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View Full Version : Who is the greatest individual athlete of all time?


Sam Hall
08-21-2006, 03:56 PM
ESPN.com has a poll question asking if Tiger Woods is the greatest individual athlete of all time. 70% say he isn't. My first thought was Michael Jordan. He was a basketball machine.

Who is your pick?
What about in terms of the Chiefs? I'm going with Priest Holmes.

Donger
08-21-2006, 03:58 PM
Lance Armstrong

Rausch
08-21-2006, 03:59 PM
I'd vote Bo Jackson or Jim Brown.

jidar
08-21-2006, 04:00 PM
Michael Jordan
hands down.

Rausch
08-21-2006, 04:01 PM
As far as the Chiefs I'd have to say Gonzo or Dale "More Coke" Carter...

cdcox
08-21-2006, 04:02 PM
Jim Thorpe - was named the greatest athelete of the first half of the 20th century. I won a free school lunch in Jr. High with that answer.

Immaculate
08-21-2006, 04:04 PM
Thorpe, Or Brown.

Baby Lee
08-21-2006, 04:06 PM
tossup

Bo Jackson
Edson Arantes do Nascimento

jspchief
08-21-2006, 04:09 PM
Tiger Woods might be the most mentally tough athlete ever, but he's not the greatest athlete. Not even close.

Rausch
08-21-2006, 04:09 PM
FTR, I vote Bo not because of what he did but his athletic ability before his injury and retirement.

I argue the greatest athlete, not the most accomplished...

Dark Horse
08-21-2006, 04:10 PM
Carl Lewis

Skip Towne
08-21-2006, 04:13 PM
Today's Tulsa paper said it is Tiger. I would vote Ali myself.

Adept Havelock
08-21-2006, 04:14 PM
Kansas City Chiefs? Bobby Bell.

Overall? Jim Thorpe, or possibly Cassius Clay/M. Ali.

Rausch
08-21-2006, 04:16 PM
Today's Tulsa paper said it is Tiger. I would vote Ali myself.

Ali is by far my favorite Athlete, just not the best overall...

|Zach|
08-21-2006, 04:17 PM
Hugh Douglas.

Sam Hall
08-21-2006, 04:22 PM
I don't like to see anybody get hurt, but if there's one athlete I wish didn't have a career ending injury, it's Bo Jackson. I'm old enough to see the careers he should've had. We're talking about a potential legend in both MLB and the NFL.

picasso
08-21-2006, 04:25 PM
Ali
Jordan
Walter Payton

Douche Baggins
08-21-2006, 04:28 PM
Rich Scanlon.

The Dude Abides
08-21-2006, 04:34 PM
Just for the record, Ali SUCKS! He was and is a racist draft dodger, yet our media diefies him. Makes me sick

Adept Havelock
08-21-2006, 04:50 PM
Just for the record, Ali SUCKS! He was and is a racist draft dodger, yet our media diefies him. Makes me sick

"Just for the record", what the hell does that have to do with his athletic ability?

Ty Cobb was a complete A***ole, and is still considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Jim Brown has certainly made some (IMO) racist statements, but he's still the greatest RB ever.

Ali sucks? You obviously never watched him fight.

Dremel
08-21-2006, 04:55 PM
Bruce Jenner !! Guy could wave a flag like no other

KChiefsQT
08-21-2006, 04:59 PM
WE ALREADY HAD THIS POLL.... but I'm too lazy to search for it.

wutamess
08-21-2006, 05:00 PM
Bo Jackson/ Deion Sanders

My definition of athlete means plays multiple sports well.
It'd have to be Bo or Deion.

Adept Havelock
08-21-2006, 05:02 PM
Bo Jackson/ Deion Sanders

My definition of athlete means plays multiple sports well.
It'd have to be Bo or Deion.

