In honor of Black History Month, We The Fans Sports will highlight 28 of the most outstanding sports figures under the age of 30. From Olympians to members of the media, we will focus on those making history.
1. Stephen Curry, NBA Point Guard, 29
A revolutionary in his own right, Stephen Curry has played a major role in changing the entire landscape of the NBA.
The “Baby-faced assassin,” as he’s come to be known, has proven stature to be inconsequential, when determining dominance in a game once ruled by men twice his size. Long gone are the days of burly 7-footers controlling the game from the paint. These days, shooting from long range is the name of the game. Since his 2014-15 MVP season, even big men are trying to mimic the 6-foot-3-inch sharpshooter. Curry has proven that size is not needed to shift a culture.
2. Maya Moore, WNBA Small Forward, 28
“All I do is win win win, no matter what”
Arguably the most decorated women’s basketball player of our time, Maya Moore has been a champion at every stage of her career. High school national title? She did that. She went on to lead UConn to two national championships while maintaining a 3.669 GPA. As a pro, all she’s done is win four WNBA titles, regular season MVP, Finals MVP, and two Olympic gold medals. Impressed yet? “His airness,” Michael Jordan, sure was. In 2011, Moore became the first woman to sign an endorsement deal with Nike’s Jordan Brand. Simply put, Maya Moore exudes excellence.
3. P.K. Subban, NHL Defenseman, 28
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
America got a chance to know P.K. Subban, during the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals, thanks to his verbal sparring with Sidney Crosby. Aside from his on-ice success–and antics–Subban is a class act, always looking to give back to his community. His $10 million donation to the Montreal Children’s Hospital, back in 2015, is the largest philanthropic contribution by a pro athlete in Canadian history. Subsequently, there is now an Atrium in his name there. Impressive. These days, his latest endeavor, P.K.’s Blue Line Buddies, is bridging the gap between police and inner-city youths–one Nashville Predators game at a time. Changing lives, one selfless act at a time–that’s who P.K. Subban is.
4. Simone Biles, Olympic Gymnast, 20
All gold everything.
In the 2016 Rio Olympic games, Simone took the world by storm, then she nearly took home all the gold. She walked away with four gold medals, setting a record for the most by any American female gymnast at the same Olympic games. Biles is also one of only two American female gymnasts to successfully pull off a gold in both the individual and team all-around competitions, in the same fashion. Imagine becoming one of the most decorated gymnasts of all-time–all before your 20th birthday. That’s exactly what Simone Biles accomplished–black excellence.
5. Odell Beckham Jr., NFL Wide Receiver, 25
What happens when you combine game-changing talent, unbridled emotions and controversy? You get Odell Beckham Jr.
Whether you love him, hate him, or just don’t understand him, one thing is certain–Beckham Jr. is not one to shy away from the limelight. Since his record-setting rookie season in 2014–91 receptions, 1305 yards, and 12 touchdowns–Odell has shown he’s ready for the big stage. However, that also means he gets his fair share of negative publicity, which is commonly self-inflicted. On the other end of the dichotomous relationship, you have volatile emotions which cause many of his detractors to vilify and question his decision-making, on and off the field. As polarizing a figure as they come, Odell has undeniable talent and a knack for giving people something to talk about.
6. Maame Biney, Olympic Speedskater, 18
The 2018 Winter Olympics begin on Friday, February 9, but one athlete–Maame Biney–has already made history.
Biney, 18, is the first African-American woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speedskating team. After leaving Ghana for America, with her dad, Biney quickly fell in love with figure skating. Unfortunately, she was told she skated too fast. Little did she and her dad know what that speed would lead to. Since refocusing her attention to speedskating, Maame is maximizing her talents. After a first-place finish in the 500-meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials, back on December 16, 2017, the stage is set for her to take the world by storm. Look for the girl with the infectious smile to make history in PyeongChang, South Korea.