The Best Athletes of All Time People In Sports

The Best Athletes of All Time

441k votes 24k voters 406k views 1,584 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.

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List Photo: user uploaded image
  • 284 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 8,071
    - 5,182

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 5,544
    - 5,394

    most listed
    Brantford, Canada

    ;
  3. 3
    + 6,572
    - 4,637


    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    ;
  4. 4
    + 3,815
    - 2,997


    Oakville, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  5. 5
    + 4,107
    - 3,794


    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ;
  6. 6
    + 4,568
    - 4,259


    Três Corações, Brazil

    ;
  7. 7
    + 4,473
    - 4,209


    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ;
  8. 8
    + 3,778
    - 3,103


    Basel, Switzerland

    ;
  9. 9
    + 3,108
    - 2,903


    Mannheim, Germany

    ;
  10. 10
    + 4,099
    - 3,195

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

    ;
  11. 11
    + 2,502
    - 2,750

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Novosibirsk, Russia

    ;
  12. 12
    + 3,326
    - 3,630

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

    ;
  13. 13
    + 2,116
    - 2,044

    added by JonathanWeider
    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

    ;
  14. 14
    + 965
    - 639


    Hürth, Germany

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,342
    - 1,958


    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

    ;
  16. 16
    + 3,277
    - 3,019


    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    ;
  17. 17
    + 2,067
    - 1,582


    Parry Sound, Canada

    ;
  18. 18
    + 2,087
    - 1,667


    Montreal, Canada

    ;
  19. 19
    + 1,867
    - 1,414


    Yorkville, New York City, New York

    ;
  20. 20
    + 2,274
    - 1,818


    Munich, Germany

    ;
  21. 21
    + 3,158
    - 2,682


    San Mateo, California, United States of America

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1,921
    - 1,732

    added by JonathanWeider
    Elverum, Norway

    ;
  23. 23
    + 2,075
    - 1,829

    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1,822
    - 1,656

    added by JonathanWeider
    Oslo, Norway

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1,811
    - 1,720

    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

    ;
  26. 26
    + 2,872
    - 2,430


    Rosario, Argentina

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1,369
    - 1,166

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

    ;
  28. 28
    + 812
    - 615

    added by Arminius
    Gelsenkirchen, Germany

    ;
  29. 29
    + 575
    - 356

    added by geyyy
    Moscow, Russia

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1,257
    - 875


    USA, Spavinaw, Oklahoma

    ;
  31. 31
    + 1,871
    - 1,528

    added by JonathanWeider
    Ashington, United Kingdom

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1,654
    - 1,541
    Lidija Skobilowa is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Athletes of All Time

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  33. 33
    + 1,613
    - 1,446

    added by JonathanWeider
    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

    ;
  34. 34
    + 3,284
    - 3,223


    Bessemer, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  35. 35
    + 1,668
    - 1,294

    ranked low on reranks
    USA, Carlsbad, California

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1,529
    - 1,425

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

    ;
  37. 37
    + 1,532
    - 1,482

    added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

    ;
  38. 38
    + 937
    - 861


    Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1,930
    - 2,021

    added by Skojare
    Stockholm, Sweden

    ;
  40. 40
    + 2,327
    - 2,487


    Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland

    ;
  41. 41
    + 822
    - 969


    Lanús, Argentina

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1,692
    - 1,641


    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1,373
    - 1,353

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,160
    - 1,570

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

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,685
    - 1,725


    Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1,708
    - 1,787

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

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1,438
    - 1,206

    ranked low on reranks & added by averagej123
    Nyagan, Russia

    ;
  48. 48
    + 1,269
    - 1,256


    Volgograd, Russia

    ;
  49. 49
    + 652
    - 535


    Prague, Czech Republic

    ;
  50. 50
    + 834
    - 698


    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    ;
1585 +

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