Mike Greenberg posed this question following the news of Patrick Mahomes's half-billion dollar contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs and it got me thinking. Mahomes is obviously one of the handful of the best guys in sports right now, but is there anybody I'd take over him?
I came up with a list of guys for whom I think a reasonable case could be made. In the NBA, I think Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic are the only guys that will be at a Mahomes-level for the next decade. And given the massive impact a single basketball player can have on a team — see the Cleveland Cavaliers pre- and post-LeBron return — I think it's a perfectly reasonable argument that either of those guys would be more valuable than Mahomes for the next 10 years.
Hockey has a couple guys in Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews who will put up great numbers, but even as much as I love hockey, people would get extremely angry if you compared an NFL quarterback to an NHL forward, so that is what it is.
I actually think the sport that has the most guys to choose from is Major League Baseball. The obvious answer — and the guy I'd pick over Mahomes — is Mike Trout, because he is going to end up as the greatest baseball player of all-time while Mahomes is going to be a really good quarterback who was a product of the era in which he played. But there is also a list of guys that includes Ronald Acuña Jr., Juan Soto and even Rays prospect Wander Franco for which I would listen to arguments.
And as dearly as I love Acuña — I think he's a surefire Hall of Famer and will be one of the greatest players of his generation — Trout is on pace to be the greatest player to ever pick up a baseball bat. He puts up numbers and does things every night that nobody has ever seen before.
Mahomes is an amazing and unbelievably exciting football player. And with a Super Bowl already in hand and the level at which he's produced so far in his career, he may wind up being the best quarterback ever. But there's just something about the effortlessness with which Trout amasses historic statistics that gives him the edge to me.
If I can have any athlete for the next decade, I'm taking Mike Trout.