Sunday was quite a day for three men trying to establish themselves at the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ (GOAT) in their respective sport. On the track, on the clay and on the court, it was a Super Sunday that will live long in the memory.
First of all, Lewis Hamilton drove a fantastic race to claim his 91st Formula One Grand Prix in Germany to draw level with the great Michael Schumacher.
The Mercedes driver kept his cool as rivals Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen lost theirs at the Nurburgring’s Eifel Grand Prix. The British driver capitalising on errors and ensuring he made none of his own, despite both his Mercedes teammate Bottas and Red Bull’s Verstappen looking faster in practice and qualifying.
In a touching tribute to his achievements, Mick Schumacher presented Hamilton with one of his father’s race helmets. Michael snr has required constant care since he sustained severe head injuries in an accident while skiing in 2013.
Not long after the dust had settled in Germany, Rafael Nadal claimed his 13th French Open tennis title to level with Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam crowns apiece.
The Spaniard demolished world No. 1 and winner of 18 Grand Slams himself Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, with the world No. 2 now tied with the still active Swiss great Federer as the player with the most men’s singles major titles. Federer has missed most of the season after two knee operations, but is sure to be back to fight for more crowns with both Nadal and Djokovic next year.
LEBRON LEADS THE WAY
Then LeBron James did his bit to show he is the best basketball player since Michael Jordan as he helped the LA Lakers to their record-equalling 17th NBA Championship with a 106-93 victory over the Miami Heat that sealed the best-of-seven title series 4-2. The Lakers are now one again level with their great rivals the Boston Celtics.
As he has done so many times this season, ‘King James’ led the way for the Lakers, scoring a triple-double 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists while spearheading a defensive masterclass that doused the Heat’s offence at carry the Lakers to their first title since 2010.
The best and most intriguing part is, all three still have time to go on to even greater things, set their own landmarks and inspire the next generation to greater things, just as Schumacher, Jordan and Sampras for this trio brilliant athletes.
Debates will rage on:
Is Hamilton as good as those drivers such as Senna and Clark, who did not have the luxury of today’s technology?
How can tennis have a GOAT between three great contemporaries who have almost 60 Grand Slams between them?
Can we really compare LeBron — a nomad on the hunt for rings — and Jordan — heavily reliant on his massive support cast at the Chicago Bulls — in two very different eras of the sport?
One thing is for sure, Hamilton, Nadal and LeBron all now deserve their place in the history books.