Eddie Merckx is probably the only real "surprise" on the list I guess, everyone else except for one person who is in my top 3 is a household name, there's probably going to be some discussion as to why I have some people higher than others too.
not even close??? either you are biased against these athletes or do not know of their accolades, i'll give you a little history...
tom brady: not even finished with his career and already a 3 time superbowl champ, 2 time superbowl mvp, 1 time regular season mvp, numerous qb records for a season, and considered by some one of the most clutch qb's ever. and your kidding yourself if you think the patriots aren't going to win at least one more. he belongs if he retired today
allen iverson: 4 time scoring champ, regular season MVP 2001, 3rd leading scorer in NBA HISTORY (behind only jordan and chamberlin...let that sink in) 2nd leading scorer in playoffs history (behind jordan) the only player to average 30+, 8 and 2.5 steals in multiple seasons and is without question the best little man to ever play (sorry isiah thomas). if charles barkley, john stockton, dan marino, and karl malone are considered some of the greatest to ever play at thier position despite not winning a title, than iverson's lack of one should not be held against him either. he belongs without question. this guy could have played in the NFL if he wanted to stick with football. he was unbelievable in highschool and was offered several D1 full rides on just football. he is the definition of an athlete
randy moss: you're right on this one, i just think he's awesome . he very well could end up on this list though with more seasons similar to 2007's
first 5 names that came to my mind
1. Tiger woods (he doesn't lose?)
2. Michael Jordan (The only time i enjoyed watching basketball was when he played)
3. Ian Thorpe (not on espn's list... I blame ignorance)
4. Carl Lewis (still remember him winning gold in long jump at atlanta many considered after his prime)
5. Pete Sampras(federer couldn't even hold his jock strap) :linedrunk:
edit: may as well do top 10
none of these guys are ranked in order i couldnt pick the best out of them.
6. Michael Johnson (watching him run the 400m was poetry, he ran so smooth)
7. Lance Armstrong. (dominating a sport after cancer is so fucking amazing he has to be in top 10
8. Cassius Clay (could fight)
9. Cathy Freeman. (just for what she did for Australian athletics. Will have to research to see if she held the 400m womens world record but she was a pioneer.) [didn't check rules if girls were allowed]
10. Ronnie Coleman (didn't want to rack my mind for the last person on the list so i went for the best ever out of our sport)
number 11 was Don Bradman. (cricketer for the yanks that dont know) his batting average was 99.94 when a batting average of 40 in cricket would make you world class cricketer. His career spanned over 20 years and he played first class from 1927 till after the second world war...
Sampras isn't in top 10 discussion, he was great at Wimbledon and the US Open, very good in Australia, didn't do anything in the French. Both Sampras and Federer are in debates as far as where they fit in the top 5 tennis players of all time, they're not close to top 10 overall athletes of all time.
Ian Thorpe and Cathy Freeman? Come on dude, you're only saying these people because they're Aussie's. Thorpe won 5 gold medals over two olympics, Mark Spitz (who didn't make this list) won 7 in a year! Yes, women can be considered for this list, but Cathy Freeman who won one gold medal in 2000 isn't close. They don't belong in the discussion at all.
This is best athletes of ALL TIME guys, not great ones from recent years.
Soccer is the most popular/played sport in the entire world, and no player has ever had the impact on the sport close to Pele. Known as the “King of Football”, or simply “The King”, Pele exploded on the soccer scene in the 1958 World Cup, where at the age of 17, playing through injury, scored in Brazil’s 1-0 win over Whales in the quarter finals, 3 goals against France in a 5-2 win, and 2 goals against Sweden in a 5-2 win in the final, to this day he remains the youngest player ever to play in a World Cup Final. He had few weaknesses, an exceptional ball handler, passer and shooter with both feet, incredible vision and a sniper’s touch, Pele often dazzled and deeked around several defenders on many of his 1,281 goals in 1,362 games, an insane pace. With his help, Brazil won 3 World Cups, his club team won 6 Brazilian Cups, and several other accomplishments.
Through all his accomplishments and awards, Pele was named the greatest Football player of all time, and the IOC’s athlete of the Century. In 1962, Club Teams from Europe offered massive amounts of money for Pele to steal him from his Brazilian team. However, Pele was such an icon in Brazil that the Brazilian Government went so far as to name him an “official national treasure” so that he couldn’t be transferred out of the country! Believe it or not, in 1968, both sides in the Nigerian civil war ceased fire for 48 so Pele could play an exhibition match in the capital of Lago, this is the kind of power and aura this man had. Even when he was on the downslope of his career and as a 34 year old signed with a New York club team in the North American Soccer League (NASL), Pele attracted people like a magnet. In just over two years, the number of players registered with the US Soccer Federation quadrupled from 100,000 to 400,000. 5 years before, the NASL final drew 6,102 fans and got less media coverage than Ron Paul. With Pele’s team in the 1977 final, it drew 77,000 fans and 140 media journalists from all over the world. Let’s see David Beckham even do 25% of that.
