10 greatest athletic careers of the last 50 (or so) years

Let’s have some fun and see who we think are the top 10 career “athletes” of the past half century in no particular order. Think of people who you’d pay premium prices to see play, compete, etc.

I’ll start with four to get the ball rolling…but curious to see who gets added or knocked out: Here goes:

Michael Jordan
Tiger Woods
Michael Phelps
Tom Brady

1 Like

Fed/Nadal/Joker in tennis. May be the best three ever to play.


Messi, Ronaldo, or Lewandowski

Serena in women’s tennis

Gretzky and Ovechkin

Senna, Schumacher and Hamilton

Lomu and Wyn Jones

NHL Goon Sub-Category: Probert and Domi

Great names…all of them.

How about Gretzky in hockey and Ali in Boxing.

More thoughts need to sort between Messi, Ronaldo and (how about) Pele in soccer?
Serena was great…how about Steffi Graf?.
Federer and Nadal…tough choice. Throw in Jojer as he may top them all.

This is getting very tough…

Will be end up with no sport having 2 in the top 10,save for sports that have both men and women----tennis, for example?

Gretzky seems like a slam dunk inclusion…Ali was great but, to me, a lot of his competition was questionable.

To be great, you really have to beat the best…not just the best available.

1 Like

Let’s talk cricket. Sir Don “Bad Brad” Bradman (Australia), Sachin Tendulkar (India) and, goes without saying, Sir Garfield “ Two Months” Sobers (West Indies)

Do the sports have to be major ones? Ie, sports people actually watch?

Jack Nicklaus
Mario Andretti
Serena Williams

LeBron is #1 on my list.

1 Like


(My NBA list)

Just missed: ( :grinning:)
Hal Greer
Billy C
Matt Goukas

1 Like

Really has been the golden era of tennis in my opinion


Now I’m wondering if Secretariat might also qualify…


What about women’s pool. Jeanette Lee is unstoppable. (And yes, there was a time before the proliferation of choice the internet brought that I spent way too much time watching any ESPN programming.)

No baseball love above. Many names to consider although the steroid era has it’s issues. Pete Rose has has his issues as well but hard to argue against his overall career accomplishments.

Question: Did the overlapping careers of Joker, Fed, and Nadal drive each other to supreme heights of greatness?

How dominant would any of them been alone, without the other 2? Would they have won 30-40 majors, crushing the competition, or closer to the 20 or so they currently have, not needing continuous improvement to keep up with the other 2?

Saban and Belichek in football. Junior in baseball and Crosby in hockey.

Crosby isn’t the best hockey player of his own generation, let alone over the last 50 years. Have down, it’s Gretzky, but there’s actually a chance that his “unbreakable” goal scoring record will be beaten by Ovi. And Ovi is all-around a better player than Crosby.

If anyone had to pick someone today to build a team around, it wouldn’t be Crosby. It’d be McDavid.

Since Tom Brady has played in a million Super Bowls now, people tend to forget Joe Montana. But he was 4-0 in the big one and never threw a pick. Remarkable.


Of course, McDavid would be picked over Crosby to build a team around. He is considerably younger.

Adding Mario Lemieux to the list.

1 Like