Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time

Sam Mire
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Robin Hood, King Arthur, the Loch Ness Monster, Odysseus, Bagger Vance. Legends never die, even when their time on Earth ends. If we had to pick 12 contemporary American men who might attain legendary status (or already have), these men would make the list.

Warren Buffett

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
USA International Trade Administration via Wikimedia Commons

 

The Oracle of Omaha fundamentally changed how a generation of investors built their portfolios. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway became the cream of the Dow Jones, with shares gaining an absurd 28% per year at one point. The Buff-man is also an icon for his frugality, famously living well below his means, giving away the majority of his fortune to charitable foundations, and enjoying life’s simple pleasures like Coca-Cola and Dairy Queen.

Steve Jobs

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
Matthew Yohe via Wikimedia Commons

Those who did not live to see the rise of Apple should watch the film Blackberry. Brands once considered to be transformative (including Blackberry) were caught totally off guard by Apple’s unprecedented innovation, with the iPod and iPhone serving as the peak of Steve Jobs’ industry disruption. Apple computers and tablets have achieved massive, sustained popularity and are indelible features of American culture. With multiple biopics and a massively popular biography to his name, Steve Jobs is a flawed but iconic American.

Muhammad Ali

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons

It’s rare for an athlete to transcend sport in a historical manner, but Muhammad Ali did just that. Not only is he considered the greatest boxer in history, he was a polarizing social critic with controversial takes about race, taking an ardent stance against serving in the Vietnam War, and more legendary quotes than Mark Twain.

Ali’s quotes, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” and “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it — then I can achieve it.” have inspired many to remain determined in life.

Jeff Bezos

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
Flickr: Bezos’ Iconic Laugh via Wikimedia Commons

Will the man who single-handedly perfected the convenience economy be remembered as a legend? You bet your two-day shipping he will. Regardless of your feelings about the man, Bezos will go down in history for enabling near-instant gratification shoppers.

Michael Jordan

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
Zach Catanzareti Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Sorry, LeBron, but Michael Jordan is the most transcendent NBA player (and perhaps athlete) of this era. As if his Herculean on-court accomplishments (six rings) weren’t impressive enough, MJ’s contributions to footwear place him in rarified Air.

Mark Zuckerberg

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
JD Lasica via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most widely disliked public figures, Mark Zuckerberg, has courted controversy from all sides of the ideological spectrum. Yet, nobody can deny that Zuck is one of the robber barons of the technological age, and for this fact alone, Mark’s life will be documented in the history books. Even if Facebook is just a well-polished version of the “defunct” LifeLog, Zuckerberg will get the credit when history is written.

Henry Kissinger

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
LBJ Library via Wikimedia Commons

The ultimate behind-the-scenes operator, Henry Kissinger, is revered in some circles and reviled in others. Kissinger had his hands in many monumental American moments, from the Vietnam War to the Cold War to uprisings and military crackdowns in countries across the globe. History will not forget Kissinger, but it remains to be seen how it remembers him. Certainly, the portrait is a complex one.

Donald Trump

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

There is little doubt that Donald Trump will be part of the history books. Whether he’s painted as a real estate tycoon, disruptive leader, or something more villainous depends on who will be writing the books.

Elon Musk

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
Image credit: JD Lasica via Wikimedia Commons

Though born in South Africa, Elon Musk is an American citizen whose prominence in the culture is second to none. Whether you are a Tesla-owning Musk-ite who sees Elon as a suitable substitute for Jesus, or you think his Twitter takeover is a threat to humanity (or you’re somewhere in between the extremes), there’s little doubt that Musk will be remembered for quite some time. Between his network of satellites spanning the globe, his privatized space program, and Neuralink, Musk’s ambition and accomplishment are rivaled by few.

John Legend

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
PopTech via Wikimedia Commons

Technically, the polarizing R&B singer has already achieved Legend status. You might love his music, bristle at his political activism, or be completely indifferent towards the Grammy-winning crooner. Yet, even his most vocal critics can’t deny that John is (again, technically) a Legend.

Steven Spielberg

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
Gage Skidmore//Wikimedia Commons

While other directors (Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese) are perhaps more technically proficient, critically beloved directors than Steven Spielberg, their cultural impact and global reach do not come close. From Jaws to Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, and Indiana Jones, Steven Spielberg is responsible for more blockbuster films and franchises than any other contemporary director. Just as history remembers iconic directors like Frank Capra and John Huston, it will also remember Steven Spielberg.

Thomas Sowell

Future Legends: 12 Contemporary American Men We Think Will Stand the Test of Time
Internet Archive Book Images via Wikimedia Commons

Though he may not be known among the TikTok crowd, those familiar with the modern-day philosopher class know Tom Sowell. An economist, author, and social commentator raised in Harlem, Sowell has seen profound upheaval during his American life. Because his opinions are rooted in verifiable history and objective observations, Sowell’s many books and speeches become increasingly precious with each passing year.

Source: Reddit.

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