessary to show that he’s one of the most athletic players in professional sports.

14 of 21

8. Mike Trout

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Whether it’s making unfathomable diving catches, robbing home runs or producing power at the plate, Trout is arguably the most athletic player in baseball. The five-tool player hits for power and average and has tremendous speed on the base paths. On top of that, he also just so happens to be the best defensive outfielder in the big leagues.

15 of 21

7. Clay Matthews

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Clay Matthews is one of the most feared pass rushers in football. Whichever offensive lineman gets the assignment to block him is in for a long day as Matthews uses his supreme athleticism and endless motor to take down the quarterback. He uses a variation of techniques stemming from mixed martial arts to get around blockers. If all else fails, he simply uses his undeniable strength to his advantage.

16 of 21

6. Derrick Rose

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Rose is one of the most athletic players in basketball because of his ability to make endless shots and finish at the rim in the blink of an eye. The fact is there is very little he can’t do on the court, which is all thanks to his unbelievable athleticism.

17 of 21

5. Andre Johnson

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Johnson has consistently put up stellar numbers over his long career, which is saying something considering he played on some bad teams for many years. Johnson’s elite speed, balance and speed are just a few reasons why he’s so talented. However, his athleticism comes from his intense work ethic off the field in preparation for game day.

18 of 21

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cristiano Ronaldo is a remarkable soccer player who uses his unmatched speed and power to take opponents head on. There is no question he’s the most athletic soccer player in the world, but it’s his ability to play several different styles in the same game that makes him one of the top athletes in professional sports.

19 of 21

3. Larry Fitzgerald

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald oozes with athleticism as he constantly makes jaw-dropping plays despite not having a very good quarterback to get him the ball. The fact that he makes everyone around him better just adds to how athletic he truly is.

20 of 21

2. Calvin Johnson

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Calvin Johnson makes the incredibly difficult wide receiver position look easy as he gracefully jumps higher than defensive backs to haul in a reception. The monstrous numbers he puts up each and every week are surreal, especially since defenses know he’s the best player on the field. Not only is Johnson the most athletic football player, but he’s also without a doubt one of the top athletic players alive.

21 of 21

1. LeBron James

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

I seriously doubt anyone is surprised to see LeBron James at the top spot on the countdown. His physical presence alone is enough to make him one of the best players in the league. However, he’s so much more than just a physical beast. The athleticism pours out of every part of his game. His unmatched speed, ferocious dunks, intense defense and ability to make every shot look easy proves that he’s the most athletic player in professional sports.