Three-Headed Monsters

We’ve all enjoyed the 10 episodes of The Last Dance and to me one thing has become very clear: No athlete, not even Michael Jordan, can be successful on his own. Jordan never won a title without Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson, but what other trios have found success?

NBA:

Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson

May not be the original trio, or even the one you think of when you think of the Bulls, but the triangle offense and what these three accomplished together has them at the top of the list. 

Two three-peats, six in eight years, and one of the best sports dynasties in history. 

LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh

LeBron James took his talents to South Beach and created a damn near unstoppable team…until they ran into Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs. But from the moment LeBron announced where he was headed, everyone knew what the result would be – championships. 

Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker

Speaking of Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs, the trio that laid the foundation in San Antonio was drafted and developed in house and went on to win championships in 2003, 2005, 2006 and again in 2014. 

College Basketball:

Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley

Possibly the most hated player on any team ever, Christian Laettner led the Blue Devils to back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992. But not without help from point guard Bobby Hurley and the young superstar Grant Hill. 

Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer

This big three looked unbeatable as sophomores and brought the NCAA National Championship back to Gainesville in 2006. Then, the trio shocked the college basketball world by returning for their junior season. Only losing five games and winning another NAtional Championship before opting for the NBA draft. 

NFL:

Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison

Three of the best at their position but never won a Super Bowl together. The Colts won the Super Bowl the year after Edgerrin James left. All three are now Hall of Famers and at the time, made for one of the most exciting offenses in football. 

Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce

In 1999 when Marshall Faulk was traded to St. Louis, to make room for Edgerrin James, the Rams  created “The Greatest Show on Turf.” Kurt Warner came out of nowhere to be MVP that year and had his choice between two hall of fame receivers in Torry Holt and veteran Isaac Bruce. 

Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin

In 1989 Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys, drafted Troy Aikman and built THE team of the 90’s winning three Super Bowls. All-Time NFL leading rusher Emmitt Smith was drafted the following year in 1990 to pair with first round receiver Michael Irvin. Not many trios have had the success of these three. 

College Football

Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore

Their stellar defense and powerful running game made the 2001 Miami Hurricanes one of the greatest college football teams ever. Many people know about the three running backs, but the fact they were on the same team is ridiculous. If father time, Frank Gore, had not suffered injury in college, the other two may not have seen much of the field. 

Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 28: Quarterback Jalen Hurts #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts from the sidelines during the game against the LSU Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The three transfer quarterbacks may not have been on the same team but their consecutive years of success needs to be recognized. In 2015 Baker Mayfield left Texas Tech and transferred to OU, eventually winning the 2017 Heisman trophy and becoming the first overall pick in the NFL draft. Kyler Murray followed a similar trail, transferring to OU in 2017 and sitting behind Mayfield for a year before winning the 2018 Heisman and becoming the first overall pick in the NFL draft. In 2019 when Jalen Hurts transferred to OU he came close to the same success. Finishing second in Heisman voting and becoming a second round pick in the draft. 

Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Aaron Hernandez

The Tim Tebow led Gators is one of the best untold stories in sports. A 30 for 30 is not enough and the sports world deserves a closer look at the team. On the field, the Gators won the 2006 and 2008 National Championship but the biggest stories are what happened off the field. A star quarterback doing mission trips in his off time and a star tight end who possibly committed his first murder. Truly, a trio like none other. 

MLB:

Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine

Imagine rolling up to Fulton County Stadium in the mid 90’s knowing you were going to face one of these three? And that all your family could catch the game on TBS. The Braves were dominant in the NL East and damn near unhittable for the entire decade. Winning a combined seven NL Cy Young awards, as well as the 1995 World Series, the Big Three can make a strong case for the best trio ever. 

Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford

They may not have been the Murders Row of 1927 but the summer of 61 gave us two of the greatest seasons any teammates have ever had with Maris and Mantle battling for the home run title. The duo finished first and second in MVP voting, while team mate and pitcher Whitey Ford finished fifth in MVP voting and won the Cy Young in 61. 

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