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The 50 Greatest Sports Athletes Of All Time Have Been Named And Ranked

The 50 Greatest Sports Athletes Of All Time Have Been Named And Ranked

Ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky fended off fierce competition from boxing icon Muhammad Ali to be crowned the best sports athlete in history.

The 59-year-old Canadian is widely revered as one of the best ice hockey players of all time after an illustrious 20-season career in the NHL.

And fans over at Ranker have named the 'Great One' top of the pile in a stacked list of athletes from different sports.


Gretzky secured 28,866 upvotes and 20,399 downvotes, while Ali picked up 46,012 upvotes and 22,781 downvotes.

However, the NHL icon came out on top due to the website's 'reranks' system.

Ranker explained that reranks hold a higher precedent over the votes distributed for each athlete.

"When someone takes the time to rerank the whole list, this has more influence on the item's position than a binary up/down vote," the publication said.


Posted below are the top 50 athletes of all time, according to fans.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

50. Bjorn Borg (tennis)

49. Ilie Nastase (tennis)


48. Karl-Heinz Schnellinger (football)

47. Bernd Schuster (football)

46. Pirmin Zurbriggen (skiing)

45. Helmut Rahn (football)


44. Steven Gerrard (football)

43. Pele (football)

42. Moses Malone (basketball)

41. Venus Williams (tennis)

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

40. Lindsey Vonn (skiing)

39. Niki Lauda (F1)

38. Anja Parson (skiing)

37. Chloe McCardel (swimming)

36. Janica Kostelic (skiing)

35. Martina Navratilova (tennis)

34. Kjetil Andre Aamodt (skiing)

33. George Foreman (boxing)

32. Novak Djokovic (tennis)

31. Dirk Nowitzki (basketball)

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The 50 Greatest Sports Athletes Of All Time Have Been Named And Ranked By Fans

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

30. Larry Bird (basketball)

29. Nicklas Lidstrom (ice hockey)

28. Pete Maravich (basketball)

27. Ayrton Senna (F1)

26. Diego Maradona (football)

The 50 Greatest Sports Athletes Of All Time Have Been Ranked

The 50 Greatest Sports Athletes Of All Time Have Been Ranked

published at7 months ago

25. Babe Ruth (baseball)

24. Lionel Messi (football)

23. Jesse Owens (track and field athlete)

22. Sugar Ray Robinson (boxing)

21. Michael Phelps (swimming)

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

20. Rocky Marciano (boxing)

19. Mario Lemieux (ice hockey)

18. Rafael Nadal (tennis)

17. LeBron James (basketball)

16. Joe DiMaggio (baseball)

15. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (basketball)

14. Bill Russell (basketball)

13. Magic Johnson (basketball)

12. Wilt Chamberlain (basketball)

11. Sugar Ray Leonard (boxing)

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

10. Michael Jordan (basketball)

9. Mike Tyson (boxing)

8. Carl Lewis (track and field athlete)

7. Serena Williams (tennis)

6. Jack Nicklaus (golf)

5. Joe Montana (American football)

4. Usain Bolt (sprinting)

3. Roger Federer (tennis)

2. Muhammad Ali (boxing)

1. Wayne Gretzky (ice hockey)

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

You can find the complete list, which features over 100 sports athletes, over at Ranker.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football News, Basketball, Baseball, Football, Boxing

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Adnan Riaz

Adnan Riaz is a journalist for SPORTbible. He studied for a B.A. in History at the University of York and followed it up with an M.A. in Multimedia Journalism at MMU. Before he started writing about sports, he spent over four years in the gaming press. He has worked for several publications, including Hardcore Gamer, LADbible and the Manchester Evening News. Follow him on Twitter to find out what he is working on next. Got a story tip for Adnan? Email him: [email protected]