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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    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    ) open
  4. 4
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    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ) open
  5. 5
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    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ) open
  6. 6
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    Três Corações, Brazil

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

    ) open
  8. 8
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    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
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    Mannheim, Germany

    ) open
  11. 11
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    Basel, Switzerland

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 2053
    - 1820

    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    ) open
  13. 13
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 1221
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    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 1319
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    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

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

    ) open
  17. 17
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    Munich, Germany

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  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
    Elverum, Norway

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  21. 21
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Ashington, United Kingdom

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

    ) open
  28. 28
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    Montreal, Canada

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  29. 29
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    ranked low on reranks & added by nico
    Randy Savage (randall Mario Poffo)

  30. 30
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    Parry Sound, Canada

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  31. 31
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    Carlsbad, California, United States of America

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  32. 32
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Prague, Czech Republic

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  33. 33
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    Yorkville, New York City, New York

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  34. 34
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

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  35. 35
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    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

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  36. 36
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    Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

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  37. 37
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    Kew, Australia

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  38. 38
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    Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

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  39. 39
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    ranked low on reranks
    Spavinaw, Oklahoma, United States of America

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  40. 40
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 1247
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Cypress, California, United States of America

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 1338
    - 1491

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

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 264
    - 212

    added by JonathanWeider
    Barracas, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires

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  44. 44
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    ranked low on reranks
    California, United States of America

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  45. 45
    + 528
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Heppenheim, Germany

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 933
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 740
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    Narrows, Georgia, United States of America

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 361
    - 253

    added by Arminius
    Weilheim in Oberbayern, Germany

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 944
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    often listed
    Volgograd, Russia

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  50. 50
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    - 369

    added by enros
    Würzburg, Germany

    ) open
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