Hank Aaron (Baseball / USA) /
Nicknamed “Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank,” is an American retired Major League Baseball (MLB) right fielder who serves as the senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves. He played 21 seasons for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL) and two seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League (AL), from 1954 through 1976. Aaron held the MLB record for career home runs for 33 years, and he still holds several MLB offensive records. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and is one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron fifth on its “100 Greatest Baseball Players” list.
Karriem ABdAllah (Martial Arts / USA) /
Karriem was the first Black man in American to develop his own functioning karate system. According to his website the KA system consists of 25 styles of fighting. He developed legitimate fighters who were successful in tournaments during the 60s and 70s. He retired from Karate in 1977 and moved into boxing and kickboxing. His championship kickboxing fight with Jeff Smith was the under-card fight for the Muhammad Ali and George Frazier, Thrilla In Manilla fight.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Basketball / USA) /
During his career as a center, Abdul-Jabbar was a record six-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), a record 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, and an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member. A member of six NBA championship teams as a player and two more as an assistant coach, Abdul-Jabbar twice was voted NBA Finals MVP. In 1996, he was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. NBA coach Pat Riley and players Isiah Thomas and Julius Erving have called him the greatest basketball player of all time. After winning 71 consecutive basketball games on his high school team in New York City, Alcindor was recruited by Jerry Norman, the assistant coach of UCLA, where he played for coach John Wooden on three consecutive national championship teams and was a record three-time MVP of the NCAA Tournament. Drafted with the first overall pick by the one-season-old Bucks franchise in the 1969 NBA draft, Alcindor spent six seasons in Milwaukee. After leading the Bucks to its first NBA championship at age 24 in 1971, he took the Muslim name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Using his trademark “skyhook” shot, he established himself as one of the league’s top scorers. In 1975, he was traded to the Lakers, with whom he played the final 14 seasons of his career and won five additional NBA championships. Abdul-Jabbar’s contributions were a key component in the “Showtime” era of Lakers basketball. Over his 20-year NBA career, his teams succeeded in making the playoffs 18 times and got past the first round 14 times; his teams reached the NBA Finals on 10 occasions.
Simidele Adeagbo (Skeleton Racer / Canada) /
Nigerian skeleton racer who competed at the 2018 Winter
Olympics. She is Nigeria and Africa’s first female skeleton athlete. She is the first black female Olympian in the sport. Before competing in skeleton, Adeagbo competed in triple jump, last competing in 2008.
Israel Adesanya (Mixed Martial Artist / Nigeria) /
Nigerian-born New Zealander professional mixed martial
artist based in Auckland. He is a kickboxer, and boxer. As a mixed martial artist, he is currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is the UFC Middleweight Champion. In kickboxing, he is the former Glory middleweight contender winner and King in the Ring two-time cruiserweight and heavyweight champion. As of March 2020, he is # 5 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.
Freddy Adu (Futbol or Soccer / Ghana) /
Adu broke several records. First, he became the youngest athlete ever to sign a professional contract in the United States, after he was selected by the team in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft on January 16, 2004. Three months later, on April 3, 2004, he became the youngest player to appear in a Major League Soccer (MLS) game when he came on as a substitute in a game against the San Jose Earthquakes, and on April 17, he became the youngest scorer in MLS history, scoring a goal in a 3–2 loss to the MetroStars.
Andy Akinwolere (Swimming / Nigeria) /
He has set two world records for swimming in one of the deepest stretches of water on the planet. Mr. Akinwolere swam five miles across the Palau Trench, an 8,000-metre deep abyss in the Pacific Ocean. He is the first person to swim across the deepest part of the trench, and now holds the record for the deepest location for an open water swim. He took three and a half hours to complete his swim. His records were verified by the World Open Water Swimming Association. Until a few weeks before, Mr. Akinwolere was unable to swim a length and was terrified of open water. He said: “It’s an absolute triumph to have completed this swim, after having had just over 10 weeks of swimming training I still cannot believe how far I’ve come. “I could not swim a length before this and now I have swum over one of the deepest parts of the world. “All the hours of grueling training will be worth it if my challenge inspires more children from ethnic minorities to learn to swim.”
Muhammad Ali (Boxing / USA) /
American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th
century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Damon Allen (Football / Canada) /
Professional quarterback who played in the Canadian Football League. He is currently third in all-time professional football passing yards and second in all-time CFL passing yards after he was surpassed for first place by the Montréal Alouettes’ Anthony Calvillo on October 10, 2011. He is pro-football’s combined passing & rushing leader with a total of 84,301 yards. Allen retired as professional football’s all-time leading passer with 72,381 passing yards after he surpassed Warren Moon’s total of 70,553 yards (in both the CFL and NFL combined) on September 4, 2006 in the annual Labour Day Classic. He also retired in third place in all-time CFL rushing yards with 11,920 yards, behind Mike Pringle and George Reed. Allen has been mentioned as one of the greatest CFL quarterbacks of all time after winning four Grey Cups with three different teams. He also was a three-time Grey Cup MVP. In 2005, he was the CFL Most Outstanding Player at 42 years old, becoming the second oldest MVP of any North American sports franchise (oldest is Gordie Howe of the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association, MVP at age 46 in 1974). He was a formidable passer and rusher, as he retired only 323 yards behind his brother Marcus. In 2012, he was elected into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Kanati Allen (Gymnastics / USA) /
American gymnast. He competed for the seventh-place U.S. team at the 1968 Summer Olympics. Allen, who was of black and Native American descent, was the first African-American gymnast to compete at the Olympic Games.
Larry Allen (Football / USA) /
Allen is regarded as one of the physically strongest men to have ever played in the NFL, having recorded an official bench press of 705 lb (320 kg) and a squat of 905 lb (411 kg). He also did 10 repetitions of incline bench press with 520 lb (236 kg). Despite his strength and size, he still had speed to run down defenders. An 11-time Pro Bowl selection, Allen played 12 seasons with the Cowboys and earned a Super Bowl ring with the team after a 27–17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. In his career, he played in more Pro Bowls than any other Dallas Cowboys offensive player in franchise history. On February 2, 2013, Allen was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Marcus Allen (Football / USA) / As a professional, Allen ran for 12,243 yards and caught 587 passes for 5,412 yards during his career for both the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs from 1982 to 1997. He scored 145 touchdowns, including a then-league-record 123 rushing touchdowns, and was elected to six Pro Bowls over the course of his career. Allen was the first NFL player to gain more than 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards during his career. Allen is considered one of the greatest goal line and short-yard runners in National Football League (NFL) history. Allen has the distinction of being the only player to have won the Heisman Trophy, an NCAA national championship, the Super Bowl, and be named NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP. He has been inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ray Allen (Basketball / USA) / Allen’s list of individual accolades are extensive; he gained ten NBA All-Star designations, he won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the 2000 United States men’s basketball team, and he also holds NBA records in career three-point field goals made in both the regular and postseason. He is widely considered one of the best shooters of all-time.
Daniel Amokachi (Futbol or Soccer / Nigeria) / With World Cup performances, he was third in the African Footballer of the Year award three times. As a forward, he was known for his speed, technique and physical strength, which earnmed him the nicknames Black Bull and Black Train. Amokachi, who is also very popular and well known in his country, contributed to Nigeria’s top two tournaments to the World Cup along with his attack partner Emmanuel Amunike.
Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo (Basketball / Greece) / In 2016–17 he led the Bucks in all five major statistical categories and became the first player in NBA history to finish a regular season in the top 20 in all five statistics of total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He received the Most Improved Player award in 2017. He has received four All-Star selections, including being selected as the Eastern Conference captain for 2020, and led the Eastern Conference in voting in 2019. In June 2019, he was named the NBA Most Valuable Player.
Quadri Aruna (Table Tennis / Nigeria) / In 2014, he was ranked number 30 in world table tennis, and the International Table Tennis Federation named him the Star Player of the year. His peak world ranking was 25, which he held from September 2016- January 2017. Currently he is ranked 27th in the ITTF male world rankings.
Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr. (Tennis / USA) / American professional tennis player who won three Grand Slam singles titles. Ashe was the first black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open. He retired in 1980. He was ranked world No. 1 by Harry Hopman in 1968 and by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph and World Tennis Magazine in 1975. In the ATP computer rankings, he peaked at No. 2 in May 1976. On June 20, 1993, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the United States President Bill Clinton.
Ravichandran Ashwin (Cricket / India) / An all-rounder who bats right-handed and bowls right-arm off break, Ashwin plays for Tamil Nadu in domestic cricket and Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League. He is the fastest Indian bowler (also in some records the joint fastest in the world) to reach the 50-, 100-, 150-, 200-, 250-, 300- and 350-wicket mark in Test cricket in terms of number of innings. In 2016, he became the third Indian to win the ICC Cricketer of the Year award.
Donovan Bailey (Track & Field / Jamaica) / Jamaican-Canadian sprinter, who once held the world record for the 100 metres. He recorded a time of 9.84 seconds to win the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games. He was the first Canadian to legally break the 10-second barrier in the 100 m. Particularly noted for his top speed, Bailey ran 27.07 mph (12.10 m/s) in his 1996 Olympic title run, the fastest ever recorded by a human at the time. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 as an individual athlete and in 2008 as part of the 1996 Summer Olympics 4×100 relay team. In 2005, he was also inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.
Art Baker (Wrestling / USA) / A product of Pennsylvania, Arthur Baker wrote some significant wrestling history east of the Mississippi River. As a high school wrestler at Erie Academy, Baker became only the second African-American to win a state title in the Keystone State (behind Reading’s Bruce Gilmore in 1955), claiming the Pennsylvania prep crown at 165 pounds in 1956; the following year, he won his second PIAA title, this time at 185. Art Baker headed east to Syracuse University, where he was a two-sport star, excelling on the football field and on the wrestling mat. In 1959, Baker became the first black to win an EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) title. That same year, he became the second collegiate wrestler of color to win an NCAA title, defeating Michigan State’s Tim Woodin in the 191-pound finals. 1959 was a banner year for Baker; that year, he was on Syracuse’s national championship football team. After winning the 1959 mat title, Baker concluded his college wrestling career to concentrate on football.
Ernie Banks (Baseball / USA) / With 512 home runs and 1,636 RBI in his 19-year career, Ernie Banks was the first true power-hitting shortstop and one of the league’s most prolific sluggers during his prime. From 1957-60, he averaged a line of .293/.362/.586 with 44 home runs and 123 RBI, and he won back-to-back NL MVP awards in ’58 and ’59.
Charles Barkley (Basketball / USA) / Nicknamed “Chuck”, “Sir Charles” and “the Round Mound of Rebound”, Barkley established himself as one of the National Basketball Association’s most dominant power forwards. An All-American power forward at Auburn University, he was drafted as a junior by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 5th pick of the 1984 NBA draft. He was selected to the All-NBA First Team five times, the All-NBA Second Team five times, and once to the All-NBA Third Team. He earned eleven NBA All-Star Game appearances and was named the All-Star MVP in 1991. In 1993 with the Phoenix Suns, he was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player, and during the NBA’s 50th anniversary, named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games and won two gold medals as a member of the United States’ “Dream Team”. Barkley is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, being inducted in 2006 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the “Dream Team”.
Elgin Baylor (Basketball / USA) / He played 14 seasons as a small forward in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers, appearing in eight NBA Finals. Baylor was a gifted shooter, strong rebounder, and an accomplished passer. Renowned for his acrobatic maneuvers on the court, Baylor regularly dazzled Lakers fans with his trademark hanging jump shots. The No. 1 draft pick in 1958, NBA Rookie of the Year in 1959, 11-time NBA All-Star, and a 10-time member of the All-NBA first team, he is regarded as one of the game’s all-time greatest players. In 1977, Baylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Bob Beamon (Track & Field / USA) / Best known for his world record in the long jump at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. He broke the existing record by a margin of 55 cm (21 2⁄3 in.) and his world record stood for almost 23 years until it was broken in 1991 by Mike Powell. The jump is still the Olympic record and the second longest wind legal jump in history.
Bobby Bell (Football / USA) / Professional football player who was a linebacker and defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, and was a member of the Chiefs’ team that won Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings. Bell was an AFL All-Star for six consecutive years, 1964 through 1969, and then an NFL Pro Bowler for three straight years (1970-1972). He was on two AFL Championship teams and a World Championship team. He was named to the All-Time All-AFL Team in 1970. He was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1980, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. The Chiefs retired his uniform number 78. In 1999, he was ranked number 66 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
Simone Arianne Biles (Gymnastics / USA) / With a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, Biles is the most decorated American gymnast and the world’s third most decorated gymnast, behind Belarus’ Vitaly Scherbo (33 medals) and Russia’s Larisa Latynina (32 medals). Biles is a five-time World all-around champion (2013–2015, 2018–19), five-time World floor exercise champion (2013–2015, 2018–19), three-time World balance beam champion (2014–15, 2019), two-time World vault champion (2018–19), a six-time United States national all-around champion (2013–2016, 2018–19), and a member of the gold-medal-winning American teams at the 2014, 2015, 2018, and 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Additionally, she is a three-time World silver medalist (2013 and 2014 on vault, 2018 on uneven bars) and a three-time World bronze medalist (2015 on vault, 2013 and 2018 on balance beam). Biles is the gymnast with the most World medals (25) and most World gold medals (19), having surpassed Scherbo’s record 23 World medals by winning her 24th and 25th, both gold, at the 2019 competition in Stuttgart. She is the female gymnast with the most World all-around titles (5). Biles is the sixth woman to win an individual all-around title at both the World Championships and the Olympics, and the first gymnast since Lilia Podkopayeva in 1996 to hold both titles simultaneously. She is the tenth female gymnast and first American female gymnast to win a World medal on every event, and the first female gymnast since Daniela Silivaș in 1988 to win a medal on every event at a single Olympic Games or World Championships, having accomplished this feat at the 2018 World Championships in Doha. Olympic Champion Mary Lou Retton called Biles the “greatest gymnast ever”; other observers have echoed the sentiment.
Maame Biney (Speed Skating / Ghana) / Maame Biney is an 18-year-old originally from Ghana. She’s the first black woman to make the Olympic speedskating team, and only the second African-born athlete to represent the U.S. in the Winter Olympics.
James Blake (Tennis / USA) / Blake was known for his speed and powerful, flat forehand. During his career, Blake amassed 24 singles finals appearances (10–14 record), while his career-high singles ranking was World No. 4. Career highlights included reaching the final of the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup, the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics, the quarterfinals of the Australian Open (2008) and US Open (2005, 2006), as well as two titles at the Hopman Cup (2003, 2004) and being the No. 1 ranked American singles player. Blake was a key performer for the United States 2007 Davis Cup championship team, going 2–0 in the championship tie vs. Russia at second singles. In 2005, Blake was presented with the Comeback Player of the Year award for his remarkable return to the tour.
Yohan Blake (Track & Field / Jamaica) / Jamaican sprinter of the 100-metre and 200-metre sprint races. He won gold at the 100 m at the 2011 World Championships as the youngest 100 m world champion ever, and a silver medal in the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the 100 m and 200 m races for the Jamaican team. Blake is the second fastest man ever in both 100 m and 200 m. Together with Tyson Gay, he is the joint second fastest man ever over 100 m with a personal best of 9.69 seconds which he ran on 23 August 2012 with less favorable wind conditions than Gay’s personal best from three years prior. Only Usain Bolt has run faster. His personal best for the 200 m (19.26 seconds) is the second fastest time ever after Bolt.
