Without a select few men testing the world’s limits and flying above the rest, we’d still be living in caves and dying at age 25 from rotten teeth.
And while big achievements like fire and space travel are behind us, we’re glad guys are still pushing boundaries in the here and now.
Like these fine fellows, for example.
This mild-mannered husband and father just so happens to rap and produce mega-hits while running a record label and clothing line. Oh, and as you may have heard, he recently started a streaming music service, Tidal, that’s making headlines left and right. As he once noted in song, “I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.” Dude’s got vision.
So much art is inaccessible and weird for weird’s sake. Not Wiley’s. This New York-based painter takes works from classic European masters and recasts African-Americans in the lead. Islamic architecture and West African textile designs also make appearances in his strikingly familiar yet wholly fresh works.
McGarry is a kind of cocktail archaeologist. Going against the grain of new and often underwhelming drinks, the 2013 International Bartender of the Year and proprietor of NYC’s The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog tries to recreate cocktails going back as far as the 17th Century.
The Blackheath, London native started off selling cheap records through the mail. He now owns Virgin Group, composed of more than 400 companies, including one of the two major private space tourism firms. In his spare time, he tries to break world records. We think all billionaires should be required to be as adventurous as Branson, flying hot air balloons and sailing around the world.
Piranha II: The Spawning isn’t exactly the most auspicious directorial debut. But James Cameron followed that up with truly groundbreaking films, including The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic and Avatar. Oh, he also traveled solo to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on earth. That’s what we call diving beyond.
No one drives a Prius because it’s a cool car. On the other hand, people would drive a Tesla if it got four miles to the gallon. When he’s not making electric cars people actually want to be seen in, Musk is ferrying people to space, working on theoretical high-speed transportation systems and releasing revolutionary solar-powered home batteries. And that’s just Wednesday.
There aren’t a lot of new adventures to have down here on Planet Earth, but there are plenty to be found if you just look up. Salzburg, Austria’s Baumgartner holds the world record for both the shortest BASE jump, off of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, and the highest sky dive, which was literally from space. His team placed 9th in last year’s Audi Motorsport competition.
What do you do when a knee injury ends your soccer career? You go to culinary school at the local trade college and open world-class restaurants. What do you do after those restaurants earn 15 Michelin stars? You start more than a dozen television shows celebrating your oft-acerbic personality.
This Brooklyn native might be one of the most versatile actors working today. He’s equally comfortable playing a hard-boiled gangster in Reservoir Dogs, doing strange bit parts in films like Billy Madison and carrying a sprawling series like Boardwalk Empire. He’s also a former FDNY firefighter who worked 12-hour shifts searching for survivors in 9/11 wreckage. You never heard about that, by the way, because he shooed cameras away.
At 6’3” and 190 pounds, Curry isn’t immediately what springs to mind when you think “NBA MVP.” But this Davidson College product consistently defies expectations. The 2015 Three-Point Shootout champ has also played on two world champion FIBA teams and led the Golden State Warriors to franchise record 67 wins. What we really love, though, is his eye-popping, never-seen-that-before dribbling, passing and shooting ability.