The 10 Greatest Sports Icons In History

In the world of sports, every generation will get to witness several stars. Some of these stars succeed and fulfill their destinies while others may fail in their journey. In this melee of stars that come and go, there are those who leave a mark in the world that simply doesn’t fade with time. While some can come to achieve great things, a few outstanding elements raise others above and beyond the rest. This list of Top 10 Sports Icons is a tribute to such superstars of the sports world – heroes who will never fade over time.
 
Pele
 
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via deccanchronicle (AFP)
 

The Brazilian is an icon not only in the football world, but in the sports world in general. Every sportsman worth his trade respects Pele for all that he has achieved. A phenomenon, Pele is known not only for his amazing skills in soccer, but also respected for his humility and composure. Among other accomplishments, his time with the New York Cosmos in the 70s is probably the biggest boost the game received in America! As a global icon, Pele has played his part in several charitable efforts as well, making him more than just a sports sensation. Even decades after retiring from the game of football he gave so many memories to, Pele remains a part of the world of sports and will remain so for a long time to come.
 
Muhammad Ali
 
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via usatoday
 

Cassius Clay, or more commonly known as Muhammad Ali, this man’s punches are louder than anything the boxing arena has ever seen. So what if he called himself “The World’s Greatest”? His feats in the ring, and sometimes off it, proved that the world could call him that one day anyways! His controversial comments and daring beliefs outside the ring matched his boxing prowess inside of it and for these reasons and many more, Muhammad Ali finds a permanent place in the Boxing Hall of Fame, and of course, in the hearts of his admirers across multiple generations.
 
Michael Jordan
 
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via bullsnation (AP)
 

The towering figure of Michael Jordan flying towards the basketball hoop is an image that surpasses many other memories in the world of sports. His Airness is probably the only athlete to have an impact on his sport that created a ripple effect across other sports too. Today, he heads the Charlotte Hornets and no matter how many basketball superstars tread the basketball arena after him, few will ever come close to the enigma that MJ has proven to be. While fans scramble to get their hands on their favorite Jordan brand sneakers, here’s a man who will remain, as the NBA website proclaims, the greatest basketball player of all time!
 
Tiger Woods
 
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via startribune (AP)
 

In recent times, Tiger Woods has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, but that doesn’t take away from what he has accomplished in the realm of golf. Tiger Woods singlehandedly revamped the image of golf, and for years, has ruled the best courses in the world through grit, focus, and determination. The first African American to make such a huge name for himself in the sport, Woods is probably the greatest influence the sport has ever had.
 
Jackie Robinson
 
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via abc7news (AP)
 

April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball and even his No.42 retired with him. These are not the only two elements that speak to the man’s greatness. During a time when being African American was enough to keep you out of sports in America, Jackie Robinson used his skills and strong personality to break through the color barrier, opening up the gates to many more colored players after him. He remains a sports icon even today, not only for his contribution to the game, but also his influence he had on the sports world around him.
 
Wilt Chamberlain
 
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via sportingnews (AP Photo/Paul Vathis)
 

The NBA may have seen amazing players come and go in all its time, but the man who got it all started though was Wilt Chamberlain. This is the guy who set all the records while hundreds of players after him made it their life’s dream to try and break them. Did you know he was the only NBA player to score a mind-numbing 100 points in a single game? Only Kobe Bryant’s 81 points in a single game comes close, but even that is 19 points short of the record! Averaging 30.1 points and 22.9 rebounds per game, Chamberlain was a man playing among boys.
 
Jim Thorpe
 
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via nbcnewyork (AP)
 

While most sports icons, even the ones on this list, are known for their dedication to a single sport, Jim Thorpe’s skills, talents and determination just could not be limited to a single one. A proud Native American, Thorpe was a phenomenal sportsman who made a name for himself across a string of different sports, including professional football, basketball and baseball. He even won two gold medals at the Olympic Games in 1912.
 
Vince Lombardi
 
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via ftw.usatoday.com (AP)
 

If there’s one man’s numbers every coach in the NFL would like to replicate, they would be the ones attained by Vince Lombardi. The man did not know what a losing season was throughout his career as a coach in the NFL and this is only one of the reasons the Super Bowl trophy is named after him! When he wrapped up his amazing coaching career with the Green Bay Packers, he had five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowl wins to his name.
 
Babe Ruth
 
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via nypost (AP)
 

George Herman “Babe” Ruth is the player who made baseball a popular sport in the 20s. “The Bambino” remains one of the most prolific players the game of baseball has ever produced. It’s been almost a century since Babe Ruth hit those loud 714 home runs and winning seven World Series championships, and yet, he still remains a well-known name in the world of sports today. Need we say more?
 
Wayne Gretzky
 
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via slam.canoe.com (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Liam Richards)
 

They don’t call Wayne Gretzky “The Great one” for nothing! Arguably the most influential hockey player to ever step on a rink in the NHL, Gretzky has a string of records to his name. These include 15 playoff records and 40 regular season records, he remains the only player in history to record more than 200 points in a single season, and he managed to do that a whopping four times! Teams across the NHL have retired his No.99 jersey and even that doesn’t seem to be enough tribute to the man who remains one of the most iconic hockey players of all time.
 
This list of Top 10 Sports Icons teaches us the true meaning of excellence in the sports world and beyond. The records these players have set may be broken along the way, but the memories they have given us will remain with us forever.