I'm with you on Bo, but Deion? Feh...I've got no use for defensive players who are afraid to tackle.

boogblaster
08-21-2006, 05:08 PM
Jim Thorpe Carl Lewis Ali Lance Armstrong in that order...BOOG GUESSES....

pak1983
08-21-2006, 05:16 PM
Michael Jordan, he was as perfect as you could be in basketball that anyone else has been in any sport. The most clutch player in any sport. The best at making everyone around him better. He was and is by far the best athlete ever.

The Dude Abides
08-21-2006, 05:19 PM
"Just for the record", what the hell does that have to do with his athletic ability?

Ty Cobb was a complete A***ole, and is still considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Jim Brown has certainly made some (IMO) racist statements, but he's still the greatest RB ever.

Ali sucks? You obviously never watched him fight.
Yes, but when Ty Cobb is mentioned, in the same breath they say, " Yeah but he was racist". And yes, I've seen some Ali fights, and he had no concept of sportsmanship. Was wondering if that would upset any Ali glorifiers.

Adept Havelock
08-21-2006, 05:25 PM
Yes, but when Ty Cobb is mentioned, in the same breath they say, " Yeah but he was racist". And yes, I've seen some Ali fights, and he had no concept of sportsmanship. Was wondering if that would upset any Ali glorifiers.

What? Rope-a-dope wasn't sporting? Standing there letting somebody beat on you until they were wiped out, then looking up, smiling, and going for the KO isn't sporting? Not close enough to the Marquis of Queensbury rules for you?

IMO, the man was a hell of a sportsman. He told people he'd kick their ass (within the rules of professional boxing), and then he'd go and do it.

Fun as hell to watch, too. :thumb:

Skip Towne
08-21-2006, 05:30 PM
What? Rope-a-dope wasn't sporting? Standing there letting somebody beat on you until they were wiped out, then looking up, smiling, and going for the KO isn't sporting? Not close enough to the Marquis of Queensbury rules for you?

IMO, the man was a hell of a sportsman. He told people he'd kick their ass (within the rules of professional boxing), and then he'd go and do it.

Fun as hell to watch, too. :thumb:
He'd even tell them which round. Can you imagine standing in the ring with a heavyweight boxer and dropping your hands to your sides and sticking out your chin? And they still couldn't hit him. (most of them anyway)

Adept Havelock
08-21-2006, 06:05 PM
He'd even tell them which round. Can you imagine standing in the ring with a heavyweight boxer and dropping your hands to your sides and sticking out your chin? And they still couldn't hit him. (most of them anyway)

Yes indeed. They'd just wear themselves out, stand there looking tired, and Ali would go after them fresh as could be just like Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats in The Hustler.

Bob Dole
08-21-2006, 06:31 PM
Bob Dole is going to have to echo the Jim Thorpe responses.

Bugeater
08-21-2006, 06:42 PM
Dale Earnhardt.

Coach
08-21-2006, 06:43 PM
Ali. He can defeat you with his quickness/speed. He can defeat you with his power. And he also can defeat you with his mind.

Mr. Flopnuts
08-21-2006, 06:46 PM
Today's Tulsa paper said it is Tiger. I would vote Ali myself.


Ali is the one.

Cochise
08-21-2006, 06:50 PM
I'm not too knowledgable about golf but it would seem that few people in sports have been as dominant in individual accomplishments as Woods has. In other sports that are a team game you have to temper the accomplishments of an individual with their supporting cast.

WilliamTheIrish
08-21-2006, 06:52 PM
Muhammad Ali.

mlyonsd
08-21-2006, 06:54 PM
How long is a piece of string?

Skip Towne
08-21-2006, 06:55 PM
Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee. Like who you want but bet on Ali. I liked his goofy poetry as well.

Tribal Warfare
08-21-2006, 07:01 PM
Carl Lewis

Braincase
08-21-2006, 07:05 PM
Roman Sebrle

DJJasonp
08-21-2006, 07:06 PM
My heart says Bo Jackson - because of the things he did on the field (not career stats).l

Here's another that not many will probably remember - Dave Winfield...read the bio...

