People have varying interpretations of what truly elevates an athlete to the status of “greatest athlete of all time”. I believe that an athlete who lives up to this title meets most, if not all, of the following criteria:
- a monumental achievement that either no one or very few others have attained
- international appeal
- a charm that wins audiences
- a strong sense of national pride
There are many athletes who are great at what they do. I’m not discrediting that. In fact, I admire the hard work they put in to attain their victories. However, very few athletes are able to make it into the ranks of being the greatest of all time. The following list highlights some of the athletes that I believe fall into this category. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
It is no surprise that two of the best footballers the world has ever seen are Brazilians. After all, Brazil is a football country. Considered to be one of the best footballers of his generation, Ronaldinho has made a lasting impression on football fans worldwide. Ronaldinho is known for his antics on the field, antics which have led the Brazilian and FC Barcelona teams to several victories. At the pinnacle of his career, he was named the FIFA World Player of the year in two successive years: 2004 and 2005. He is a player who will remain in the minds of millions for decades.
Pele truly is a legend who supersedes anything Ronaldinho could ever have hoped to accomplish. He is thought to be the greatest footballer of all time. Pele is to football as Bolt is to sprinting. In 1958, when he was only 17 years old, Pele became the youngest football player to ever score a World Cup Goal. His legendary performance seemed to be the tipping point that propelled him into even greater success. As the years progressed, he went on to score 1281 in 1363 games. Pele was a force to be reckoned with and decades later is still held in high esteem by footballers and sports enthusiasts alike.
3. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan gave basketball an international flair. Young boys all over the world aspired to be like him, shoot hoops like him, and profile like him in their Air Jordan sneakers. Jordan’s list of accomplishments covers the full gamut of the sport. To date, Jordan still holds the record for the highest points per game career scoring average. He also holds six NBA titles. What makes Jordan even more special, however, is the way he inspires others. He is an inspirational speaker and continues to play a role in the NBA.
2. Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is the king of boxing. He was the first and only three-time World Heavyweight Champion. In fact, he achieved his first title when he was 22, a feat that was unheard of in the sport at that time. Ali’s greatest accomplishment, however, transcends what he was able to achieve as a boxer. His philosophies on life and success have inspired many. Although he passed away earlier this year, his memory continues to live on in the hearts and minds of people all over the world.
Usain Bolt has demolished the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He was determined to make a mark and he certainly has. Achieving 3 sprint gold medals in 3 consecutive Olympic Games is no simple feat. But he did it! His accomplishment has placed him in the rank of only about 2 other athletes who have been able to accomplish the same milestone. His amicable personality, love for his country, and raw talent make him an unbeatable legend. Bolt inspires his nation to believe that all things are possible and has helped solidify Jamaica as the strongest dot in the Caribbean Sea. He was the main attraction for these Olympics and he didn’t disappoint. Congrats on making your mark in history Mr. Usain St. Leo Bolt.
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