Influential The Most Influential Athletes Right Now  

Ranker Sports
8.2k votes 603 voters 1.7k views 35 items

List Rules Vote up the current athletes who continue to push the boundaries of their sport each time they play.

Whether they're top stars of their sport or they're changing the way the game's played, these are the most influential current athletes. Keep in mind, simply being the best isn't the only thing that constitutes an influential athlete. While these stars are certainly at the top of their class, they're also recognized for the contributions they make to the world of sports, among many other factors and achievements. All things considered, who do you think are the most influential athletes right now? Could they go down as the most influential athletes of all time?

When it comes to iconic athletes, no player may be making headlines and dominating their sport more than Lebron James. He breaks a record almost any time he steps on the court, making him one of the best current NBA players, as well as of all time. Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, and the MLB's Mike Trout are really no different. These star athletes continually prove themselves to be the best out right now—and they continue to contribute to their sport. Of course, there are plenty more names to consider in determining the most influential athletes actively competing. 

Check out the list of notable athletes below and vote up the sports stars you think are influencing generations and players to come. Also feel free to add others that may be missing from the list.

list ordered by
1
416 51
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 34
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, GOIH, known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid C.F. and the Portugal national team. He is a ...more
2
243 53
Roger Federer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 34
Tennis player Roger Federer (born August 8, 1981) is a Swiss tennis professional, currently ranked World No. 1. Many experts and many of his own tennis peers believe that Federer may be the ...more
3
244 59
Maria Sharapova is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 31
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is a Russian professional tennis player, who as of October 6, 2014 is ranked world No. 2 by the Women's Tennis Association. A United States resident since 1994, ...more
4
232 50
Novak Djokovic is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 31
Novak Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players ...more
5
212 58
Rafael Nadal is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 32
Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera is a Spanish professional tennis player currently ranked world No. 5. He is widely regarded as one of the finest clay court players in history and has been ...more
6
199 54
Usain Bolt is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 32
Usain St. Leo Bolt, OJ, CD, is a Jamaican sprinter. Widely regarded as the fastest person ever, he is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since fully automatic ...more
7
194 100
Neymar is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 27
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, commonly known as Neymar or Neymar Jr., is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona and is the captain for the Brazil ...more
8
185 96
Virat Kohli is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 30
Virat Kohli is an Indian cricketer. A right-handed middle-order batsman, he is the captain of the Indian Test team. He captained the victorious Indian team at the 2008 U/19 Cricket World Cup ...more
9
188 107
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 40
Emmanuel "Manny" Dapidran Pacquiao, PLH is a Filipino world champion professional boxer. At 32 he was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives. He has also been involved in ...more
10
182 106
Ryu So-Yeon is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Ryu So-Yeon age 28
So Yeon Ryu, also known as Ryu So-yeon, is a South Korean professional golfer who plays on the LPGA Tour and on the LPGA of Korea Tour. She won the 2011 U.S. Women's Open.
11
51 10
Mikaela Shiffrin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Spector404 added age 23
Mikaela Pauline Shiffrin is an American World Cup alpine ski racer with the U.S. Ski Team, specializing in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom. She is the reigning Olympic, World ...more
12
58 43
Naomi Osaka is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
DavidLleraYT(David) added Naomi Osaka age 20

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese professional tennis player, and current US Open Women's Singles champion. She first came to prominence at the age of sixteen when she defeated former US Open champion Samantha Stosur at the 2014 Bank of the West Classic, which was her first time in the main draw of a WTA tournament. 

13
70 221
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 41
Thomas Edward Patrick "Tom" Brady, Jr., nicknamed Tom Terrific, is an American football quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League. After playing college ...more
14
53 226
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 37
Serena Jameka Williams is an American professional tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in women's singles tennis. The Women's Tennis Association has ranked her World No. 1 in singles on ...more
15
37 232
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 34
LeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. Standing at 6 ft 8 in and weighing 250 lbs., he has started ...more
16
11 66
Bryce Harper is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
DavidLleraYT(David) added age 26
Bryce Aron Max Harper (born October 16, 1992) is an American professional baseball right fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played in MLB for the Washington ...more
17
10 64
Aaron Judge is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
DavidLleraYT(David) added age 26
Aaron James Judge (born April 26, 1992) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). Judge was unanimously selected as the American ...more
18
28 219
Phil Mickelson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 48
Philip Alfred Mickelson is an American professional golfer. He has won 42 events on the PGA Tour, including five major championships: three Masters titles, a PGA Championship, and an Open ...more
19
27 221
Stephen Curry is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 30
Wardell Stephen "Steph" Curry II is an American professional basketball player who plays for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association. Listed at 6 ft 3 in tall ...more
20
25 221
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 31
Sidney Patrick Crosby, ONS is a Canadian professional ice hockey player who serves as captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. Crosby was drafted first overall by the ...more
21
21 225
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 43
Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods is an American professional golfer who is among the most successful golfers of all time. He has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for ...more
22
20 217
Jordan Spieth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 25
Jordan Alexander Spieth (born July 27, 1993) is an American professional golfer on the PGA Tour and former world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking. He is a three-time major winner ...more
23
19 220
Mike Trout is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 27
Michael Nelson Trout (born August 7, 1991) is an American professional baseball center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB). Trout is a seven-time MLB All-Star, ...more
24
14 228
Kevin Durant is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 30
Kevin Wayne Durant (born September 29, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played one season of ...more
25
12 218
Wayne Rooney is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 33
Wayne Mark Rooney is an English professional footballer who plays for and captains both Manchester United and the England national team. He has played much of his career as a forward, but he has ...more