Michael Sam is power rankings No. 1

Originally Published: January 14, 2014
ESPN SportsNation

Many athletes excel at their sports. But only a precious few can look back on their career accomplishments and say they truly "changed the game."

There's no guarantee that Michael Sam will become a star in the National Football League, even though the AP named the defensive lineman the SEC's defensive player of the year. But what Sam did Sunday -- telling the world that "I am an openly, proud gay man" -- just might have changed the game for gay athletes across American sports. And that makes him No. 1 in this week's Cross-Sport Power Rankings.

Joining Sam in the top five are Kevin Durant, making his fifth straight appearance in the CSPR, biathlon gold medalist Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway, Iowa State's Melvin Ejim and Team USA snowboard gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg.

2014 Cross-Sport Power Rankings panel: Sara Walsh, John Buccigross, Robert Flores, Michael Smith, Jim Basquil, Kevin Connors, Jeff MacGregor and Steve Weissman

Last week: Malcolm Smith No. 1 | Cross-Sport Power Rankings archive »

The Cross-Sport Power Rankings week runs from Tuesday to Monday, covering all sporting events in that seven-day span.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.