Rick Blocker (Surfing / USA) / In honor of Gabaldón, Santa Monica native and Black surfing historian Rick Blocker collaborated with the Black Surfers Collective and other local surfing advocates to help create the first Nick Gabaldón Day in 2013. Blocker first took to a surfboard around age 12. He spent most of his time riding waves at the Inkwell Beach in Santa Monica. As a child of the first bussing program in Los Angeles, he came face-to-face with racial integration while being introduced to skateboarding and surfing. Later, he went on to become a teacher and after he retired, he founded the website www.BlackSurfing.com and became a member of the Malibu Surfing Association, Diversity in Aquatics and the Black Surfing Association.
Mel Blount (Football / USA) / Professional football player who was a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). A five-time Pro Bowler, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989. Blount is considered one of the best cornerbacks to have ever played in the NFL. His physical style of play made him one of the most feared defensive backs in the game.
Usain Bolt (Track & Field / Jamaica) / He is a world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 × 100 metres relay. Owing to his achievements and dominance in sprint competition, he is widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time. An eight-time Olympic gold medallist, Bolt is the only sprinter to win Olympic 100 m and 200 m titles at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012 and 2016). In addition he won two 4 × 100 relay gold medals. He gained worldwide fame for his double sprint victory in world record times at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which made him the first person to hold both records since fully automatic time became mandatory.
Surya Bonaly (Figure Skater / France) / She is a three-time World silver medalist (1993–1995), a five-time European champion (1991–1995), the 1991 World Junior Champion, and a nine-time French national champion (1989–1997). Bonaly is the only Olympic figure skater to land a backflip on only one blade; she performed it at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
Barry Bonds (Baseball / USA) / Bonds was regarded as an exceptional hitter: he led MLB in on-base plus slugging six times, and placed within the top five hitters in 12 of his 17 qualifying seasons. He holds many MLB hitting records, including most career home runs (762), most home runs in a single season (73, set in 2001) and most career walks. Bonds was also known as a talented all-around baseball player. He won eight Gold Glove awards for his defensive play in the outfield. He stole 514 bases with his baserunning speed, becoming the first and only MLB player to date with at least 500 home runs and 500 stolen bases (no other player has even 400 of each). He is ranked second in career Wins Above Replacement among all major league position players by both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.com, behind only Babe Ruth.
Billy Boston (Rugby / Wales) / Welsh former professional rugby league footballer who played as a wing or centre. Born in Cardiff, Wales, Boston started his career as a rugby union player before joining Wigan in 1953. He spent the next 15 years at Wigan, where he scored a club-record 478 tries in his 488 appearances for the club. He finished his career at Blackpool Borough before retiring in 1970. He also represented Great Britain in 31 Test matches, and was part of the team that won the 1960 Rugby League World Cup. Regarded as one of the sport’s greatest ever players, Boston scored a total of 571 tries in his career, making him the second-highest try scorer in rugby league history. He is an original inductee of the British Rugby League Hall of Fame, Welsh Sports Hall of Fame and Wigan Warriors Hall of Fame, and was awarded an MBE in 1986.
James Edward “Jim” Bradford (Weightlifting / USA) / African American heavyweight weightlifter. He competed at two Olympics (1952 and 1960) and four world championships (1951, 1954, 1955 and 1959) and won silver medals on all occasions.
Derrick Brooks (Football / USA) / American former professional football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for 14 seasons. He played college football for the Florida State Seminoles, and was twice recognized as a consensus All-American. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, where he played his entire professional career. An 11-time Pro Bowl selection and nine-time All-Pro, Brooks was named AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2002, and earned a championship ring with the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. Later, he was elected to the 2000s all decade defensive team. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Edward D. Brown (Horse Racing / USA) / Born as a slave, he rose to become a Belmont Stakes-winning jockey, a Kentucky Derby-winning horse trainer, and an owner of several of the top racehorses during the last decade of the 19th century, earning him induction into the United States Racing Hall of Fame.
Jim Brown (Football / USA) / He was a fullback for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 through 1965. Considered to be one of the greatest football players of all time, Brown was a Pro Bowl invitee every season he was in the league, was recognized as the AP NFL Most Valuable Player three times, and won an NFL championship with the Browns in 1964. He led the league in rushing yards in eight out of his nine seasons, and by the time he retired, he had shattered most major rushing records. In 2002, he was named by The Sporting News as the greatest professional football player ever.
Willie Brown (Football / USA) / He served as defensive captain for 10 of his 12 years with the team. He was named to five AFL All-Star games and four NFL Pro Bowls. He was also named All-AFL three times and All-NFL four times. Perhaps Brown’s most memorable moment as a Raider came late in Super Bowl XI, when he intercepted a Fran Tarkenton pass with under six minutes remaining and returned it a Super Bowl-record 75 yards for a touchdown. He finished his sixteen seasons in professional football with 54 interceptions, which he returned for 472 yards and two touchdowns. He also recovered three fumbles. Brown was selected to the American Football League All-Time Team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 28, 1984, his first year of eligibility. In 1999, he was ranked number 50 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, making him the highest-ranking Raiders player.
Kobe Bryant (Basketball / USA) / As a shooting guard, Bryant entered the National Basketball Association (NBA) directly from high school, and played his entire 20-season professional career in the league with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant won many accolades: five NBA championships, 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team, 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), two-time NBA Finals MVP winner. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he led the NBA in scoring during two seasons, ranks fourth on the league’s all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists.
Jasprit Bumrah (Cricket / India) / Indian cricketer who plays for the Indian national cricket team in all formats of the game. After a couple of moderately successful seasons with the Mumbai Indians at the Indian Premier League, and with his domestic team Gujarat, he was named in India’s squad for its 2015–16 series against Australia, as a replacement to an injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He consequently made his debut in One Day Internationals & Twenty20 Internationals in 2015–16 series against Australia. He is the first Asian bowler to take 5 wickets in a test innings in South Africa, England and Australia during the same calendar year. He is also tḥe third highest wicket taker in test matches in a debut year with 48 wickets in 8 matches.
Jordan Burroughs (Wrestling / USA) / American freestyle wrestler and former folkstyle wrestler. In freestyle wrestling, Burroughs is an Olympic champion and four-time world champion. In folkstyle wrestling, Burroughs was a two-time NCAA Division I national champion, and was awarded the Dan Hodge Trophy as the most outstanding wrestler in college wrestling.
Dremiel Byers (Wrestling / USA) / During his career he has had many accomplishments and awards as a wrestler. He was recognized as the USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year for 2009, 2002, and 1999. Byers is currently tied with Matt Ghaffari, for the most Greco-Roman world medals by a United States wrestler, by achieving three world medals in his career.
Miguel Cabrera (Baseball / Venezuela) / He will continue to climb this list as his career goes on, but as things stand right now, Miguel Cabrera is already one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. He’s won back-to-back AL MVP awards and three straight AL batting titles, and he made history by winning the Triple Crown in 2012. Through 11 big league seasons, he’s hit .321/.399/.568 with 365 home runs and 1,260 RBI.
Cafu (Futbol or Soccer / Brazil) / With 142 appearances for the Brazil national team, he is the most internationally capped Brazilian player of all time. He represented his nation in four FIFA World Cups between 1994 and 2006, and is the only player to have appeared in three consecutive World Cup finals, winning the 1994 and 2002 editions of the tournament, the latter as his team’s captain where he lifted the World Cup trophy. With Brazil, he also took part in four editions of the Copa América, winning the title twice, in 1997 and 1999; he was also a member of the national side that won the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Roy Campanella (Baseball / USA) / Roy Campanella played just 10 seasons, but he still managed to put together one of the best careers ever by a backstop. He managed to win three NL MVP awards as the centerpiece of some great Brooklyn Dodgers teams, and his 1953 season is one of the best ever by a catcher. The then-31-year-old hit .312/.395/.611 with 41 home runs and 142 RBI.
Earl Campbell (Football / USA) / Campbell played college football for the Texas Longhorns, where he won the Heisman Trophy and earned unanimous All-America honors in his senior season, as well as numerous other accolades. He was drafted first overall by the Oilers in 1978 and had an immediate impact in the league, earning NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Earl Campbell was named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in each of his first three seasons, during which he averaged nearly 1,700 rushing yards per season. He won the AP NFL Most Valuable Player Award in 1979 after leading the league in rushing yards and touchdowns. Campbell was inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame (1990) and Pro Football Hall of Fame (1991). His jersey number is retired by the University of Texas.
Rod Carew (Baseball / USA) / With a .328/.393/.429 career line and an impressive seven batting titles to his credit, Rod Carew was arguably the best contact hitter of the 1970s, and he did it while playing a premium position in second base. He made the All-Star team each of the first 18 seasons of his career, as he was the gold standard at his position in the American League, opposite Cincinnati Reds great Joe Morgan.
Roberto Carlos (Futbol or Soccer / Brazil) / He has been described as the “most offensive-minded left-back in the history of the game.” Carlos is also widely considered one of the best left backs in history, and was also known as a set piece specialist throughout his career. In 1997, he was runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year. He was chosen on the FIFA World Cup Dream Team, and in 2004 was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.
Vince Carter (Basketball / USA) / Professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) tall and plays both shooting guard and small forward, but has occasionally played power forward during the later part of his career. Carter is the only player in NBA history to play 22 seasons, and the only player to play in four different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s). At 43 years old, he was the last active NBA player to have been born in the 1970s and is the oldest active player in the NBA. Carter is widely regarded as one of the greatest dunkers of all time.
Wilt Chamberlain (Basketball / USA) / Chamberlain holds numerous NBA records in scoring, rebounding, and durability categories. He is the only player to score 100 points in a single NBA game or average more than 40 and 50 points in a season. He won seven scoring, eleven rebounding, nine field goal percentage titles and led the league in assists once. Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to average at least 30 points and 20 rebounds per game in a season, which he accomplished seven times. He is also the only player to average at least 30 points and 20 rebounds per game over the entire course of his NBA career. Although he suffered a long string of losses in the playoffs, Chamberlain had a successful career, winning two NBA championships, earning four regular-season Most Valuable Player awards, the Rookie of the Year award, one NBA Finals MVP award, and was selected to 13 All-Star Games and ten All-NBA First and Second teams. He was subsequently enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978, elected into the NBA’s 35th Anniversary Team of 1980, and in 1996 he was chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton (Horse Racing / USA) / American jockey in Thoroughbred horse racing described by author Edward Hotaling, as “one of the great riders of the New York circuit all through the 1890s” and who holds the record as the youngest jockey to ever win the Kentucky Derby.
Roberto Clemente (Baseball / Puerto Rico) / A fantastic all-around hitter, Roberto Clemente was also arguably the greatest defensive right fielder in baseball history. He posted a 204.0 UZR for his career and holds the record for outfield assists among right fielders with 254. At the plate, he hit over .300 in 13 different seasons and finished his career with a .317/.359/.475 line and exactly 3,000 hits. His career and life were tragically cut short in a plate crash at the age of 38, when he was en route to deliver relief supplies to an earthquake-damaged Nicaragua.
Ronnie Coleman (Bodybuilding / USA) / The winner of the Mr. Olympia title for eight years in a row, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. Alongside his eight Mr. Olympia wins, he held the record for most wins as an IFBB professional with 26 titles (since broken by Dexter Jackson).
Daniel Cormier (Mixed Martial Artist / USA) / American mixed martial artist and former Olympic wrestler. He is signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is a former two-division world champion, having held the heavyweight and light heavyweight world championships simultaneously. Cormier is the second of four fighters in UFC history to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously.
Tara Cross-Battle (Volleyball / USA) / Tara Cross-Battle is one of only a few four-time Olympians in indoor volleyball. She played the outside hitter position for Team USA and was one of the best players in the world. Cross-Battle was known for her all-around skills as a good passer who was responsible for a large part of the serve receive formation. She was a world-class hitter who was an enormous part of the offense for the Americans. She was a member of the bronze medal-winning USA women’s team at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. She was enshrined in the International Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Clarence Cummings, Jr. (Weightlifting / USA) / American weightlifter, Pan American Champion and four time Junior World Champion, competing in the 69 kg category until 2018 and 73 kg starting in 2018 after the International Weightlifting Federation reorganized the categories.
Randall Cunningham (Football / USA) / American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). He played in the NFL for 16 seasons, primarily with the Philadelphia Eagles. Cunningham is also known for his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings. He is the younger brother of former college and professional football player Sam Cunningham and the father of Randall Cunningham II and world champion high jumper Vashti Cunningham. Cunningham was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
Wardell Stephen “Steph” Curry, II (Basketball / USA) / A six-time NBA All-Star, Curry has been named the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice and won three NBA championships with the Warriors. Many players and analysts have called him the greatest shooter in NBA history. He is credited with revolutionizing the game of basketball by inspiring teams to regularly utilize the three-point shot.
John Davis (Weightlifting / USA) / American heavyweight weightlifter. Between 1938 and 1953 he was undefeated, winning two Olympic, six world and 12 national titles, and set 16 ratified world records: seven in the snatch, four in the clean and jerk, two in the press and three in the total.
Shani Davis (Speed Skater / USA) / At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Davis became the first African American athlete to win a gold medal in an individual event at the Olympic Winter Games, winning the speedskating 1000-meter event. He also won a silver medal in the 1500-meter event. At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, he repeated the feat, becoming the first man to successfully defend the 1000 meters and repeating as the 1500-meter silver medalist. Davis won the silver medal at the 2004 World All-round Speed Skating Championships. He then proceeded to win the World All-round Championships in both 2005 and 2006. In 2009, he won the World Sprint Championships in Moscow, the site of his first World All-round Championship victory. When Davis won those events, he became the second male skater to win both the Sprint and All-round in his career, after Eric Heiden. He has won six World Single Distance Championships titles, three at 1500 meters (in 2004, 2007 and 2009) and three at 1000 meters (in 2007, 2008 and 2011), and he led the United States to its first and only World Championship gold medal in the Team Pursuit event in 2011. He has won ten career Overall World Cup titles, six at 1000 meters (in 2006, 2008–10, 2012, 2014) and four at 1500 meters (2008–2011). Davis also earned the title of Grand World Cup Champion for the 2013–14 season, earning the most points across all distances. His 58 career individual victories on the ISU Speed Skating World Cup circuit (through March 2014) place him second all-time among men.
Edgar Davids (Futbol or Soccer / Suriname) / One of the greatest and most recognisable players of his generation, Davids often stood out on the football field due to his dreadlocked hair and the protective goggles he wore due to glaucoma. A combative and energetic, yet creative and skillful midfielder, Davids was nicknamed “The Pitbull” by Louis van Gaal because of his marking ability, aggression, and hard tackling style of play. In 2004, he was one of the players chosen by Pelé to feature in the FIFA 100, his list of the world’s greatest living footballers.
Sophina DeJesus (Gymnastics / USA) / Elite gymnast of the UCLA Bruins gymnastics team since 2012; gained notoriety in 2016 for viral video of floor exercise routine incorporating popular Hip Hop dance moves.
Edwin De La Rosa (BMX Bike Rider / Panama) / Edwin De La Rosa is arguably one of the most influential riders of our generation. Credited with making street riding look smooth, the 26-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y. (via Panama) has been honing his skills for well over a decade.
