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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.

The Best Athletes of All Time People In Sports
  • 248 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 6704
    - 4395

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 4629
    - 4452

    most listed
    Brantford, Canada

    ;
  3. 3
    + 3333
    - 2189

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

    ;
  4. 4
    + 5372
    - 3933


    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    ;
  5. 5
    + 3788
    - 3523


    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ;
  6. 6
    + 3848
    - 3620


    Três Corações, Brazil

    ;
  7. 7
    + 3390
    - 3223


    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ;
  8. 8
    + 3367
    - 2835


    West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana

    ;
  9. 9
    + 2522
    - 2457


    Mannheim, Germany

    ;
  10. 10
    + 3061
    - 2694


    Basel, Switzerland

    ;
  11. 11
    + 2828
    - 3118


    Towson, Baltimore, Maryland

    ;
  12. 12
    + 2008
    - 2352

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Novosibirsk, Russia

    ;
  13. 13
    + 1659
    - 1694

    added by JonathanWeider
    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

    ;
  14. 14
    + 2685
    - 2617


    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2562
    - 2296


    San Mateo, California, United States of America

    ;
  16. 16
    + 1836
    - 1646


    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

    ;
  17. 17
    + 1755
    - 1538


    Munich, Germany

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1784
    - 1220


    Randy Savage (randall Mario Poffo)

  19. 19
    + 1658
    - 1584

    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

    ;
  20. 20
    + 1391
    - 1164


    Yorkville, New York City, New York

    ;
  21. 21
    + 1508
    - 1480

    added by JonathanWeider
    Elverum, Norway

    ;
  22. 22
    + 2889
    - 2768


    Bessemer, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1568
    - 1414


    Montreal, Canada

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1448
    - 1407

    added by JonathanWeider
    Oslo, Norway

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1552
    - 1320


    Parry Sound, Canada

    ;
  26. 26
    + 1497
    - 1326

    added by JonathanWeider
    Ashington, United Kingdom

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1430
    - 1450

    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

    ;
  28. 28
    + 1357
    - 1332

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  29. 29
    + 2295
    - 2101


    Rosario, Argentina

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1305
    - 1232

    added by JonathanWeider
    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

    ;
  31. 31
    + 1226
    - 1235

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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 697
    - 663


    Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  33. 33
    + 1319
    - 1091


    Carlsbad, California, United States of America

    ;
  34. 34
    + 415
    - 308


    Hürth, Germany

    ;
  35. 35
    + 2075
    - 2290

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1254
    - 1304

    added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

    ;
  37. 37
    + 936
    - 695


    Spavinaw, Oklahoma, United States of America

    ;
  38. 38
    + 890
    - 714

    ranked low on reranks
    Narrows, Georgia, United States of America

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1688
    - 1866

    often listed & added by Skojare
    Stockholm, Sweden

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1202
    - 1176

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

    ;
  41. 41
    + 209
    - 154

    added by Polar Bear
    Trondheim, Norway

    ;
  42. 42
    + 237
    - 168

    ranked low on reranks & added by JonathanWeider
    Sydney, Australia

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1117
    - 1092


    Volgograd, Russia

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1462
    - 1569


    Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  45. 45
    + 614
    - 539


    Onești, Romania

    ;
  46. 46
    + 983
    - 1404

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  47. 47
    + 939
    - 975

    added by JonathanWeider
    Prague, Czech Republic

    ;
  48. 48
    + 569
    - 653

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Dallas, Texas, United States of America

    ;
  49. 49
    + 1242
    - 1004

    ranked low on reranks & added by averagej123
    Nyagan, Russia

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1049
    - 970

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

    ;
1553 +

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