The greatest of all time in sport has and will always throw up a heated debates among sports fans, commentators and sports stars alike. Many sports are contested with two or three names in the mix and we’ll let that debate rage until a definitive great appears.
There are however a few unanimous and uncontested GOATS, (greatest of all time) and by this we mean sports where there is no contest as to who the GOAT is, these are the athletes which at the moment are uncontested.
Michael Jordan – Basketball
We could say just go watch Netflix documentary, The Last Dance, which is a documentary on Michael Jordan’s basketball career, but that’s not fair.
Jordan is the complete basketballer, an outstanding scoring ability accompanied with being an excellent defensive player. The belief and spirit Jordan showed on the court made him stand out from the rest, he was such a weapon for the Chicago Bulls that opposing teams had to rewrite defensive strategies to defend against him.
He brought the NBA to life and redefined the nature of what it was like to be a professional basketballer. 6-time NBA champion and 6-time MVP, a 14-time All-Star and 10-time scoring leader, the man was a machine of the game. Some of his records include his career points per game average, which sits at 30.1, and most NBA Finals MVP awards. He was and still is the greatest NBA player of all time. LeBron James is the only player to come close to Jordan’s basketball legacy.
Serena Williams – Tennis
Margaret Court, Steffi Graf, Navratilova all get a look in but there’s one definitive GOAT in women’s tennis that no one can argue with.
Serena Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined amongst active players. Her record of 39 Grand Slam titles puts her third on the all-time list and second in the Open Era: 23 in singles, 14 in women’s doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles, make her the greatest female tennis player of all time.
The 38 year old won her first singles title as a mother at the 2020 ASB Classic, becoming the first woman in the professional era with at least one title in four decades: the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s. Serena has also been No. 1 in the world for a total of 309 weeks—186 of which were consecutive.
Roger Federer – Tennis
His title of the GOAT in mens tennis is safe for the time being, but it could be come a contested tile between the big 3 in tennis next year with Nadal and Djokovic not far behind him!
The Swiss star now owns 20 majors after he lifting both the Australian Open and Wimbledon (without dropping a single set) in 2017, and The Aus Open for the 6th time in 2018. He has also has 103 ATP titles (second only to Jimmy Connors record of 109 titles) and counting and held the world No. 1 ranking for 310 weeks, another record for the Open era. Arguable nobody through out the history of tennis has had more impact on the game than Roger Federer.
With the 2020 ATP World Tour and WTA tours suspended and the French Open and Wimbledon cancelled until 2021, the race to the top between the big 3 is on hold for now.
Michael Phelps – Swimming
The king of the swimming pool is also most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals.
Phelps made the 2000 Olympics at 15 years old, he wouldn’t win any medals that time round, but made up for it in Athens in 2004, taking home 6 golds and 2 bronze medals, he became the most successful athlete in Athens – a feat he would then repeat in Beijing 2008 as well as in London 2012!
Phelps didn’t just cruise to his eight golds in 2008 – he did so by creating 7 fresh world records and 1 Olympic record in Beijing. The following Games, in London, the Baltimore native upstaged Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina to emerge as the most decorated Olympian ever.
He initially retired after his 4th Olympics, however, Phelps came out of retirement for the Rio 2016 Olympics and would go on to win five more golds and a silver medal, leaving him to officially bow out of the sport once and for all with an incredible 28 Olympic medals to his name (23 golds, 3 silver, 2 bronze).
Tom Brady – American Football
Twenty years ago, he was a sixth-round draft choice from the University of Michigan. Fast forward to Super Bowl 53 in 2019, where Tom Brady cemented his place as the GOAT in football by winning his 6th Super Bowl at the ripe old age of 41! He is without doubt the leader of all-time greatest NFL players. Brady is a icon and true example of a player that worked hard to achieve his status as a great. Brady has Lombardi trophy a remarkable 6 times during his career, earned himself 4 Super Bowel MVP awards as well as a host of other NFL records.
2020 sees Brady move from the New England Patriots to Tampa Bay Buccaneers to continue his unrivalled legacy at the NFL.
Babe Root – Baseball
Since baseball, more than any other sport, is defined by numbers let’s star there. The Sultan of Swat’s career Wins Above Replacement (WAR) stands at an astounding 183.7—Cy Young is second with 168.5. The Great Bambino is also the all-time leader in slugging percentage (.690) and OPS (1.164); he’s second in RBI (2,214) and on-base percentage (4.74); hit 60 home runs in 1927; 714 for his career; and may have single-handedly saved baseball in the wake of the Black Sox scandal.
He was bought by the Yankees for $100,000 in 1920, which was massive money at the time. Ruth was so popular the Yankees had to build around him. In his 15 years with the New York Yankees, Ruth helped the team win seven American League (AL) pennants and four World Series championships. And this legend was as talked about of the pitch as much as he was on the pitch! No one in the modern era of baseball comes close.
Jack Nicklaus – Golf
With 18 professional majors, 2 U.S. Amateur titles and 73 PGA Tour wins & 10 Champions Tour wins over 25 years, Jack’s record speaks for itself. The only other in contest is Tiger Woods, who has 81 won PGA Tour titles and 15 majors. But until him or someone else tops his record 18 major championships, there is no question that “The Golden Bear” is the greatest golfer of all time.
The best golf that has ever been played was from Woods from the years 2000 to 2008, and nobody has had a bigger impact on the game than Woods, but he still has work to do to catch up on Jack Nicklaus.
Pele – Football
Three time world cup winner with Brazil back in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and a true icon of the game, Pele is widely considered as the greatest football player of all-time. Pelé is the most successful league goal-scorer in the world, scoring 1281 goals in 1363 games, which included unofficial friendlies and tour games. Pelé is the all-time leading goalscorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games. At club level he is the record goalscorer for Santos, and led them to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores. He was the face of the “Beautiful Game” and a true football icon both on and off the field.
If anyone can up with catch up with Pele, it’s going to be Messi or Ronaldo!