The Best Athletes of All Time

851k votes 34k voters 486k views 2,164 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.

For more sports news and athlete trade rumors, vote on this list of sports news sites.
Collection Photo:  YouTube
  • 639 ReRanks
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  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
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    most listed
    Brantford, Canada

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

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  3. 3
    + 6,463
    - 7,505


    Três Corações, Brazil

    ;
  4. 4
    + 9,325
    - 7,997


    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

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  5. 5
    + 1,610
    - 2,379


    Wiesbaden, Germany

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  6. 6
    + 1,209
    - 1,691

    added by LeeBob
    Roosevelt, New York, United States of America

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    - 1,549

    often listed & added by JonathanWeider
    Utrecht, Netherlands

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  8. 8
    + 1,068
    - 1,835

    often listed & added by JonathanWeider
    Milan, Italy

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  9. 9
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    ranked low on reranks
    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

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  10. 10
    + 4,867
    - 5,974


    Mannheim, Germany

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  11. 11
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    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

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    Lanús, Argentina

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  13. 13
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    added by Skojare
    Joesjö, Sweden

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Travagliato, Italy

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  15. 15
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    Potomac, Maryland, United States of America

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  16. 16
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Västervik, Sweden

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  17. 17
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    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

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  18. 18
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    ranked low on reranks & added by JonathanWeider
    Elverum, Norway

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  19. 19
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    Oakville, Alabama, United States of America

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  20. 20
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    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

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  21. 21
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    Onești, Romania

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  22. 22
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    Zagreb, Croatia

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  23. 23
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    Split, Croatia, Croatia

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  24. 24
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    Novi Sad, Serbia

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  25. 25
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    Ostrava, Czech Republic

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  26. 26
    + 2,304
    - 1,560


    Prague, Czech Republic

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  27. 27
    + 5,803
    - 5,151


    West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana

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  28. 28
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    Basel, Switzerland

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  29. 29
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    often listed & added by JonathanWeider
    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

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  30. 30
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    Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America

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  31. 31
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    São Paulo, Brazil

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  32. 32
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    often listed
    Tielt-Winge, Belgium

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  33. 33
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    Munich, Germany

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Novosibirsk, Russia

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  35. 35
    + 2,923
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

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  36. 36
    + 1,324
    - 1,767


    Amsterdam, Netherlands

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    + 2,714
    - 3,076

    ranked low on reranks & added by JonathanWeider
    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

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  38. 38
    + 2,960
    - 3,395

    added by JonathanWeider
    Oslo, Norway

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  39. 39
    + 2,689
    - 3,183

    added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

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  40. 40
    + 2,792
    - 3,180
    Lidija Skobilowa is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Athletes of All Time

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  41. 41
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    often listed & added by bohater
    Alessandria, Italy

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  42. 42
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    ranked low on reranks & added by bohater
    Carrara, Italy

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  43. 43
    + 2,471
    - 3,076

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

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  44. 44
    + 379
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    added by Deris174
    Krylbo, Sweden

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  45. 45
    + 751
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Amsterdam, Netherlands

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  46. 46
    + 389
    - 712

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Amsterdam, Netherlands

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  47. 47
    + 2,146
    - 2,857


    Hürth, Germany

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  48. 48
    + 514
    - 684

    added by JonathanWeider
    Magé, Brazil

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  49. 49
    + 1,997
    - 2,493

    added by JonathanWeider
    Prague, Czech Republic

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  50. 50
    + 355
    - 355

    added by Coolza
    Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom

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2165 +

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