Peter de Villiers (Rugby / South Africa) / South African rugby union player and coach. He was coach of the South Africa national rugby union team from 2008 to 2011, after successes with the South African U19 and U21 squads, and the first-ever non-white to be appointed to the position.
Dominique Margaux Dawes (Gymnastics / USA) / Known in the gymnastics community as ‘Awesome Dawesome,’ she was a 10-year member of the U.S. national gymnastics team, the 1994 U.S. all-around senior National Champion, a three-time Olympian, a World Championship silver and bronze medalist, and a member of the gold-medal-winning team “Magnificent Seven” at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Dawes is also notable as being the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics, and the first black person of any nationality or gender to win an Olympic-gold-medal in gymnastics. She is also one of only three female American gymnasts, along with Muriel Grossfeld and Linda Metheny-Mulvihill, to compete in three Olympics and was part of their medal-winning teams: Barcelona 1992 (bronze), Atlanta 1996 (gold), and Sydney 2000 (bronze).
Morgan Dennis (Gymnastics / USA) / Won six All-American honors and an NCAA title as a University of Alabama gymnast.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Cricket / India) / Indian international cricketer who captained the Indian national team in limited-overs formats from 2007 to 2016 and in Test cricket from 2008 to 2014. He is the only captain in the history of Cricket to win all ICC trophies. Under his captaincy, India won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. A right-handed middle-order batsman and wicket-keeper, Dhoni is one of the highest run scorers in One Day Internationals (ODIs) with more than 10,000 runs scored and is considered an effective “finisher” in limited-overs formats. He is also regarded by some as one of the best wicket-keepers and captains in modern limited-overs international cricket.
Eric Dickerson (Football / USA) / Dickerson played college football for the SMU Mustangs of Southern Methodist University and was recognized as an All-American. He was selected in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft and played professionally for the Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Raiders, and Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. During his NFL career, he rushed for over 13,000 yards. He holds the NFL’s single-season rushing record with 2,105 yards, set in 1984. Dickerson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Didi (Futbol or Soccer / Brazil) / A Brazilian footballer who played as a midfielder or as a forward. He played in three FIFA World Cups (1954, 1958, and 1962), winning the latter two and was awarded the Golden Ball, given to the tournament’s best player, for his performance at the 1958 competition. An elegant player, Didi is considered to be one of the greatest midfielders in the history of the sport, and was renowned for his range of passing, stamina and technique; he was nicknamed the “Ethiopian Prince” throughout his career. A dead-ball specialist, he became famous for inventing the folha seca (dry leaf) free kicks, notably used by modern-day players such as Ronaldinho and Juninho, where the ball would swerve downward unexpectedly at a point resulting in a goal.
Alexandra do Nascimento (Handball / Brazil) / She was the first Brazilian handballer to be voted IHF World Player of the Year. In 2016, she was chosen for the third time to be on Brazil’s Olympic handball team.
Bobby Douglas (Wrestling / USA) / American freestyle wrestler and coach. He competed as a featherweight at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics and placed fourth in 1964. He won a silver and a bronze medal at the 1966 and 1970 world championships, respectively, and retired later in 1970. After that Douglas coached several U.S Olympic teams, is one of only four collegiate coaches to win more than 400 dual meets, and he won an NCAA team national title at Arizona State. His coaching accomplishments include: 13 NCAA champions, 110 All-America performances and 68 conference titles.
Desmond Douglas (Table Tennis / Jamaica) / He was an attacking, left-handed, player, notable for his scissor jump smash. He was famous for his use of close to the table blocks on the backhand side, mixing pace with powerful topspin from his forehand side. Douglas was 11 times English Table Tennis champion, who peaked at equal World No. 7 and European No. 3. He represented Great Britain at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, in both the singles and the doubles.
Gabby Douglas (Gymnastics / USA) / She is the 2012 Olympic all-around champion and the 2015 World all-around silver medalist. She was a member of the gold-winning teams at both the 2012 and the 2016 Summer Olympics, dubbed the “Fierce Five” and the “Final Five” by the media, respectively. She was also a member of the gold-winning American teams at the 2011 and the 2015 World Championships. Douglas is the first African American to become the Olympic individual all-around champion, and the first U.S. gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics. She was also the 2016 AT&T American Cup all-around champion.
Rahul Dravid (Cricket / India) / Indian cricketer and captain of the Indian national team. He is the Director of Cricket Operations at National Cricket Academy, Bengaluru, India. He also monitors the progress of India A and India under-19 cricket teams. Before this he was Head Coach for the India Under-19 and India A teams from 2016 to 2019. Under his coaching, under-19 team was runners up at 2016 u-19 Cricket World Cup and were winners at 2018 u-19 Cricket World Cup. In 2019, BCCI appointed Dravid as Head of NCA. Known for his sound batting technique, Dravid has scored nearly 25,000 runs in international cricket and is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket. He is colloquially known as Dependable or Mr. Dependable, and often referred to as The Great Wall or The Wall by Indian cricket followers.
Clyde Drexler (Basketball / USA) / Nicknamed “Clyde the Glide”, he played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), spending a majority of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers before finishing with the Houston Rockets. He was a ten-time NBA All-Star and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Drexler won an NBA championship with Houston in 1995, and earned a gold medal on the 1992 United States Olympic team known as “The Dream Team”. He was inducted twice into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in 2004 for his individual career and in 2010 as a member of the “Dream Team”.
Didier Drogba (Futbol or Soccer / Ivory Coast) / He is the all-time top scorer and former captain of the Ivory Coast national team. He is best known for his career at Chelsea, for whom he has scored more goals than any other foreign player and is currently the club’s fourth highest goal scorer of all time. Widely regarded as one of Chelsea’s greatest players, Drogba was named in the Chelsea team of the 2010-2020 decade by Chelsea’s fans. He was named African Footballer of the Year twice, winning the accolade in 2006 and 2009.
Ronald Duncan (Martial Arts / USA) / The Father of American Ninjitsu; the first American Ninja. Professor Duncan successfully demonstrated Ninjitsu in the 1960s, although receiving acknowledgement from the Japanese government, he was intentionally omitted from Black Belt magazine for several years. I mention Black Belt magazine because they have been considered the most reliable source of journalism pertaining to American martial arts. Their failure to acknowledge Professor Duncan and other great Black martial artists has radically affected the economics of the martial arts in America. According to the bio on his website he was a member of the United States Marine Corp Judo team, where he earned a black belt, he was a master of Hakko Ryu Jujitsu, Dai-nippon Jujitsu Ryu, Sosuishi Ryu, Kin Dai Gakko Ryu, Aikido, Aiki-Jujitsu, Kempo, Kobujitsu (weaponry), and Shinobino-jitsu (Ninjitsu).
Tim Duncan (Basketball / U.S. Virgin Islands) / After graduating from college, Duncan went on to win NBA Rookie of the Year after being selected by San Antonio with the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft. Widely regarded as the greatest power forward of all time while also playing at center for the majority of his career he is considered one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history, he is a five-time NBA champion, a two-time NBA MVP, a three-time NBA Finals MVP, a 15-time NBA All-Star, and the only player to be selected to both the All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams for 13 consecutive seasons.
Kevin Durant (Basketball / USA) / He played nine seasons with the franchise, which became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008, before signing with the Golden State Warriors in 2016, winning back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018. Durant was a heavily recruited high school prospect who was widely regarded as the second-best player in his class. In college, he won numerous year-end awards and became the first freshman to be named Naismith College Player of the Year. As a professional, he has won two NBA championships, an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, two Finals MVP Awards, two NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Awards, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and two Olympic gold medals. Durant has also been selected to nine All-NBA teams and ten NBA All-Star teams.
Diane Durham (Gymnastics / USA) / First elite U.S. Gymnast to train under legendary coach Bella Karolyi. Two-time Junior National Champion; Senior National Champion.
Edwin Ekiring (Badminton / Uganda) / Ugandan badminton player, nicknamed “The Black Pearl.” Ekiring competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, after being given a wildcard into the men’s singles by the International Badminton Federation. He was the first badminton player to represent Uganda at the Olympics.
Ray Emery (Hockey / Canada) / Emery was chosen 99th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. During the 2006–07 season, he was a member of the Senators team that reached the Stanley Cup Finals. It was the modern Senators’ first appearance in the finals. He won a Stanley Cup championship with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013. Emery received numerous awards and accolades. In April 2013, he won the William M. Jennings Trophy along with teammate Corey Crawford, awarded to the goaltender or goaltenders who give up the fewest goals in the season. Emery finished the 2012–13 season with a 1.94 goals against average and a 0.922 save percentage. His seventeen wins included twelve straight to start the year, the best such streak in NHL history. Emery was a two-time Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy finalist for his dedication and perseverance. His teammates and fans often referred to him as “Razor” or “Sugar Ray” for his aggressive playing style.
Julius Erving (Basketball / USA) / commonly known by the nickname “Dr. J”, is an American retired basketball player who helped popularize a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and playing above the rim in his career at the ABA and the NBA. Regarded as one the greatest and most influential basketball players of all time, Erving helped legitimize the American Basketball Association (ABA) and was the best-known player in that league when it merged into the National Basketball Association (NBA) after the 1975–76 season. Erving won three championships, four Most Valuable Player Awards, and three scoring titles with the ABA’s Virginia Squires and New York Nets (now the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets) and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. He is the eighth-highest scorer in ABA/NBA history with 30,026 points (NBA and ABA combined). He was well known for slam dunking from the free throw line in slam dunk contests and was the only player voted Most Valuable Player in both the ABA and the NBA. The basketball slang of being posterized was first coined to describe his moves. Erving was inducted in 1993 into the Basketball Hall of Fame and was also named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time team. In 1994, Erving was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the 40 most important athletes of all time. In 2004, he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame. Many consider him one of the most talented players in the history of the NBA; he is widely acknowledged as one of the game’s best dunkers. While Connie Hawkins, “Jumping” Johnny Green, Elgin Baylor, Jim Pollard, and Gus Johnson performed spectacular dunks before Erving’s time, Erving brought the practice into the mainstream. His signature dunk was the “slam” dunk, since incorporated into the vernacular and basic skill set of the game in the same manner as the “crossover” dribble and the “no look” pass. Before Erving, dunking was a practice most commonly used by the big men (usually standing close to the hoop) to show their brutal strength which was seen as style over substance, even unsportsmanlike, by many purists of the game. However, the way Erving utilized the dunk more as a high-percentage shot made at the end of maneuvers generally starting well away from the basket and not necessarily a “show of force” helped to make the shot an acceptable tactic, especially in trying to avoid a blocked shot. Although the slam dunk is still widely used as a show of power, a method of intimidation, and a way to fire up a team (and spectators), Erving demonstrated that there can be great artistry and almost balletic style to slamming the ball into the hoop, particularly after a launch several feet from that target.
Michael Essien (Futbol or Soccer / Ghana) / Essien is a physically strong midfielder, who often plays in a central midfield role. He has often been touted as a box-to-box midfielder for his ability to exert energy in supporting both offensive and defensive play, and for his powerful and tough tackling playing style, which has earned him the nickname “The Bison”. Essien can also play as a defender, both on the right of defence and in the centre. In addition to his work-rate, physicality, and defensive skills, Essien also possesses good technique, vision, tactical intelligence, and leadership qualities, and is a powerful striker of the ball from distance.
Samuel Eto’o (Futbol or Soccer / Cameroon) / In his prime, Eto’o was regarded by pundits as one of the best strikers in the world, and he is regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, winning the African Player of the Year a record four times: in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010.
Eusebio (Futbol or Soccer / Portugal) / Eusébio is considered by many as one of the greatest footballers of all time. During his professional career, he scored 733 goals in 745 matches (41 goals in 64 matches for Portugal). Nicknamed the Black Panther, the Black Pearl, or o Rei (the King), he was known for his speed, technique, athleticism and his ferocious right-footed shot, making him a prolific goal scorer. He is considered S.L. Benfica’s and the Portugal national team’s most renowned player and one of the first world-class African-born players.
Patrick Ewing (Basketball / Jamaica) / Ewing played center for Georgetown for four years—where he played in the NCAA Championship Game three times—and was named as the 16th greatest college player of all time by ESPN. He had an eighteen-year NBA career, predominantly playing for the New York Knicks, where he was an eleven-time all-star and named to seven All-NBA teams. The Knicks appeared in the NBA Finals twice (1994 & 1999) during his tenure. He won Olympic gold medals as a member of the 1984 and 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball teams. In a 1996 poll celebrating the 50th anniversary of the NBA, Ewing was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He is a two-time inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts (in 2008 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the 1992 Olympic team). Additionally he was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame as a member of the “Dream Team” in 2009. His number 33 was retired by the Knicks in 2003.
Gary Faulkner, Jr. (Bowling / USA) / American ten-pin bowler from Memphis, Tennessee. He competes on the PBA Tour after having been a member of Junior Team USA. He won his first major PBA title in 2015.
Michael February (Surfing / South Africa) / Michael February owns that rare surfing combo of power and flow. He can effortlessly glide down the line, look damn stylish while doing it, and then shift gears on the fly into a weighty power turn that sends spray to the stratosphere– all while still holding his visually appealing, original, aesthetic. Hit play above to cruise around South Africa with February on a tour of the stylemaster’s influences both in and out of the water. From the waves around home that he honed his jazz-tinged lines on, to his family, and more, take a glimpse into the elements that formed one of the most expressive surfers currently on the Tour.
Óscar Figueroa (Weightlifting / Colombia) / After a serious injury derailed his previous medal hopes, Colombia weightlifter Oscar Figueroa wouldn’t give up, so he put in all on the mat with one final attempt for an incredible gold in Rio 2016.
Larry Fitzgerald (Football / USA) / Fitzgerald has been selected for the Pro Bowl eleven times. He was named First-team All-Pro in 2008 and Second-team All-Pro twice in 2009 and 2011. As of September 29, 2019, he is second in NFL career receiving yards, second in career receptions, and sixth in receiving touchdowns.
Vonetta Flowers (Bobsleigh / USA) / At the 2002 Winter Olympics, she, along with driver Jill Bakken, won the gold medal in the two-woman bobsledding event, becoming the first African American woman to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics.
George Foreman (Boxing / USA) / Professional boxer who competed from 1969 to 1977, and from 1987 to 1997. Nicknamed “Big George”, he is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist.
Dionne Foster (Gymnastics / USA) / Became first elite gymnast in history from the state of Alabama at the age of 13; member of Alabama’s 1991 NCAA Gymnastic Championship Team.
Joe Frazier (Boxing / USA) / Nicknamed “Smokin’ Joe”, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1965 to 1981. He reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973, and as an amateur won a gold medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics. Frazier was known for his strength, durability, formidable punching power, and relentless pressure fighting style. He was also the first boxer to beat Muhammad Ali.
Walt Frazier (Basketball / USA) / As their floor general and top perimeter defender, he led the New York Knicks to the franchise’s only two championships (1970 and 1973), and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.
Akwasi Frimpong (Skeleton / Ghana) / Akwasi Frimpong is Ghana’s second athlete to ever compete in the Winter Olympics, and he’s the first to represent the country in skeleton.
