What the World’s 10 Best Athletes Should’ve Gotten for Christmas

  • LeBron James

    Nike Basketball

    LeBron James

    South Beach’s weather

    It’s difficult for even the most strident LeBron James antagonists to find fault in his return to Cleveland. Whether for sentimental reasons or as a look toward his basketball future, the return to his home state was a fun sports moment that shifted the balance of power in the NBA. He has the MVPs and multiple rings, so it was time to go home.

    There’s one thing in Miami that I bet LeBron wishes he brought with him – the weather of South Florida. As December comes to a close, James and his family will be bundled in winter attire and venturing into the snow all too regularly. After years of living by the beach mostly untouched by cold spells, it’ll be rough for James and his family to deal with cold weather at home, instead of just on the road. Guess they can keep their bathing suits in storage for now.

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  • Mike Trout

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    Mike Trout

    The MVP awards Miguel Cabrera stole from him

    Los Angeles Angels phenom Mike Trout captured his first MVP award last season, capturing the AL’s top individual honor at the ripe age of 22. What’s most amazing about that accomplishment – other than the fact that he’s a world-beater with years to decimate the field – is the honor coming in what is probably his worst season to date.

    A candidate for selection each of the last three seasons, Trout finished second in the voting in both 2012 and 2013, a runner up to Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. This is no dig at Cabrera, a feared hitter, an offensive machine in his own right, but a testament to Trout’s all-around talents. The base-path dominance and defensive ability of Trout should have outweighed Miggy’s singularly excellent skill, leaving him with at least two MVPs before he hits his mid-20s.

    image via Erik Drost/Flickr Creative Commons

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  • Usain Bolt

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    Usain Bolt

    A name change

    There has never been an athlete with a more appropriate last name than Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. The world’s long-reigning fastest man has made a fortune leaving competition in the dust, quite literally bolting past them to the finish line with his trademark stride.

    Bolt’s long reign at the top of track and field should be rewarded with a designation usually reserved for Brazilian soccer stars – a one name moniker. While press have taken to calling him “Lightning Bolt,” he’s more than worthy of just going by his last name. Perhaps more Bolts will come after him, but it’s doubtful they’ll ever live up to the immense achievements of the record-breaking sprinter. “Bolt” it is.

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  • Calvin Johnson

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    Calvin Johnson

    A run game

    The receiving theatrics of Lions wideout Calvin Johnson are so over the top that he is nicknamed after a robotic action figure, eventual cartoon and movie star Megatron. Much like his Transformer namesake, Johnson reaches heights that seem impossible to mortals, jetting around the field despite being considerably larger than the foes he sheds with his route running.

    However, it’s too easy for teams to key on him; Johnson is constantly draped with double-coverage as a result of the team’s one-dimensional offense. The talent is certainly there – Reggie Bush and Joique Bell show their versatility as pass catchers out of the backfield – but perhaps the commitment is not. The Lions and Johnson would benefit from flashing the run game more, scaring teams into throwing more bodies at the line of scrimmage. With more room to work, Megatron would be unstoppable.

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  • Kevin Durant

    Nike Basketball

    Kevin Durant

    Protein shakes

    Scoring champion and reigning MVP Kevin Durant is a force of nature on the hardwood. Shooting range from Oklahoma City to Seattle, sticky handle that allows him to maneuver around smaller players like traffic cones, and an ever-growing ability to improve the play of his teammates with his mere presence.

    Calling him a force of nature ignores one thing, however – this guy could use a few extra pounds on his frame! While KD’s success hinges largely on his mobility at an advanced height, his lankly frame sometimes leaves him susceptible to issues in different areas of the court. Imagine what a difference it would make if you could combine his finesse with the power of a player like LeBron.

    Durant and King James clearly don’t come from the same genetic stock – unless we’re counting them both as superhumans – but the brawn of LBJ would be even more lethal if added to the Thunder swingman’s game.

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  • Aaron Rodgers

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    Aaron Rodgers

    A youth elixir 

    Aaron Rodgers has credited his stewardship under Brett Favre as a driving force to his excellence today. Though his extended time as a backup may have done him good in the long run, it’s unfortunate that real time had to pass and deny him a chance to start until he was a few years older.

