Top 5 Greatest Athletes of All Time: “Who is the greatest athlete of all time?” To say the least, it's a difficult question.
You're looking at both men's and women's athletes; those who compete in team sports as well as those who compete in Olympic and individual sports; athletes from all eras, and trying to figure out not only who is the best in each sport, but who is the best overall. It's not a problem.
You should know by now that GOAT stands for Greatest of All Time.
I doubt the kids are aware that being labeled a “goat” in athletics was once considered a derogatory term.
In the twenty-first century, the definition has been completely overturned.
So, let's get started. I'm going to do this Top Ten-list approach, like David Letterman, and count down from ten to one.
Also, let's agree to disagree straight now, shall we? Any such ranking system is purely subjective, therefore you're not obligated to share any of my viewpoints.
With that in mind, allow me to provide a Top Ten that requires no explanation.
Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee is a retired American track and field athlete who is regarded as one of the finest heptathletes and long jumpers of all time.
- In those two events, she won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals in four separate Olympic Games.
- Jackie is undoubtedly one of the most underappreciated figures in history.
- Even after Sports Illustrated named her the greatest female athlete of the twentieth century, she continues to defy expectations.
- Joyner-Kersee was the first woman to win consecutive gold medals in the heptathlon, which includes the long jump, high jump, shot throw, javelin toss, 100-meter hurdles, and 200-meter dash, and 800-meter run.
- Her 7,291-points world record has stood for 33 years.
Jackie was motivated to pursue track and field after seeing a 1975 made-for-TV movie about Babe Didrikson Zaharias, whom she would go on to beat on the aforementioned SI list of the greatest female athletes.
Serena Williams is a professional tennis player from the United States.
- She has been the Women's Tennis Association's singles world No. 1 for 319 weeks, including a joint-record 186 consecutive weeks, and has been the year-end No. 1 five times.
- Let us begin by acknowledging Court's dominance on the court, despite attempts by some in the tennis industry and the media to discredit her legacy due to her religious views.
- The court is the Nicklaus of women's tennis in terms of absolute dominance.
- If you had a time machine and placed Serena up against Court, Chris Everet, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, or any other great from the past, Serena would be the first seed without a doubt. She's in another dimension.
- She was grounding you to dust with her groundstrokes if she wasn't whistling her serve past your ear.
She also won the Australian Open in 2017 while pregnant. Roger Federer, you've outdone yourself.
Michael Fred Phelps II is a former competitive swimmer from the United States.
- With a total of 28 medals, he is the most successful and decorated Olympian of all time.
- Phelps also owns the records for Olympic gold medals, individual Olympic gold medals, and individual Olympic medals.
- Isn't it “just” No. 3 on the list of most decorated Olympians in history? Readers, just keep swimming.
- The Baltimore Bullet has a total of 28 medals, 23 of which are gold.
- He dominated his opponents regardless of the stroke or discipline in which he competed.
- He earned eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and he has won the most medals at four consecutive Olympics.
- I'm pretty sure he's half-fish. He appeared like he was built in a competitive swimmer laboratory, with his tree-branch arms (maybe fins?).
- Phelps had more medals than 161 different countries when he retired after the 2016 Olympics.
- So, why No. 3 this time? Because, unlike the top two players, he didn't have to face a defense.
We can talk if Phelps set all those records and won all those races while swimming across a shark-infested pool. Until then, he'll have to settle for bronze as the GOAT.
I almost put No. 99 at the top of the list. His extensive discography is mind-boggling.
- Did you know that even if you take away all of Gretzky's 894 goals (the most in NHL history), his 1,963 assists (also the most) would still put him first in career scoring?
- Gretzky possessed all of the aforementioned qualities. He possessed the ability to move quickly. Wayne was a natural at strategizing. He had the experience – he had played in the NHL for 20 years.
- Wayne had the look of a movie star. He was a Stanley Cup champion, leading the Edmonton Oilers to four titles.
- Gretzky is revered in Canada in the same way that the Pope is revered in the Catholic Church.
I'll never forget watching spectators gasp as they saw an exhibit with 894 pucks, one for each of Gretzky's goals, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 2006 (which Gretzky got an immediate pass into because the Hall waived the regular waiting period).
Hold your breath since the air is thinner. Jordan never felt gravity while playing, so why should he now?
- Today's kids don't realize how fascinating Jordan was as a child. He was a must-see.
- “How did he do that?” eluded him. Move six games.
- Michael Jordan won fewer rings than Bill Russell and Robert Horry, but he was the most ferocious competitor. He'd take out your heart and walk on it to win.
- If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jordan should be pleased.
- Everyone wanted to be Mike. He made clones. Vince Carter?
- Jordan had changed (Free of Winning and Defense). Bryant? He was Michael Jackson. It lacks New Coke's sweetness. James LeBron?
- Jordan Big Gulp. You'll wish you'd ordered the original size.
- Jordan is the gold standard by which all great players are assessed.
- Gary Payton's admission that his defense in the 1996 NBA Finals “had a toll on Mike” was one of the biggest meme-creating moments in 2020's “The Last Dance.”
- Any modern basketball player compared to Jordan makes that face.
- Can he beat Jordan? When asked a question, you immediately think about it.
- I asked it last while rating GOATs. Gretzky or Jordan?
- Do Mays trump Jordan? Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, or Serena Williams?
Here's Jordan's giggle.
Don't provoke GOAT.
Who's The Best Goat?
MJ is an American businessman and former NBA player.
He won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in 15 NBA seasons.
- Championships: 6.
- NBA Finals MVPs: 6.
- League MVPs: 5.