Ill agree Freeman doesn't deserve to be on my list. She was a great athlete but not top 10. As far as the argument best atheletes of all time not ones from recent years its like comparing apples and oranges. For a skill based sport ala soccer i can understand how an athletes legacy could transcend time. But a performance based sport i.e swimming I cant look at anything from yester year. He won 7 gold medals in a single year. Very Impressive yes but the competetion then was not as big. The sport didnt have as much coverage and the training wasnt as precise for everyone involved. People like Thorpe were at the top of the game when training,nutrition,coverage was at the top of its game. He was dominant under much harder circumstance. he retired before his potential but his impact was nothing but domination this is a man that had the world record at 15 and this is in the last 10 years of the sport...
Thorpe was great, but he doesn't deserve a whisper about one of the 10 greatest ever, he's not even the best swimmer of the past decade. Hell, look at Michael Phelps, he won 6 golds and 8 medals total in 2004, 18 World Championship gold's overall! (Thorpe has 11 World golds). Thorpe has 1 individual world record, Phelps has 4 individuals (plus 2 on a team). Fact is though, if Thorpe wasn't an Aussie, he wouldn't be in your top 20, and that's being generous (certainly not #3).
Phelps isn't going to be on this list either.
I dont like Ian thorpe never have and yes I have more exposure to him because I and he are australian but that just makes me more aware of his exploits and the fact that he isnt in espn's top 100 shows me that there is just american's arnt aware of what he has done. Sure theres been people that have won more medals won more world titles but im pretty sure since he was 15 till he retired he did not lose a 400m. (cept the time he jumped the gun and got disqualified lol) that puts him in my top 10.
I think its valid to note nationality with peoples bias in this tho. so good point you raised. If i asked someone in India their top 10 athletes they would give at least 50% cricketers. 1. Don Bradman and as I said before if I asked an American who Don Bradman was they wouldn't even know
Known as “The Greatest”, Muhammad Ali is likely the best known athlete who ever lived. Ali had an impact in the ring that few can rival, however like many others on the list, his legacy outside of the ring sets him apart from his peers. Ali was probably the first athlete who ever captured the attention of people all around the world, due to the invention of the television at that time. Not only could people now see Ali from their living rooms, but to this day he remains the most entertaining athlete of all time. His clips with Howard Cosell were hilarious; he was the first real athlete who showed a personality that people like Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens can only dream of, especially when he lifted up his toupe on national TV, or offered $1000 to the first person who could bring Cosell’s toupe to him, dead or alive. Not only did he talk smack outside of the ring, he backed it up inside the ring.
Before turning pro, as an amateur Ali won two national Gold Gloves, an Amateur Athletic Union National gold medal, and a gold medal in the 1960 Olympic Games. Despite his considerable skills, unparallel hand speed, quickness, a great chin, and punching power, he was often an underdog in his fights. He was a 7-1 underdog against Sonny Liston in his first Title Fight, which Ali won by TKO at the end of the 6th round. His most famous fight was the “Rumble in the Jungle” where Ali was given no chance to beat the seemingly indestructible George Foreman, who had been knocking out everyone in his path in a few rounds. However, in the fight Ali won by demonstrating his incredible intelligence, by using the “rope a dope” to tire out George, since he had almost never had to fight past 3 rounds.
After he beat Foreman, Ali fought an unheard of by the name of Chuck Wepner, a fight which went to the final seconds of the 15th round before Ali knocked him out, this bout was what inspired the movie “Rocky.” In total, Ali was the first three time Heavyweight Champion.
But what Ali is most known for was the incident when he was stripped of the Heavyweight Title for refusing to accept his draft into the Vietnam War. Once again, Ali’s charisma gave way to some of the most powerful words of all time, when he said:
After a few years when people started to see the mess that Vitnam was and the number of troops kept piling up, Ali became much more popular. Instead of people resenting him for his boastful personality, people began to admire him. The sad part was though at the time of his suspension, Ali was just hitting his prime as a fighter.Quote
You may wonder, why I have Ali this “low” on the list, well, a couple reasons. First of all, there’s debate as to whether he was the best boxer of all time, as some favor Sugar Ray Robinson over him, or Joe Louis, who held the title for over a decade. Ali also had a few semi-questionable losses for someone who considered himself to be the “greatest”, such as his loss in his first fight with Joe Frasier, a loss to Ken Norton, Leon Spinks, and a string of close 15 round decision victories over journeymen fighters. Nevertheless, Muhammad Ali is a cultural icon who had the personality and life both in and out of the ring that will probably never be seen again.