The Best Athletes of All Time People In Sports
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The Best Athletes of All Time

List Criteria: Open to all amateur or professional athletes in any sport

The greatest athletes of all time: a list of the most dominant, iconic athletes to ever play sports. This list gathers sports stars from across every professional league, as well as amateur athletes who may have never competed professionally, in one overall list. Though it may be challenging to compare performance in a variety of different competitive arenas requiring different skill sets, this list nevertheless attempts to distinguish the top, highest-performing and most successful athletes ever to play. The sports stars that rise to the top can be considered to be the best athletes of all time.

Aspects to consider in picking a best athlete of all time would include, obviously, that player's raw talent and born ability. Some individuals seem to prodigally gifted in their sport of choice, and it's hard to discount the importance of this kind of natural talent. However, it's also important to evaluate hard work, discipline and a commitment to the game. Some athletes may not have the natural, genetic ability to dunk a basketball or hit a home run, but nonetheless have trained to the point of reaching these goals all the same. (They may not be the greatest athlete of all time at all sports, but they have mastered their activity.)

Finally, it can be a challenge to compare an athlete who competed in a solo competition with a member of a well known sports organization or club. How do you look at the achievements of, say, a boxer like Muhammad Ali alongside an athlete like Michael Jordan, who had to not only perform to his own best abilities but work as a cohesive unit along with other members of his team? These are the questions that must be answered when compiling a list of the world's greatest all-time athletes.

For more sports news and athlete trade rumors, vote on this list of sports news sites.

  • 168 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 3533
    - 2909

    most listed
    Brantford, Canada

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 4868
    - 3187

    the people's #1
    New York City, New York, United States of America

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 3970
    - 2832

    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 2532
    - 2203

    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 2698
    - 2385

    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 2844
    - 2518

    Três Corações, Brazil

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 2527
    - 1939

    West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 1990
    - 1273

    ranked low on reranks
    Oakville, Alabama, United States of America

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 1847
    - 1588

    Mannheim, Germany

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 2088
    - 2199

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Towson, Baltimore, Maryland

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 1121
    - 863

    added by JonathanWeider
    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 1166
    - 833

    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 1976
    - 1605

    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 1247
    - 817

    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 1073
    - 751

    added by JonathanWeider
    Oslo, Norway

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 1172
    - 796

    Munich, Germany

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 1025
    - 729

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  18. 18
    + 1075
    - 711

    added by JonathanWeider
    Ashington, United Kingdom

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1081
    - 783

    added by JonathanWeider
    Elverum, Norway

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 1434
    - 1479

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Novosibirsk, Russia

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 2165
    - 1894

    Basel, Switzerland

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 983
    - 671

    added by JonathanWeider
    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1714
    - 1368

    San Mateo, California, United States of America

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 951
    - 740

    added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 1340
    - 1214

    added by Skojare
    Stockholm, Sweden

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 1134
    - 896

    Montreal, Canada

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 777
    - 663

    added by JonathanWeider
    Prague, Czech Republic

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 1115
    - 836

    Parry Sound, Canada

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 2310
    - 2057

    Bessemer, Alabama, United States of America

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 1676
    - 1786

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 977
    - 694

    ranked low on reranks
    Kew, Australia

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 1110
    - 952

    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 1037
    - 784

    Carlsbad, California, United States of America

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 981
    - 890

    added by JonathanWeider
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 922
    - 788

    Volgograd, Russia

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 602
    - 496

    added by JonathanWeider
    Trondheim, Norway

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 990
    - 826

    Yorkville, New York City, New York

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 1050
    - 846

    Leimen, Germany

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 910
    - 739

    added by JonathanWeider
    Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 1003
    - 860

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 555
    - 504

    often listed & added by JonathanWeider
    Ishim, Tyumen Oblast, Russia

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 758
    - 498

    ranked low on reranks
    Sopron, Hungary

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 871
    - 633

    added by JonathanWeider
    Albury, Australia

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 948
    - 632

    California, United States of America

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 894
    - 582

    added by JonathanWeider
    Bad Reichenhall, Germany

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 872
    - 354

    ranked low on reranks & added by nico
    Randy Savage (randall Mario Poffo)

  47. 47
    + 1196
    - 1533

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Cypress, California, United States of America

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 2295
    - 1908

    Chinatown, California, United States of America

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 1831
    - 1644

    Rosario, Argentina

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 196
    - 94

    Hürth, Germany

    ) open
1338 +

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