Greatest Athletes You've Seen in Any Sport

patrickj

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#1
The recent injury to Mariano Rivera, one of the greatest athletes I've had the pleasure ow watching in any sport, made me think of this as a thread topic:

Who are the greatest and most memorable athletes you've seen in your lifetime in any sport? (not in old videos, but actually seen them play during their career).

Here's some of mine just quickly reeled off - and for me they also serve as a reminder that damn I'm getting old ...

Baseball:

Mariano Rivera
Ken Griffey Jr.
Randy Johnson
Albert Pujols

Boxing:

Sugar Ray Leonard
Thomas Hearns
Marvin Hagler
Muhammad Ali - in his twilight years

Football (blah soccer if you must):

Diego Maradona
Marco van Basten
Ruud Gullit
Ronaldo (the original, not the current Real Madrid player)
Marcel Desailly
Paulo Maldini
Lionel Messi

Athletics:

Michael Johnson
Carl Lewis
Haile Gebrselassie
Seb Coe

Basketball

Michael Jordan
Magic Johnson
Kobe Bryant
Lebron James
Tim Duncan

Synchronized Swimming and Beach Volleyball:

I'll get back to you ...
 

Bitewound

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#2
I'm older lol
Mickey Mantle
Roger Maris
Thurman Munson
Billy Martin
Paul O'Neill
Hank Aaron
Willie Mays
MO ;-(
Jeter
Guidry
Gossage
on my way out, will list more later, even for teams i hate like Carl Yastrzemski,but these are my favorites . Basically i've seen every great Yankee in person since i started going to the stadium at 5yo in 59. I saw some Dodgers before that, but i was an infant lol
Oh- Willie Joe Namath
 

patrickj

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#3
I'm older lol
Mickey Mantle
Roger Maris
Thurman Munson
Billy Martin
Paul O'Neill
Hank Aaron
Willie Mays
MO ;-(
Jeter
Guidry
Gossage
on my way out, will list more later, even for teams i hate like Carl Yastrzemski,but these are my favorites . Basically i've seen every great Yankee in person since i started going to the stadium at 5yo in 59. I saw some Dodgers before that, but i was an infant lol
Oh- Willie Joe Namath
Wow, would've loved to see Mays or Mantle play in their prime. You know, I almost named Guidry or Dwight Gooden because I have vivid memories of spectacular, dominant seasons from both of them. Reggie Jackson was another big favorite - almost got his autograph once too at the old Yankee Stadium.
 
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#4
There are 2 athletes whom in my opinion i think were the best I've ever seen in their sport...Michael Jordan, Basketball, and Dan Marino, Football.
 

patrickj

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#5
There are 2 athletes whom in my opinion i think were the best I've ever seen in their sport...Michael Jordan, Basketball, and Dan Marino, Football.
MJ is indisputable. Marino was a real great. Amazing arm - shame he never got a ring but I agree he's an all-time great.
 

Bennyboy

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#6
Luis Nazario Da Lima known as Ronaldo

Javier Zanetti
Lionel Messi
Diego Armando Maradona
And Marco Van Basten

Tiger woods
Michael Jordan
Allen Iverson and



Pete Sampras, what an athlete he was.
 

patrickj

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#7
Oh, tennis - good call.

Pete Sampras
Andre Agassi
Boris Becker
Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal
Steffi Graf
Venus Williams

And I forgot one in my football list: Zinedine Zidane.
 

ivantwilliams

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#8
Venus Williams
Serena Williams
Theirry Henry
Dennis Bergkamp - pure class!
David Ginola


...shouldn't we have another thread like this for artist, too? Go ;)


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#10
I think Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, and Roberto Carlos were some of the best Brazilian players to ever step foot into the great game of football. You also didn't mention Mike Tyson, whom I think is one of the best boxers of all time.
 

ivantwilliams

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#11
Tarek some people weren't listed because maybe he has never actually seen him\her actually play\fight...


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Bitewound

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#12
Wow, would've loved to see Mays or Mantle play in their prime. You know, I almost named Guidry or Dwight Gooden because I have vivid memories of spectacular, dominant seasons from both of them. Reggie Jackson was another big favorite - almost got his autograph once too at the old Yankee Stadium.
Guidry is my favorite Yankee pitcher of all time. I was there the night he struck out 18 and he's the reason fans stand now when a pitcher has two strikes .
I hate Reggie Jackson- what a blowhard. One of my favorite memories of his time in NYC was when Billy Martin yanked him mid inning at Fenway for not hustling for a ball lol. I did like him the night he hit 3 homers in the WS ;)
 

patrickj

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#13
I think Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, and Roberto Carlos were some of the best Brazilian players to ever step foot into the great game of football. You also didn't mention Mike Tyson, whom I think is one of the best boxers of all time.
I'd agree with Roberto Carlos. Rivaldo was mesmerizing to watch but both he and Ronaldinho seemed to fade out too fast to be considered all-time greats.

Tyson was an amazing monster for quite a few years. Scary and fast with his hands and feet, so much faster than most heavyweights. But he didn't stay devoted to it, and he lost to Buster Douglas and then there were so many more losses that wrecked his legacy. It's a shame because at his best he was fearsome.
 
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#14
It's always the personality of the athlete that gets in the way. Ronaldinho, as you mentioned, is the biggest example.
 

Bennyboy

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#16
And that's why I think Javier Zanetti is the best athlete I've ever seen in my lifetime. At 38 still outruns players 20 years younger than him. Second is Michael Jordan, the guy could've played any other sports and he would've been great, he wasn't just an amazing basketball player, but also an amazing athlete. Being able to score 40+ points in a playoff game with basically one leg is not something anyone can do, matter of fact nobody ever will. Sampras, the same, vomiting on the court, treated for exhaustion after the match with Corretja at the US open, and still manages to win. It's in the heart, not legs or head.
 

patrickj

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#17
^^^^ That reminded me of another great to add to my list: Bo Jackson. His career was sadly cut short by injury but I have never seen anyone who was not just good but a superstar level player in two pro sports. He was a monster in both the NFL and the major leagues.
 

furndaddy

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#18
Best "Athletes" I've ever seen:

Michael Jordan
Carl Lewis
Bo Jackson
Tiger Woods
LeBron James
Deion Sanders

Most dominant players I've ever seen in their respective sport, i.e., Legends that I'll be able to tell my grandchildren that I actually saw play:

Michael Jordan
Tiger Woods
Carl Lewis
Wayne Gretzky
Albert Pujols
Mariano Rivera
 

chris

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#19
For me it has to be Michael Jordan. His ability to just take over a series and bring his play to a new level just amazed me. I don't watch basketball much, if at all any more. I used to love watching the Bulls Knicks. Awesome, awesome games and he was definitely the greatest athlete I've seen.

Has anyone seen EPSN's 30 for 30. I'm definitely going to pick that up when I move back home. It's an impressive list of directors.
 

Santa

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#20
I'm just going to list the 2 I had the pleasure of seeing in person:

Willie Mays
Jerry Rice