Grant Fuhr (Hockey / Canada) / In 2003, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He is best remembered for a decade of stellar play for the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s. He won a total of five Stanley Cups and was a six time All-Star. In 2017 Fuhr was named one of the ‘100 Greatest NHL Players’ in history. He set a number of firsts for black hockey players in the NHL, including being the first to win the Stanley Cup and being the first inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Nick Gabaldón (Surfing / USA) / Probably the most recognizable Black surfer in history, Nick Gabaldónwas instrumental in breaking down racial barriers and paving the way for future Black wave riders. He was born on February 23, 1927, in Los Angeles, California to a Black mother and Mexiacan father. During the height of segregation, the surfing icon taught himself how to master the waves. Although the segregated part of Santa Monica State Beach — known as “The Inkwell”— was essentially his playground, Gabaldón also surfed predominantly white beaches along the California coast. His presence aided in desegregation, but at the age of 24, Gabaldón lost control of his surfboard and died.
DaVanche “Ron” Galimore (Gymnastics / USA) / He was the United States artistic gymnastics champion in floor exercise in 1977, 1979, and 1980; and in vault in 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1981. He was one of the members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, although that team was never sent to Moscow because of a U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics. He was one of 461 athletes to receive a Congressional Gold Medal years later.
Kevin Garnett (Basketball / USA) / Known for his intensity, defensive ability, and versatility, Garnett is considered one of the greatest power forwards of all time. He is one of four NBA players to win both the Most Valuable Player and the Defensive Player of the Year awards. In high school, Garnett was a 1995 McDonald’s All-American at Farragut Career Academy and won a national player of the year award. He entered the 1995 NBA draft, where he was selected with the fifth overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves and became the first NBA player drafted directly out of high school in 20 years. Garnett made an immediate impact with the Minnesota Timberwolves, leading them to eight consecutive playoff appearances. In 2004, he led the Timberwolves to the Western Conference Finals and won the NBA MVP Award. Garnett has been named to 15 All-Star Games, winning the All-Star MVP award in 2003, and is currently tied for third-most All-Star selections with 15. He was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2007–08, and has been selected nine times for All-NBA Teams and 12 times for All-Defensive Teams. Garnett also holds several Timberwolves franchise records. He is known as “the Big Ticket” for his emphatic dunking and athleticism.
Garrincha (Futbol or Soccer / Brazil) / Best known as simply Garrincha (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɡaˈʁĩʃɐ], “little bird”), was a Brazilian footballer who played as a right winger. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest dribblers of all time, and by some, the greatest dribbler ever. Garrincha is also widely regarded as a legendary figure in the sport. He is extremely popular in Brazil where older football fans even regard him as a better player than Pelé. Garrincha played a vital role in Brazil’s 1958 and 1962 World Cup victories. In 1962, when Pelé got injured, Garrincha led Brazil to a World Cup victory with a dominating performance throughout the tournament. He also became the first player to win Golden Ball (Player of the tournament), Golden Boot (Leading Goalscorer) and the World Cup in the same tournament. He was also named in the World Cup All-Star Team’s of both 1958 World Cup and 1962 World Cup. In 1994, he was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team. Brazil never lost a match while fielding both Garrincha and Pelé. In 1999, he came seventh in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote. He is a member of the World Team of the 20th Century, and was inducted into the Brazilian Football Hall of Fame. Due to his immense popularity in Brazil, he was also called Alegria do Povo (People’s Joy) and Anjo de Pernas Tortas (Bent-Legged Angel).
Zina Garrison (Tennis / USA) / She was a women’s singles runner-up at Wimbledon in 1990, a three-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion, and a women’s doubles gold medalist and singles bronze medalist at the 1988 Olympic Games.
Justin Gatlin (Track & Field / USA) / A five-time Olympic medalist, Justin Gatlin’s personal best of 9.74 seconds ranks fifth on the all-time list of male 100-metre athletes. He is a two-time 100m World Champion and a two-time indoor world champion in the 60-metre dash in 2003 and 2012, and won both the 100 metres and, 200 metres at the 2005 World Championships.
Tyson Gay (Track & Field / USA) / American track and field sprinter who competes in the 100 and 200 meters dash. His 100 m personal best of 9.69 seconds is the American record and makes him tied for the second fastest athlete ever, along with Yohan Blake. His 200 m time of 19.58 makes him the seventh fastest athlete in that event. Gay has won numerous medals in major international competitions, including a gold medal sweep of the 100 m, 200 m and 4 × 100 m relay at the 2007 Osaka World Championships. This made him the second man to win all three events at the same World Championships, after Maurice Greene (Usain Bolt duplicated the feat two years later). Gay is a four-time U.S. champion in the 100 m. At the 2008 Olympic Trials, he ran a wind assisted 9.68 seconds in the 100 m. Days later, he suffered a severe hamstring injury in the 200 m trials and did not win any medals at the Beijing Olympics. His performance of 9.71 seconds to win the 100 m silver medal in the 2009 World Championships is the fastest non-winning time for the event.
Chris Gayle (Cricket / Jamaica) / Jamaican cricketer who plays international cricket for the West Indies. Gayle captained the West Indies Test side from 2007 to 2010. Considered as one of the greatest batsmen ever in Twenty20 (T20) cricket, Gayle has set numerous records across all three formats of the game. He is the most capped player for the West Indies in international cricket and is the only player to score a triplet of centuries – a triple hundred in Tests, double hundred in ODIs and a hundred in T20Is.
George Gervin (Basketball / USA) / Nicknamed “the Iceman”, is an American retired professional basketball player who played in both the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Virginia Squires, San Antonio Spurs, and Chicago Bulls. Gervin averaged at least 14 points per game in all 14 of his ABA and NBA seasons, and finished with an NBA career average of 26.2 points per game. In 1996, Gervin was named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
Althea Gibson (Tennis / USA) / American tennis player and professional golfer, and one of the first Black athletes to cross the color line of international tennis. In 1956, she became the first African American to win a Grand Slam title (the French Championships). The following year she won both Wimbledon and the US Nationals (precursor of the US Open), then won both again in 1958 and was voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in both years. In all, she won 11 Grand Slam tournaments, including five singles titles, five doubles titles, and one mixed doubles title. Gibson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. “She is one of the greatest players who ever lived,” said Bob Ryland, a tennis contemporary and former coach of Venus and Serena Williams. “Martina [Navratilova] couldn’t touch her. I think she’d beat the Williams sisters.” In the early 1960s she also became the first Black player to compete on the Women’s Professional Golf Tour. At a time when racism and prejudice were widespread in sports and in society, Gibson was often compared to Jackie Robinson. “Her road to success was a challenging one,” said Billie Jean King, “but I never saw her back down.” “To anyone, she was an inspiration, because of what she was able to do at a time when it was enormously difficult to play tennis at all if you were Black,” said former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. “I am honored to have followed in such great footsteps,” wrote Venus Williams. “Her accomplishments set the stage for my success, and through players like myself and Serena and many others to come, her legacy will live on.”
Bob Gibson (Baseball / USA) / One of the most overpowering pitchers in baseball history, Bob Gibson went 251-174 with a 2.91 ERA in 17 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. He stepped his game up when it mattered most, going 7-2 with a 1.89 ERA in nine World Series starts, pitching eight complete games and two shutouts. He also put together what many consider to be the greatest single-season pitching performance in baseball history in 1968, going 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA, 0.853 WHIP, 268 strikeouts and 13 shutouts.
Joe Gilliam (Football / USA) / Professional football player, a quarterback with the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League for four seasons. Primarily a backup, he started the first six games of the 1974 season.
Tony Gonzalez (Football / USA) / Gonzalez is frequently considered the greatest tight end of all-time. During his career, he broke numerous NFL records for tight ends. Only two of his major records have been broken, most career touchdowns and most 1,000 yard seasons by a tight end. Additionally he also owns several Chiefs team records and at the time of his retirement he finished in the top 10 in many receiving categories for any position. He finished 6th in yards, 2nd in receptions, and 7th in touchdowns. On January 26, 2018, the Chiefs announced they would induct Gonzalez into the Chiefs Hall of Fame. He was inducted during halftime of a game during the 2018 season. In his first year of eligibility in 2019, Gonzalez was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ricardo Alonso González (Tennis / USA) / Usually known as Pancho Gonzales, and sometimes as Richard Gonzales, was an American tennis player who has been rated one of the greatest in the history of the sport. He won 14 major singles titles (12 Pro Slam, 2 Grand Slam) and was the dominant professional of the 1950s, winning seven professional tours between 1954 and 1961; he still holds the men’s all-time record of being ranked world No. 1 for eight years. Gonzales was a ruthless competitor with a fierce temper. Many of his peers on the professional circuit were intimidated by him, and he was often at odds with officials and promoters. However, he was a fan favorite who drew more spectators than any other player of his time. After his death, a Sports Illustrated article stated: “If earth was on the line in a tennis match, the man you want serving to save humankind would be Ricardo Alonso Gonzales.” Longtime tennis commentator Bud Collins echoed this in 2006: “If I had to choose someone to play for my life, it would be Pancho Gonzales.”
Darrell Green (Football / USA) / He is widely considered to be one of the greatest cornerbacks to have ever played in the NFL. Green was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Green was nicknamed the “Ageless Wonder” by his peers and the general media for his remarkable ability to maintain a high level of play well into the twilight of his career. Green was also known for his speed and was one of the fastest players in the history of the NFL.
Draymond Green (Basketball / USA) / Green, who plays primarily at the power forward position, is a three-time NBA champion and a three-time NBA All-Star. In 2017, he won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Green grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, and he played college basketball for Michigan State, where he helped the Spartans earn two Final Four appearances and a Big Ten Tournament championship in 2012. Throughout his four-year college career, Green earned conference and national honors, including Big Ten Conference Sixth Man of the Year as a sophomore and consensus All-American and NABC National Player of the Year honors as a senior. He was drafted 35th overall in the 2012 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors and later played a key role on the Warriors’ 2015, 2017, and 2018 championship teams.
Ralph Green (Skiing / USA) / The Brooklyn native lost a part of his leg in a random shooting when he was 16. He battled back from that to become an exceptional skier. He advanced to the U.S. Disabled Alpine Team and competed in the 2006 Winter Paralympics in Turin, Italy.
Joe Greene (Football / USA) / Better known as “Mean” Joe Greene, is an American former professional football player who was a defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1969 to 1981. A recipient of two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, five first-team All-Pro selections, and ten Pro Bowl appearances, Greene is widely considered to be the one of the greatest defensive linemen to play in the NFL. He was noted for his leadership, fierce competitiveness, and intimidating style of play for which he earned his nickname.
Maurice Greene (Track & Field / USA) / Track and field sprinter who specialized in the 100 meters and 200 meters. He is a former 100 m world record holder with a time of 9.79 seconds. During the height of his career (1997–2004) he won four Olympic medals and was a five-time World Champion. This included three golds at the 1999 World Championships, a feat which had previously only been achieved by Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson and has since been equaled by three others.
Jordan Greenway (Hockey / USA) / American professional ice hockey forward currently playing for the Minnesota Wild in the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected by the Wild in the second round (50th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Internationally, Greenway has represented the United States at the 2017 IIHF World Championship and 2018 Winter Olympics, becoming the first African-American named to a US Olympic hockey roster.
George Gregan (Rugby / Australia) / Australian rugby union player, and is currently Australia’s highest ever internationally capped player. Gregan was born in Lusaka, Zambia. He played Super 12 (now Super Rugby) for the Brumbies from the inception of that competition in 1996 through 2007, helping to lead them to overall victories in 2001 and 2004.
Ken Griffey, Jr. (Baseball / USA) / Nicknamed “Junior” and “the Kid”, is an American former professional baseball outfielder who played 22 years in Major League Baseball (MLB). He spent most of his career with the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds, along with a short stint with the Chicago White Sox. A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a 13-time All-Star, Griffey is one of the most prolific home run hitters in baseball history; his 630 home runs rank as the seventh-most in MLB history. Griffey was also an exceptional defender and won 10 Gold Glove Awards in center field. He is tied for the record of most consecutive games with a home run (eight, with Don Mattingly and Dale Long).
Vladimir Guerrero (Baseball / Dominican) / With a strike zone from his helmet to his shoes, Guerrero was the definition of a free swinger, yet he consistently hit over .300 while doing it. Also an elite base stealer early in his career, the cannon-armed right fielder finished his career with a .318/.379/.553 line to go along with 449 home runs and 1,496 RBI.
Tony Gwynn (Baseball / USA) / Set aside his .338 career average and eight NL batting titles for a minute, and the most impressive number for Tony Gwynn may be his 434 strikeouts in 10,232 career plate appearances. To put that into perspective, Mark Reynolds struck out 434 times in 1,258 plate appearances from 2009-10. Gwynn may be the best pure hitter the game has ever seen.
Marvin Hagler (Boxer / USA) / Known as Marvelous Marvin Hagler is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1973 to 1987. He reigned as the undisputed middleweight champion from 1980 to 1987, making twelve defenses of that title, and currently holds the highest knockout percentage of all undisputed middleweight champions, at 78%, while also holding the second longest unified championship reign in boxing history at twelve consecutive defenses. Hagler is an inductee of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. He was named Fighter of the Decade (1980s) by Boxing Illustrated magazine, and twice named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America. In 2001 and 2004, The Ring named him the fourth greatest middleweight of all time and in 2002 named him the 17th greatest fighter of the past 80 years. The International Boxing Research Organization rates Hagler as the 6th greatest middleweight of all time, while BoxRec rates him the 12th greatest boxer of all time, pound for pound; and the 4th best middleweight of all time. Many analysts and boxing writers consider Hagler to have one of the most durable chins in boxing history.
Lewis Hamilton (Formula One / England) / British racing driver who races in Formula One for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team. A six-time Formula One World Champion, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport, and considered by some to be the greatest of all time. He won his first World Drivers’ Championship with McLaren in 2008, before moving to Mercedes in 2013, with whom he has won a further five titles. One of the most successful drivers in the history of the sport, Hamilton’s six World Championship titles is the second-most of all time, as is his tally of 84 race victories and 151 podium finishes. He currently holds the records for the all-time most career points (3431), the all-time most pole positions (88), the most grand slams in a season (3) and the most points in a season (413).
Lee Haney (Bodybuilding / USA) / With a record tying 8 Mr. Olympia titles (1984-1991) Haney was successfully able to retire at the extremely young age of 31 and foster a career outside of bodybuilding. To this day Haney works in the fields of sports training and nutrition training athletes in the NBA, MLB, and professional boxing. Today, at the age of 55, Lee Haney still maintains a physique that would make younger bodybuilders envious.
Marvin Harrison (Football / USA) / Harrison spent his entire career with the Colts, most of them with quarterback Peyton Manning, and is widely considered as one of the greatest and most productive wide receivers in NFL history. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the team in Super Bowl XLI over the Chicago Bears. An eight-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro member, Harrison held the record for most receptions in a single season (143) for over ten years, before it was broken by Michael Thomas in 2019. Harrison was a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist for the Classes of 2014 and 2015 before being elected in 2016, the same year his former coach Tony Dungy was voted into the Hall.
