Fans vote for their 50 best sports stars with MJ Top and Messi beating Ronaldo
MICHAEL JORDAN has been named the greatest sportsman of all time by fans around the world.
The basketball star has won six NBA titles during his stellar career, as well as a brief adventure in baseball and, of course, Hollywood thanks to Space Jam.
Top 50 Sports Stars of All Time (50-26)
50. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (football)
49. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (WWE)
48. Ian Thorpe (swimming)
47. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (basketball)
46. Chris Hoy (bike)
45. Serguei Bubka (pole vault)
44. Drew Brees (American football)
43. Tony Hawk (skateboard)
42. Zinédine Zidane (football)
41. Barry Sanders (American football)
40. Michael Vick (American football)
39. Haile Gebrselassie (athletics)
38. Brett Favre (American football)
37. Magic Johnson (basketball)
36. Floyd Mayweather Jr (boxing)
35. Jackie Robinson (baseball)
34. Larry Bird (basketball)
33. Carl Lewis (athletics)
32. Kobe Bryant (basketball)
31. Derek Jeter (baseball)
30. Michael Johnson (athletics)
29. Peyton Manning (American football)
28. Daley Thompson (athletics)
27. Mike Tyson (boxing)
26. Serena Williams (tennis)
* According to TheTopTens
And Jordan beat Muhammad Ali, ice hockey star Wayne Gretzky and baseball legend Babe Ruth for the GOAT title, according to fan poll site TheTopTens.
Surprisingly, Serena Williams (26th) is the only female star to be voted in the top 50.
Swimming icon Michael Phelps – 23 times Olympic gold medalist – rounds out the top five, closely followed by Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt.
Full sports phenomenon Jim Thorpe – who has played baseball, basketball and American football, as well as pentathlon and decathlon – comes next.
He is followed by Bo Jackson, a baseball and American football star.
The first non-North American sports star to make the list is Pelé, with Brazilian soccer legend in ninth place, ahead of tennis ace Roger Federer.
From there, a wide range of sports are covered including WWE, boxing, pole vault, cycling, skateboarding, and golf.
Among the biggest names, Tiger Woods ranks 21st – with Lionel Messi (14th) edging Cristiano Ronaldo (15th) by just one place.
Top 50 Sports Stars of All Time (25-1)
25. John Cena (WWE)
24. Jim Brown (American football)
23. Jerry Rice (American football)
22. Gordie Howe (ice hockey)
21. Tiger Woods (golf)
20. Tom Brady (American football)
19. Wilt Chamberlain (basketball)
18. Don Bradman (cricket)
17. Jesse Owens (athletics)
16. Bobby Orr (ice hockey)
15. Cristiano Ronaldo (football)
14. Lionel Messi (football)
13. Bruce Lee (martial arts)
12. LeBron James (basketball)
11. Joe Montana (American football)
10. Roger Federer (tennis)
9. Pelé (football)
8. Bo Jackson (baseball / American football)
7. Jim Thorpe (track and field, American football, baseball and basketball)
6. Usain Bolt (sprint)
5. Michael Phelps (swimming)
4. Babe Ruth (baseball)
3. Wayne Gretzky (ice hockey)
2. Mohamed Ali (boxing)
1. Michael Jordan (basketball)
* According to TheTopTens
But not everyone is happy with the list and some have taken to Twitter to rant, with one writing: “American List… Americans once again think they are the whole world.”
Another tweeted: “John Cena? How can you even take this seriously? “
A third posted an image of Michael Schumacher running in a determined fashion, captioned: “Me on my way to find whoever came up with this list parody.”
One of them added: “How is Federer in the top 10 when Nadal’s is not even in the top 50?”
Another argued: “The prejudice against Americans and their lack of recognition for sport around the world. Zlatan & Pele on Maradona or Best?
“No Phil Taylor for darts, only Bradman for cricket, no Senna or Fangio and many other missed sports… and Tyson would have destroyed Ali in their first two moments.”
The NBA legend is not only the greatest basketball player of all time, but quite possibly the greatest sportsman of all time.
While Federer, Woods, and even current NBA star LeBron James have tried to fight that Jordan mantle, it’s hard to look past MJ.
Not only the most incredible player on the basketball court, Jordan is a man of many other talents, not least as a talented baseball player and golfer.
Then there’s his business empire, with Jordan worth well over £ 1 billion.
In his 13 seasons as a basketball player for the Chicago Bulls, Jordan won the NBA title six times and the League’s Most Valuable Player award five times.
On top of that, he’s been named the Finals MVP six times, NBA All-Star 12 times (14 overall) among dozens and dozens of accolades, both personal and team.