Winfield grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, earning a full scholarship to the University of Minnesota, where he starred in both basketball and baseball for the Golden Gophers. His college basketball coach was a young Bill Musselman, who would go on to serve as a head coach in the American Basketball Association (with the San Diego Sails and Virginia Squires) and National Basketball Association (with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves). Winfield's 1972 Minnesota team won a Big 10 basketball championship, the school's first in 53 years.

After hitting and pitching the Gophers to the College World Series in 1973, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres, the Minnesota Vikings despite not playing college football, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Utah Stars of the ABA. He is one of only two men ever drafted in three different pro sports, and the only man to be drafted by four leagues.

patteeu
08-21-2006, 07:11 PM
I was going to say Jim Thorpe, but since that answer's been taken I'll go with Mary Lou Retton.

ChiTown
08-21-2006, 07:21 PM
Nick Reid

mcan
08-21-2006, 07:24 PM
"greatest" is a very subjective term. By what standard are we supposed to compare a boxer to a basketball player.

If by "greatest" you mean, most physically gifted:
1. Carl Lewis
2. Bo Jackson

If by "greatest" you mean, most accomplished:
1. Tiger Woods
2. Lance Armstrong
3. Micheal Jordan
4. Wayne Gretzky
5. Joe Montana

If by 'greatest" you mean, most able to dominate any sport:
1. Lance Armstrong
2. Bo Jackson

whoman69
08-21-2006, 07:30 PM
The athlete who dominated his sport like no athlete before or since: Babe Ruth. When he held the record with 714 home runs, no other player had 350. He hit more home runs one year than any other team in the league!

ChiefButthurt
08-21-2006, 07:32 PM
Chuck Norris would make all those bastards look like rookies.

MahiMike
08-21-2006, 07:45 PM
Me

penguinz
08-21-2006, 07:49 PM
Junior Siavii

Thig Lyfe
08-21-2006, 08:10 PM
I haven't read the thread, but I assume it's been Rich Scanlon all the way through.

digi2fish
08-21-2006, 08:23 PM
Derrick Thomas

Sam Hall
08-21-2006, 08:28 PM
Ali was pure entertainment. I can deal with his faults. He was the reason I was happy when Time Warner decided to carry ESPN Classic. That is Ali's channel.

Skip Towne
08-21-2006, 08:41 PM
When Ali (Clay) first showed up I absolutely hated him. Everybody did. We wanted to see Liston shut him up once and for all. "The Louisville Lip" was his nickname. But once I saw what a graceful, talented boxer he was, I changed my mind. I haven't seen anyone mentioned here that had the power, hand-eye coordination, gracefulness (for lack of a better word) and stamina that he had. He was Poetry in Motion. He had the speed and quickness of a lightweight. His heart is unquestioned. See "Thrilla in Manila" if you doubt his courage. Dave Winfield? Please!!

Moooo
08-21-2006, 08:53 PM
The athlete who dominated his sport like no athlete before or since: Babe Ruth. When he held the record with 714 home runs, no other player had 350. He hit more home runs one year than any other team in the league!

Not only that, but he was an ace pitcher who was yanked cause he was needed more as a hitter.

He's #1 if the definition of "athlete" is a master of one sport, then he gets the nod.

Moooo

Sam Hall
08-21-2006, 09:05 PM
I've heard that Dave Winfield would've been a star in whichever sport he played professionally. He usually isn't mentioned in discussions like this, but apparently he should be.

CHENZ A!
08-21-2006, 09:11 PM
No mention of Jackie Robinson?

Sam Hall
08-21-2006, 09:18 PM
No mention of Jackie Robinson?

If you're judging an athlete based on his importance to sports, than there's no doubt about it.

greg63
08-21-2006, 09:24 PM
Rich Scanlon. :p

CHENZ A!
08-21-2006, 09:26 PM
If your judging an athlete based on his importance to sports, than there's no doubt about it.

