Influential The Most Influential Athletes Right Now  

Ranker Sports
7.2k votes 448 voters 1.1k views 34 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
353 21
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 33 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
199 47
Roger Federer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 36 Tennis player Roger Federer (IPA pronunciation: [ˈɹɑ.dʒər ˈfɛ.dər.ər]) (born August 8, 1981) is a Swiss tennis professional, currently ranked World No. 1. Many experts and many of his own tennis ...more

3
189 43
Novak Djokovic is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 30 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

4
189 45
Usain Bolt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 31 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

5
191 49
Rafael Nadal is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 31 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
188 46
Maria Sharapova is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 30 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

7
181 44
Virat Kohli is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 29 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

8
185 49
Neymar is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 26 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

9
181 47
Ryu So-Yeon is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Ryu So-Yeon age 27 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.

10
180 47
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 39 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

11
54 7
Naomi Osaka is listed (or ranked) 11 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. 

12
24 215
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 33 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

13
17 215
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 36 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

14
15 217
Stephen Curry is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
13 217
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 42 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

16
12 213
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 40 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

17
3 57
Aaron Judge is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
DavidLleraYT(David) added age 25 Aaron Judge is an American professional baseball outfielder for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). Judge played college baseball at Fresno State. A right-handed batter and ...more

18
10 216
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 30 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

19
10 217
Mike Trout is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 26 Michael Nelson "Mike" Trout is an American professional baseball center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Major League Baseball. Trout is an American League Most ...more

20
10 220
Kevin Durant is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 29 Kevin Wayne Durant is an American professional basketball player who plays with the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association. Standing at 6 ft 9 in and weighing 240 pounds, ...more

21
2 58
Bryce Harper is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
DavidLleraYT(David) added age 25 Bryce Aron Max Harper is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball. Harper was selected by the Nationals with the first overall pick in ...more

22
7 214
Phil Mickelson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 47 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

23
6 212
J. J. Watt is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 29 Justin James "J. J." Watt is an American football defensive end for the Houston Texans of the National Football League. He played college football for the University of Wisconsin and ...more

24
6 214
Aaron Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 34 Aaron Charles Rodgers is an American football quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. Rodgers played college football for California, where he set several career ...more

25
6 215
Simone Biles is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 21 Simone Arianne Biles is an American artistic gymnast. Biles is a two-time US National All-Around Champion, two-time World All-Around Champion, two-time World Floor Champion, the 2014 World Beam ...more

26
4 213
Drew Brees is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 36 Drew Christopher Brees is an American football quarterback for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. After a prolific college football career at Purdue University, he was ...more

27
4 213
Jordan Spieth is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 24 Jordan Alexander Spieth is an American professional golfer on the PGA Tour, currently ranked second in the world rankings. Spieth won his first major at the Masters in 2015 with a score of 270, ...more

28
4 215
Dwyane Wade is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 36 Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association. He has established himself as one of the most ...more

29
3 213
Wayne Rooney is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 32 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

30
3 213
Katie Ledecky is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 21 Kathleen Genevieve Ledecky is an American competition swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, and current world record-holder in multiple events. She is the current world record holder in the 400-, ...more

31
3 214
Brittney Griner is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 27 Brittney Yevette Griner is an American professional basketball player currently playing at the women's basketball center with the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association. ...more

32
3 215
Cam Newton is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 26 Cameron Jerrell "Cam" Newton is an American football quarterback for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. He played college football for the Auburn Tigers in Alabama ...more

33
1 105
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
Elhadi Smail added age 39 Kobe Bean Bryant is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. He entered the NBA directly from high school, and has played for ...more

34
1 214
Clayton Kershaw is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 30 Clayton Edward Kershaw is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball. A left-handed starting pitcher, Kershaw has played in the major leagues ...more