To celebrate Black History Month, I have prepared a list of my favorite players when they were 28 years old, so their greatness can be observed over the course of this month.
1. Lisa Leslie
Lisa Leslie is one one of the greatest WNBA players to ever play. A two-time champion and three-time MVP, she became the first WNBA to ever dunk, and has racked up many accolades over the years.
When Leslie was 28, she won her first WNBA championship with the LA Sparks and was also named 2001 Sportswoman of the year by the Women’s Sports Foundation. She averaged 19.5 points, 2.3 blocks, and 2.3 blocks in her career. For this, Leslie is Through The Pen’s first highlight of Black History Month.
2. Robin Roberts
Robin Roberts is in my opinion one of the most influential media persons of this time, especially for black women who want to get their start in the journalism industry. She was a great athlete, is a great broadcaster, and courageously fought breast cancer and a bone marrow disease before our eyes. Roberts got her start broadcasting in Mississippi with WDAM-TV. When she was 28 years old, she was reporting for WSMV-TV in Atlanta, Georgia, but soon after, joined ESPN, becoming their first on-air black anchorwoman. She was also the first black female host and the first woman to ever host a network televised NFL pre-game show. In 2018, Roberts was awarded with the Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. For this, Roberts makes no.2 on our list.
3. Vince Carter
Vince Carter at 41 years old is one of seven players ever to play at least 20 seasons in the NBA.He averaged 27.5 points with the Nets along with four assists shooting 81 percent from the free throw line. Known as “Air Canada” and “Flying Man,” Carter is mostly known for his legendary dunk over 7’2 Fred Weis during the Olympics. Carter has been a great player and person over the years. Recently, he broke his own record for being the oldest reserve to score at least 20 points at 41 years old and 2 days. He will definitely be a HOF in the near future and for this, he makes third on our list for February.
4. Kobe Bryant
Former Laker guard Kobe Bryant is probably the “Michael Jordan” for millennials as far as overall career. The moves, the charisma, and competitive attitude mimicked that of the Chicago Bulls legend. From having a bad rap in the spotlight following a legal case, to battling it out with one of the best centers in the league, Bryant certainly had one of the best overall careers. At age 28, Bryant had already won three NBA finals, tallied up 19,296 points, 1,170 steals, 467 blocks, and 3,561 assists. He was not of the best players to get along with, as a lot might say, but he was certainly respected for having that inner dog mentality throughout his tenure. And he will always be remembered for his final game against the Utah Jazz, finishing his career with 60 points at the Staples Center. For this, Bryan makes number four on our list.
5. Lebron James
Lebron James. At age 28, James had won a championship ring, was awarded MVP of the finals , and had three MVP acknowledgements all under 30 years of age. The highlight of James’ career was when he announced that he would take his talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat with Dwyayne Wade and Chris Bosh. After he would win his first ring with Miami, James tallied up 20,804 points, 1,306 steals, 638 blocks, and 5,227 assists. The best part of his career is that he is not done as of yet, and it would be interesting to see what his final overall career stats would be when he finally hangs it up.
6. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is heralded as the most decorated basketball player in basketball history. At some point in life, everyone will have heard of this man. All of the accomplishments that he has achieved in his career is the huge reason why he will always be remembered as the greatest of all time, (if Lebton doesn’t take that crown). At 28 years old, Jordan racked up 19,000 points, including 3,184 points in the playoffs, 1,594 steals, and had won a championship and two MVP honors. Even after the awkward retirements and final season with the Wizards, Jordan always has and will continue to be known for his unique style of play, his story, and his mogul mind after he left the court. All you have to say are two words and nothing else has to be said: Michael Jordan.
7. Sheryl Swoopes
Sheryl Swoopes was a WNBA great and when you hear her name, it is attached to the word first. She is the first player to sign with the WNBA in 1996. She was also the first player to record a triple-double in the regular season and the playoffs. She was the first to win both the regular season MVP award and the All-Star Game MVP award in the same season since Lisa Leslie. Last;y, she was the first to win an NCAA championship, WNBA championship, and Olympic medal. At 28, Swoopes won her fourth WNBA championship with the Houston Comets. She averaged 20.7 points, 3.8 assists and 2.8 steals a game. In 2016, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame and it’s certainly impossible to disagree with why she made it into such a prestigious category.