No, he was a great all around athelete, football/basketball/track and field as well as baseball.

Skip Towne
08-21-2006, 10:06 PM
I've heard that Dave Winfield would've been a star in whichever sport he played professionally. He usually isn't mentioned in discussions like this, but apparently he should be.
Winfield isn't even close to being the best baseball player ever so how could he be the best athlete ever? He was talented in several sports but not the best in any of them.

Rausch
08-21-2006, 10:13 PM
Just for the record, Ali SUCKS! He was and is a racist draft dodger, yet our media diefies him. Makes me sick

Rausch
08-21-2006, 10:15 PM
Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee. Like who you want but bet on Ali. I liked his goofy poetry as well.

His book with his daughter is amazing. And (for Ali, anyway) oddly humble.

Sam Hall
08-21-2006, 10:16 PM
Winfield isn't even close to being the best baseball player ever so how could he be the best athlete ever? He was talented in several sports but not the best in any of them.

True. I was talking in terms of ability to play well in multiple sports.

Tribal Warfare
08-21-2006, 10:16 PM
If one is going to mention Bo Jackson then you should include John Elway

Sam Hall
08-21-2006, 10:18 PM
No, he was a great all around athelete, football/basketball/track and field as well as baseball.

I agree. He was great in more than one way.

Rausch
08-21-2006, 10:19 PM
When Ali (Clay) first showed up I absolutely hated him. Everybody did. We wanted to see Liston shut him up once and for all. "The Louisville Lip" was his nickname. But once I saw what a graceful, talented boxer he was, I changed my mind. I haven't seen anyone mentioned here that had the power, hand-eye coordination, gracefulness (for lack of a better word) and stamina that he had. He was Poetry in Motion. He had the speed and quickness of a lightweight. His heart is unquestioned. See "Thrilla in Manila" if you doubt his courage.

Nein.

See "When We Were Kings."

Through the course of that film you can watch Ali realize that fighting is not why he was put here, only the medium he used to change lives...

Rausch
08-21-2006, 10:21 PM
If one is going to mention Bo Jackson then you should include John Elway

To even compare the two is idiocy with an exponent. Bo had a level of talent NO PLAYER in the NFL has possessed since.

Not even close.

ChiTown
08-21-2006, 10:31 PM
Hershel Walker

I met him on a recruiting trip to UGA in '82. Dude is a specimen and an unreal athlete.

Demonpenz
08-21-2006, 10:42 PM
dale earnhardt

Logical
08-21-2006, 11:53 PM
Greatest talent - Tiger Woods

Greatest Athlete - Jim Thorpe or Bo Jackson

stevieray
08-21-2006, 11:56 PM
Jack LaLane or Spartacus

Logical
08-22-2006, 12:03 AM
Jack LaLane or SpartacusI would think judging Spartacus would be tough, film is in such short supply.:p

PastorMikH
08-22-2006, 12:08 AM
I would think judging Spartacus would be tough, film is in such short supply.:p



Maximus would tear Spartacus apart in the arena. After all, he was a bonafide soldier before entering the ring, not just a slave.



:)

PastorMikH
08-22-2006, 12:10 AM
As for the greatest athlete ever, it would be really tough to decide because everyone has different variables in mind that they equate to being an athlete.

BigRedChief
08-22-2006, 12:10 AM
Old School: Thorpe
New School: Bo Jackson
Best Athlete that also Achieved Greatness: Michael Jordan
Biggest Impact outside of Sports: Ali
Tiger Woods is not an athlete. He is in great shape. He's one mentally tough SOB but he plays golf. IMO they are not athletes any more than race car drivers.

stevieray
08-22-2006, 12:12 AM
Tiger Woods is not an athlete. He is in great shape. He's one mentally tough SOB but he plays golf. IMO they are not athletes any more than race car drivers.

