The Greatest Athlete of Our Time May Be Serena Williams

How many athletes have actually been dominant in their respective sport for over a span of two decades? You may be able to think about a handful of athletes that played for 20-plus years, but how long were they in their prime?

Serena Williams turned pro on Sept 24, 1995. It’s now 2016 and she is ranked No. 1 in singles. Unfortunately, if you ask the average sports fan who the most athletic and dominant athlete was, they wouldn’t say Serena Williams.

Williams started her career well-respected. Everyone knew that she would be a special player one day when she beat some of tennis’ best in the mid-to-late 1990s.

Following a few years of dominance, Williams finally earned that No. 1 ranking on July 8, 2002. She was just 20 years old. She reached that milestone before she could legally have a drink in America.

With all the hype surrounding all the superior male athletes, why does Serena Williams often times go unnoticed? Tennis isn’t a widely popular professional sport in America, but shouldn’t a good-looking woman with an electric attitude and most importantly, unbelievable athletic ability get more attention than she’s gotten?

Why are there still some people arguing that Maria Sharapova’s career has been better than Serena’s? If you think that’s a ludicrous statement, then your head is probably in the right place.

Currently, Williams holds the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined amongst all male and female active players with 38, placing her fourth all-time and second in the open era. The list could go on. I’ll spare you the time. Just take my word for it, she’s been practically unstoppable.

Williams could potentially be the best athlete we’ve seen in the past 20 years. With her clear dominance, this shouldn’t be a question anymore either…but it is.

Women tend to be subjected to underestimation in general, but especially in the athletic world. It’s just hard for some people to grasp that pound-for-pound. A woman can be just as or more athletic than a male athlete.

To make things worse, Williams is a black woman. Knowing about the struggles the black community currently encounters right now in America, this topic is sort of a double-negative for Williams.

Many do appreciate her talent, but more people should. Her “prime” has been a total of 14 years now. From her first No. 1 ranking to now, but there are still comparisons between her and other tennis athletes in her generation.

Even if we switch up, and compare her to men in other sports, Kobe Bryant for instance. Similar career, a well-respected athlete from the mid-1990s to 2016. Evaluating these players careers, you can still see where Williams’ greatness remains unmatched.

Bryant played for 20 years and his last few seasons were below average. However, after 21 seasons Williams hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Even after a loss in the 2016 U.S. Open Semifinals, Serena looks and operates like she’s still in her mid-20s. Just as explosive yet delicate as ever.

Maybe, just maybe, it is time to appreciate Serena’s greatness. Not talking about in certain circles, but everywhere.

Williams has proved to be an elite athlete throughout most of my lifetime and a significant portion of yours. Get rid of that ancient mindset and come into 2016. There are women, black women, that are dominant athletes.

About Author

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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