Abe Hawkins (Horse Racing / USA) / known in later years as Uncle Able Hawkins, The Black Prince, The Dark Sage of Louisiana, and The Slayer of Lexington, was a slave on the Ashland sugar plantation located in Darrow, Louisiana, in Ascension Parish. Duncan Farrar Kenner owned the plantation and for ten years Abe was his slave. Kenner was a businessman that owned and raced horses with a track located on the plantation grounds. In 1854, Kenner purchased slave jockey Abe Hawkins. Abe was considered small and of “light figure” and suited to being a jockey. Abe rode for Kenner until he became a freeman in 1864, and then for Robert A. Alexander and was nationally known for fifteen years. By 1865, Abe was rated the second best known athlete behind white jockey Gilbert Watson Partrick, known as Gilpatrick, and won against him in a match race before a crowd of 25,000 in New York City. Abe had a career twenty-five wins, including the two 1866 wins while under the employ of Robert A. Alexander, the Travers Stakes riding Merrill with former slave trainer Ansel Williamson, and the first Jerome Stakes riding Watson with trainer Jacob Pincus.
Joe Hayes (Martial Arts / USA) / One of the greatest Taekwondo players that ever lived, dominated Taekwondo tournaments for years. When you do the knowledge to him, you’ll find the names of brothers Mike Warren and Albert Cheeks, members of the 1973 USA Taekwondo team that went to Korea and received 2nd place.
Mike Haynes (Football / USA) / He used his speed, quickness and range to become both a premier defensive back and an outstanding punt return specialist. Haynes was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Rickey Henderson (Baseball / USA) / Everything you could ever ask for in a leadoff hitter, Rickey Henderson is baseball’s all-time leader in stolen bases with 1,406 and runs scored with 2,295. He was far from just a speedster, though, as he also hit 510 doubles, 297 home runs and tallied 1,115 RBI. An 11-time stolen base champ, Henderson topped the 100-steal mark three different times, including 130 in 1982. He also ranks second on the all-time walks list with 2,190, helping him to a .401 career on-base percentage. He won AL MVP honors for the Oakland Athletics in 1990, and his 110.7 rWAR is 14th-best among position players.
Harold Henson (Wrestling / USA) / Two years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by being the first black to play in Major League Baseball, the first African-American competed at the national college wrestling championships, according to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. The man who made history at the 1949 NCAAs: Harold Henson of San Diego State University.
Rangana Herath (Cricket / Sri Lanka) / Sri Lankan cricketer, who played all forms of the game and a former Test captain for Sri Lanka. Considered as one of the greatest spin bowlers of all time, Herath is the most successful left arm bowler in Test Cricket history.
Devin Hester (Football / USA) / Hester quickly made an impact as a kick returner, and later became a wide receiver. He holds the NFL record for most all-time return touchdowns (punt and kickoff combined) and most all-time punt return touchdowns. He is widely regarded as one of the best return specialists in NFL history, and was the first person to return the opening kick of the Super Bowl back for a touchdown.
Shimron Hetmyer (Cricket / Guyana) / Guyanese cricketer who plays for the West Indies. He was part of the West Indies’ squad for the 2014 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. In December 2015 he was named as the captain of the West Indies squad for the 2016 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. The International Cricket Council (ICC) named Hetmyer as one of the five breakout stars in men’s cricket in 2018.
Daryl Homer (Fencing / U.S. Virgin Islands) / American Olympic saber fencer. He competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Olympics. He won the silver medal in individual saber at the 2016 Olympics. He was also a silver medalist at the 2015 World Fencing Championships, and is a five-time gold medalist at the Pan American Fencing Championships.
Bernard Hopkins (Boxing / USA) / Professional boxer who competed from 1988 to 2016. He is one of the most successful boxers of the past three decades, having held multiple world championships in two weight classes, including the undisputed middleweight title from 2004 to 2005, and the lineal light heavyweight title from 2011 to 2012. Hopkins first became a world champion by winning the IBF middleweight title in 1995. He would go on to compile 20 defenses against 17 boxers, with both those numbers remaining a record for the weight class.
Andre Horton (Skiing / USA) / Horton is from Anchorage, Alaska, which is strange enough. But to be a Black man skiing makes his story that much more intriguing. He became one of the best-known and successful African-American skiers. In 2001, he made history as the first Black skier to be on the U.S. Alpine Ski Team. When he was asked for his proudest accomplishment, he told Ski Racing Journal: “I’ve made some black people cry because they couldn’t believe I was racing down a course at a world-class level. Because they could never do it when they were growing up. That’s my quiet smile, as I call it.”
Ken Houston (Football / USA) / Houston was an all-league free safety player for twelve consecutive years: an American Football League All-Star in 1968 and 1969, and then in the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl from 1970 through 1979. He was selected All-Pro three times. In 1999, he was ranked number 61 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. Throughout his career, he had an extraordinary ability to know where the ball was going. Houston intercepted 49 passes, recovered 21 fumbles, gained 1,498 return yards (on interception, fumble, blocked field goal, kickoff, and punt returns), and scored 12 touchdowns. He is a member of the 1986 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Flora Jean “Flo” Hyman (Volleyball / USA) / Flo Hyman was best known for her powerful attacks and her graceful leadership by example. She joined the national team in 1974. The team failed to qualify in 1976 and USA boycotted the 1980 Olympics. Hymen and her teammates did get a chance to compete in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and won the silver medal, the first Olympic medal ever for women’s volleyball. She played professionally in Japan, where she was immensely popular, before collapsing on the bench and dying in 1986. She was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1988.
Jarome Iginla (Hockey / Canada) / A six-time NHL All-Star, Iginla is the Flames’ all-time leader in goals, points, and games played, and is second in assists to Al MacInnis. Iginla scored 50 goals in a season on two occasions and is one of seven players in NHL history to score 30 goals in 11 consecutive seasons. He is one of 20 players in NHL history to score over 600 goals and is one of 34 players to record 1,300 points in his career. He is a past winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award and has been recognized by both the Flames and the league for his community work. Jarome Iginla became the first Black male athlete to earn a gold medal during the Winter Olympics in 2002.
Maro Itoje (Rugby / England) / Known professionally as Maro Itoje, is an English professional rugby union player, who plays as a lock or as a blindside flanker for English Premiership club Saracens and the England national team. He signed his first professional contract with Saracens in 2012, and made his first appearance the following year. He received his first-call up to the England team in 2016 ahead of the annual Six Nations Championship, and became a firm favorite to both Saracens and England fans. So far in his rugby career, he has won four English Premiership titles with Saracens, three European Rugby Champions Cup titles, and two Six Nations Championship titles.
Allen Iverson (Basketball / USA) / Nicknamed “the Answer” and “AI”, is an American former professional basketball player. He played 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) at both the shooting guard and point guard positions. Iverson was an 11-time NBA All-Star, won the All-Star game MVP award in 2001 and 2005, and was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2001. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
Dexter “The Blade” Jackson (Bodybuilding / USA) / American IFBB professional bodybuilder and the 2008 Mr. Olympia bodybuilding champion. Jackson has won more professional bodybuilding titles than any other person. He has the distinction of winning the Arnold Classic a record five times (2005, 2006, 2008, 2013, 2015). After winning the Arnold Classic in 2015, he proceeded to place second in the 2015 Mr. Olympia. He is from Jacksonville, Florida.
Erin Jackson (Speed Skater / USA) / Jackson won gold in the 500-m inline skating race at the 2008–09 Junior World Championships, gold in the same event at the 2014 Pan American Championships, and was named United States Olympic Committee Female Athlete of the Year for Roller Sports in 2012 and 2013. She also competes in roller derby with the Jacksonville RollerGirls of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), earning the MVP award at the 2014 WFTDA Division 1 Playoff in Evansville, Indiana, and advancing to WFTDA Championships in both 2015 and 2016. She qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics with only four months of experience in speedskating on ice.
Lamar Jackson (Football / USA) / In 2019, he was the NFL Most Valuable Player, the second player to receive a unanimous selection for the award. While in college, he won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and was unanimously selected as an All-American during his sophomore in 2016. In 2019, his first full season as starter, Jackson set a record for the most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback and led the league with 36 touchdown passes.
Peter Jackson (Boxing / Australia) / Australian heavyweight boxer who had a significant international career. Jackson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the inaugural 1990 class, as well as being the 2004 inductee for the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in the Pioneers category. Jackson won the Australian heavyweight title in 1886 with a knockout of Tom Lees in the 30th round. Jackson was at one stage a pupil of “The Black Diamond” Jack Dowridge, a Barbadian Immigrant who pioneered boxing in Queensland, Australia. Among Dowridge’s other pupils was “Gentleman Jack” John Reid McGowan, a fellow Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee. After establishing his boxing career, and like many of Australia’s best boxers of this era, Jackson left for America. He arrived in San Francisco in May 12, 1888 and promptly beat “Old Chocolate” Godfrey to gain the world ‘colored’ heavyweight championship. During his stay in America, Jackson frequently sparred with Lees. Jackson would become an instructor at the California Athletic Club in San Francisco. He was considered one of the most “scientific” boxers of his day due to his footwork and technical proficiency.
Quinton Ramone “Rampage” Jackson (Mixed Martial Artist / USA) / American mixed martial artist, actor and former professional wrestler, currently signed with Bellator MMA. He is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Due to his eccentric personality and aggressive fighting style, Jackson became a star in Japan during his stint with the Pride FC and following his move to the UFC, he helped pioneer MMA’s growth into a worldwide sport.
Reggie Jackson (Baseball / USA) / One of the most prolific power hitters of all-time, Reggie Jackson is best known for his postseason exploits, and a three-homer performance in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series earned him the nickname Mr. October. He finished his career with 563 home runs and 1,702 RBI.
Ravindra Jadeja (Cricket / India) / On 22 January 2017, Jadeja became the first Indian left-arm spinner to take 150 One Day International wickets, when he dismissed Sam Billings at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. In March 2017, he became the top ranked bowler in the world leaving behind Ravichandran Ashwin who held that position for a long time.
Jairzinho (Futbol or Soccer / Brazil) / A quick, skillful, and powerful right winger, known for his finishing ability and eye for goal, he was a member of the legendary Brazilian national team that won the 1970 FIFA World Cup. Regarded as one of Brazil’s best players ever, and as one of the greatest players of all time.
Joe James (Wrestling / USA) / By becoming Oklahoma State’s eighth NCAA heavyweight champ, Joe James became the first black titlist at any weight for the Cowboys. Joe James completed his Oklahoma State career with a record as muscular as his physique: 51-3-2, for a .929 winning percentage. Fourteen of those wins were by pin.
Wael Jallouz (Handball / Tunisia) / Jallouz participated on the AS Hammamet team that won the Tunisian National Cup in 2012 after defeating in the final ES Sahel HC, the recent winner of the 2012 African Cup Winner’s Cup, by 26–25. That was the club’s first title since foundation in 1945. He competed for Mudhar Club at the 2012 Super Globe where he scored 26 goals in five matches and was awarded man of the match against THW Kiel after scoring eight times.
LeBron James (Basketball / USA) / He is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history, and discussions ranking him as the greatest basketball player of all time have often been subject to significant debate, with frequent comparisons to Michael Jordan. James’s teams have played in eight consecutive NBA Finals (2011–2018 seasons) between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. His accomplishments include three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, three Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals. James holds the all-time record for playoffs points, is third in all-time points, and eighth in all-time assists. James was selected to the All-NBA First Team twelve times (all-time record), made the All-Defensive First Team five times, and has played in sixteen All-Star Games, in which he was selected All-Star MVP three times.
Sanath Jayasuriya (Cricket / Sri Lanka) / Sri Lankan cricketer and a former captain of the Sri Lankan national team. Considered as one of the greatest batsmen of his era, Jayasuriya is well known for his powerful striking and match-winning all-round performances in ODI cricket. Jayasuriya is credited for having revolutionized one-day international cricket with his explosive batting with Romesh Kaluwitharana in 1996, which initiated the hard-hitting modern-day batting strategy of all nations. Jayasuriya was an all-rounder, who had an international cricket career that spread over four decades, He is the only player to score over 12,000 runs and capture more than 300 wickets in One Day International cricket, and hence regarded as one of the best all-rounders in the history of limited-overs cricket. He was named the Most Valuable Player of 1996 Cricket World Cup and Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack broke an age-old tradition by naming him one of Five Cricketers’ of the Year 1997 despite not playing the previous season in England. Jayasuriya was also the captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team from 1999 to 2003.
Derek Jeter (Baseball / USA) / Jeter has put together a .312/.381/.446 career line, and his 3,316 hits currently place him 10th on the all-time list. He’s been a part of seven pennant winners and five World Series champions, hitting .308/.374/.465 with 32 doubles, 20 home runs, 61 RBI and 111 runs in 650 career postseason at-bats.
Fergie Jenkins (Baseball / Canada) / The ace of some bad Chicago Cubs teams, Fergie Jenkins still managed to top the 20-win mark six straight seasons from 1967-72, winning the NL Cy Young in 1971. He finished his career 284-226 with a 3.34 ERA, and his 267 complete games are the second most of the Expansion Era (1961-present).
Anthony Johnson (Mixed Martial Artist / USA) / He was well known for his brutal knockout power and intimidating presence inside the octagon. Before retiring, he was the No.1 ranked light heavyweight contender in official UFC rankings, and was ranked #2 in the world by Sherdog and ESPN. He also had the most ‘sub-minute’ KO wins in UFC History with 5.
Billy “White Shoes” Johnson (Football / USA) / In 1994, Johnson was selected as the punt returner on the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team but remains the only man selected to the National Football League 75th Anniversary All-Time Team not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Demetrious Johnson (Mixed Martial Artist / USA) / American mixed martial artist and former freestyle wrestler. He currently competes in ONE Championship. He is the inaugural and former UFC Flyweight Champion. Known for his quick striking and elusive movement, Johnson has also landed the most takedowns in UFC flyweight history and co-holds the record for the latest finish in UFC history with a submission win at 4:59 of the fifth round against Kyoji Horiguchi. He is also the only UFC fighter to record over 10 takedowns in three different fights. Demetrious Johnson holds the record for most finishes in UFC flyweight history with 7. He is also the One Championship Flyweight Grand Prix Champion.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr. (Basketball / USA) / He played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons. After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award.
John Arthur “Jack” Johnson (Boxing / USA) / Nicknamed the Galveston Giant, was an American boxer who, at the height of the Jim Crow era, became the first Afro American world heavyweight boxing champion (1908–1915). Among the period’s most dominant champions, Johnson remains a boxing legend, with his 1910 fight against James J. Jeffries dubbed the “fight of the century”. According to filmmaker Ken Burns, “for more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African-American on Earth”. Transcending boxing, he became part of the culture and the history of racism in America.
Kevin Johnson (Basketball / USA) / Nicknamed “KJ” is an American former professional basketball player. Johnson made the playoffs every year of his career after his rookie season, reversing the fortunes of the perennially losing Phoenix Suns. The 1992–93 Suns, led by Johnson and new teammate Charles Barkley, posted an NBA-best 62–20 record and managed to make it to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls four games to two. Johnson averaged 17.8 points and 7.9 assists in the playoffs and established an NBA record for Finals minutes played by logging 62 minutes in Game 3 (a 129–121 triple-OT victory) vs. the Bulls.