Bang!....and they're off....

TinyEvel
08-22-2006, 01:44 AM
Lance.

chagrin
08-22-2006, 05:20 AM
Didn't Rain Man do extensive, multiple threads on this? Eh, doesn't matter, carry on

Kraut
08-22-2006, 05:25 AM
I always say Jim Thorpe.

patteeu
08-22-2006, 06:01 AM
When Ali (Clay) first showed up I absolutely hated him. Everybody did. We wanted to see Liston shut him up once and for all. "The Louisville Lip" was his nickname. But once I saw what a graceful, talented boxer he was, I changed my mind. I haven't seen anyone mentioned here that had the power, hand-eye coordination, gracefulness (for lack of a better word) and stamina that he had. He was Poetry in Motion. He had the speed and quickness of a lightweight. His heart is unquestioned. See "Thrilla in Manila" if you doubt his courage. Dave Winfield? Please!!

Ali feared George Foreman's powerful punch.

Simplex3
08-22-2006, 06:08 AM
I'm not too knowledgable about golf but it would seem that few people in sports have been as dominant in individual accomplishments as Woods has. In other sports that are a team game you have to temper the accomplishments of an individual with their supporting cast.
Then Lance Armstrong is your man.

PS, I can't believe you losers haven't even mentioned Gretsky. That guys owns damn near every record in the book.

You should also think about Mark Spitz. Seven gold medals in one Olympic games is pretty freaking good and there are few athletes as well conditioned as swimmers. Over an eight day period in the 1972 Olympics he competed in 7 events, winning every one and setting the world record in every one. He is the only athlete to win seven golds in one Olympics. Not a bad week's work.

Skip Towne
08-22-2006, 06:36 AM
Ali feared George Foreman's powerful punch.
And the rope-a-dope was born.

Amnorix
08-22-2006, 06:50 AM
No freaking golfer is ever going to be the greatest athlete.

It's probably some 4 time decathalon winner none of us ever heard of, to be honest.

MOhillbilly
08-22-2006, 07:01 AM
Double Grand Champion Tornado

KcMizzou
08-22-2006, 07:13 AM
Didn't Rain Man do extensive, multiple threads on this? Eh, doesn't matter, carry onThere are no new ideas.

(well, there was the "Siavii = Chiefs best Chiefs D-Lineman" thread, but other than that...)

Tatertot13
08-22-2006, 07:29 AM
Floyd Landis

CoMoChief
08-22-2006, 07:46 AM
Bo Jackson, Jim Brown, or Deion Sanders.


In terms of current Chiefs it's probably Junior Siavii.

MOhillbilly
08-22-2006, 07:48 AM
after alittle thought id have to go w/ Marciano.
How anyone wouldnt consider a legendary champion fighter above all other athletes is beyond me.
The ability to wage war against another man w/ your fists for 15 rounds is all the proof i need that champion boxers are the best athletes in the world.

Rocky Marciano
Jack Johnson
Ali
Marvelous Marvin Haggler
Sugar Ray
Joe Lewis

**** a guy on a bike or a golfer.:harumph:

Sully
08-22-2006, 07:48 AM
Jim Thorpe
Bo Jackson
...and the sleeper...
Herschel Walker.

HMc
08-22-2006, 07:50 AM
I think i'd be the first to mention someone that isn't from the United States, but this guy was pretty impressive at what he did.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Bradman

BigChiefFan
08-22-2006, 07:51 AM
Jim Thorpe

Sully
08-22-2006, 07:54 AM
Don't forget Sammy Baugh.

CoMoChief
08-22-2006, 07:57 AM
after alittle thought id have to go w/ Marciano.
How anyone wouldnt consider a legendary champion fighter above all other athletes is beyond me.
The ability to wage war against another man w/ your fists for 15 rounds is all the proof i need that champion boxers are the best athletes in the world.

