Better of the very best impressed: ‘Brady is the gold normal’


Forward of his tenth Tremendous Bowl look, The Related Press requested the very best of the very best — 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 sure 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 couple 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 fascinating sidelight: All of them noticed their very own strengths mirrored in Brady, particularly these nonetheless taking part in and shut in age to the 43-year-old quarterback. (The complete responses, calmly edited and accompanied by profession highlights and notes, are under.)

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 gymnasium 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 come back.

Gretzky, 60, went even additional again, satisfied that Brady turned his love for the sport as a child right into a blueprint that might 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 quick one. He selected to spotlight 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 by way of his “Goat speak” Instagram publish. 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 completely satisfied to get the query.

On the flip facet, baseball nice Derek Jeter stated by a spokesman, “We have now acquired 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 really units him other than anybody else within the sport.”

— LeBRON JAMES (At the moment taking part in 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 are able to nonetheless play this sport at a excessive stage. Regardless of what number of miles, what number of video games. Regardless of what number of doubters. Regardless of the statistics in our potential professions at our age, we are able to nonetheless dominate our sport.

“And in addition, we are able to carry collectively teams that we might not have been round for a protracted time frame. And simply our professionalism … We gravitate towards individuals who gravitate towards us as a result of we’ve got one frequent aim, and that’s to win and win on the highest stage.”

— 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 stated it since he beat Kurt Warner again in, I need to say — what was that, 2000 (really 2001)? It was that loopy Tremendous Bowl. He was the underdog they usually beat the Rams. Clearly I’m a soccer fan (laughing) … and I all the time thought, ‘This man is spectacular.’ … To do what he’s achieved outdoors of New England and to come back into Tampa, I imply, he simply ought to have got here to the Dolphins, actually. Severely, Tom, what had been you considering? …

“I used to be really speaking about (Brady’s management) the opposite day after watching the sport. I stated, ’It should be so inspiring to be both a large receiver or a lineman for him … or simply on the staff usually, 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 should be so fired up for each sport. Particularly the postseason, they should be like, ’Oh, my God, that is our probability, 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 that could be the place the comparability ends. What he has completed, and continues to be carrying out 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 reduce one nook in coaching camp. Run that closing mile, crunch that final set of sit-ups, relaxation even when you don’t really feel drained — all of it must be achieved. Tom Brady does that every single day. He has no offseason. … That takes superhuman dedication and self-discipline … Tom Brady is all the time behind my thoughts throughout coaching camp and between fights. As a result of Tom Brady is the gold normal.”

— 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 aim scorer and help producer)

“I don’t assume it occurs in a single day. You begin excited 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 cherished it a lot that he was very mature most likely for a 23-, 24-year-old … ensuring that his coaching habits, vitamin and weight-reduction plan had been nearly as good or higher than anyone’s … Consequently, he’s achieved all the fitting issues over 20 years to have the ability to maintain the place he’s at each mentally and bodily. … That takes a variety of dedication and exhausting work, and in the end we’re seeing the outcomes at his age …

“He’ll have a foul sport, which all of us do as athletes, and if you’re younger, folks say: ‘Nicely, he had a foul night time, dangerous sport, dangerous week. He’ll rebound.’ Whenever you’re older, the very first thing that folks need to level to is, ‘Nicely, I believe he had a foul sport as a result of he’s outdated.’ And for him, that’s not the case. When he has a troublesome night time, which all of us do, he bounces again even higher the following week and all people type of says, ‘Nicely, OK, I assume he’s not that outdated.’ … I believe the proof was that he received three highway video games within the playoffs, which in soccer could 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 staff and never a person. … Being humble may help an individual reduce by layers of adversity, ego, and creates this skill to energise these round you with the identical objectives — it helps folks pull in the identical course. What he has completed 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 taking part in one of many hardest video games round and what’s possibly his best power 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 possibly 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.


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