CONCORD, N.C. – In March 1998, ESPN The Magazine published its very first issue.
Three-and-a-half years later, a 26-year-old Jimmie Johnson made his NASCAR Cup Series debut.
Now, as ESPN The Magazine celebrates its 20th anniversary, it’s looking back at the athletes that defined the past two decades. And Johnson certainly fits the bill.
The publication just released “The Dominant 20,” which is defined as “the most formidable, awe-inspiring and downright dominant athletes of the past two decades.”
Johnson came in at No. 4 overall.
The only three athletes ahead of the driver in the “dominance rankings?” Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Peyton Manning.
The only race car driver in history to be named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year – an honor he achieved in 2009 after winning his fourth consecutive championship – Johnson’s seven titles are tied for the most all-time with icons Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
And the article also points out his streak of 20 top-10 finishes in 14 consecutive seasons, his 10-win season in 2007 and his 16 straight campaigns with at least two victories as standout reasons that showcase his impact.
Johnson ranks ahead of the likes of Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Lionel Messi and Tom Brady.
You can read Johnson's article -- "Jimmie Johnson, from off-road to out of this world" -- from the issue of ESPN The Magazine, which will hit newsstands April 2, here.