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.

  • 171 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    most listed
    Brantford, Canada

    ) open
  2. 2
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    the people's #1
    New York City, New York, United States of America

    ) open
  3. 3
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    - 3016

    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    ) open
  4. 4
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    - 2426

    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ) open
  5. 5
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    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 3043
    - 2708

    Três Corações, Brazil

    ) open
  7. 7
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    ranked low on reranks
    Oakville, Alabama, United States of America

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 2625
    - 2128

    West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana

    ) open
  9. 9
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Towson, Baltimore, Maryland

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 1929
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    Mannheim, Germany

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 2048
    - 1801

    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 2331
    - 2020

    Basel, Switzerland

    ) open
  13. 13
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    - 1032

    added by JonathanWeider
    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

    ) open
  14. 14
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    - 974

    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

    ) open
  15. 15
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    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

    ) open
  16. 16
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Novosibirsk, Russia

    ) open
  17. 17
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    Munich, Germany

    ) open
  18. 18
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    San Mateo, California, United States of America

    ) open
  19. 19
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Oslo, Norway

    ) open
  20. 20
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Ashington, United Kingdom

    ) open
  21. 21
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Elverum, Norway

    ) open
  22. 22
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  23. 23
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

    ) open
  24. 24
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    Bessemer, Alabama, United States of America

    ) open
  25. 25
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

    ) open
  26. 26
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    added by Skojare
    Stockholm, Sweden

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 1753
    - 1926

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

    ) open
  28. 28
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    Montreal, Canada

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 1030
    - 413

    ranked low on reranks & added by nico
    Randy Savage (randall Mario Poffo)

  30. 30
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    Parry Sound, Canada

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 1090
    - 908

    Carlsbad, California, United States of America

    ) open
  32. 32
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Prague, Czech Republic

    ) open
  33. 33
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

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  34. 34
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    Yorkville, New York City, New York

    ) open
  35. 35
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    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 1000
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    Kew, Australia

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 755
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    ranked low on reranks
    Spavinaw, Oklahoma, United States of America

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 1000
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 1290
    - 1424

    Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 1241
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Cypress, California, United States of America

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 1333
    - 1488

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York City, New York

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 438
    - 419

    Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 259
    - 208

    ranked low on reranks & added by JonathanWeider
    Barracas, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 1001
    - 723

    ranked low on reranks
    California, United States of America

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 738
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    Narrows, Georgia, United States of America

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 765
    - 552

    ranked low on reranks
    Sopron, Hungary

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 929
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 1020
    - 954

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 886
    - 703

    added by JonathanWeider
    Albury, Australia

    ) open
  50. 50
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    ranked low on reranks & added by JonathanWeider
    Bad Reichenhall, Germany

    ) open
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