Best athletes 25 and under

What I’m Hearing: Mahomes has worked hard during the off season and it shows

USA TODAY

It’s been said that “youth is wasted on the young.” But that’s not true in all cases — especially in professional sports.

While an athlete’s career can take any number of paths, the best of the best show excellence at a very young age.

Take, for example, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who turns 25 on Thursday. In just two seasons as a starter, he’s won an NFL MVP award and led his team to a Super Bowl championship. That’s a pretty solid resume already. 

If anyone were foolish enough to compile a list of the top athletes 25 and under, Mahomes would certainly have to be included. But who else would make the cut?

Here are 25 more 25-and-under sports stars who are precociously prolific in accumulating athletic accolades:

Ronald Acuña Jr., 22, baseball. The Atlanta Braves outfielder won the National League rookie of the year award in 2018, then followed it up with an All-Star campaign in 2019. He led the NL last season in runs scored (127) and stolen bases (37), while hitting 41 homers and driving in 101 runs for the NL East champions. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo, 25, basketball. The 2019 NBA MVP and this season’s defensive player of the year, the 6-foot-11 “Greek Freak” has been named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team in each of the past four seasons, the last two as team captain. The Milwaukee Bucks forward averaged a career-high 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds this season.

Ashleigh Barty, 24, tennis. Currently the No. 1-ranked women’s player in the world, the Australian has won eight titles on the WTA Tour — including the 2019 French Open. She’s also an accomplished doubles player, winning the 2018 U.S. Open with partner CoCo Vandeweghe. 

Simone Biles, 23, gymnastics. A world champion for the first time at age 14, Biles can stake a claim as the greatest gymnast in history. She led the USA to the team gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Individually, Biles won gold in the floor exercise, vault and all-around competitions with a bronze in the balance beam. She then won seven more individual golds at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships.

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