372,014 votes 20,539 voters 363,342 views 1,552 items tags f p @

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.

The Best Athletes of All Time People In Sports
  • 249 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options
B Comments
& Embed
2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 6717
    - 4421

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 4656
    - 4456

    most listed
    Brantford, Canada

    ;
  3. 3
    + 3337
    - 2214

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

    ;
  4. 4
    + 5383
    - 3953


    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    ;
  5. 5
    + 3793
    - 3545


    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ;
  6. 6
    + 3411
    - 3228


    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ;
  7. 7
    + 3853
    - 3641


    Três Corações, Brazil

    ;
  8. 8
    + 3388
    - 2839


    West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana

    ;
  9. 9
    + 2542
    - 2461


    Mannheim, Germany

    ;
  10. 10
    + 3076
    - 2704


    Basel, Switzerland

    ;
  11. 11
    + 2839
    - 3135


    Towson, Baltimore, Maryland

    ;
  12. 12
    + 2032
    - 2355

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Novosibirsk, Russia

    ;
  13. 13
    + 1681
    - 1696

    added by JonathanWeider
    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

    ;
  14. 14
    + 2707
    - 2624


    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    ;
  15. 15
    + 1858
    - 1648


    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

    ;
  16. 16
    + 2586
    - 2302


    San Mateo, California, United States of America

    ;
  17. 17
    + 1775
    - 1541


    Munich, Germany

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1680
    - 1586

    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

    ;
  19. 19
    + 1786
    - 1242


    Randy Savage (randall Mario Poffo)

  20. 20
    + 1529
    - 1482

    added by JonathanWeider
    Elverum, Norway

    ;
  21. 21
    + 1410
    - 1166


    Yorkville, New York City, New York

    ;
  22. 22
    + 2895
    - 2787


    Bessemer, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1588
    - 1415


    Montreal, Canada

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1468
    - 1408

    added by JonathanWeider
    Oslo, Norway

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1571
    - 1321


    Parry Sound, Canada

    ;
  26. 26
    + 1519
    - 1328

    added by JonathanWeider
    Ashington, United Kingdom

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1450
    - 1451

    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

    ;
  28. 28
    + 1373
    - 1333

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  29. 29
    + 2299
    - 2104


    Rosario, Argentina

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1310
    - 1233

    added by JonathanWeider
    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

    ;
  31. 31
    + 2076
    - 2293


    Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1231
    - 1236

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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 421
    - 309


    Hürth, Germany

    ;
  34. 34
    + 1324
    - 1093


    Carlsbad, California, United States of America

    ;
  35. 35
    + 698
    - 668


    Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1259
    - 1305

    often listed & added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

    ;
  37. 37
    + 941
    - 695


    Spavinaw, Oklahoma, United States of America

    ;
  38. 38
    + 893
    - 715


    Narrows, Georgia, United States of America

    ;
  39. 39
    + 215
    - 154

    added by Polar Bear
    Trondheim, Norway

    ;
  40. 40
    + 241
    - 169

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sydney, Australia

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1691
    - 1867

    added by Skojare
    Stockholm, Sweden

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1206
    - 1177

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1465
    - 1572


    Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1122
    - 1094


    Volgograd, Russia

    ;
  45. 45
    + 617
    - 540

    ranked low on reranks
    Onești, Romania

    ;
  46. 46
    + 985
    - 1409

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  47. 47
    + 571
    - 655


    Dallas, Texas, United States of America

    ;
  48. 48
    + 941
    - 975

    added by JonathanWeider
    Prague, Czech Republic

    ;
  49. 49
    + 1245
    - 1006

    ranked low on reranks & added by averagej123
    Nyagan, Russia

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1051
    - 970

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

    ;
1553 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >