Under ordinary circumstances, the only means of locomotion a professional athlete needs is his own magnificent body.

But should an athlete choose to be carried, lifted, flown, floated, glided, wheeled or otherwise transported between two geographical points, then the conveyance used to move the sportsman must be as glorious to behold as the athlete himself.

Forthwith, we present the five best forms of transportation ever employed by professional athletes.

LeBron James, Basketball, Banana Boat

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 17: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers attends the summer league game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on July 17, 2015 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (credit: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images and Thinkstock)

(credit: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images and Thinkstock)

Sports people often wonder how Cavaliers forward LeBron James is so talented at sending basketballs from his hands into hoops.

Few have guessed that bananas may be to thank. But after a photo surfaced in July showing James riding in the rear position of a banana boat, maybe more sports people should be wondering about bananas.

Is it possible that James’ affinity for riding on banana boats betrays a hidden banana-eating obsession that can explain his mysterious basketball powers? Yes, it is possible.

(A photo of James on the banana boat would have cost us $150. We didn’t want to pay $150 for a photo of LeBron James on a banana boat, but the New York Post did and you can view the photo on their website.)

Roy Halladay, Baseball, Unicycle

Two postulates for a simple proof:

A) The professional athlete is enthroned at the pinnacle of human excellence, the summit of human dignity.

B) The unicycle is the most dignified vehicle. Riding a unicycle gives dignity to all.

Therefore: Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay’s ride on a unicycle made him more than a mere man.

Shaquille O’Neal, Basketball, Girlfriend

The professional athlete is more than just triceps and biceps, height and weight, speed and strength. His talent exceeds his physical form. And in times of great entertainment necessity, he can transfer his powers to others, kind of like when the Lord breathed life into Eve through Adam’s hollow rib. Well, sort of, in a way.

The athlete’s protean nature helps explain how massive basketball man Shaquille O’Neal was able to will his 325-pound body to move across the stage of Jimmy Kimmel Live atop his 5-foot-1-inch girlfriend’s slender frame.


Mario Balotelli, Soccer, Segway

(credit: lnstagram/mb459)

(credit: lnstagram/mb459)

Like professional athletes, Segways are fast, agile, powerful, sophisticated and perpetually relevant to the culture.

It’s no surprise that Mario Balotelli, a striker for an Italian soccer club, looked so fashionably rakish as he chatted with his nonna on his mobile while leaning, at a 50-degree angle, into the future.

Ty Cobb, Baseball, Elephant

(credit: Legendary Auctions)

(credit: Legendary Auctions)

Professional athletes, as a rule, are wonderful, wonderful people. The only exception is Ty Cobb, an early 20th century Detroit Tiger outfielder who, as one delightful children’s song explains, “used to sharpen up his spikes before every game” and “beat the heck out of a heckler who didn’t even have any hands.”

Animals, as a rule, love to carry people on their backs. The only exception is elephants, who must be subjected to a Ty Cobb-level regimen of cruelty and punishment before they will submit to be ridden.

But Ty Cobb rode an elephant many, many years ago. It was a different time!