8. Lester Holt
Lester Holt, although not in the sports world often, has been a great example of a great journalist. In 2015, Holt became the permanent anchor of NBC Nightly News, which made him the first African-American to anchor solo on a weekday network newscast. At 28 years old, he worked for WBBM-TV in Chicago anchoring and reporting from dangerous spots around the world. He recently did an interview with President Trump, discussing the firing of FBI director James Comey. It had a lot of media coverage, being called “the most important televised interviews ever done.”
9. Stuart Scott
Stuart Scott was definitely one of the most beloved sports journalists of our time. He came up with cool phrases like “Boo-yah” and “cool as the other side of the pillow.” He took ESPN to a new level culturally, increasing more viewing from African Americans. At 28 years old, he started working with ESPN. He was one of the few journalists who was not a pro athlete. He won the Jimmy V award before his death and while he was before the audience, he stated that “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
10. Lisa Salters
Lisa Salters is one of the more underrated reporters in television. She does her job, but people tend to gloss over her. She was extensively a part of the murder trail of former Carolina Panther player Rae Carruth in 2000. In 2012, Salters became a full-time solo reporter for Monday Night Football. In October of last year, Salters was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
11. Serena Williams
Serena Williams is probably one of the most decorated athletes in sports history. She has been ranked no. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association for 319 weeks, making her the third behind Graf and Martina Navratilova. At 28 years old, Williams won her fifth Australia Open, defeating Justine Henin. With the win, she tied Billie Jean King with 12 grand slams titles. Williams has shattered so many records and accomplished so many things and she’s not even 40 years old yet! Keep doing your thing girl!
12. Tiger Woods
Despite his slip ups, Tiger Woods has shaped how people viewed golf. Viewed as a “boring” sport, Woods with his charisma and clever style of play captured the eyes of sports watchers everywhere. When Tiger Woods was 28 years old, he had his own Playstation 2 game titled, “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004.” It was the first game that had a feature in which players can create their own player. Golf has emerged with new fresh talent, but when one hears golf, Tiger Woods’ name will always come first in the topic of conversation.
13. Muhummad Ali
“Fly like a butterfly sting like a bee” is what the great boxer Muhummad Ali said back in 1974. When he was 28 years old, while his case was in appeal for refusing to be drafted by the army service, Ali was granted a victory to box in Atlanta. It resulted in a win after three rounds. Ali was an inspiring figure, and showed inside and outside of the ring.
14. Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds has been a controversial figure for a long time. He has failed to be inducted into the Hall of Fame because of his alleged illegal use of performance enhancing drugs. However, Bonds is still one of the best baseball players to this day. When Bonds was 28, he signed with the San Francisco Giants. He had signed a $43.75 million deal (74.1 million today), making it the largest deal in baseball history at the time. He lead the league with 46 home runs and 123 RBI, hitting .336. He won He would go on to win his third National League MVP award.
15. Florence Griffith- Joyner
Florence Griffih Joyner was considered the fastest woman of all time on the track field. She also had a great sense of style. She even created the uniforms for the NBA team Indiana Pacers. When Joyner was 28, she set a world record for the 100 m and 200 m. For the 100 m, she ran a 10.54 and for the 200 m, she ran 21.34 seconds, breaking her old record she set before (21.56). Both of these records still stand today.
16. Jemele Hill
Jemele Hill is one of those journalists that you have to have a great appreciation for. She is not the typical “hod your tongue” journalists. Hill was a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, covering Michigan State football and basketball. Her hard work paid off as she covered the 204 Summer Olympics and the NBA Playoffs at 28. She went on to have her own show SC6 on ESPN, and now works for ESPN’s The Undefeated.
17. Chamique Holdsclaw
Former WNBA small forward and recent Hall of Fame inductee Chamique Holdsclaw suffered at some time in her life that she hit rock bottom. Thankfully, she turned her life around and changed for the better. Holdsclaw was a menace on the court. She was the first overall pick of the WNBA draft and became Rookie of the year with the Washington Mystics. She averaged 16.9 points and shot 43 percent from the field. At 28, after taking a leave of absence from the L.A. Sparks to care for her father and stepfather, she averaged 14.4 points and 7 rebounds.