Michael Johnson (Track & Field / USA) / American retired sprinter who won four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championships gold medals in the span of his career. He formerly held the world and Olympic records in the 200 m and 400 m, as well as the world record in the indoor 400 m. He also once held the world’s best time in the 300 m. Johnson is generally considered one of the greatest and most consistent sprinters in the history of track and field. Johnson is the only male athlete in history to win both the 200 metres and 400 metres events at the same Olympics, a feat he accomplished at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Johnson is also the only man to successfully defend his Olympic title in the 400 m, having done so at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Aside from his Olympic success, Johnson accumulated eight gold medals at the World Championships and is tied with Carl Lewis for the third most gold medals won by a runner (after Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix). Johnson’s stiff upright running position and very short steps defied the conventional wisdom that a high knee lift was necessary for maximum speed. As of 2012, Johnson holds 13 of the top 100 times for the 200 metres and 27 of the top 100 times for the 400 metres. Of those, he holds 14 of the top 25 times for the 400 metres. He broke 44 seconds for the 400 metres twenty-two times, more than twice as many times as any other athlete. Johnson currently holds the national records for the 200, 300 and 400 metres. The 4 x 400 metres relay world record was anchored by Johnson.
Seba Johnson (Alpine Skiing / U.S. Virgin Islands) / She was the first black woman to ski at the Olympics, and the youngest alpine ski racer in Olympic history (she competed at age 14).
Cullen Jones (Swimming / USA) / American competition swimmer and Olympic gold medalist who specializes in freestyle sprint events. As part of the American team, he holds the world record in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay (long course). At the 2012 Summer Olympics, he won silver medals in the 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay and the 50-meter freestyle, as well as the gold in the 4 x 100-metre medley.
Deacon Jones (Football / USA) / Jones specialized in quarterback “sacks” stats, a term which he coined. Nicknamed “the Secretary of Defense”, Jones is considered one of the greatest defensive players ever. The Los Angeles Times called Jones “most valuable Ram of all time,” and former Rams head coach George Allen called him the “greatest defensive end of modern football.” He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
Jon Jones (Mixed Martial Artist / USA) / American professional mixed martial artist who is signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Widely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists, he is the current and two-time undisputed UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He has been champion since December 29, 2018, and previously held the title from March 20, 2011, to April 28, 2015. Jones also held the interim UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. As of August 19, 2019, he is # 1 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.
Roy Jones, Jr. (Boxing / USA) / Jones is considered by many to be one of the best boxers of all time, pound for pound, and left his mark in the sport’s history when he won the WBA heavyweight title in 2003, becoming the first former middleweight champion to win a heavyweight title in 106 years. Prior to that, in 1999, he became the undisputed light heavyweight champion by unifying the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles. During his prime, Jones was known for possessing exceptional hand speed, athleticism, movement and reflexes. As of February 2018, Jones holds the record for the most wins in unified light heavyweight title bouts in boxing history, at twelve. The Ring magazine named Jones the Fighter of the Year in 1994, and the World Boxing Hall of Fame named him the Fighter of the Year for 2003. He is also a three-time winner of the Best Boxer ESPY Award (1996, 2000, and 2003). The Boxing Writers Association of America named him as the Fighter of the Decade for the 1990s.
Seth Jones (Hockey / USA) / Jones has represented the United States several times internationally. He won back-to-back gold medals at the 2011 and 2012 IIHF World U18 Championships. He was a member of the 2013 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships team that won gold.
Michael Jordan (Basketball / USA) / Jordan’s individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten scoring titles (both all-time records), five MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press’ list of athletes of the century. Jordan is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2009 for his individual career and again in 2010 as part of the group induction of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“The Dream Team”). He became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Track & Field / USA) / Ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlon as well as long jump. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, in those two events at four different Olympic Games. Sports Illustrated for Women magazine voted Joyner-Kersee the Greatest Female Athlete of All-Time.
Andrea Kabwasa (Surfing / USA) / Unlike some of the other surfers mentioned, Kabwasa, who has been featured in several documentaries about breaking down the gender and racial barriers in the sport, didn’t start riding waves until she was in her early 30s. Though the special education teacher and artist was reportedly curious about surfing since her childhood, she was initially hesitant to get on a board. She now credits surfing as being instrumental in sharpening her creative focus and teaching abilities.
Duke Kahanamoku (Swimming & Surfing / Hawaii) / Native Hawaiian competition swimmer who popularized the ancient Hawaiian sport of surfing. He was born towards the end of the Kingdom of Hawaii, just before the overthrow, living into statehood as a United States citizen. He was a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming. Duke was also a Scottish Rite Freemason, a Shriner, a law enforcement officer, an actor, a beach volleyball player and a businessman.
Montgomery ‘Buttons’ Kaluhiokalani (Surfer / Hawaii) / Many in the surfing world consider Montgomery “Buttons” Kaluhiokalani a true legend. In his prime, he associated with fellow iconic surfers Larry Bertlemann and Mark Liddel. Buttons was the son of a Black military father and Hawaiian mother. His mixed heritage gave him the cred to represent both cultures, challenging racism simultaneously. Famous for his tailslides and 360-degree tricks, Buttons started competing in surf competitions in his early teens, and later went on to win the Malibu Sunkist Pro in 1979.
Nwankwo Kanu (Futbol or Soccer / Nigeria) / Kanu won a UEFA Champions League medal, a UEFA Cup medal, three FA Cup medals and two African Player of the Year awards amongst others. He is one of few players to have won the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, UEFA Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal. He made the third-most substitute appearances in Premier League history, appearing from the bench 118 times, and is regarded as one of the best players in African football history.
Lloyd Keaser (Wrestling / USA) / In 1973 he won a gold medal at the world championships in freestyle wrestling and became the first African-American to achieve this honor. In 1976 he won the silver medal at the Montreal Olympics.
Salif Keïta (Futbol or Soccer / Mali) / A Malian former footballer. A versatile midfielder, he operated as both a central or defensive midfielder. He most notably played for Lens (five seasons) and Barcelona (four), winning 14 titles with the latter club after signing in 2008. He started his youth career in Mali and his professional career with Marseille. His career would take him to clubs in France, Spain, China, Italy and Qatar. Keita represented Mali since the age of 18, appearing in seven Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and winning 102 caps.
Leroy Kemp (Wrestling / USA) / American amateur wrestler who achieved unparalleled success at the high school, collegiate, and international levels. Kemp was America’s first three-time World Champion, winning his first title in 1978 at age 21, establishing him as the youngest American world champion ever, a distinction he held for 30 years. Lee was a four-time World Cup Champion, 7-time United States Freestyle National Champion and was a heavy favorite for gold earning a berth on the 1980 United States Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Team, but was unable to compete because of the U.S. boycott of the Olympics. Kemp was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in 1990. Then at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where he was one of the freestyle coaches for the U.S., he became just the fifth American to be inducted into the United World Wrestling (formerly known as FILA) Hall of Fame.
Shawn Kemp (Basketball / USA) / Professional basketball player, who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 14 seasons. He was a six-time NBA All-Star and a three-time All-NBA Second Team member.
Errol Kerr (Skiing / USA) / Kerr started skiing early, at age 4, and at 11 began competing. He searched for an event before settling on ski cross, and he was the first Jamaican to represent his country in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver 2010. He finished ninth overall, the best finish ever for an athlete from the Caribbean at the Winter Games.
Jason Kidd (Basketball / USA) / Kidd was a 10-time NBA All-Star, a five-time All-NBA First Team member, and a nine-time NBA All-Defensive Team member. He won an NBA Championship in 2011 as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, and was a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner during his pro career, as part of Team USA in 2000 and 2008. He was inducted as a player into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Patrick Kluivert (Futbol or Soccer / Netherlands) / Kluivert played for the Dutch national team from 1994 to 2004. With 40 goals in 79 appearances, he is the third highest top goalscorer for Oranje. He played in three European Championships and the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and was joint top scorer at Euro 2000 where upon the scoresheet he tallied a total of 5 times. In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers chosen by Pelé as part of FIFA’s centenary observances.
Iris Kyle (Bodybuilding / USA) / She is currently the most successful professional bodybuilder ever, female or male, with ten overall Ms. Olympia wins and two heavyweight wins, along with seven Ms. International wins and one heavyweight win. In 2013, she was ranked as the best female bodybuilder in the IFBB Pro Women’s Bodybuilding Ranking List.
Charles Lakes (Gymnastics / USA) / Lakes was a member of the 1985 and 1987 World Gymnastics Championships U.S. teams. Lakes won gold at Nationals on the floor exercise. At Olympic Trials, Lakes finished first overall. In the Olympics he was the highest ranked American gymnast in the All Around finals. Lakes was the first black American gymnast to compete in the Olympics. (Ron Galimore was the first African-American selected for the Olympics, but because of the 1980 boycott, he never competed.)
Dick “Night Train” Lane (Football / USA) / As a rookie in 1952, Lane had 14 interceptions, a mark that remains an NFL record more than 65 years later. He played in the Pro Bowl seven times and was selected as a first-team All-NFL player seven times between 1956 and 1963. His 68 career interceptions ranked second in NFL history at the time of his retirement and still ranks fourth in NFL history. He was also known as one of the most ferocious tacklers in NFL history and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974. He was named to the National Football League 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1969, named to the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994 and unanimously named to the National Football League 100th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2019. In 1999, he was ranked number 20 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
Willie Lanier (Football / USA) / Professional football player who was a middle linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1967 through 1977. He won postseason honors for eight consecutive years, making the American Football League All-Star team in 1968 and 1969 before being selected to the Pro Bowl from 1970 through 1975. A Super Bowl champion, Lanier won the NFL Man of the Year in 1972. He was selected to both the NFL’s 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams, and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Brian Lara (Cricket / Trinidad and Tobago) / Trinidadian former international cricketer, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He topped the Test batting rankings on several occasions and holds several cricketing records, including the record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket, with 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994, which is the only quintuple-hundred in first-class cricket history. Lara also holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004. Lara also shares the test record of scoring the highest number of runs in a single over in a Test match, when he scored 28 runs off an over by Robin Peterson of South Africa in 2003 (matched in 2013 by Australia’s George Bailey). Brian Lara is popularly nicknamed as “The Prince of Port of Spain” or simply “The Prince.”
Ivan Lee (Fencing / USA) / He holds four (4) world championship medals, and he is the first American male fencer to win a Junior Olympic Championship, a National Championship, an NCAA Championship, a World Championship, a Pan American Championship and make an Olympic Team.
Sugar Ray Leonard (Boxing / USA) / Often regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, he competed from 1977 to 1997, winning world titles in five weight divisions; the lineal championship in three weight divisions; as well as the undisputed welterweight title.
Carl Lewis (Track & Field / USA) / American former track and field athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold. His career spanned from 1979 to 1996, when he last won an Olympic event. He is one of only three Olympic athletes who won a gold medal in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games. Lewis was a dominant sprinter and long jumper who topped the world rankings in the 100 m, 200 m and long jump events frequently from 1981 to the early 1990s. He set world records in the 100 m, 4 × 100 m and 4 × 200 m relays, while his world record in the indoor long jump has stood since 1984. His 65 consecutive victories in the long jump achieved over a span of 10 years is one of the sport’s longest undefeated streaks. Over the course of his athletics career, Lewis broke 10 seconds for the 100 meters fifteen times and 20 seconds for the 200 meters ten times. Lewis also long jumped over 28 feet seventy-one times. His accomplishments have led to numerous accolades, including being voted “World Athlete of the Century” by the International Association of Athletics Federations and “Sportsman of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee, “Olympian of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Athlete of the Year” by Track & Field News in 1982, 1983, and 1984.
Isaac E. Lewis (Horse Racing / USA) / Born in Hutchinson Station, KY, the son of Henry and Mary J. Lewis. Isaac won the 1887 Kentucky Derby aboard Montrose.
Oliver Lewis (Horse Racing / USA) / American jockey in Thoroughbred horse racing. On May 17, 1875, Lewis rode in the very first Kentucky Derby on the winning horse, Aristides. The pair won by a reported two lengths, setting a new American record time for a mile-and-a-half race.
Ray Lewis (Football / USA) / He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and led the Ravens’ record-setting defense to victory in Super Bowl XXXV. Lewis also became the second linebacker to win the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award, and the first to win the award on the winning Super Bowl team. Lewis won his second Defensive Player of the Year award in 2003, becoming the sixth player to win the award multiple times. Lewis was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Due to his numerous accolades and prodigious football play, Lewis is considered to be one of the greatest middle linebackers in NFL history. He was a 13-time Pro Bowler, a 10-time All-Pro, and one of the few players in NFL history to play in a Pro Bowl in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, and 2010s). He is also considered to be the greatest Baltimore Raven of all time.
Jonah Tali Lomu (Rugby / New Zealand) / He became the youngest ever All Black when he played his first international in 1994 at the age of 19 years and 45 days. Playing on the wing Lomu finished his international career with 63 caps and 37 tries. He is regarded as the first true global superstar of rugby and consequently had a huge impact on the game. Lomu was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame on 9 October 2007, and the IRB Hall of Fame on 24 October 2011.
Ronnie Lott (Football / USA) / Lott was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000, and is widely considered to be one of the best of all time at the safety position in NFL history and one of the best players in NFL history.
Joe Louis (Boxing / USA) / American professional boxer who competed from 1934 to 1951. He reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949, and is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. Nicknamed the Brown Bomber, Louis’ championship reign lasted 140 consecutive months, during which he participated in 26 championship fights. The 27th fight, against Ezzard Charles in 1950, was a challenge for Charles’ heavyweight title and so is not included in Louis’ reign. He was victorious in 25 consecutive title defenses. In 2005, Louis was ranked as the best heavyweight of all time by the International Boxing Research Organization, and was ranked number one on The Ring magazine’s list of the “100 greatest punchers of all time.” Louis had the longest single reign as champion of any heavyweight boxer in history. Louis’ cultural impact was felt well outside the ring. He is widely regarded as the first person of African-American descent to achieve the status of a nationwide hero within the United States.
John Mackey (Football / USA) / During his playing career, Mackey played in five Pro Bowls, including in his rookie season. He was also named All-NFL three times. In 1992, Mackey was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, becoming only the second pure tight end to be awarded this honor.
Patrick Mahomes (Football / USA) / Mahomes led the Chiefs to Super Bowl LIV, their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years, where they defeated the San Francisco 49ers for their first Super Bowl victory since 1970. Mahomes was awarded the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player for his performance, becoming the second African-American quarterback to win the award after Doug Williams, and youngest overall. He is the third African-American quarterback after Doug Williams and Russell Wilson and the second youngest quarterback (24 years and 138 days) to win the Super Bowl after Ben Roethlisberger (23 years and 320 days) to win the Super Bowl.
Karl Malone (Basketball / USA) / Nicknamed “the Mailman”, he played the power forward position and spent his first 18 seasons (1985–2003) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Utah Jazz and formed a formidable duo with his teammate John Stockton. Malone also played one season for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a 14-time NBA All-Star, and an 11-time member of the All-NBA first team. His 36,928 career points scored rank second all-time in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and he holds the records for most free throws attempted and made, in addition to being tied for the second-most first-team All-NBA selections with Kobe Bryant and behind LeBron James. He is considered one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history.
Moses Malone (Basketball / USA) / A center, he was named the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times, was a 12-time NBA All-Star and an eight-time All-NBA Team selection. Malone led the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA championship in 1983, winning both the league and Finals MVP. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2001.
Marta Mangué (Handball / Spain) / She won a gold medal with the Spanish team at the 2005 Mediterranean Games in Almería. Mangué played at the 2008 European Women’s Handball Championship in Macedonia, where the Spanish team defeated Germany in the semifinal, and received silver medals after losing the final. Mangué ended up among the top ten goal scorers at the tournament. At the 2011 World Championships, Mangué was part of the first Spanish women’s team to win a medal at world level. Spain followed this up with an Olympic bronze in 2012 and a European silver in 2014.
