Who is the GOAT athlete

One of the most difficult debates in absolutely any sport is discussing who should be crowned the Greatest of All-Time. Debating whether Michael Jordan or LeBron James in basketball, Muhammad Ali or Floyd Mayweather in boxing, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers in the NFL, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo for football. The list goes on and on, and even though this debate will never end, how much more if we talk about who should be the greatest all-time athlete among all the sports mentioned?

The GOAT in every sport

NBA (Basketball): Michael Jordan

This is going to be a tough pill to swallow for some NBA fans. It has been a tough battle as to who the GOAT of basketball is. Some would argue LeBron James has already surpassed MJ, but his Airness’ fans would say otherwise.

Michael Jordan
Photo courtesy of NBA
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Comparing two different eras is already a conundrum, let alone comparing two great players who have very diffetent play styles. Statistics aside, if we are looking on who’s the better winner (according to championships and other trophies), Michael Jordan takes this one home.

NFL (American Football): Tom Brady

Almost every player considered to be NFL’s greatest is a quarterback. One name that crosses everyone’s mind is no other than Tom Brady. At 45, Brady is still doing the unimaginable and is still looking to win.

Photo Courtesy of BBC

Brady has already amassed a total of 7 Super Bowl championships in which he was named MVP 5 times. He was also a 3-time NFL MVP and named to 15 Pro Bowl teams. Tom Brady also holds a lot of records in the quarterback position which might not be broken anytime soon.

Boxing: Muhammad Ali

Yes, we would agree Muhammad Ali isn’t the most prolific fighter nor the most dominant boxer in history. But, his impact to the game was second to none.

Muhammad Ali, Photo Courtesy of respectability.org

According to The Boxing Bible, Ali is a top 3 boxer in their books. He may be behind two extremely talented boxers like Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson, but Ali will always be remembered as the greatest and most entertaining boxer the world has ever seen.

Football: Lionel Messi

After winning his first World Cup ever, Argentine superstar Lionel Messi is the undisputed goat of football.

Messi is the goat of football

It’s been a long time coming, and after 5 appearances in the biggest stage of football, Messi finally claims the crown as the sport’s GOAT. Before winning the championship, it was a debate between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Unfortunately for CR7, the race was over when his Portugal team fell short against Morocco in the quarterfinals of this year’s World Cup.

NHL (Ice Hockey): Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky’s nickname, “The Great One” already speaks for himself.

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Wayne Gretzky
Photo Courtesy of Britannica

More than two decades after retiring from the National Hockey League but Gretzky is still widely considered to be the GOAT of hockey. The Canadian superstar played for four (4) different teams in 20 years. His physical attributes were mildly average but what separated him from others was his IQ and how great he was as a leader. According to ESPN, Gretzky even gets the nod as the GOAT athlete in terms of team sports.

Baseball: Babe Ruth

Even up to this day, everybody still hears Babe Ruth’s name. It’s as if Ruth is synonymous to baseball.

Babe Ruth
Photo Courtesy of Britannica

Babe Ruth single-handedly change the sport forever using his God-given skills. He is almost seen as an American hero and a true legend by some. However, there are others that are already up there with Babe Ruth. Names like Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Mike Trout, and Jackie Robinson would make the perfect runner-up list. If only Barry Bonds did not have that steroid scandal in the 2010s, he would have also gotten the nod for GOAT consideration.

Tennis: Roger Federer

Right now, the stats are leaning towards Novak Djokovic as tennis’ best player ever. Some experts would also say it’s Rafael Nadal. But looking at his impact and how good he is at winning, Roger Federer might just be the true GOAT of tennis.

Roger Federer
Photo Courtesy of Britannica

For almost five years, Federer held the no.1 spot in World Rankings. He held the rank for 237 consecutive weeks and never once fell below the top rank for about 310 weeks. He also has won the most Grand Slam (in men’s category) with a total of 20 trophies. Although his greatness has already been surpassed by Nadal and Djokovic, real fans still agree that Federer is the GOAT. Despite losing records in recent outings, he still attracted fans to watch every tournament he plays.

Swimming: Michael Phelps

There’s no need to question who’s the greatest swimmer is. This doesn’t even need to be discussed.

Michael Phelps
Photo Courtesy of Team USA

The winningest Olympian ever, Michael Phelps, already sits on the throne. With a total of 28 medals – 23 of which are gold – Michael Phelps racks the most medals won by an athlete in the Olympics. His world record breaking 8 medals in Beijing solidified his case as the greatest swimmer ever.

Sprinting: Usain Bolt

After winning his third consecutive Olympic game in both the 100m and 200m sprint, Usain Bolt finally becomes the GOAT of runners.

Usain Bolt
Photo Courtesy of Olympics

Aside from winning 8 gold medals in the Olympics, Bolt also holds the world record as the fastes finisher in the 100m and 200m sprint. He is literally the fastest man alive.

So, who is the greatest?

Even with all the evidences, it is still hard to say. So, we are just going to have to categorize the GOAT title.

  • If we are taking who is the most impactful, it has to be MICHAEL JORDAN.
  • If we’re taking playing at the highest level and winning everything there is that needs to be achieved, it’s gotta be LIONEL MESSI.
  • Olympic-wise (Gold Medals), it’s obviously MICHAEL PHELPS.
  • In terms of team sports and leadership, it’s reportedly WAYNE GRETZKY.
  • If we are taking fan-favorites, there’s MUHAMMAD ALI or ROGER FEDERER.
  • Longevity-wise and accolade-wise, TOM BRADY is an obvious choice.

In the future, there might be athletes who might replace these names. But, they are already etched in the history as the best ever to play their respective sport. Regardless of who the best of the best is, we just have to appreciate that we were able to see them play.


Who do you think has the right to be named the Greatest of All Time athlete? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.

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Sources: ESPN, The Athletic
John Micheal (sometimes called JM or Mike) has been writing various types of professional articles for almost 2 years now. He is an avid sports fan and has been following the NBA since the early 2000s. He also loves playing a lot of video games like DotA 2, Valorant, but MMOs have a special places in JM's heart. Not only is he a huge fan of basketball and video games, he also loves movies and tv shows. He is a huge MARVEL and MCU fan plus he is into a lot of superhero stuff.