The 100 Most Influential People of 2021
Douglas P. DeFelice—Getty Images
By David Beckham
September 15, 2021 7:19 AM EDT

I had always followed Tom Brady’s career, but when I came to the States to live and play football, I became a true fan. I’m proud that I also get to call him a great friend.

Even if you’re not a tennis fan, you want to watch Roger Federer on the court; even if you don’t follow basketball, you know who Michael Jordan is. Tom Brady is an iconic sportsman whom people know, see and admire. Even if you don’t follow American football, you want to watch Tom Brady play (partly because he’s so goddamn good-looking!).

Tom has accomplished the unimaginable. His drive to compete and win is unrivaled. Playing in nine Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and winning six of them was an achievement any athlete would be more than satisfied with, but not Tom. Watching him appear this year in his 10th Super Bowl, this time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and win—while being named the Super Bowl MVP for the fifth time—was a remarkable moment in sporting history.

When I think about the peak of athletic excellence, it’s hard not to think about Tom Brady. To watch him play is nothing short of inspiring. We can all read the stats and records that he’s broken. Tom is and always will be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play American football. He is a true competitor; his unmatched dedication to the sport, his leadership on the field, his strength both mentally and physically, and his courage are what make Tom Brady a champion and a personal hero of mine.

What I and his many friends also see is a great human being, a great father, family man, friend and partner. He’s simply the best, and I can’t wait to see what this next season brings.

Beckham is a member of the English Football Hall of Fame

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