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The Messenger

The sports stars of the future are already shining today

Ahmad Hargrove, Writer

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Connor McDavid. Devin Booker. Gianluigi Donnarumma. What do all of star athletes have in common? They are all considered some of the most elite athletes in their sport, despite being among the youngest.

After being taken by the Edmonton Oilers with the 1st pick in the 2015 NHL draft, Connor McDavid made his NHL debut at the spry age of 18 years old. Since then, the kid, semi- playfully nicknamed “Connor McSaviour” has been  a finalists for the 2016- 2016 Calder Trophy, the NHL’s Rookie of the Year award, and has carried the formerly irrelevant Edmonton Oilers to their first playoff berth in 11 years.

When Devin Booker was drafted with 13th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, he entered the NBA at just 18 years old, the youngest player in the league at the time, he was thought to be simply another cog in the machine that was Suns’ up tempo offense. However, in just his sophomore season, Booker has already ascended into one of the premier scorers in the NBA. This season, he is scoring 20.8 points a game or 42.3 field goal percentage. Just recently, he Booker became the youngest player in NBA yesterday to ever 70 points.

Gianluigi Donnarumma made headlines by debuting as the goalkeeper for world famous Italian club, AC Milan, at the age of 16. He has done nothing continue to make news since then. He is one of the most valuable players in the world. Clubs the stature of Manchester united and Manchester City are vying for the wonderkids services. Many experts have pegged him to be the successor to the legendary Italian GK, Gianluigi Buffon.

Marcus Rashford and Kylian Mbappe are also teenagers performing at high levels in the football world.

In an interview with The Messenger, Junior Francis Okyere Jr, an aspiring goalie himself, said that “Donnarumma is already my idol.”

These are just three cases of one of pro sports’ fastest growing trends in recent memory. Every year, there appears to be more and more very young athletes rising to prominence on their respective sports.

In the past, stars of today such as Lebron James and Lionel Messi took their respective sports as teenagers. Now, we see the same. Alongside the aforementioned McDavid, Auston Matthews has helped bring excitement back to Image result for connor mcdavid auston matthewsthe NHL. The 19 year old led the Toronto Maple Leafs to the team’s first playoff birth in 11 seasons with a stellar rookie campaign in which he tallied 69 points, 40 of them goals.

In the NBA, despite being in just their early 20s, the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic and Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo have used their size and elite playmaking abilities to usher in a new style of positionless basketball.

Image result for kawhi leonard james hardenHowever, this is not to say that the conventional sports stars have gone extinct. Kawhi Leonard, of the San Antonio Spurs, is a consensus top 5 NBA player, at the ripened age of 25. James Harden has just now catapulted himself into legitimate MVP status at 27. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs third baseman and reigning National League MVP, is just now getting started in the big leagues at 25 years old. Matt Ryan took home NFL Offensive MVP honors this season at the elderly age of 31.

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The sports stars of the future are already shining today