Simone Manuel (Swimming / USA) / Simone Manuel is one of the best swimmers in the world. But even in 2016, there are very few professional swimmers who look like her. 2016 Olympics in Rio marked the first time in history, a black woman won an individual swimming medal in the Olympics. Simone Manuel, a 20-year-old from Sugar Land, Texas, tied for the gold medal in the women’s 100-meter freestyle with an Olympic record time of 52.70 seconds.
Juan Marichal (Baseball / Dominican Republic) / One of the first great pitchers to come out of the Dominican Republic, Juan Marichal used a high leg kick and fantastic control to not only dominate on the mound, but to intimidate as well. He finished his career 243-142 with a 2.89 ERA, winning 20 games six different times, and he belongs right alongside Bob Gibson as the top starters of the 1960s.
Pedro Martinez (Baseball / Dominican Republic) / He may not have the win total of some of the other all-time greats, as he finished his career with a 219-100 record, but few were better than Pedro Martinez during his prime. Over a seven-year span from 1997-03, the right-hander went 118-36 with a 2.20 ERA and 1,761 strikeouts. He won three Cy Young awards, five ERA titles and three strikeout titles during that time, and he took home Triple Crown honors in 1999 when he went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts.
Viliame Sevaka Mata (Rugby / Fiji) / Mata has been affectionately known as “Big Bill” Mata owing to his power and ability to break through defenses.
Willie Mays (Baseball / USA) / The five-tool player by which all other five-tool player are judged, there is nothing Willie Mays couldn’t do and do well on baseball field. He wrapped up his 22-year career with 660 home runs and 1,903 RBI, but the numbers don’t tell the full story. A physical specimen, Mays was a phenomenal defensive center fielder with a rocket arm and the speed to track balls down the cavernous Polo Grounds. He added 523 doubles, 140 triples and 338 steals to his home run numbers and finished with a career line of .302/.384/.557.
Kylian Mbappé (Futbol or Soccer / France) / Considered one of the best players in the world, he is known for his finishing, dribbling, and speed.
Willie McCovey (Baseball / USA) / A prolific slugger during his time with the San Francisco Giants, Willie McCovey had 521 home runs and 1,555 RBI over his 22-year big league career. He won NL MVP honors in 1969 when he hit .320/.453/.656 and led the league with 45 home runs and 126 RBI.
Kerry McCoy (Wrestling / USA) / American amateur wrestler. He has competed at the Olympic Games twice and four times at the World Cup Championships; he has been a three-time NCAA All-American and a two-time NCAA National Champion.
Randall McDaniel (Football / USA) / He is widely recognized as one of the greatest and most versatile offensive linemen ever to play the game. He started in 12 consecutive Pro Bowls (1989–2000), tied with Champ Bailey and Will Shields for the most Pro Bowls played.
Lloyd McDermott (Rugby / Australia) / He was the first Australian Aboriginal barrister and the second Aboriginal person to represent his country in rugby union (after Cec Ramalli), playing for the Wallabies against the New Zealand All Blacks in 1962. During South Africa’s era of apartheid, McDermott made a principled decision to withdraw from the squad rather than play as an “honorary white” on a subsequent South African tour. He inspired many through his sporting, professional and personal life. In 2016, McDermott was a recipient of the Queensland Greats Awards.
Tracy McGrady (Basketball / USA) / He is best known for his career in the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he played as both a shooting guard and small forward. McGrady is a seven-time NBA All-Star, seven-time All-NBA selection, two-time NBA scoring champion, and one-time winner of the NBA Most Improved Player Award. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2017. McGrady entered the NBA straight out of high school and was selected as the ninth overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the 1997 NBA draft. Beginning his career as a low-minute player, he gradually improved his role with the team, eventually forming an exciting duo with his cousin Vince Carter. In 2000, he left the Raptors for the Orlando Magic, where he became one of the league’s most prolific scorers and a candidate for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. In 2004, he was traded to the Houston Rockets, where he paired with center Yao Ming to help the Rockets become a perennial playoff team.
Rory McLeod (Snooker / England) / He has reached the last 16 in ten ranking tournaments, and his most notable achievement came in 2015, when he won the minor-ranking Ruhr Open, beating Tian Pengfei 4–2 in the final.
Donovan McNabb (Football / USA) / American former football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons, primarily with the Philadelphia Eagles. Before his NFL career, he played football and basketball for Syracuse University. The Eagles selected him with the second overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft, and McNabb went on to play 11 seasons with the team, followed by a year each with the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings. McNabb was the Eagles’ starting quarterback from 1999 to 2009. During his tenure with the Eagles, he led the team to eight playoff appearances (2000–2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009), five NFC East division championships (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006), five NFC Championship games (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2008), and Super Bowl XXXIX, which the Eagles lost to the New England Patriots, 24–21. He also became the Eagles’ all-time leader in pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. McNabb was the fourth quarterback in NFL history to amass more than 30,000 passing yards, 200 touchdown passes, 3,000 rushing yards, and 20 rushing touchdowns in his career. The first three quarterbacks to accomplish this feat were Fran Tarkenton, John Elway, and Steve Young. His 3,469 career yards rushing ranks eighth all-time for NFL quarterbacks.
Steve McNair (Football / USA) / McNair played college football at Alcorn State in Lorman, Mississippi, where he won the 1994 Walter Payton Award as the top player in NCAA Division I-AA. McNair led the Titans to the playoffs four times, and the Ravens once, and played in Super Bowl XXXIV with the Titans. McNair was selected to the Pro Bowl three times, and was an All-Pro and Co-MVP in 2003. McNair was the first African-American quarterback to win AP NFL MVP and is, along with Cam Newton, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson one of only four to win the award.
Lori McNeil (Tennis / USA) / McNeil was a singles semi-finalist at both the US Open in 1987 and Wimbledon in 1994, a women’s doubles finalist at the Australian Open in 1987 with Zina Garrison and French Open mixed doubles winner in 1988 with Jorge Lozano.
Paige McPherson (Taekwondo / USA) / After winning a gold medal in the 2016 Pan American Games McPherson was selected to represent the United States as a member of the Team USA Taekwondo Team in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil.
Ashley Miles (Gymnastics / USA) / University of Alabama gymnast who was member of the 2001 bronze medal winning worlds team; earned 3 NCAA titles; earned 12 All-American honors.
Roger Milla (Futbol or Soccer / Cameroon) / He was one of the first African players to be major stars on the international stage. He played in three World Cups for the Cameroon national team. He achieved international stardom at 38 years old, an age at which most forwards have retired, by scoring four goals at the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He helped Cameroon become the first African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. Four years later, at the age of 42, Milla became the oldest goal scorer in World Cup history by scoring against Russia in the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Milla is also remembered for his trademark goal celebration of running to the corner flag and performing a dance.
Cheryl Miller (Basketball / USA) / In 1995, Miller was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1999, she was inducted into the inaugural class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Knoxville, Tennessee. On August 20, 2010, Miller was also inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame for her success in international play.
Reggie Miller (Basketball / USA) / Miller was known for his precision three-point shooting, especially in pressure situations and most notably against the New York Knicks, for which he earned the nickname “Knick Killer”. When he retired, he held the record for most career 3-point field goals made. He is currently second on the list behind Ray Allen. A five-time All-Star selection, Miller led the league in free throw accuracy five times and won a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Miller is widely considered the Pacers’ greatest player of all time.
Diandra Milliner (Gymnastics / USA) / Elite University of Alabama gymnast; won 8 All-American honors; contributed to the teams’ 2011 & 2012 Championship wins.
Mary Mills (Surfing / USA) / Inspiring and documenting the lives of surfers is Mary Mills’ life calling. In addition to being a surfer, she’s a former college soccer player, surf advocate, competitive cyclist, skater, mat rider and writer. Also known as Surf Sister, Mills picked up a mat around 2008. According to an interview with Mat Surfers, she admittedly could not swim well until age 23 and started surfing at the age of 38.
Kenny Monday (Wrestling / USA) / Olympic gold medalist and three-time All-American wrestler from Oklahoma State University. He began wrestling at age six at a YMCA after-school program and grew up idolizing Olympic wrestler Wayne Wells. He is a 3X Olympian. Monday attended Booker T. Washington High School (Tulsa, Oklahoma), where he won four state titles and the 1977 Junior National championship. He never lost a match from seventh grade through the end of high school and finished with a record of 140-0-1. As an All-American at OSU, Monday won the NCAA title in 1984 at 150 pounds. His collegiate record of 121-12-2 contributed to the Cowboys winning two Big Eight titles. He won the 1989 World Championship and a series of USA Freestyle championships in 1985, 1988, 1991, and 1996. He won the Olympic Championship in 1988 in a 5-2 overtime win against the Soviet Union’s Adlan Varaev. Monday was a silver medalist in the 1992 Olympics and placed sixth in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. He is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Toccara Montgomery (Wrestling / USA) / American freestyle wrestler, who competed in the women’s heavyweight category. She won four U.S. national titles (2001–2004), scored two silver medals in the 68 and 72-kg division at the World Championships (2001 and 2003), and finished seventh at the 2004 Summer Olympics, considering one of the most dominant female wrestlers in United States sporting history.
Warren Moon (Football / USA) / American and Canadian football quarterback who played professionally for 23 seasons. He spent the majority of his career with the Houston Oilers of the National Football League (NFL) and the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Moon also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, and Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL.
Lenny Moore (Football / USA) / Professional football player who was a halfback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Baltimore Colts from 1956 to 1967. He played college football for Penn State Nittany Lions. He was named the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1956 and was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times. Moore was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975.
Vic Moore (Martial Arts / USA) / The first Black national karate champion. According to the website USADOJO.Com he initially trained as a boxer, and later joining the United States Karate Association, a tenth degree black belt who successfully placed in every tournament from 1965 – 1975; defeating notable fighters including: Mike Stone, Chuck Norris, Jim Kelly, Joe Lewis and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. Alongside Joe Lewis, he would introduce Kickboxing to the American public on the Merv Griffin show in 1973.
Joe Morgan (Baseball / USA) / The catalyst of the legendary Big Red Machine, Joe Morgan ranks as one of the best all-around second basemen in baseball history. He hit .271/.392/.427 with 268 home runs and 689 stolen bases over his 22-year career. His ability to get on base offset a relatively unimpressive batting average, and he ranks fifth all time with 1,865 career walks. Morgan won NL MVP honors in 1975 and 1976, as he hit a combined .324/.456/.541 and averaged 22 home runs, 102 RBI and 64 steals during what were two truly dominant seasons.
Edwin Moses (Track & Field / USA) / Track and field athlete who won gold medals in the 400 m hurdles at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics. Between 1977 and 1987, Moses won 107 consecutive finals (122 consecutive races) and set the world record in the event four times.
Randy Moss (Football / USA) / He played wide receiver for 14 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He holds the NFL single-season touchdown reception record (23 in 2007), the NFL single-season touchdown reception record for a rookie (17 in 1998), and is second on the NFL all-time regular season touchdown reception list with 156.
Marion Motley (Football / USA) / American professional football player who was a fullback and linebacker for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and National Football League (NFL). He was a leading pass-blocker and rusher in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and ended his career with an average of 5.7 yards per carry, a record for running backs that still stands. A versatile player who possessed both quickness and size, Motley was a force on both offense and defense. Fellow Hall of Fame running back Joe Perry once called Motley “the greatest all-around football player there ever was.” Motley was also one of the first two African-Americans to play professional football in the modern era, breaking the color barrier along with teammate Bill Willis in September 1946, when the two played their first game for the Cleveland Browns.
Muttiah Muralitharan (Cricket / Sri Lanka) / Sri Lankan cricket coach and former cricketer who was rated the greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in 2002. He retired from Test cricket in 2010, registering his 800th and final wicket on 22 July 2010 from his final ball in his last Test match. Muralitharan holds the world record for the most wickets in both Test and one-day cricket. In 2017, he became the only Sri Lankan to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. He won the Ada Derana Sri Lankan of the Year in 2017.
Cisero Murphy (Pocket Billiards / USA) / Made history in 1965 when he became the first and only African-American to win a world billiards tournament.
Isaac Burns Murphy (Horse Racing / USA) / American Hall of Fame jockey, who is considered one of the greatest riders in American Thoroughbred horse racing history. Murphy won three Kentucky Derbies.
Eddie Murray (Baseball / USA) / One of just four players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs in his career, Eddie Murray also ranks 10th on the all-time RBI list with 1,917. He was arguably the best hitter of the 1980s, is one of the greatest switch-hitters the game has ever seen and still goes largely overlooked in the eyes of history. As a side note, he is also the all-time leader in sacrifice flies with 128.
Lenda Murray (Bodybuilding / USA) / Murray has won eight overall Ms. Olympia titles and has two professional wins in her weight class. She is the second most successful female bodybuilder ever, second only to Iris Kyle. From February 28, 2003 to May 31, 2003, she ranked 1st on the IFBB Women’s Bodybuilding Professional Ranking List. In 2010, Murray was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame. In March 2011, she became a member of the National Fitness Hall of Fame.
Maria Mutola (Track & Field / Mozambique) / Track and field athlete from Mozambique who specialized in the 800 metres running event. She is only the fourth athlete to compete at six Olympic Games. She is a three-time world champion in this event and a one-time Olympic champion. Although Mutola never broke the world record in her favorite event, she is regarded by many track insiders and fans as one of the greatest 800 metres female runners of all time due to her consistently good results in major championships and her exceptional longevity which saw her compete at the highest level for two decades before retiring from athletics in 2008 at the age of 35. She is also the only athlete ever to have won Olympic, World, World indoor, Commonwealth Games, Continental Games and Continental Championships titles in the same event.
James Solomon “Big Jim” Nance (Wrestling / USA) / Jim Nance was a two-time Pennsylvania state champ, winning the heavyweight title in 1960 and 1961 for his high school in the town of Indiana, Pennsylvania. Like fellow Pennsylvanian Art Baker before him, Nance headed to upstate New York to go to Syracuse University to play football and wrestle. As a sophomore, he won the EIWA heavyweight title in 1963. Then, a couple weeks later, at the NCAAs at Kent State University in Ohio, Nance took the heavyweight title by defeating Larry Kristoff of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in the finals, becoming the first African-American to win a college heavyweight championship.
Sunil Narine (Cricket / Trinidad and Tobago) / Trinidadian cricketer who plays internationally for the West Indies. He made his One Day International (ODI) debut in December 2011 and Test match debut in June 2012. Primarily an off-spin bowler, he is also an aggressive left-handed batsman.
Lia Neal (Swimming / USA) / American competitive swimmer who specializes in freestyle events. In her Olympic debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she won a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. In 2016, she won a silver medal in the same event at Rio de Janeiro.
