The Best Athletes of All Time People In Sports

The Best Athletes of All Time

442k votes 24k voters 406k views 1,584 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.

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List Photo: user uploaded image
  • 284 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 8,077
    - 5,186

    the people's #1
    New York City, USA, New York

    ;
  2. 2
    + 5,548
    - 5,396

    most listed
    Brantford, Canada

    ;
  3. 3
    + 6,577
    - 4,642


    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    ;
  4. 4
    + 3,816
    - 3,002


    Oakville, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  5. 5
    + 4,111
    - 3,795


    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ;
  6. 6
    + 4,572
    - 4,262


    Três Corações, Brazil

    ;
  7. 7
    + 4,476
    - 4,213


    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

    ;
  8. 8
    + 3,785
    - 3,104


    Basel, Switzerland

    ;
  9. 9
    + 3,110
    - 2,907


    Mannheim, Germany

    ;
  10. 10
    + 4,102
    - 3,198

    ranked low on reranks
    West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana

    ;
  11. 11
    + 2,506
    - 2,753

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Novosibirsk, Russia

    ;
  12. 12
    + 3,329
    - 3,632

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

    ;
  13. 13
    + 2,118
    - 2,047

    added by JonathanWeider
    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

    ;
  14. 14
    + 969
    - 641


    Hürth, Germany

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,345
    - 1,960


    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

    ;
  16. 16
    + 3,282
    - 3,021


    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    ;
  17. 17
    + 2,069
    - 1,584


    Parry Sound, Canada

    ;
  18. 18
    + 2,089
    - 1,668


    Montreal, Canada

    ;
  19. 19
    + 1,868
    - 1,416


    New York City, USA, New York

    ;
  20. 20
    + 2,276
    - 1,820


    Munich, Germany

    ;
  21. 21
    + 3,161
    - 2,684


    San Mateo, California, United States of America

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1,923
    - 1,733

    added by JonathanWeider
    Elverum, Norway

    ;
  23. 23
    + 2,076
    - 1,831

    added by RodneyBlair
    Rockhampton, Australia

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1,823
    - 1,658

    added by JonathanWeider
    Oslo, Norway

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1,812
    - 1,722

    added by JonathanWeider
    Davenham, United Kingdom

    ;
  26. 26
    + 2,876
    - 2,432


    Rosario, Argentina

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1,371
    - 1,167

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

    ;
  28. 28
    + 814
    - 616

    added by Arminius
    Gelsenkirchen, Germany

    ;
  29. 29
    + 576
    - 358

    added by geyyy
    Moscow, Russia

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1,258
    - 877


    USA, Spavinaw, Oklahoma

    ;
  31. 31
    + 1,872
    - 1,530

    added by JonathanWeider
    Ashington, United Kingdom

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  32. 32
    + 1,655
    - 1,543
    Lidija Skobilowa is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Athletes of All Time

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  33. 33
    + 3,287
    - 3,225


    Bessemer, Alabama, United States of America

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  34. 34
    + 1,614
    - 1,448

    added by JonathanWeider
    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

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  35. 35
    + 1,670
    - 1,295

    ranked low on reranks
    USA, Carlsbad, California

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  36. 36
    + 1,531
    - 1,426

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

    ;
  37. 37
    + 1,534
    - 1,483

    added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

    ;
  38. 38
    + 939
    - 863


    Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1,932
    - 2,022

    added by Skojare
    Stockholm, Sweden

    ;
  40. 40
    + 2,328
    - 2,489


    Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland

    ;
  41. 41
    + 825
    - 972


    Lanús, Argentina

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1,696
    - 1,643


    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1,374
    - 1,355

    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,161
    - 1,572

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,688
    - 1,726


    Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1,711
    - 1,789

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    New York City, USA, New York

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1,440
    - 1,207

    ranked low on reranks & added by averagej123
    Nyagan, Russia

    ;
  48. 48
    + 1,270
    - 1,258


    Volgograd, Russia

    ;
  49. 49
    + 653
    - 536


    Prague, Czech Republic

    ;
  50. 50
    + 837
    - 700


    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    ;
1585 +

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