The Best Athletes of All Time People In Sports

The Best Athletes of All Time

499k votes 26k voters 427k views 1,633 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
Collection Photo:  YouTube
  • 293 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 5,838
    - 6,146

    most listed
    Brantford, Canada

    ;
  2. 2
    + 8,512
    - 5,992

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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 7,075
    - 5,363


    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    ;
  4. 4
    + 4,000
    - 3,745


    Oakville, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  5. 5
    + 4,876
    - 4,866


    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ;
  6. 6
    + 4,883
    - 4,952


    Três Corações, Brazil

    ;
  7. 7
    + 4,252
    - 4,541


    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ;
  8. 8
    + 1,442
    - 1,149

    ranked low on reranks
    Lanús, Argentina

    ;
  9. 9
    + 4,265
    - 3,502

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

    ;
  10. 10
    + 3,995
    - 3,800


    Basel, Switzerland

    ;
  11. 11
    + 3,236
    - 3,609

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Mannheim, Germany

    ;
  12. 12
    + 3,724
    - 4,263


    Towson, Baltimore, Maryland

    ;
  13. 13
    + 2,241
    - 1,891

    added by JonathanWeider
    Elverum, Norway

    ;
  14. 14
    + 1,094
    - 674

    ranked low on reranks
    Prague, Czech Republic

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,619
    - 3,435

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Novosibirsk, Russia

    ;
  16. 16
    + 2,215
    - 2,465

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

    ;
  17. 17
    + 610
    - 360

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

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1,966
    - 1,718


    New York City, USA, New York

    ;
  19. 19
    + 2,413
    - 2,292


    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

    ;
  20. 20
    + 2,156
    - 1,924


    Parry Sound, Canada

    ;
  21. 21
    + 3,401
    - 3,673


    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    ;
  22. 22
    + 2,379
    - 2,218


    Munich, Germany

    ;
  23. 23
    + 2,015
    - 2,194

    added by Skojare
    Stockholm, Sweden

    ;
  24. 24
    + 2,151
    - 2,114

    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1,885
    - 1,910

    added by JonathanWeider
    Oslo, Norway

    ;
  26. 26
    + 2,435
    - 2,594


    Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland

    ;
  27. 27
    + 3,415
    - 3,439


    Bessemer, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  28. 28
    + 3,292
    - 3,321


    San Mateo, California, United States of America

    ;
  29. 29
    + 370
    - 232

    ranked low on reranks
    Novi Sad, Serbia

    ;
  30. 30
    + 344
    - 285

    added by JonathanWeider
    Zagreb, Yugoslavia

    ;
  31. 31
    + 1,219
    - 1,647

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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 3,098
    - 3,032


    Rosario, Argentina

    ;
  33. 33
    + 2,162
    - 2,155


    Montreal, Canada

    ;
  34. 34
    + 1,835
    - 2,105

    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

    ;
  35. 35
    + 1,770
    - 1,751


    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1,763
    - 1,831


    Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  37. 37
    + 1,557
    - 1,570

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

    ;
  38. 38
    + 201
    - 44

    ranked low on reranks
    Ostrava

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1,318
    - 1,036

    ranked low on reranks
    Spavinaw, Oklahoma, United States of America

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1,595
    - 1,718

    added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1,671
    - 1,699

    added by JonathanWeider
    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1,732
    - 1,508


    Carlsbad, California, United States of America

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1,667
    - 1,779
    Lidija Skobilowa is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Athletes of All Time

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  44. 44
    + 1,427
    - 1,537

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,106
    - 1,081


    Hürth, Germany

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1,336
    - 1,458


    Volgograd, Russia

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1,782
    - 1,961


    Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York City, New York

    ;
  48. 48
    + 1,895
    - 1,796

    added by JonathanWeider
    Ashington, United Kingdom

    ;
  49. 49
    + 2,854
    - 2,539


    Chinatown, California, United States of America

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1,610
    - 1,972


    Cypress, California, United States of America

    ;
1634 +

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