I know we always do lists asking who are the current top 10 players in the NBA, or the top 10 all time, but what about the 10 greatest athletes in history? Consider these factors: How dominant were they in their respective sport? How did they revolutionize their sport? How respected and relevant are they today?
Honorable Mentions: Usain Bolt, Zinedene Zidane, Jim Brown, Ronaldo
1. Muhammed Ali
3. Michael Jordan
4. Wayne Gretzky
5. Tiger Woods
6. Jerry Rice
7. Jessie Owens
8. Babe Ruth
9. Diego Maradona
10. Michel Phelps
Thoughts? Your own?
I wouldn't put Michels Phelps in the top 10, because it's such a small niche sport. I have never even seen a black or asian swimmer even compete yet. I don't have a list, but Usain Bolt in my opinion should be ahead of him. Lance Armstrong and Mike Tyson should be honorable mentions also or even be on a list.
I know that out-of-ring antics derailed his boxing career, but it is very difficult to find people who consider Mike Tyson to be a top-25 boxer of all time. Look at Ring magazine, ESPN, SI, or the majority of analysts/fan lists.
To be considered a top athelete of all time, shouldn't he be considered a top athelete in his sport like the others listed?
Maybe you consider his dominance during his peak to be enough to put him there, but I don't think he deserves it. Although I am a big Tyson fan. It certainly was amazing watching him and the fear that he instilled during what turned out to be his prime.
Edit: I agree with you about Bolt, though.
if you take out phelps for those reasons, then you cannot add lance. there are no minority bikers either. :) also, babe ruth has to be taken out since there were no minorities then either. i agree on bolt though.
In my time Roy Jones Jr in his prime was the most dominant boxer I've ever seen and would probably be mentioned in my top 10 somewhere... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpDuSas6aAE&feature=related
His hand speed was absolutely ridiculous compared to almost all of his opponents..
but best ever is a big statement. Right now LeBron could do multiple sports I'm sure.One of the best today. And Calvin Johnson. Any top triathlete in the world could be considered a top pure athlete because they are great at multiple athletics. As for best ever, Wilt Chamberlin should be on that list. He was one of the top sprinters in his college days, and was one of the best beach volleyball players to ever play- And Carl Lewis getting snubbed is kind of a burner. He was a great sprinter and jumper in his time. And I know there maybe controversy on this one, but depending on your point of view, you can consider Lance Armstrong on that list based on the criteria of putting single sport athletes. Like it or not, he has so many followers from his fight against cancer. So does this mean situations should be involved and that's why Muhammed Ali was 1 on your list? And Barry Bonds not even considered? There are so many great athletes of all time, it really depends on how you are comparing them. I wouldn't include many one dimensional athletes though. A guy like Pele or Gretzky were great at their respective sports, but what determines a top 10 athlete of all time? Could Pele or Gretzky do anything else? Are they just considered because of the greatness they did for their sport? So many athletes revolutionized their respective sports, but what really makes a top 10 athlete?
+1. Couldn't agree more about Wilt. Another athlete who should be on the list is Jim Thorpe but anyone who saw him compete is most likely dead now.
A guy like Pele or Gretzky were great at their respective sports, but what determines a top 10 athlete of all time? Could Pele or Gretzky do anything else? Are they just considered because of the greatness they did for their sport? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm not the biggest hockey fan but Gretzky was a phenom and was a pretty damn good baseball player to boot. Pretty sure he was offered a contract by someone. Could've probably been a solid major leaguer if he focused on it.
I'm suprised that Carl Lewis hasn't been mentioned on here more, I'd definitly put him on there. I'd probably have Sugar Ray Robinson and Jim Brown on mine too (Brown wasn't only the greatest RB ever but is also in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame). With MMA gaining popularity it won't be long until guys like Anderson Silva get consideration for this too.
How about Wilt Chamberlain? A lot of people don't know this, but Wilt was great at other sports besides basketball. Before the NBA he was a track and field star at Kansas U. He won three Big Eight high jump championships and also competed in shot put and the 100-yard dash. After basketball he took up volleyball and eventually became a board member of the International Volleyball Association. He nearly boxed Ali in 1971 and they had a match set to take place in the Astrodome. In the end Wilt backed out after Ali lost to Frazier. There are countless other "stories" about his athletic exploits as well but some have to be questioned for their validity. I remember hearing a couple stories about how Jim Brown would regularly challenge Wilt to foot races when they would meet at social events. From what I heard Brown was on the losing end on more than a few of those races.
I guess you guys didn't read my factors. And most of you guys are just naming American athletes, have you ever taken a trip to Europe? Roy Jones and Lebron James are not as popular as some of the guys I mentioned.
I would might be temted to say that Tiger Woods should be a bit higher in the way he brought golf out to the masses, and made it so much bigger.
Babe Ruth was great at baseball but he wasnt really an "athlete."
hey, he was fat.
Going based off of you criteria of how dominant there were, how they revolutionized their sport(s), and how well regarded they are today.
1. Michael Jordan-Basketball
2. Muhammed Ali-Boxing
3. Bruce Lee-Martial arts (Trained in Wing Chun and created Jeet Kune Do)
4. Wanye Gretzky-Hockey
6. Jim Thorpe-Mulitple sports (Olympian, Football, Baseball, etc)
7. Babe Ruth-Baseball (he actually could run pretty well for a fat guy)
8. Tiger Woods-Golf
9. Wilt Chamberlain-Basketball (also Track & Field and Volleyball)
10. Pheidippides-Marathon runner. First ever marathon runner to be exact. His tale is the inspiration for the creation of marathon races and it's where the name of the race originates.
Phisically Pele was incredible, but he has not made merits to be the best footballer in history... Maradona in prime was better, or Beckembauer's career... also i think Messi and CR are better than him.
All his records of goals were in Brazil, playing against low teams... Messi broke his record playing against professional teams, in one of the best leagues in Europe and breaking all the records in Champions League
Deon Sanders came to mind. He not only played Pro baseball and football but excelled in both. I'd say he's More deserving then a couple of these guy. He lasted 10+years in both sports.
My bad I didn't follow the criteria, I went by pure athlete.
Current World Record holder in the decathlon. You know, the event(s) that determines The Greatest Athlete in the World.
Most vevolutionary to their sport, I would go...
Football - Johnny Unitas - The first real pocket passer, the way he threw the ball down feild marked the advent of the modern era.
Basketball - Wilt Chamberlain - They changed the freaking rules to level the playing feild. Jordan revolutionized the modern wing position and what a player can do with endorsements and a public profile, but Chamberlain required the rules to be changed.
Track and Feild - So many to count, there have been so many due to the diversity and number of events. Jim Thorpe. Jesse Owens, Roger Bannister ( 1st sub 4 minute mile) Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt, and many others have all risen the bar to a whole new level. It's hard to point out one over another.
6'5 276lbs and ran 100m in 10.8 seconds as well as being absolutely dominant in Rugby Union