Top 3 Duos of Every Sport

In sports there’s nothing better than a Dynamic Duo. Much like the duo of Benny Buckets and Johnny Violence. Each person in the duo is capable of great things on their own, but when paired together become an unstoppable force. So for the first official Buckets of Violence article we decided to break down the greatest duos of all time.

Now we understand a lot of famous duos have been left off this list. Stockton and Malone, Kariya and Selanne, Gerrard and Torres just to name a few. To give you some insight into our reasoning we set these guidelines. The duo must have been together for at least five seasons, and won at least one championship. This restriction ultimately eliminated a number of duos, but in our opinion hardware is more important than stats. So this is what we came up with.


#3 John Stallworth and Lynn Swann (Pittsburgh Steelers – 9 Seasons)

John Stallworth and Lynn Swann

We had to throw some hometown flavor in here.  The best receiving duo of all time. They were a staple of the Pittsburgh team that won 4 Championships in the 70’s/80’s.  These two racked up just 6 Pro Bowls and 1 MVP, but back then was a tough, no bullshit time for football. They were able to finesse defenses that were made of grit and power.  Still tot this day, the most successful receiving duo the league has ever seen.

#2 Ray Lewis and Ed Reed (Baltimore Ravens – 9 Seasons)


It pains me to put this one up here, but it’s undeniable.  This is the best defensive duo all time, no question. Though they only won 1 Superbowl together, they totaled 21 Pro Bowls, 7 years of being one of the top 3 defenses in the league together.  They both are former multiple defensive players of the year. They also played against the Steelers and Bengals in the 2000’s which was no cake walk. They both are highly known as two of the scariest in their position and had a swagger to them that magnified how great they knew they were, and as Steeler fans, we knew it too.

#1 Steve Young and Jerry Rice (San Francisco 49ers – 11 Seasons)

Steve Young and Jerry Rice

This top dynamic duo has tallied up 3 Championships, 2 MVPs, 2 Super Bowl MVPs, and combined 17 Pro Bowls.  Together they were an unstoppable force and easily the best one-two punch of modern day football. Steve was a mobile gunslinger in its truest form and Jerry is in my opinion, the best NFL athlete of all time.  The hands, size, speed and intelligence have not been rivaled by any other player I’ve ever seen. These two take our top football duo spot with ease.


#3 Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers – 8 Seasons)

Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant

Shaq and Kobe were the NBA’s 2000s version of Russell and Cousy, except Shaq was as dominant on the offensive end as he was on defense not to mention the 7’2 300lb monster literally couldn’t be stopped.  At least not consistently. Shaq was a force the NBA had genuinely never seen before, and kept it that way. These two titans of the sport spent seven years together in Los Angeles, but they will be most remembered for the three straight NBA Championships they cruised to. They have combined for an eye popping 33 All-Star games, nine NBA championships and 19 All-NBA First-Team selections, and at least half of all of those accolades were together. If they were able to co-exist for a longer period of time, these two could have found themselves on top of this list. Unfortunately the personalities and egos were just too much, and Shaq left the Lakers in 2005.  This lead to an eventual rap performance by Shaq saying “Kobe, tell me how my ass tastes” in possibly the greatest TMZ sports moment of all time. O’Neal joined the Miami Heat and went on to win one more championship before retiring. Kobe stayed in L.A. and was able to win two more championships there. Since they’ve both retired, they have cleared the air to restore their friendship and reflect on how awesome they were, now things are dandy once again.


#2 Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers – 10 Seasons)

Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The “Showtime” era Lakers are responsible for some of the greatest to ever compete in the NBA EVER but especially in 1979 and 1991. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were the heart and soul of most of the teams during this period. Combined, these two legends have accumulated nine MVP Awards, 21 All-Star selections, five Finals and MVPs and 56,094 points. They were also able to capture five championships during their 10 seasons together.  Magic and Kareem are easily top 3 in both of their respective positions and lifted the Lakers to the high profile franchise we know today. Plus Magic beat AIDS… bonus points.


