Influential The Most Influential Athletes Right Now  

Ranker Sports
7.8k votes 552 voters 1.3k 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
407 40
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
230 49
Roger Federer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 37
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
221 48
Novak Djokovic is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
225 53
Maria Sharapova is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
208 54
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
194 50
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
189 80
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
183 74
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
184 84
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
181 85
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
56 36
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
31 6
Mikaela Shiffrin is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
47 218
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
43 222
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
32 222
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
20 220
Stephen Curry is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
18 222
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
5 61
Aaron Judge is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
5 63
Bryce Harper is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
14 219
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
13 216
Phil Mickelson is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
12 224
Kevin Durant is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 30
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

23
11 219
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
10 215
Jordan Spieth is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential Athletes Right Now
age 25
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

25
9 214
J. J. Watt is listed (or ranked) 25 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