The Best Athletes of All Time People In Sports

The Best Athletes of All Time

435k votes 23k voters 398k views 1,559 items tags f p @

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.

List Photo: user uploaded image
  • 280 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 5,434
    - 5,241

    most listed
    Brantford, Canada

    ;
  2. 2
    + 7,836
    - 5,105

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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 6,327
    - 4,577


    USA, Kentucky, Louisville

    ;
  4. 4
    + 3,731
    - 2,922


    Oakville, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  5. 5
    + 4,032
    - 3,713


    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ;
  6. 6
    + 4,448
    - 4,194


    Três Corações, Brazil

    ;
  7. 7
    + 4,351
    - 4,148


    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ;
  8. 8
    + 3,062
    - 2,835


    Mannheim, Germany

    ;
  9. 9
    + 3,677
    - 3,043


    Basel, Switzerland

    ;
  10. 10
    + 4,025
    - 3,150

    ranked low on reranks
    West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana

    ;
  11. 11
    + 2,470
    - 2,691

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Novosibirsk, Russia

    ;
  12. 12
    + 3,248
    - 3,575

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

    ;
  13. 13
    + 921
    - 584


    Hürth, Germany

    ;
  14. 14
    + 2,100
    - 1,990

    often listed & added by JonathanWeider
    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,026
    - 1,540

    ranked low on reranks
    Parry Sound, Canada

    ;
  16. 16
    + 2,303
    - 1,912


    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

    ;
  17. 17
    + 2,246
    - 1,786


    Munich, Germany

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1,837
    - 1,381


    Yorkville, New York City, New York

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  19. 19
    + 2,049
    - 1,633


    Montreal, Canada

    ;
  20. 20
    + 3,228
    - 2,971


    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    ;
  21. 21
    + 3,106
    - 2,634


    San Mateo, California, United States of America

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1,907
    - 1,699

    added by JonathanWeider
    Elverum, Norway

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1,809
    - 1,628

    added by JonathanWeider
    Oslo, Norway

    ;
  24. 24
    + 2,056
    - 1,801

    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1,800
    - 1,688

    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

    ;
  26. 26
    + 786
    - 573

    added by Arminius
    Gelsenkirchen, Germany

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1,357
    - 1,138

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

    ;
  28. 28
    + 552
    - 329

    ranked low on reranks & added by geyyy
    Moscow, Russia

    ;
  29. 29
    + 2,780
    - 2,395


    Rosario, Argentina

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1,239
    - 856


    USA, Spavinaw, Oklahoma

    ;
  31. 31
    + 1,863
    - 1,504

    added by JonathanWeider
    Ashington, United Kingdom

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1,604
    - 1,422

    added by JonathanWeider
    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

    ;
  33. 33
    + 1,648
    - 1,521
    Lidija Skobilowa is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Athletes of All Time

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  34. 34
    + 1,514
    - 1,404

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

    ;
  35. 35
    + 1,523
    - 1,464

    added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1,640
    - 1,273

    ranked low on reranks
    USA, Carlsbad, California

    ;
  37. 37
    + 3,234
    - 3,203


    Bessemer, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1,915
    - 1,999

    added by Skojare
    Stockholm, Sweden

    ;
  39. 39
    + 2,282
    - 2,472


    Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1,367
    - 1,334

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

    ;
  41. 41
    + 799
    - 945

    often listed
    Lanús, Argentina

    ;
  42. 42
    + 888
    - 841


    Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1,135
    - 1,554

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,421
    - 1,177

    ranked low on reranks & added by averagej123
    Nyagan, Russia

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,653
    - 1,625


    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1,258
    - 1,239


    Volgograd, Russia

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1,646
    - 1,710

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  48. 48
    + 1,674
    - 1,767

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    New York City, USA, New York

    ;
  49. 49
    + 310
    - 212

    ranked low on reranks & added by amsmaia
    São Paulo, Brazil

    ;
  50. 50
    + 641
    - 518


    Prague, Czech Republic

    ;
1560 +

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