T Nation

History's 10 best athletes

espn’s vote for the 10 best athletes:


what do you think?

Now this is a great “off topic” post!

Interesting list, however I think they added a couple that should not be there: Dave Winfield and Bo Jackson while great athletes should hardly be considered in the top ten. Lou Gherig is a good choice, but what about the “Bambino” Babe Ruth? Also, Jim Brown was a great running back, but didn’t O. J. Simpson break most, or all of his records? Granted Simpson is a murderer, do you think that kept him off the list?

Also, where is Muhammed Ali? He was in many peoples opinion the greatest boxer of all time. And how about Dan Gable. Granted (real) Wrestling is not a “lime light” sport, but he was the best of the best in arguably one of the toughest sports in the world. He only lost one match in his life! He also won two Olympic Gold medals.

Other good choices are Jim Thorpe and Jackie Robinson. While they were not the best, of all time in their respective fields, they participated during a time of extreme prejudice. The fact that they did what they did under such conditions warrants recognition. I think Jesse Owens also needs to be included on this for that very reason! Can you imagine being a Black man running in the Olympics in Nazi Germany, and winning several medals? A true American hero!

I am interested to read who other posters think should be included on this list.

Load of bollocks they are all americans

ME! (ha ha ha got ya!)

the jamaican bobsled team! JK

How about Lance Armstrong

great thread btw

Dan Gable. RLTW


Typical bar-pub topic, which are always controversial. They don’t give any criteria and Creed is right, its biased towards Americans, and its prob meant to only be about Americans.

That said:

What about strength athletes? WHere’s Paul Anderson or, um, the Soviet lifter who I think has the all-time record for lifting medals?

Where the fuck is Pele? Oh right, americans only.

Dan Gable has to be on the list he’s the first one I thought of.

Huge omission:

Rocky Marciano is the ONLY undefeated champion in ANY weight class in the history of gloved boxing. Considering how many champions there have been, somewhat over 300, that is quite a feat in itself.

49-0-0. 43 wins by knockout.

Enough said.

Gehrig? Winfield? Please give me a f’n break. No baseball players who only played basebal should even be considered. Baseball is only a 1/2 sport IMO.

THough I loathe him, I’ll go with Jordan. But there are hundreds of other NBA players, current and former, who are fantastic all around athletes and can jump as high, as long and run as fast as Jordan. of course, he did win 6 titles…
What about Maravich, who owns all the college Basketball scoring records and did so in only 3 seasons?

steve yzerman

I second Creed on that one. All of them are Americans and most of them are from sports pretty much played exclusively in America which leads me to think that they didnt look too far and wide.

Pele, Ali, Suleymunaglu(speling could be wrong), Bubka and others I cant think of right now.

I reckon that Carl Lewis should also be in there somewhere .

A very questionable list, done by ESPN i would expect it to be dominated by NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL,etc…

What about Ali, Pele, Maradona, Marciano, Armostrong. These guys were geniuses, likes of which we’ll pobably not see again


Maravich’s records and stats, for those who don’t know them. And there are a LOT of records:

-Holds NCAA career record for most points (3,667, 44.2 ppg, three-year career) in 83 games

-Holds NCAA career record for highest points per game average (44.2 ppg)

-Holds NCAA record for most field goals made (1,387) and attempted (3,166)

-Holds NCAA record for most free throws made (893) and attempted (1,152)

-Holds NCAA record for most games scoring at least 50 points (28)

-Holds NCAA single-season record for most points (1,381) and highest per game average (44.5 ppg) in 1970

-Holds NCAA single-season record for most field goals made (522) and attempted (1,668) in 1970

-Holds NCAA single-season record for most games scoring at least 50 points (10) in 1970

-Holds NCAA single-game record for most free throws made (30 of 31) against Oregon State on Dec. 22, 1969

-Led the NCAA Division I in scoring with 43.8 ppg (1968); 44.2 (1969) and 44.5 ppg (1970)

-The 44.5 ppg average ranks best in NCAA history; 44.2 ppg (fourth); 43.8 ppg (fifth)

-Averaged 43.6 ppg on the LSU freshman team (1967)

-Scored a career-high 69 points vs. Alabama (Feb. 7, 1970); 66 vs. Tulane (Feb. 10, 1969); 64 vs. Kentucky (Feb. 21, 1970); 61 vs. Vanderbilt (Dec. 11, 1969);

-Holds LSU records for most field goals in a game (26) against Vanderbilt on Jan. 29, 1969 and attempted (57) against Vanderbilt

Professional records;

Scored 15,948 points (24.2 ppg) in 658 games

Led the NBA in scoring (31.1 ppg) in 1977, his career best

Scored a career-high 68 points (12th best in history) against the New York Knicks on Feb. 25, 1977

Led the NBA in most field goals attempted in 1974 (1,791) and 1977 (2,047)

Shares NBA single-game record for most free throws made in one quarter (14) on Nov. 28, 1973 against Buffalo and most free throws attempted in one quarter (16) on Jan. 2, 1973 against Chicago

NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team (1996)

NBA All-Rookie Team (1971)

All-NBA First Team (1976, 1977)

All-NBA Second Team (1973, 1978)

Five-time NBA All-Star (1973, 1974, 1977-1979)

So many to consider! What about steve prefontain or marion jones?
Gretzky, Jordan, Ali, montana? and many others…imo

Jim Thorpe, Lance Armstrong
maybe Carl Lewis or Jackie Joyner-Kersey

the list says ‘all around athletes’ so i think it was limited to crossover athletes and those that dominated all aspects of their game. why else would dave fucking winfield be on the list.

for example, wayne gretsky broke howes scoring record and will probably be regarded as the best player to live, but howe could do it all

Dale Earnhart, Richard Petty, Lance Armstrong, Jackie Joyner, Pele. Jerry rice should definately be in there, Not only the greatest WR in history, Possibly the best Player the game has seen especially when you throw his work ethic and longevity into it. Dr. J, Tiger Woods, Jack Nickalus, John Elway. There are so many it must have been a hard job to pick 10.

… Dave Winfeild? WTF?

Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty? you can’t be serious, Veg

Just thoughts, Thay are possible the two best car drivers in history. If you consider racing a sport then they should be considered.

dude its car driving. i do that shit everyday but i don’t expect a medal.

Well Veg, then you have to consider Michael Shumacker as well…

This list is just too difficult to break down into only ten.