Forward of his 10th Tremendous Bowl look, The Related Press requested the perfect of the perfect — eight present and former champions from seven sports activities — what impressed them most about Tom Brady.
Simply what he wanted: extra testimonials.
Any membership with the likes of Michael Jordan, Serena Williams and Wayne Gretzky within the ranks is sure to be unique. Its members discuss Brady a lot the identical approach the remainder of us do. None spilled commerce secrets and techniques or praised his foot pace. A number of pointed wistfully to his longevity or marveled at how he moved the NFL’s heart of gravity from New England to Tampa Bay in the midst of a pandemic with out skipping a beat. Most talked about the identical qualities — intelligence, management, competitiveness — that followers and foes alike connected to Brady a very long time in the past.
However there was an attention-grabbing sidelight: All of them noticed their very own strengths mirrored in Brady, particularly these nonetheless taking part in and shut in age to the 43-year-old quarterback. (The total responses, frivolously edited and accompanied by profession highlights and notes, are under.)
So LeBron James, 36, zeroed in on Brady’s mileage-doesn’t-matter mantra, which dovetails properly together with his personal.
Manny Pacquiao, an unstinting gymnasium rat at 42, expressed awe at Brady’s devotion to staying in form.
Williams, 39, swears she noticed Brady’s eye-of-the-tiger gleam whereas watching his very first Tremendous Bowl 20 years in the past, marking him, like her, as a big-game competitor for many years to return.
Gretzky, 60, went even additional again, satisfied that Brady turned his love for the sport as a child right into a blueprint that will allow him to play on into his 40s.
And even Jordan, who turns 58 subsequent week and scrupulously prevented talking publicly about rivals for many of that point, despatched a response, albeit a short one. He selected to spotlight Brady’s “unrelenting drive,” a topic he is aware of one thing about.
Not each athlete contacted — taking a look at you, Tiger Woods — replied. James’ response got here by way of his “Goat speak” Instagram put up. Williams’ reply got here from a information convention on the Australian Open in Melbourne, the place she made some extent of stopping on her approach out to inform AP Asia-Pacific Sports activities Editor John Pye that she was pleased to get the query.
On the flip aspect, baseball nice Derek Jeter mentioned by a spokesman, “We’ve got acquired a couple of of those requests during the last week. Mr. Jeter has deferred to permit others an opportunity to discuss Mr. Brady.”
OK, then. With out additional ado:
— MICHAEL JORDAN (Performed 15 seasons in NBA … Professional Basketball Corridor of Fame, six-time NBA champion, six-time finals MVP, five-time league MVP, two-time Olympic gold medalist, NCAA champion)
“I’ve recognized Tom for a very long time, and to me, his intelligence and sheer dedication to win are off the charts. That unrelenting drive is what really units him other than anybody else within the sport.”
— LeBRON JAMES (At the moment taking part in 18th season in NBA … 4-time NBA champion, four-time Finals MVP, four-time league MVP, two-time Olympic gold medalist)
“(Brady’s look) lets me know and lets each of us know that we will nonetheless play this sport at a excessive degree. Regardless of what number of miles, what number of video games. Regardless of what number of doubters. Regardless of the statistics in our potential professions at our age, we will nonetheless dominate our sport.
“And in addition, we will carry collectively teams that we could not have been round for a protracted time frame. And simply our professionalism … We gravitate towards individuals who gravitate towards us as a result of we now have one frequent aim, and that’s to win and win on the highest degree.”