#1 Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (Chicago Bulls – 10 Seasons)

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

Michael Jordan is widely regarded as the single greatest basketball player to ever live. (which he is don’t @ me).   Scottie Pippen, often overlooked, was voted as one of the 50 greatest players along with Jordan in 1997. These two Chicago Bulls alumni led the way for some of the greatest basketball teams in history.  This du was infamous for being the best. Just simply the duo that made everyone view the sport differently and in an exciting way.

The 1995-96 Bulls staked their claim to the greatest regular season record of all-time (72-10). With Jordan and Pippen, the Bulls went to six NBA Finals, winning all six, without ever being forced into a game seven of a series. The two combined for six NBA Finals MVP awards, 13 NBA First-team selections, 17 time NBA All-Defensive First team selections, and 10 NBA scoring titles.  Scottie isn’t as high profile as Mike, but was and is a Hall of Fame player. These guys fed off of each other to become the GOAT duo of the NBA.


#3 David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez ( Boston Red Sox – 8 Seasons)

David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez

My favorite duo on this list is one of if not the most entertaining duos of ALL sports.  Two World Titles together in 2004 and 2007, 10 All Star Appearances, One World Series MVP.  Manny fizzled out after he left Boston. Big Papi ended up winning one more title in 2013 with the Sox.  David Ortiz was known as a big personality and a BIG hitter in the MLB, one of the best all time. With Papi’s shenanigans and Manny playing poker in the Green Monster with staff before games made them likable, but their play on the field made them immortalized.  They broke the Bambino curse, and ruled the league while they were still swinging in it.


#2 Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig (New York Yankees – 12 Seasons)

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

These two Mt. Rushmore of baseball icons, spent 11 seasons together as the 3-4 hitters in the “Murderers Row” Yankee line-up at the heart of the order. Ruth and Gehrig were the two greatest baseball players in baseball during the 1920’s, and during the 1927 season Babe Ruth hit, a then record, 60 home runs; more than any other team in baseball but one. That same season, Gehrig hit 47 home runs and won the league MVP award.

The two players combined for 13 World Series titles, 1,207 home runs, 4,208 runs batted in and 5,594 hits. There has never been and likely never will be a duo quite like these two again.  Sure competition was a lot less competitive back then, but to to be able to do what they did against anyone is impressive and a truly once in a lifetime pairing


#1 Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees – 10 Seasons)

Sporting News Archive

Jeter is probably one of the top 5 players all time to ever swing a bat.  And despite the steroids scandal, A- Rod was still one damn good ball player.  These two nabbed 2 World Series, 2 MVPs, 7 Golden Gloves and a shit ton of wins together.  They made the Yankees the villains of the MLB sort of how the Patriots are in the NFL because they’re just so damn good.  Jeter is a first ballot Hall of Famer and possibly A Rod someday too. This lands them at our #1 spot for baseball.


#3 Paolo Maldini and Mauro Tassotti (A.C. Milan – 13 Seasons)

Paolo Maldini and Mauro Tassotti

The rebirth of the Italian side began in 1986 when Silvio Berlusconi bought the team out of bankruptcy. He then appointed Arrigo Sacchi as manager and so began one of the most dominant eras in the clubs history. Part of the team’s success was due to an imfoumas back line that featured Franco Baresi, Filippo Galli, Alessandro “Billy” Costacurta, Mauro Tassotti, and Paolo Maldini. For this article will wil feature the pair of fullbacks, because as much as the team was known for their offensive abilities they were also relentless defenders. Which in essence is the job of a fullback. The Professor (Tassotti) and The Captain (Maldini) roamed the sidelines for thirteen seasons together. Winning five Serie A titles and three Champions League titles. Tassotti the gifted defender, and Maldini the greatest defender of all time helped lead Milian through a period of time that is a rarity to see in soccer. Nicknamed “Immortals” by the Italian Media they won three consecutive Serie A titles while marshaling an unbeaten fifty eight game stretch. The The 1989 – 90 team is often regarded as the greatest club side of all time.