Rocky Marciano
Jack Johnson
Ali
Marvelous Marvin Haggler
Sugar Ray
Joe Lewis

**** a guy on a bike or a golfer.:harumph:


True to your last statement, but even UFC fighters are better athletes than the boxers you mentioned.

patteeu
08-22-2006, 08:03 AM
Jim Thorpe
Bo Jackson
...and the sleeper...
Herschel Walker.

I like this list.

MOhillbilly
08-22-2006, 08:22 AM
True to your last statement, but even UFC fighters are better athletes than the boxers you mentioned.
i disagree. the parameters of the ufc match are so loose, it cannot be compared with the strict conduct of a boxing match.

to kick,knee,and elbow a man in the head isnt the same test as going toe2toe and beating your opponet w/ only your fists.

Rain Man
08-22-2006, 08:22 AM
That cricket guy has some pretty impressive records, but ... it's cricket. I'll bet there are some dominant Chinese table tennis players, too.

I define "athleticism" as prowess in feats involving strength, speed, agility, coordination, and probably some other physical adjectives. You can't be a great athlete by training to do one thing very, very well, such as swinging a golf club or hitting a baseball. A great athlete is a guy who could do all of those things well, and could beat everyone else in the world in a centathlon of 100 sporting events. Those might include things like hitting a baseball or swinging a golf club, but they would also include weightlifting, climbing, wrestling, holding one's breath, sprinting, a marathon, etc.

If I had to pick one guy to bet on in an event like that, it would be Walter Payton. When he was alive, of course.

HMc
08-22-2006, 08:36 AM
That cricket guy has some pretty impressive records, but ... it's cricket. I'll bet there are some dominant Chinese table tennis players, too.



That's a pretty insular statement from a seemingly fairly learned guy.

I'd wager that it'd have more viewers and participants around the world than American Football, Basketball and baseball put together.

agree with your other comments re athleticism though.

HMc
08-22-2006, 08:45 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Redgrave

Gold Medals at 5 consecutive olympic games.

Chief Henry
08-22-2006, 08:45 AM
Two guys that most people don't think of unless your a wrestling fan.

1. Dan Gable
2. Cale Sanderson

Do a wikipedia search on those boys and read there bio's. You will be VERY impressed.

JimNasium
08-22-2006, 08:50 AM
Secretariat http://www.secretariat.com/images/CogBelmontRacep.jpg

Rain Man
08-22-2006, 08:53 AM
That's a pretty insular statement from a seemingly fairly learned guy.

I'd wager that it'd have more viewers and participants around the world than American Football, Basketball and baseball put together.

agree with your other comments re athleticism though.


Probably true. However, I'm an American, and we Americans are better than the rest of the world. Interest by one American is equal to interest by 1.5 British or 20 Czechs or 200 Indians or 500 Ugandans.

HMc
08-22-2006, 08:56 AM
Probably true. However, I'm an American, and we Americans are better than the rest of the world. Interest by one American is equal to interest by 1.5 British or 20 Czechs or 200 Indians or 500 Ugandans.

Im impressed you're even aware those places exist.

Baby Lee
08-22-2006, 09:05 AM
Im impressed you're even aware those places exist.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/9/9c/Cheers_coach.jpg/200px-Cheers_coach.jpg
Albania!
Albania!
You border on . . the . . A . . dri . . atic!!

Rain Man
08-22-2006, 01:31 PM
Im impressed you're even aware those places exist.

They're real places? I just heard the names in movies.

Steve Sewell
08-22-2006, 01:33 PM
Easy...John Elway.

Rain Man
08-22-2006, 01:37 PM
Easy...John Elway.

Just curious. If Elway played the Bears, who do you think would win?

Tribal Warfare
08-22-2006, 01:44 PM
To even compare the two is idiocy with an exponent. Bo had a level of talent NO PLAYER in the NFL has possessed since.




how is it idiocy? Elway could've been a hall of famer in baseball too. If you are talking pure RB talent then it's Gale Sayers