— SERENA WILLIAMS (Turned professional in 1995 … 23 Grand Slam singles titles, most by any participant within the Open Period … 4-time Olympic gold medalist in singles and doubles … She and older sister Venus bought a small possession within the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2009)
“The man is a champion, and I’ve mentioned it since he beat Kurt Warner again in, I wish to say — what was that, 2000 (really 2001)? It was that loopy Tremendous Bowl. He was the underdog they usually beat the Rams. Clearly I’m a soccer fan (laughing) … and I at all times thought, ‘This man is spectacular.’ … To do what he’s finished exterior of New England and to return into Tampa, I imply, he simply ought to have got here to the Dolphins, actually. Severely, Tom, what have been you pondering? …
“I used to be really speaking about (Brady’s management) the opposite day after watching the sport. I mentioned, ’It should be so inspiring to be both a large receiver or a lineman for him … or simply on the crew on the whole, as a result of it’s like, ‘This man has gained so many rings, he clearly is aware of what to do.’ And to have that inspiration, they should be so fired up for each sport. Particularly the postseason, they should be like, ’Oh, my God, that is our likelihood, we’re with the best. …”
— MANNY PACQUIAO (Turned professional in 1995 … solely eight-division world champion in boxing historical past … member of the Senate within the Philippines)
“Tom Brady is an inspiration to me. We’re each in our forties, competing in sports activities which might be harmful and bodily and mentally demanding. However that could be the place the comparability ends. What he has achieved, and continues to be conducting at his age is past something I can keep in mind.
“In 2019, I turned the oldest fighter to win a welterweight world title. It was HARD. I used to be forty and knew … I couldn’t reduce one nook in coaching camp. Run that remaining mile, crunch that final set of sit-ups, relaxation even when you don’t really feel drained — all of it must be finished. Tom Brady does that day by day. He has no offseason. … That takes superhuman dedication and self-discipline … Tom Brady is at all times behind my thoughts throughout coaching camp and between fights. As a result of Tom Brady is the gold commonplace.”
— WAYNE GRETZKY (Performed 20 seasons in NHL and in WHA … Hockey Corridor of Fame … 4-time Stanley Cup champion … 9-time league MVP … nonetheless NHL’s main profession aim scorer and help producer)
“I don’t suppose it occurs in a single day. You begin fascinated with this at a younger age, how a lot you like the sport. So I’m certain that at a younger age he cherished it a lot that he was very mature most likely for a 23-, 24-year-old … ensuring that his coaching habits, vitamin and eating regimen have been nearly as good or higher than anyone’s … Consequently, he’s finished all the correct issues over 20 years to have the ability to maintain the place he’s at each mentally and bodily. … That takes a number of dedication and arduous work, and finally we’re seeing the outcomes at his age …
“He’ll have a nasty sport, which all of us do as athletes, and whenever you’re younger, folks say: ‘Effectively, he had a nasty evening, unhealthy sport, unhealthy week. He’ll rebound.’ Once you’re older, the very first thing that folks wish to level to is, ‘Effectively, I feel he had a nasty sport as a result of he’s previous.’ And for him, that’s not the case. When he has a troublesome evening, which all of us do, he bounces again even higher the following week and everyone kind of says, ‘Effectively, OK, I assume he’s not that previous.’ … I feel the proof was that he gained three street video games within the playoffs, which in soccer could be very troublesome to do.”
— JIMMIE JOHNSON (Competed in NASCAR for 18 years … Seven-time NASCAR Cup Sequence champion … Might be a 45-year-old rookie in IndyCar this season)
“His management introduced out the expertise of others. He performs as a crew and never a person. … Being humble will help an individual reduce by layers of adversity, ego, and creates this capability to energise these round you with the identical targets — it helps folks pull in the identical course. What he has achieved is a lesson for us all.”
— LANCE ARMSTRONG (49 … Seven-time Tour de France champion; stripped of all titles in 2012)
“He’s doing one thing we’ve by no means seen earlier than. He’s taking part in one of many hardest video games round and what’s possibly his best power has been his capability to maintain a 43-year-old physique as wholesome as he has. This has nothing to do with genetics or luck. He should spend an unbelievable period of time specializing in this: flexibility, mobility, pliability, and easily put, longevity. The world of sports activities has by no means seen something like him and doubtless gained’t for a really very long time.”
AP Sports activities Writers John Pye, Stephen Whyno, Jenna Fryer and Steven Wine contributed to this report.
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