#2 Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United – 6 Seasons)

Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo

The end of the Fergie Era is one of the proudest in Manchester United history. The club is a whose who of managers and players. They have won every trophy you can name five times over. With that being said there were only a few years more successful than the six season in which the team had two of the greatest forwards to ever play the game. Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo together lead ManU to three League Titles, one FA Cup and one Champions League trophy. The two were the focal point of a United attack that would overwhelm teams with pure talent. Under the guise of famous manager Alex Ferguson the club ruled the English Premier League. In the final three years of the duos reign they won every major trophy including three consecutive EPL Championships, a League Cup and a Champions League. In the Summer of 2009 Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid. Each part of the duo would see their own success separately. Rooney would go on to win the EPL two more times. Ronaldo would go on to win three La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey, and four Champions Leagues. Had Ronaldo not been sold its hard to imagine what the pair could have achieved for their club. Ronaldo averaging more than a goal per game for the next nine seasons domestically and in europe. Rooney’s personal stats also spiked reaching the twenty goal mark twice in Ronaldo’s absence. However when they were together it was a true spectacle and one to remember fondly.


#1 Xavi and Andres Iniesta (Barcelona – 13 Seasons

Xavi and Andres Iniesta

Barcelona is probably best known for being the home of Lionel Messi. However Messi is only one man, and as we know in sports unless you’re LeBron James it takes more than one guy to win a game. So for the sake of argument we have paired Messi’s supporting cast together as the greatest duo in scorre history. The pair partoled the center of the park for Barcelona for thirteen seasons racking up just about every trophy you can win. 7 League Titles, 3 Copa Del Rays and 4 Champions League trophies. Yes all of these were won while Messi was on the team but! A few things, one Messi plays forward. That means someone has to get the ball to Messi. Yes he is capable of doing that  himself, but there’s a limit to the GOATS powers. Need proof look at Argentina’s international accomplishments during Messi’s reign. Now during Xavi and Iniesta time with Spain they have managed to capture a World Cup and 2 European Championships. So again for the sake of the argument this duo has reached the highest success for club and country. So in the book of Buckets of Violence that makes them the greatest duo in Soccer History.


#3 Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr (Pittsburgh Penguins – 8 Seasons)

Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr

The Number three Dynamic Duo of the NHL is really more of a what could have been. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been blessed with no less than four generational talents over their history. The original two headed monster is Jagr and Lemieux. These two won every major individual award in the 90s. Basically trading them back forth. Had it not been for Mario’s career being stunted by Leukemia who knows what these two could have accomplished. In their brief time together they won two cups. This combination was essentially the original version of Toews and Kane, a dynamic winger who could generate on his own, but truly shined when he was slotted with his all star centerman. They arguably could have won more championships, but fell short in the playoffs for a number of reasons. Mostly because it was never a guarantee Lemieux would be on the roster every year. This I believe handcuffed GM Craig Patrick from being able to make a definitive decision to replace Mario. Also at the time Pittsburgh was not exactly strapped with cash and bringing in another big name was not in the budgett. It’s hard to imagine what a healthy Mario could have done for the Penguins, but alas he wasn’t and therefore they are number three on the list.


