Forward of his tenth 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 certain to be unique. Its members speak about Brady a lot the identical approach the remainder of us do. None spilled commerce secrets and techniques or praised his foot velocity. 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 course 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 enjoying and shut in age to the 43-year-old quarterback. (The complete responses, frivolously edited and accompanied by profession highlights and notes, are beneath.)
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 fitness center 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 may 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 focus on Brady’s “unrelenting drive,” a topic he is aware of one thing about.
Not each athlete contacted — you, Tiger Woods — replied. James’ response got here through his “Goat discuss” Instagram submit. Williams’ reply got here from a information convention on the Australian Open in Melbourne, the place she made a degree of stopping on her approach out to inform AP Asia-Pacific Sports activities Editor John Pye that she was comfortable to get the query.
On the flip aspect, baseball nice Derek Jeter mentioned via a spokesman, “We’ve got obtained just a few of those requests over the past week. Mr. Jeter has deferred to permit others an opportunity to talk about 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 actually units him other than anybody else within the recreation.”
— LeBRON JAMES (At present enjoying 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 recreation at a excessive degree. Irrespective of what number of miles, what number of video games. Irrespective of what number of doubters. Irrespective 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 an extended time period. And simply our professionalism … We gravitate towards individuals who gravitate towards us as a result of we’ve one frequent purpose, 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 and so they 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 performed exterior of New England and to return into Tampa, I imply, he simply ought to have got here to the Dolphins, actually. Critically, 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 have to be so inspiring to be both a large receiver or a lineman for him … or simply on the crew normally, as a result of it’s like, ‘This man has received so many rings, he clearly is aware of what to do.’ And to have that inspiration, they have to be so fired up for each recreation. Particularly the postseason, they have to 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 are harmful and bodily and mentally demanding. However which may be the place the comparability ends. What he has achieved, and continues to be engaging in 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 lower 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 needs to be performed. Tom Brady does that each day. He has no offseason. … That takes superhuman dedication and self-discipline … Tom Brady is at all times at the back of my thoughts throughout coaching camp and between fights. As a result of Tom Brady is the gold customary.”
— 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 purpose scorer and help producer)
“I don’t suppose it occurs in a single day. You begin desirous about this at a younger age, how a lot you’re keen on the sport. So I’m positive that at a younger age he liked it a lot that he was very mature in all probability for a 23-, 24-year-old … ensuring that his coaching habits, diet and weight-reduction plan have been pretty much as good or higher than anyone’s … Consequently, he’s performed all the precise issues over 20 years to have the ability to maintain the place he’s at each mentally and bodily. … That takes loads of dedication and exhausting work, and finally we’re seeing the outcomes at his age …
“He’ll have a foul recreation, which all of us do as athletes, and if you’re younger, individuals say: ‘Effectively, he had a foul night time, unhealthy recreation, unhealthy week. He’ll rebound.’ While you’re older, the very first thing that folks wish to level to is, ‘Effectively, I believe he had a foul recreation as a result of he’s outdated.’ And for him, that’s not the case. When he has a tricky night time, which all of us do, he bounces again even higher the following week and all people form of says, ‘Effectively, OK, I suppose he’s not that outdated.’ … I believe the proof was that he received three highway video games within the playoffs, which in soccer may be very tough to do.”
— JIMMIE JOHNSON (Competed in NASCAR for 18 years … Seven-time NASCAR Cup Sequence champion … Can 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 may also help an individual lower via layers of adversity, ego, and creates this skill to energise these round you with the identical objectives — it helps individuals 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 enjoying one of many hardest video games round and what’s perhaps his biggest energy has been his skill 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 unimaginable 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 received’t for a really very long time.”
AP Sports activities Writers John Pye, Stephen Whyno, Jenna Fryer and Steven Wine contributed to this report.
Extra AP NFL protection: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright 2021 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed with out permission.