Sports

The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today 

Nick Dimengo
Updated June 14, 2019 12.3k votes 1.3k voters 12.7k views 17 items

List Rules Current athletes competing in professional leagues only. No college players or retired athletes.

When the score is tight and tensions are high, which athletes can rise to the occasion and use the opportunity to show that they have that clutch gene other players don't? Which quarterbacks, point guards, and goalies do you want out there when the game is on the line? These clutch athletes, from many different sports, have been making big plays when their teams needed it the most. But who is the most clutch athlete in sports?

These clutch players currently the best in their leagues, with a few that might surprise you. What makes a clutch athlete? It's those game-winning three-pointers, big defensive plays, and "just when we needed it" goals that earned these athletes a spot ranked here. Is Dirk Nowitzki still clutch? What about Tom Brady? Or do you think younger athletes like Damian Lillard have proved to be the most clutch players?

One thing's for sure, these athletes have proven to have ice in their veins and are unafraid of putting it all on the line all for the sake of winning a game, set, or match. Vote up the athletes and sports stars you think are most clutch below - or add the guy or girl you'd turn to in the fourth quarter if they aren't already listed (and be sure to offer some examples to prove they deserve to be considered clutch).

list ordered by
1
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 34

Nationality: Portugal

Birthplace: Santo António, Portugal

Teams: Manchester United F.C., Real Madrid C.F., Sporting Clube de Portugal, Portugal national football team

Whether it's clutch free kicks for Real Madrid, huge goals at any point during the game, or doing his goal-scoring thing during the World Cup, there are few who can stop Ronaldo when he's on a roll.

More Cristiano Ronaldo 

#66 of 275 The Hottest Men Of 2020, Ranked #737 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #759 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time

2
Novak Djokovic is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 32

Nationality: Serbia

Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia

Although Novak Djokovic doesn't win every single match he competes in, he's not too far off. That's because the Serbian tennis player seems to always put himself in a position to win, running off a streak that saw him make 14 straight semifinal appearances in Grand Slams.

 

More Novak Djokovic 

#77 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #5 of 258 The Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time #327 of 469 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time

3
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 42

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: San Mateo, California, United States of America

Teams: New England Patriots, Michigan Wolverines football

With six Super Bowl victories under his belt, Tom Brady is one of the best postseason performers in league history. Seemingly untouched by pressure, Brady focuses on what he can control and the game-plan that his coaches put in action, helping him avoid distractions. 

Even as he gets up there in age, Brady is still the quarterback you'd want to have the ball when the game was on the line.

More Tom Brady 

The Funniest Tom Brady Memes For Football Fans #175 of 275 The Hottest Men Of 2020, Rankedlisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

4
Adam Vinatieri is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 47

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Yankton, South Dakota, United States of America

He might just be a kicker, but Adam Vinatieri might be one of the most feared players an opposing NFL team can see on the field when the clock is winding down and a field goal to win is on the line.

That's because he has shown to have a clutch gene like few others, knocking in multiple winning kicks on the biggest stages like playoff games and, more importantly, the Super Bowl, when time was running out.

More Adam Vinatieri 

#5 of 350 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #81 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #133 of 147 The Greatest Chicago Bears of All Time

5
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 35

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Akron, Ohio

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers

Remember when people were knocking LeBron James and his ability to come through in the biggest situations? King James silenced that talk during his two-straight NBA titles in 2012 and 2013, during which he continuously took over games and willed his then-team the Miami Heat team to victory.

In 2016, LeBron helped the Cleveland Cavaliers take the title.

More LeBron James 

The Best LeBron 15 Colorways, Ranked #262 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #2 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

6
Stephen Curry is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 31

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Akron, Ohio, United States of America

Teams: Golden State Warriors

There might not be a more lethal shooter in the NBA than Golden State Warriors All-Star Stephen Curry. Even if he's having a poor shooting night, which is pretty rare, Curry gets the attention he deserves from opposing defenses, hoping that the kid doesn't get the ball late in close games.

On any given night, Curry can go off and single-handedly carry the Warriors to a win, the poster child of clutch.

More Stephen Curry 

#17 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #1,633 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #153 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
Madison Bumgarner is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 30

Nationality: American

Birthplace: Hickory, North Carolina

Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks

Is this guy even human? Few would question this after watching San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner in the 2014 postseason and, even more, over the course of his playoff career.

 

More Madison Bumgarner 

#268 of 598 The Greatest Baseball Players Of All Time #49 of 281 The Best Starting Pitchers of All Time #134 of 200 The Greatest Pitchers of All Time

8
Eli Manning is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 38

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

Teams: New York Giants

Sure, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning might have restrictions and isn't always the most consistent signal-caller in the league, but he has shown himself to have quite the clutch gene. No bigger examples came than in his two Super Bowl appearances against the New England Patriots, where Eli came up with two game-winning drives that ended with him atop the podium holding the Lombardi Trophy. 