#2 Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks – 10 Seasons)

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane

The Chicago Blackhawks essentially created a dynasty in two picks. Toews in 2006 and Kane in 2007. Both first rounders were taken in the top three, and provided a dynamic combination for the Hawks for a decade. Winning three cups and, each man taking home a Conn Smythe. The thing that puts this due at number two for me is the fact that they have played together on the same line. Often they have been split between two lines two help spread out offense. However anytime Joel Quenneville felt his team needed a punch he would slide Kane onto Toews line creating instant magic. This was never more evident then the 2015 Cup run. The Hawks were not as offensively stacked as they had been in the two previous cup runs. So Queenville heavily relied on his studs to carry the team. Duncan Keith famously playing north of thirty minutes a night. They also paired Toews and Kane to give the team an edge. It felt like the Hawks would be down a goal or two in the third period of a game and Coach Q would link the stars up and they would score enough to force overtime and eventually win it. The duo signed matching contracts in 2014. This seemingly has handicapped the Hawks in recent years and could be the cause of the duo eventually being split up. Unless General Manager Stan Bowman can crack the salary cap code we could be seeing the final days of the 2nd greatest duo in NHL history.


#1 Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier (Edmonton Oilers/New York Rangers – 10 Seasons)

Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier

The legendary duo for the Edmonton Oilers are clearly number one. Above everything they wont he most hardware. Four Stanley Cups, but the also won together internationally for Team Canada. Including a Canada Cup and a silver medal in the 96 World Cup of Hockey. To dig further into it, this pair defined a generation of players. This duo is a rarity in the sense that each man in his own way was more powerful than the other. Messier would actually go on to win more cups than Gretzky. Yet 99 would set ever record know to man. Despite their individual accomplishments, they were never able to find the same gravitas as when they played together. As much as a I love the other duos on this list it’s hard to argue against The Captain and The Great One.

Pro Wrestling

#3 The Road Warriors (31 Years)

The Road Warriors

Tag team wrestling has always been a specialty. It truly takes two great wrestlers to work together to present an entertaining match. In spite of it being a spectacle to watch, tag teams were kept to the mid card that is until the emergence of the Road Warriors. The first true stars of tag team wrestling. Hawk and Animal were can’t miss. With their larger than life personas and over the top face paint and shoulder pads. They were legit bruisers who could work with anyone. Their move set was devastating but the biggest pop of the night would come from their finisher. A tandem maneuver called The Doomsday Device. It is a move that was so iconic it has been reused throughout tag team wrestling for decades. Holding titles in AWA, WWE, WCW, and New Japan these guys were the original star tag team.


#2 The Dudley Boyz (22 Years)

The Dudley Boyz

The Dudley Boyz helped make Tag Team wrestling cool again. Somewhere along the way in the eighties tag team wrestling lost its mojo. It wasn’t until the Dudley’s crashed onto the scene in ECW did it become cool again. Serving as a cornerstone in ECW through the glory years. Team 3D would make the jump to WWE issuing in the renaissance of the WWE tag team division. Along with the Hardys and Edge and Christian, the Dudleys would put on a series of death defying TLC matches that would help define the era. Because of their efforts Tag Team matches became can’t miss and they would inspire a new generation of tag teams to come. Both Devon and Bubba would both go on to have singles run, but they always managed to find their way back together. Despite Bubba winning a number of individual titles it’s clear that he did his best work with Brother Devon at his side. The pair are the only team to win Tag Titles in five different promotions. They also hold the most tag title reigns in WWE, and both are in the WWE Hall of Fame.


# 1 The Young Bucks (19 Years)

The Young Bucks

The Young Bucks are the greatest Tag Team in the history of pro wrestling. The American born tag team found their first taste of success after joining the Bullet Club in New Japan. From that point they would go on to win the eight different tag titles. Most importantly winning the Junior and Heavyweight tag titles in New Japan. To this day they are still the only team in history to win both belts. Since leaving Ring of Honor and New Japan the duo have created the hottest thing in wrestling AEW. The promotion is shaping up to be the first real competitor to the global giant WWE since WCW. Their love of wrestling and unbreakable will have lead them to the top of every pinnacle in wrestling. Now as Executive Vice Presidents of AEW they look to change the world one more time.


Written by Johnny Violence

The lead NHL/Hockey writer for Thoughts From The Bench.

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