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.

  • 158 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 3052
    - 2519

    most listed
    Brantford, Canada

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 4424
    - 2774

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

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 3597
    - 2436


    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 2062
    - 1887


    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 2521
    - 2110


    Três Corações, Brazil

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 2384
    - 1969


    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 1615
    - 996

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

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 2079
    - 1646


    West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 1883
    - 1958

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

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 1412
    - 1295


    Mannheim, Germany

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 1536
    - 1327


    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 749
    - 585

    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 710
    - 587

    added by JonathanWeider
    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 778
    - 553


    Munich, Germany

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 1938
    - 1732

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Basel, Switzerland

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 817
    - 575


    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 680
    - 503

    added by JonathanWeider
    Oslo, Norway

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 680
    - 480

    added by JonathanWeider
    Ashington, United Kingdom

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 687
    - 535

    added by JonathanWeider
    Elverum, Norway

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 628
    - 479

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  21. 21
    + 633
    - 449

    added by JonathanWeider
    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 2157
    - 1764


    Bessemer, Alabama, United States of America

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1566
    - 1549


    Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 653
    - 532

    added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 1065
    - 1213

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Novosibirsk, Russia

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 1356
    - 1141


    San Mateo, California, United States of America

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 526
    - 451

    added by JonathanWeider
    Prague, Czech Republic

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 860
    - 701


    Montreal, Canada

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 1071
    - 1007

    often listed & added by Skojare
    Stockholm, Sweden

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 859
    - 654


    Parry Sound, Canada

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 761
    - 498

    ranked low on reranks
    Kew, Australia

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 923
    - 696


    Leimen, Germany

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 840
    - 603


    Carlsbad, California, United States of America

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 831
    - 722

    often listed & added by JonathanWeider
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 914
    - 754

    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 810
    - 652


    Volgograd, Russia

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 798
    - 542

    added by JonathanWeider
    Albury, Australia

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 852
    - 523

    ranked low on reranks
    California, United States of America

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 2224
    - 1701


    Chinatown, California, United States of America

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 904
    - 741

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 830
    - 497

    ranked low on reranks & added by JonathanWeider
    Bad Reichenhall, Germany

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 830
    - 646

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

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 861
    - 684


    Yorkville, New York City, New York

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 689
    - 422

    ranked low on reranks
    Sopron, Hungary

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 449
    - 387

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lesnoy, Russia

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 516
    - 405

    added by JonathanWeider
    Trondheim, Norway

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 476
    - 406

    added by JonathanWeider
    Ishim, Tyumen Oblast, Russia

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 473
    - 346

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sebastian Vettel

  49. 49
    + 1765
    - 1463


    Rosario, Argentina

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 515
    - 375


    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    ) open
1337 +

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