One-on-One: Who is the most underrated athlete in sports?

Dirk Nowitzki

How exactly can the NBA Finals MVP be underrated?

This is how – he wasn’t the NBA MVP and isn’t regarded as one of the greatest players in basketball.

Many analysts will go out and say Dirk Nowitzki had his best season last year, that he was hitting shots he never could before and was just all around tougher.

He has actually been playing this well for 11 seasons, but no one noticed it because the team around him always choked.

Think about the team Nowitzki was on in 2006 that lost to the Heat in the NBA Finals. Yes, Jason Terry was by his side, but Josh Howard, Jerry Stackhouse and Marquis Daniels aren’t exactly Murderers’ Row.

Nowitzki has never played with another star, yet he always puts up 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists with 48 percent shooting, has gone to ten straight All-Star games and had his one man band of a team in the NBA Playoffs every year.

If this were baseball, we’d have no problem recognizing Nowitzki as a top 20 player of all time. In baseball, the statistical revolution has already taken over. We easily recognize, thanks to stats, that Matt Kemp and Jose Bautista are MVP candidates while being on mediocre teams.

In the NBA, no one notices you until you win a championship. It’s a shame he wasn’t heralded as an all time great before this summer after taking 13 years to get that ring.

-Zach Berg

 

Floyd Mayweather

How can an athlete that is 42-0 and has prestigious accolades such as being the current WBC World Welterweight Champion be considered underrated?

Floyd Mayweather is underrated because people don’t understand how much he has dominated boxing and how sorely he will be missed once he is gone.

Yes, Mayweather is flashy, but you can’t deny his talents. Although he hasn’t answered the fans’ wishes to fight Manny Pacquiao, he has defeated every other major boxer in his way including Shane Mosely, Oscar De La Hoya, Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti on his way to an undefeated record.

In the 90s, boxing fans had Mike Tyson for the strong knockouts, and our generation is fortunate enough to witness Mayweather’s lightning-quick defense. Mayweather has only been knocked down once in his career – he broke his hand on a punch and touched the canvas – and has rarely been hit by a power punch.

The main reason boxing will never be the same without Mayweather is the rant he spouted on the HBO reality series 24/7.

“Tell me one athlete right now that has been dominating the game 16 years straight, without a loss.”

Although Mayweather is arrogant and enamored with his undefeated record, he is the athlete I want to brag about to future generations that I was able to witness.

-Bobby Nightengale