Teaching humility in sports provides young athletes with a powerful tool. The most humble athletes earn respect from their competitors, teammates, and coaches. They know that even though they are successful, humility keeps them grounded. And they love giving back to the community.
In an environment where the most famous athletes give back, every athlete has an opportunity to thrive. For youth people, sports create the highest form of competition. Such competition can serve as fertile ground for either big ego or humility. Some athletes chose the first, and others the latter.
Today, we will look at the most humble athletes. What is the definition of being humble? It is someone who downplays the importance of one’s self and one’s accomplishments.
Why Is It Important To Teach Humility To Youth?
Many young people around the world look up to athletes. Nowadays, athletes form our opinion and shape us as human beings. So, when they are humble, they teach us humility as well. Here are some benefits of having more humble athletes in the world.
- Teaching gratitude to young people. The best way to improve someone’s mental health is to practice gratitude, and humble athletes do that
- Passing the praise, and teaching young people to accept it and pass it onto someone else. Athletes and young people learn to share their rewards with others
- Humble athletes share with the community and encourage others to give back as much as they can
- Teaching humility creates young role models for the next generation. It is the best way to ensure we live in a humble environment and humble world
- Humble athletes attract supporters, building an even bigger community
- It teaches young people it is easier to take advice and grow
- Humility can decrease the competitive pressure
- Teaching humility includes learning from losses
With that in mind, here is a look at some of the humble athletes in sports.
Most Humble Athletes
To this day, Larry remains one of the best NFL players ever. He had more than 13,000 receiving yards and 98 touchdowns entering the 2016-17 season. He has a Hall of Fame career, but his character and generosity set him apart from most other people in this team sport.
Even the trash-talkers of the league cannot say anything bad about Larry. He has established a nonprofit organization that helps underprivileged children and families.
He is one of the best players in tennis. Many have him as Number 1, and others have him in the top 3. There is no bigger gentleman in sports than Roger Federer. One of his best features is that he has played better and better as he ages.
And he remains one of the humblest people in all of the sports. Take this into consideration. He married his childhood sweetheart. Not some supermodel or actress.
Famous in the NBA as the man who rarely smiles. He was drafted Number 15 by the San Antonio Spurs. To this day, he has won two NBA championship titles, one with the Spurs and one with the Toronto Raptors.
The famous NBA player personifies the humble and quiet star who internalizes nearly all his emotions and just outworks everyone. Despite his talent, Leonard works hard every single minute.
His former coach had this to say, “When Kawhi makes a mistake, he is almost apologetic. He doesn’t want to disappoint anybody”.
Here is another basketball player we have to put on the list. Recently, Curry became the leader in 3-pt shots made and then crossed the 3,000 3pt shots made. He is one of the best shooters of all time, if not the best.
And yet, in the summer of 2016, with a championship title and an MVP trophy on his resume, he welcomed Kevin Durant aboard his team. And he happily took a backseat to KD.
At one point, he was considered the finest football player on the planet. Kaka possessed a breathtaking combination of speed, skill, and grace. The Brazilian football player won the World Cup in 2002 and has earned many awards during his career.
But his humanity and compassion make him a unique athlete. In 2004, at the age of only 22, he was named a UN World Food Program Ambassador. He is a total anti-celebrity in many respects.
In a world of team sports stars, Kaka happily takes a backseat.
Jordan is a Texas kid who has always been around the game of golf. He started his amateur career at 16 years of age. By the time he reached 18, he was the Number one junior golfer in the world. He turned pro in 2012, and three years later, he became the second-youngest golfer to win the Masters Tournament.
The Russian superstar was the most feared and destructive force in combat sports for a whole decade. He dominated Pride Fighting Championships from 2003 to 2007.
He has fought 41 fights, won 36 of them, 10 out of which by knockout.
The former professional basketball player was nicknamed The Big Fundamental. He is widely regarded as the greatest power forward of all time and among the best players in NBA history.
But do not expect him to say that. Duncan is the best teammate you can ever have. In high school, he started as an aspiring swimmer but began playing basketball when Hurricane Hugo destroyed the pool in his homeland of Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands.
Off the court, he has created the Tim Duncan Foundation to raise health awareness and fund education.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were rivalries for many years. But they never spoke anything bad about each other. They respect each other and love playing against one another.
Nadal is also among the most successful tennis players of all time. He has 20 Grand Slam victories, the same as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
In the past several years, he has spent many years helping charities around the world through his Rafa Nadal Foundation.
This lady is one of the best soccer players of her generation. Watch her play or listen to her interviews, and you will say she is also one of the smartest people in sports.
Despite being Olympic and World Cup champion, she is an incredibly humble athlete.
This guy has become the best baseball player on the planet the first time he took a pitch in his debut game in July 2011 for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. And he does it with such class and likeability. Sadly, he has never won a World Series.
You can hardly see his name in the tabloids. TMZ doesn’t even bother to record his movements. No one asks his opinions about pop culture or politics. Why? Because he wants to do only two things. Treat the game with respect and become the greatest baseball player in MLB history.
What is cool about Beckham is that despite his fame and popularity, he has never lost the common touch. He has a working-class accent.
Many of his former teammates praise him as a loyal teammate. He is the ultimate team player. Nobody has ever complained about him.
When you think of the current generation of players, you might forget about Paolo Maldini. But he was one of the best players ever. He has such a wonderful presence and competitive spirit, but humility as well. The greatest thing about him is that he played until 40, and until the very end, he was at the top of the game.
And he spent his entire career playing for one club, AC Milan.
The Prince of Rome showed everyone that football is more than money and fame. When he was at the height of his game, many clubs around the world wanted him. But he remained in Roma, a club he played his entire career for. During his career, he won a Serie A title, two Coppa Italia titles, and two SupercoppaItaliana titles.
Many people remember Michael Jordan for his quote, “Republicans buy sneakers too”. But that is the wrong image of one of the greatest athletes in the world.
Michael Jordan is a billionaire who gives so much back to the community. In 2021, the former NBA player announced a community grants program for social organizations assisting Black communities through his apparel brand.
And speaking about humility and teaching young players, MJ inspired Kobe Bryant and often talked with the young star.
You cannot talk about the most humble athletes without mentioning Lebron James. The King often brags on social media and likes to show off when he is on the court. This is why many view him as a public enemy, and he was that when he left Cleveland for Miami.
But what the Los Angeles Laker star does off the court is just amazing. In 2018, through his Lebron James Family Foundation, he opened the I Promise school, a public elementary school in Akron, Ohio State. The school should be fully operational by 2022, teaching grades one through eight.
Tom Brady is the most successful NFL player ever. He has more Super Bowl victories than some entire organizations.
Yet, you do not hear him brag about. He continues playing well into his 40s. Speaking about charity work, he is one of the main contributors to the Best Buddies International organization, which helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He took up the role of global ambassador in 2019 and has donated more than $46 million to the organization.