Peyton may get more fanfare, but Eli has more rings to flash at family holiday get-togethers.

More Eli Manning 

#1,009 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #52 of 257 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time #51 of 122 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time

9
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 38

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

This sister tennis duo is nothing but clutch. With an outrageous number of title wins between them and even hard data showing that Serena can bring it home when the title is on the line, these two are a dominant force in the tennis world.

More Serena Williams 

#20 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #121 of 319 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models #33 of 343 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

10
Kyrie Irving is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 27

Nationality: United States of America, Australia

Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

Teams: Brooklyn Nets

Cleveland Cavs All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has shown that he has the talent and guts to perform on the highest level. In addition to his fourth quarter performances - where he has been among league leaders in efficiency - Irving added MVP honors from summer 2014's World Cup of Basketball, meaning that he was the best performer during the most competitive basketball game on the planet.

More Kyrie Irving 

The Best Kyrie 4 Colorways, Ranked #52 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #510 of 532 Famous Men You'd Want to Have a Beer With

11
Patrick Kane is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 31

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Buffalo, New York

Teams: Chicago Blackhawks, United States National Men's Hockey Team

A former number one overall draft selection, there are few hockey players as talented as Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. Known to be one of the best playmakers in the NHL, Kane showed his worth by leading his Blackhawks to two Stanley Cup wins in a five-year span (2010-2014).

He's young, has a ton of skill, and is hungry, so look for even more big things and clutch moments from this kid.

More Patrick Kane 

#1,841 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #4 of 199 The Best Current NHL Players #59 of 526 The Best NHL Players of All Time

12
Kevin Durant is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 31

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States of America

Teams: Brooklyn Nets

2014's league MVP, former Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant opponents are never excited to see him on the hardwood - because he is dominant.

One of top scorers the league has ever seen, Durant can put up points in a hurry and isn't shy about taking over when the game is on the line, as he has proven to be one of the best fourth quarter players over several seasons.

More Kevin Durant 

The Best KD 10 Colorways, Ranked #21 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #1,943 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time

13
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 42

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States of America

Go ahead and think what you will about the guy, but there's no denying that boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. knows how to win. With a career record of 50-0, he's proven that no moment is too big for him to take on.

Holding multiple championship belts, Money Mayweather is, well, money when the lights shine the brightest.

More Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

50 Cent & Floyd Maywather’s Feud: A History Of Their Animosity #1,581 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #33 of 188 The Best Boxers of All Time

14
Jonathan Quick is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 33

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Milford, Connecticut

Teams: Los Angeles Kings, United States National Men's Hockey Team

One of the main components a team needs to win a Stanley Cup title is a goaltender who's getting hot. For that reason, LA Kings net-minder Jonathan Quick finds himself a clutch performer: he has had it happen multiple times in recent history.

Thanks to Quick's defending between the pipes, the Kings won two of three Stanley Cup titles between 2012 and 2014.

More Jonathan Quick 

#143 of 199 The Best Current NHL Players #207 of 526 The Best NHL Players of All Time #26 of 104 The Top Hockey Goaltenders of All Time

15
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 31

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Compton, California

Teams: Seattle Seahawks

They don't call him "Captain Clutch" for nothing! From the Immaculate Deflection in the 2014 NFC Championship game against the 49ers, to dozens of other key defensive plays that have sealed wins or changed the momentum of many a big game, the Seattle Seahawks star cornerback is all manner of clutch, stepping up big time when needed.

More Richard Sherman 

#78 of 543 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History #122 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #31 of 343 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

16
Henrik Lundqvist is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 37

Nationality: Sweden

Birthplace: Åre, Sweden

Teams: New York Rangers, Swedish National Men's Ice Hockey Team

How many goals does an NHL goalie need to block over the course of three games in the Stanley Cup semi-finals to qualify as "clutch"? Does stopping 102 out of 105 shots on goal make the grade? If so, Lundqvist is one of the most clutch goaltenders in professional hockey, going red hot in 2014 during the Rangers series against the Penguins.

With five straight Game 7 victories, this is the guy you want in the net when it comes down to the wire.

More Henrik Lundqvist 

#31 of 199 The Best Current NHL Players #44 of 526 The Best NHL Players of All Timelisted on Twins in Sports

17
Bubba Watson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today
Age: 41

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Bagdad, Florida

Whether it was his insane shot at the Masters in 2012 or the way he kept his composure to capture his second green jacket in 2014, golfer Bubba Watson has shown he can come up with the right shot when he needs it the most.

One of the most fun players to watch and root for on the PGA Tour, Bubba is a household name because of the fun he seems to have when tension is at its highest, always appearing loose and cool.

More Bubba Watson 

#40 of 179 The Best Golfers Of All Time #16 of 60 The Best Professional Golfers Right Now, Ranked #35 of 40 Who Is the Coolest Athlete in the World Right Now?