Kobe rings in Week 9 at No. 1
This past week, there were World Cup goals that dazzled us (hello, Gonzalo Higuain!), sublime pitching performances (Ubaldo Jimenez, Stephen Strasburg, anyone?) and 40-year droughts broken (Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell). But none of it stacked up to the man who added ring No. 5 to his NBA championship collection. After nine weeks, Kobe Bryant is finally the recipient of this week's "Cross-Sport Power Rankings" top spot ... but is it deserved? With a less-than-perfect Game 7 performance from Kobe, was Higuain's hat trick a more difficult feat? Should Pau Gasol get more credit for the Lakers' sweet 16th championship? And does Josh Johnson deserve more credit for his current pitching streak?
Our panel has taken into account player performances from across all sports and ranked the top 20 most electrifying athletes of the week. Tell us what you think the rankings should look like below.
Visit "Cross-Sport Power Rankings" on Tuesdays on ESPN.com to see the latest rankings each week.
2010-11 Power Rankings: Week 9
|1 (6)||Kobe Bryant||Ring him. The Black Mamba adds a fifth NBA championship to his résumé and nabs another Finals MVP. LeBron who?|
|2 (NR)||Gonzalo Higuain||It's safe to say he's not a South Korean favorite right now. The Argentine proved three is a magic number and scored the first hat trick of the World Cup.|
|3 (9)||Ubaldo Jimenez||The Rockies' ace has been sitting comfy on our list for quite some time now. 13 wins, 1.16 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP might have something to do with it.|
|4 (NR)||Luis Fabiano||You have to hand it to Brazil's Fabiano ... one of the prettiest goals in the World Cup thus far.|
|5 (3)||Stephen Strasburg||"His third outing for the Nats may have been a loss, but the 'Strasburg Effect' continues in D.C., plus check out his line from that game: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 10 SO ... his ERA lowered to 1.86" -- Dana Jacobson|
|6 (NR)||Diego Forlan||Uruguay's striker was unstoppable, pelting in one goal off the crossbar and another on a penalty kick.|
|7 (NR)||Pau Gasol||Game 7 of the NBA Finals can be summed up like this: Pau Doin' Work. The Lakers' power forward scored 19 points and grabbed 18 boards and another ring.|
|8 (NR)||Graeme McDowell||It wasn't pretty, but McDowell's 74 was enough to beat out Tiger, Phil, Ernie and the rest of the field to became the first European to win the U.S. Open in 40 years.|
|9 (NR)||Landon Donovan||The drought has ended! The U.S. forward finally put one in the back of the net to lead his team to a draw against Slovenia.|
|10 (NR)||Ron Artest||"How far he's come from the Palace brawl." -- Dana Jacobson on Lakers' Artest.|
|11 (NR)||Elano||He's been Mr. Consistent this World Cup, scoring a goal in each game for Brazil.|
|12 (NR)||Josh Johnson||Can you say "baseball's best kept secret"?! The Marlins' pitcher becomes just the eighth player in the history of baseball to allow one or fewer runs in eight consecutive starts.|
|13 (NR)||Asamoah Gyan||Note to other teams: Do not let this man get a penalty kick. With his second goal via penalty kick of the World Cup, Gyan assured the draw for Ghana against Australia's Socceroos.|
|14 (NR)||Robinson Cano||Does he ever slow down? The Yankees slugger has had a cartoonish batting average of .377 for the month of June.|
|15 (NR)||Tiago||Portugal's Tiago put on a show, scoring two goals in a 7-0 rout of North Korea.|
|16 (NR)||Jimmie Johnson||Johnson's struggles in May are a thing of the past. He has three consecutive top-six finishes, including a win this past weekend. Drivers be warned.|
|17 (NR)||Justin Morneau||How do you bounce back from a 1-for-12 start to the week? The only way Twins' Morneau knows: Go 5-for-12 with two homers over the next three games.|
|18 (NR)||Kaka||Who cares about his two yellows that led to a red card? He still has the coolest name in sports. Oh, and he's quite a difference-maker on the pitch for Brazil, too.|
|19 (15)||Miguel Cabrera||Cabrera left Friday's game with dizziness. Maybe that's because he has been running laps around opposing pitchers. It doesn't hurt that the Tigers have won eight of their past nine, either.|
|20 (NR)||Tiger Woods||The neck injury and erratic driver are gone. The fist pump is back. Now all Tiger needs is a win. St. Andrews is looking like a good place to start.|
CROSS-SPORT POWER RANKINGS 2010
Cross-Sport Power Rankings compares the best athletes across all professional sports. Check out the rest of our individual sport power rankings.
MORE POWER RANKINGS
• MLB Power Rankings: Yankees are No. 1• NASCAR Power Rankings: Harvick, No. 1
• Tennis Power Rankings: Nadal is No. 1
• MLS Power Rankings: Galaxy are No. 1
NBA FINALS WRAP
LATEST WORLD CUP NEWS
BEST OF THE MLB
At a U.S. Open that will likely always be defined by failure, Graeme McDowell turned what was a final-day fiasco for just about everyone else into the highlight of a lifetime. Bob Harig
2010 champion: Graeme McDowell
Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links
Where: Pebble Beach, Calif.
Yardage, par: 7,040 yards, par-71