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The Sports Thread


I think you can measure the level of greatness by considering the number of professional players who play the game and how above the norm the athlete was. So Pele being great a soccer is incredible as most of the planet plays soccer and most gifted athletes will try to pursue a career in soccer over most other sports. Golf and Tennis are more selective sports (in terms of cost), if truly most young men played either sport most likely someone else would be the world champion. Federer didn’t really have many great players going against him during his career. much like Serena. Whereas Ali was constantly up against some of histories greatest boxers.

Add to that then not just the number of championships but how the player changed the game and you can measure greatness a little most ‘scientifically’. Greatness is more than just championship dominance, it’s about how the athlete fulfilled their role with all the pressure and expectation upon them.

Jordan, Ali, Pele, Federer, Serena, Gretzky, Tiger, Phelps, Bolt & babe are probably the top ten. No cricketers, but otherwise it’s a representative from each sport and I don’t think any woman has dominated her sport quite like Serena.


Serena Williams is probably the greatest tennis player of all time.


For football it’s either Brady, Jerry Rice, or Jim Brown. Probably Brown as his era was so brutal.

Jim Thorpe is a forgotten athlete but should be on any list.


I would say Jack Nicklaus for golf over Tiger.


For longevity, but I Tiger dominated during his prime like no-one before or since, and he was up against a better standard of competitor. Had he avoided all those Waffle House women Tiger would be clearly the best golfer ever, now he’s a tragic tale of hubris.

For NFL it’s Brady. Rice had Montana, Brown had a smaller window. Brady has won with different rosters, at the start and end of his career, with few hall of famers, in a time when teams have gotten better, the game has gotten faster and the spotlight has never been brighter. He’s not at the level of the ten I listed, but he’s clearly the best NFL player ever.


[quote=“Todd, post:578, topic:724”]
Houston native and billionaire Tilman Fertitta says he is interested in buying the Rockets.
[/quote]Fertitta owns at least six casinos; shouldn’t preclude him from owning a sports team?


[quote=“njerry, post:587, topic:724, full:true”]

None of them are in Houston so it should be okay. Granted, Texas doesn’t have legalized gambling…



Superbrat wants a word and he’s got a book to sell.


Don’t be silly. He’s definitely in the top for tennis. Any sport? No way.


Agree on Thorpe. It’s a shame Bo Jackson got injured so early in his career or he would be on this list easily.

For football I think you almost have to go by decade. But if that’s not part of your criteria, then Brady is the best.


It wasn’t my opinion. A local sports writer who moved away but has been getting pieces published here again to celebrate regional stories like Tom Brady’s success made the flimsy argument. I was interested to see how easily it would be refuted.


Ronda Rousey did, but she was a big fish in a little pond. Didn’t have the depth that Serena faced.


Ah, gotcha. One name not mentioned here, not surprisingly, is Richard Petty. But that’s only if you consider motor sports a sport.


Money is ultimately a big factor here. Money required to play the sport, and money that can be gained from the sport. When the first is small and the second is large you can truly say that athletes who excel in that discipline have competed against millions.

Usain Bolt is maybe the most impressive of them all. Dude has outraced every single man in human history. Comfortably. It’s utterly incredible when you think of it. Phelps too, but swimming is slightly more limited - everyone can run in a straight line.


Is this about best athlete or most accomplished? My brain hurts trying to compare athletes of different sports to each other. Can we make them fight to see who’s the best?


Then it’s Jon Jones :wink:


I’ve played sports, but never considered myself any variety of an athlete. I just watch in awe most of the time, and leave it up to pundits to decide who might be technically “best”. What’s that old adage? Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny? Form follows function. A Sumo wrestler is going to be hideous trying a pommel horse, and a gymnast could not survive a blow from many of the martial arts. Who knows if either could hit the broad side of a barn with a rifle or arrow? Can they swim? Paddle through a rapids? Get all the way downhill safely on two thin slats of wood?


Best athlete of all time is much harder to figure out. I guess you look at decathlon winners, but there’s so little money it doesn’t attract the best talent.


It’s also funny “all time” for athletes from…a span of a hundred years. Pretty sure there’ve been athletes for longer than that…


If we’re going all time then Milo and the Great Gama have to be in the running. Top ten at least.