When Derek Jeter went down with fractured ankle in last season’s Game 1 loss to the Detroit Tigers, It made us think of all the big moments he’s had in the playoffs and how his presence will be missed on the diamond. This led to us putting a list together of the some of the most clutch athletes of the modern era in honor of the Yankees’ Captain. Scroll down to view our list.
*rank is not in order
1. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan without a doubt is one of the most clutch athletes we will ever see in sports. He defined the clutch gene by being fearless and making a play when his teammates needed it the most. One of his top clutch moments came against the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals, and in the First Round of the 1989 Eastern Conference Playoffs vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
2. Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter has come up big in crucial moments for the Yankees ever since he put on pinstripes. Whether it was making a game saving play with his glove or a game winning hit, Jeter was was never scared of the spotlight. His heroics have earned him the nickname “The Captain Clutch” and “Mr.November”. His top moment is when Jeter made a game-saving play when he raced in from shortstop to save a bad throw from outfield and flipped the ball to Jorge Posada just time to get the baserunner out at home plate.
3. Robert Horry
Robert Horry is the reason many of the teams he played for have NBA championship banners hanging in their arena. Although he never led the league in scoring, Horry looked like the greatest player ever when the game was on the line.
4. Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson was the first player to be named “Mr.October” due to the fact that he came up big in playoffs which just so happen to start in October. Reggie was so clutch he put the team on his back during the 1976 World Series and hit 3 home runs to win the Yankees a World Series championship.
5. Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller was not only one of the best shooters in the history of the NBA but he was also one of the most clutch shooters too. Reggie’s most memorable moment comes against the New York Knicks in game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals when he lit up the Knicks in the last seconds of the game.
6. Joe Montana
Joe Montana was nicknamed “Cool Joe” for his poise in the 4th quarter with the game on the line. Montana has led numerous 4th quarter comebacks whether it was in college or NFL. The play that best defines his career is the back of endzone touchdown pass to Dwight Clark to win the NFC Championship game vs. the Dallas Cowboys.
7. Eli Manning
Eli Manning has become the Joe Montana of the league with his late game heroics. Eli won two Super Bowls that were all a result of him throwing clutch passes that helped the Giants secure the victory. Say what you want about Eli being an elite quarterback but that man knows how to get the job done when the games on the line.
8. John Elway
John Elway has the NFL record for 4th quarter comebacks with 47. If thats not clutch then I dont know what is! Elway played like the game was on the line every play, often scrambling to create plays to give his team a chance to win the game. Elway’a career defining moment was when he led a 98 yard drive against the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Championship game in 1987.
9. Larry Bird
Larry Bird was the arch rival to Michael Jordan in the beginning of his career and for good reason. Larry was just as good as Michael Jordan and could match his clutch moments shot for shot. It seems as if every shot Bird threw up late in the 4th quarter was going in. His defining clutch moment was a impossible buzzer-beater against Portland in 1985.
10. Derek Fisher
Derek Fisher was not the star of the Los Angeles Lakers but was essenitally the only player other than Kobe Bryant allowed to touch the ball in the 4th. If it wasn’t for Fisher, the Lakers wouldn’t have made it through multiple playoff series. His best career moment was a ridiculous fadeway with .4 tenths of a second left on the clock vs the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference Semi-Finals
11. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is fearless with the ball in his hand in the 4th quarter. Bryant was referred to as ‘the best finisher in the game’ during his prime years in the league. Although the Black Mamba is getting old, many people would still pick him to take the game-winning shot in the 4th. His top clutch moment came in the 2006 NBA Playoffs series vs. the Phoenix Suns when he hit a leaning shot to seal the game