    Good news – our Christmas gifts don’t have to be confined by the laws of reality! If there’s anything that Rodgers could use right now, it’s a turning back of his body clock. At 31 years old, Rodgers has plenty of time to go, but it’s hard to believe he and Packer nation wouldn’t want to keep him young as long as possible.

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  • Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Body padding to protect him while diving

    Soccer’s pretty boy somehow plays the double role as its most despised player. The Portugese Ronaldo trails only a man nicknamed “Money” in the athlete earnings rankings, and with roughly $80 million to his name per year, I doubt he loses any sleep over mockery.

    However, since he feels the need to couple his footy brilliance with a non-trivial amount of diving, someone should really make sure he’s protected on his way down to the turf. Whether it’s in the form of Kevlar or perhaps as simple as duct-taping pillows around his midsection, Ronaldo’s loved ones should make sure that his maintained physique isn’t harmed by his tumbles.

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  • Floyd Mayweather

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    Floyd Mayweather

    Scrooge McDuck’s swimming pool for money

    The aforementioned “Money” Mayweather makes a habit of showing people how much money he has at his disposal. His posted betting slips on social networks regularly showcase hundreds of thousands of dollars being thrown around, and the gate receipts for his fights speak for themselves.

    Mayweather seems infatuated with his earnings, so what better gift is there for him than a pool for which to swim in his shekels? Taking a cue from Scrooge McDuck, a conversion of his money to gold coins – have to avoid paper cuts! – will give him a large mound of currency to wade through. Real life works like cartoons, right?

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  • Peyton Manning

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    Peyton Manning

    Foot speed

    Whenever Peyton Manning retires, he’ll go down as one of the greatest football players to ever live. What could the guy who nearly mastered the sport want for Christmas?

    Well have you ever seen him run? Manning never needed to be fleet of foot due to his cerebral excellence and pocket presence, but it sure would have been nice if he could run like Russell Wilson.

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  • Clayton Kershaw

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    Clayton Kershaw

    A World Series title

    Having already racked up individual honors on par with Hall of Famers, all that’s left for Clayton Kershaw to conquer is the postseason. Though his performances have been better than his record shows – he’s 1-3 in nine career appearances – Kershaw has to answer to the crowd that believes rings are the only measure of a player’s worth. There’s only one gift to seal Kershaw’s status among the best – a title.

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  • LeBron James
  • Mike Trout
  • Usain Bolt
  • Calvin Johnson
  • Kevin Durant
  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Floyd Mayweather
  • Peyton Manning
  • Clayton Kershaw

“What do you give the person who has everything?” is one of life’s great philosophical questions. As people grow older and are hopefully able to experience all that they wish to in life, the list of things they need or want grows shorter.

For the world’s best and brightest athletes, life’s objects and aspirations are reached considerably younger than most can dream of. Millionaires at peak physical condition in their early twenties, it’s tough to say there’s anything an athlete can’t have. They’re able to travel the world, rub elbows with the global elite, and even get products they want for free; endorsements are a big benefit.

Money, connections, and hard work provide everything they theoretically need, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t desires for something more. Countless Hall of Famers retire having never tasted the triumph of championships in their sport, an accolade many would trade their individual accomplishments for. Others wish that they could rewind to a period of their career and get a re-do, reflecting on missed opportunities and unfortunate injuries.

Not all these wants have to be that serious; athletes are still human beings at the end of the day, prone to the same trivial wants and desires of an average citizen. Long-limbed athletes are thankful for their trim form, but some desire the ability to put on more muscle. This desire is even more pronounced in an athlete – they spend much more time at the gym trying to improve their fitness than you or I.

Whatever their desires are, it’s time to go on a Secret Santa spree and provide some athletic marvels with gifts that will improve their lives, personally and professionally. Here are What the World’s 10 Best Athletes Should’ve Gotten for Christmas.

Follow Kyle on Twitter at @kyleneubeck

image via Nike