Anthony Nesty (Swimming / Suriname) / At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea, Nesty edged American favorite Matt Biondi by one one-hundredth of a second to win the 100-metre butterfly; he finished the event in 53.00 seconds and Biondi in 53.01. Nesty is the only Olympic medal winner from Suriname and after winning his Olympic gold medal, he was unbeaten in the 100-metre butterfly event for three years. Nesty was the second black athlete to win an individual Olympic medal in swimming following Enith Brigitha at the 1976 Summer Olympics, and only the second South American swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal after Alberto Zorrilla in the 1928 Summer Olympics. Nesty’s victory in Seoul was a momentous social and political event for Afro-Caribbeans. The Suriname government commemorated his gold-medal performance on a stamp and on gold and silver coins. A 25-guilders bank note portraying an illustration of a butterfly swimmer was printed in his honor. Surinam Airways named one of its planes after Nesty, and the indoor stadium in Paramaribo was renamed for him. Nesty won gold medals in the 100-metre butterfly at the Goodwill Games in 1990 and the FINA World Aquatics Championships in 1991. At the 1991 Pan-American Games in Havana, Cuba, he again won a gold medal in 100-metre butterfly and a silver in the 200-metre butterfly. He attempted to defend his 1988 Olympic gold medal in the 100-metre butterfly at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, but finished with a third-place bronze.
Cam Newton (Football / USA) / He was the 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year, is a three-time Pro Bowler, and was named the NFL MVP in 2015. In his rookie year, Newton broke all-time NFL rookie records for passing and rushing yards. He became the first NFL quarterback to throw for 400 yards in his first game, shattering Peyton Manning’s first-game record by 120 yards. He also broke Otto Graham’s 61-year-old record for passing yards by any quarterback in an NFL debut. Newton went on to become the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. He also ran for 14 touchdowns, more in a single season than any other quarterback in NFL history, breaking Steve Grogan’s 35-year-old record. Newton capped off the 2015 season by capturing MVP honors and leading the Panthers to a 15–1 record and a trip to Super Bowl 50. Newton, along with Steve McNair, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson, is one of only four African-American quarterbacks to win AP NFL MVP.
Francis Ngannou (Mixed Martial Artist / Cameroon) / Professional mixed martial artist competing in the Heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As of March 12, 2020 , he is #2 in the UFC heavyweight rankings.
Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong (Skiing / Ghana) / Nicknamed “The Snow Leopard,” is a Ghanaian skier and is the first person from Ghana to take part in the Winter Olympics, which he did at the 2010 Winter Olympics Vancouver, British Columbia taking part in the slalom.
Yannick Noah (Tennis / France) / He won the French Open in 1983, and is currently the captain of both France’s Davis Cup and Fed Cup team. During his career, which spanned almost two decades, Noah captured a total of 23 singles titles and 16 doubles titles, reaching a career-high singles ranking of world No. 3 in July 1986 and attaining the World No. 1 doubles ranking the following month.
João N’Tyamba (Track & Field / Angola) / N’Tyamba holds the Angolan records in 800 metres, 1000 metres, 1500 metres, 3000 metres, 10,000 metres, half marathon, and marathon. When N’Tyamba competed in the marathon at 2008 Olympics he became the first male track and field athlete to compete at six Olympics.
Betty Okino (Gymnastics / Uganda & USA) / A member of the famous “Károlyi Six-Pack” who in 1992, helped the United States win their first Olympic team medal, in a non-boycotted Olympic Games. She is also the first black woman of any nationality to win multiple individual World Championship medals in gymnastics.
Jay-Jay Okocha (Futbol or Soccer / Nigeria) / A Nigerian former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. A quick and skillful playmaker, who is considered as the best Nigerian and one of the best African players of all time, Okocha was known for his confidence with the ball, technique, creativity, and dribbling skills, as well as his use of feints, in particular the stepover. Due to his skill, he was described as being ‘so good that they named him twice’ (a line immortalized in a terrace chant while Okocha played for Bolton Wanderers).
Hakeem Olajuwon (Basketball / Nigeria) / From 1984 to 2002, he played the center position in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors. He led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 2016, he was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame. Listed at 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m), Olajuwon is considered one of the greatest centers ever to play the game. He was nicknamed “The Dream” during his basketball career after he dunked so effortlessly that his college coach said it “looked like a dream.”
Shaquille O’Neal (Basketball / USA) / He is considered one of the greatest players in National Basketball Association (NBA) history. At 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) tall and 325 pounds (147 kg), he was one of the tallest and heaviest players ever. O’Neal played for six teams over his 19-year career. O’Neal’s individual accolades include the 1999–2000 MVP award, the 1992–93 NBA Rookie of the Year award, 15 All-Star game selections, three All-Star Game MVP awards, three Finals MVP awards, two scoring titles, 14 All-NBA team selections, and three NBA All-Defensive Team selections. He is one of only three players to win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP and Finals MVP awards in the same year (2000); the other players are Willis Reed in 1970 and Michael Jordan in 1996 and 1998. He ranks 8th all-time in points scored, 6th in field goals, 15th in rebounds, and 8th in blocks. Largely due to his ability to dunk the basketball, O’Neal also ranks third all-time in field goal percentage (58.2%). O’Neal was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. He was elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017.
Willie O’Ree (Hockey / Canada) / Known best for being the first black player in the National Hockey League. O’Ree played as a winger for the Boston Bruins. O’Ree is referred to as the “Jackie Robinson of ice hockey” for breaking the black colour barrier in the sport, and has stated publicly that he had met Jackie Robinson twice in his own younger years. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November 2018. Also in 2018, the NHL instituted the annual Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award in his honour, to “recognize the individual who has worked to make a positive impact on his or her community, culture or society to make people better through hockey.”
John Orozco (Gymnastics / USA) / American artistic gymnast who competed in the 2012 Olympics and is the 2012 U.S national champion.
Merlene Joyce Ottey (Track & Field / Jamaica) / She is the current world indoor record holder for 200 metres with 21.87 seconds, set in 1993. Ottey had the longest career as a top level international sprinter appearing at the Pan Am games in 1979 as a 19 year old fresh from U20 and Junior competitions, and concluding her career at age 52 when she anchored the Slovene 4 × 100 m relay team at the 2012 European Championships. A nine-time Olympic medalist, she holds the record for the most Olympic appearances (seven) of any track and field athlete. Although gold medal success at the Olympics eluded Ottey, she was able to bring home three silvers and six bronze medals. She won 14 World Championship medals, and still holds the record (as of 2017) for most medals in individual events with 10. Her career achievements and longevity led to her being called the “Queen of the Track.”
Jesse Owens (Track & Field / USA) / American track and field athlete and four-time gold medalist in the 1936 Olympic Games. Owens specialized in the sprints and the long jump, and was recognized in his lifetime as “perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history”. He set three world records and tied another, all in less than an hour at the 1935 Big Ten track meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan—a feat that has never been equaled and has been called “the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport”. He achieved international fame at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, by winning four gold medals: 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4 × 100-meter relay. He was the most successful athlete at the Games and, as a black man, was credited with “single-handedly crushing Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy”, although he “wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the President, either.” The Jesse Owens Award is USA Track and Field’s highest accolade for the year’s best track and field athlete. Owens was ranked by ESPN as the sixth greatest North American athlete of the 20th century and the highest-ranked in his sport. In 1999, he was on the six-man short-list for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Century.
Manny Pacquiao (Boxing / Philippines) / Pacquiao is regarded by many boxing historians as one of the greatest professional boxers of all time. He is the only eight-division world champion in the history of boxing, having won twelve major world titles, as well as being the first boxer to win the lineal championship in five different weight classes. Pacquiao is also the first boxer in history to win major world titles in four of the eight “glamour divisions” of boxing: flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight, and holds the record of being the only four-decade world champion in boxing history, having held world championships across four decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s).
Alan Page (Football / USA) / He gained national recognition as a defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) during 15 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, and then embarked on a legal career. Page earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1967 and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1978. He served as an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1993 until he reached the court’s mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2015. Page was the first defensive player to win the MVP Award and only Lawrence Taylor has done it since. He is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame (1993) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1988), and is considered one of the greatest defensive linemen ever to play the game.
Jim Parker (Football / USA) / From 1957 until 1962, Parker played as an offensive tackle. He was selected to five Pro Bowl teams in those six years. In 1963 Parker moved to the offensive guard position, as a favor to his college coach Woody Hayes, to make room for another former Buckeye, Bob Vogel. Parker was selected to three more Pro Bowls from the guard position. Many consider Parker to be the greatest lineman to ever play pro football. Parker was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973, his first year of eligibility. He was the first full-time offensive lineman so inducted. In 1994, Parker was selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. In 1999, he was ranked number 24 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, second among guards behind John Hannah, and third among offensive linemen behind Hannah and Anthony Muñoz.
Tony Parker (Basketball / France) / French-American former professional basketball player and majority owner of ASVEL Basket in LNB Pro A. The son of a professional basketball player, Parker played for two years for Paris Basket Racing in the French basketball league, before joining the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected by the Spurs with the 28th overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft, and quickly became their starting point guard. Parker won four NBA championships (2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014), all of which were with the Spurs.
Chris Paul (Basketball / USA) / American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, an NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, two Olympic gold medals, and led the NBA in assists four times and steals six times. He has also been selected to ten NBA All-Star teams, eight All-NBA teams, and nine NBA All-Defensive teams.
Georges Julien Paul (Badminton / Mauritius) / Paul took part at the 2014 African Youth Games, and won three gold medals in the individual event. He was part of the national team that won the gold medal at the 2015 African Games. Paul won the men’s singles title at the 2018 and 2020 African Championships. He competed at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games. Paul won a gold medal in the men’s doubles, a silver in the singles, and a bronze in the mixed doubles at the 2019 African Games.
Gary Payton (Basketball / USA) / Payton is widely considered one of the best point guards of all time. He is the only point guard to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. He was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times, an NBA record he shares with Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant. He was also a nine-time NBA All-Star and a nine-time All-NBA Team member. Considered the “NBA’s reigning high scorer among point guards” in his prime, Payton is referred to as “probably as complete a guard as there ever was” by Basketball Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich.
Walter Payton (Football / USA) / American professional football player who was a running back for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons. Payton was known around the NFL as “Sweetness”. A nine-time Pro Bowl selectee, Payton is remembered as a prolific rusher, once holding records for career rushing yards, touchdowns, carries, yards from scrimmage, all-purpose yards, and many other categories. He was also versatile, and retired with the most receptions by a non-receiver, and had eight career touchdown passes. He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame that same year, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996. Hall of Fame NFL player and coach Mike Ditka described Payton as the greatest football player he had ever seen—but even greater as a human being.
Abedi Pele (Futbol or Soccer / Ghana) / A Ghanaian former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder and who served as captain of the Ghana national team. He is regarded as one of the greatest African footballers of all time.
Calvin Peete (Golf / USA) / He was the most successful African-American to have played on the PGA Tour, with 12 wins, prior to the emergence of Tiger Woods. Peete won the 1985 Tournament Players Championship and finished the season top-5 on the PGA Tour money list three times; 1982, 1983 and 1985.
Pelé (Futbol or Soccer / Brazil) / He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award. That same year, Pelé was elected Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. According to the IFFHS, Pelé is the most successful domestic league goal-scorer in football history scoring 650 goals in 694 League matches, and in total 1281 goals in 1363 games, which included unofficial friendlies and is a Guinness World Record. During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world.
James “Soup” Perkins (Horse Racing / USA) / He began racing at age 11 at a northern Kentucky race track situated in Latonia (near Covington and Newport). In 1895, he rode the horse, Halma, to a win in the Kentucky Derby. After the race, the 90-pound African-American was asked his age; he replied, “going on sixteen.” At 15, Soup Perkins and Alonzo Clayton share distinction of being the youngest jockeys to win the Kentucky Derby. In 1880, James Perkins was born in Lexington, Kentucky to parents who were former slaves. His father was John Jacob Perkins, a Standardbred trainer. Perkins got his nickname “Soup” because of his love for the food.
James Peters (Rugby / England) / English rugby union player and, later, a rugby league footballer. He is notable as the first black man to play rugby union for England, and the only black England player until 1988.
Mathilde-Amivi Petitjean (Cross-Country Skier / Togo) / Petitjean is the first athlete from the West African country of Togo to compete in the Winter Olympics, and she’s proud of that. “I think that I will inspire more Africans to ski, people of black color, to want to ski,” she said to Voice of America. “There may be more skating. There is no snow in Africa, but they can build skating rink.”
Andree Pickens (Gymnastics / USA) / Elite University of Alabama gymnast; won 14 All-American honors; won 2 NCAA individual titles.
Paul Pierce (Basketball / USA) / Pierce was a high school McDonald’s All-American and earned consensus first-team All-America honors in his junior year at Kansas. After being chosen by the Boston Celtics with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft, Pierce spent the first 15 years of his career with Boston. Pierce’s nickname, “the Truth”, was given to him by Shaquille O’Neal in March 2001. He starred as captain of the Celtics, earning 10 All-Star selections and becoming a four-time All-NBA team member. Pierce combined with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007 to form a “Big Three” that led Boston to two NBA Finals and an NBA championship in 2008. Pierce was named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 2008. Along with Larry Bird and John Havlicek, Pierce is one of only three players to have scored more than 20,000 career points with the Celtics.
Scottie Pippen (Basketball / USA) / He played 17 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. Pippen, along with Michael Jordan, played an important role in transforming the Bulls into a championship team and in popularizing the NBA around the world during the 1990s. Considered one of the greatest small forwards of all time, Pippen was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight consecutive times and the All-NBA First Team three times. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star and was the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1994. He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History during the 1996–97 season, and is one of four players to have his jersey retired by the Chicago Bulls (the others being Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, and Michael Jordan). He played a main role on both the 1992 Chicago Bulls Championship team and the 1996 Chicago Bulls Championship team which were selected as two of the Top 10 Teams in NBA History. His biography on the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s website states, “The multidimensional Pippen ran the court like a point guard, attacked the boards like a power forward, and swished the nets like a shooting guard.” During his 17-year career, he played 12 seasons with the Bulls, one with the Houston Rockets and four with the Portland Trail Blazers, making the postseason sixteen straight times. Pippen is the only NBA player to have won an NBA title and Olympic gold medal in the same year twice (1992, 1996). He was a part of the 1992 U.S. Olympic “Dream Team” which beat its opponents by an average of 44 points. Pippen was also a key figure in the 1996 Olympic team, alongside former Dream Team members Karl Malone, John Stockton, Charles Barkley and David Robinson as well as newer faces such as Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and Grant Hill. He wore number 8 during both years. Pippen is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (for his individual career, and as a member of the “Dream Team”), having been inducted for both on August 13, 2010.
Asafa Powell (Track & Field / Jamaica) / Jamaican sprinter who specialises in the 100 metres. He set the 100 metres world record twice, between June 2005 and May 2008 with times of 9.77 and 9.74 seconds. Powell has consistently broken the 10-second barrier in competition, with his personal best of 9.72 s ranking fourth on the all-time list of male 100 metre athletes. As of 1 September 2016, Powell has broken the ten-second barrier more times than anyone else—97 times. He currently holds the world record for the 100 yard dash with a time of 9.09 s, set on 27 May 2010 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games he won a gold medal in the 4 x 100 metres relay. Powell competed in the 100 m at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics, finishing fifth in 2004 and 2008 and eighth after injuring his groin during the race in 2012. At the 2007 Osaka World Championships, he won a bronze and a silver medal in the 100 m and 4 x 100 m relay respectively, and he was successful at the Commonwealth Games, winning two golds and one silver medal. At the 2009 World Championships, he won the 100 m bronze and relay gold. Powell has won five times at the IAAF World Athletics Final and was the former 100 m world record holder in the event.
Moses Powell (Martial Arts / USA) / A student of boxing and later developing in Vee-Jitsu Ryu, he would create his own system known as Sanuces Jiu Jitsu. According to CMG Worldwide, he demonstrated his arts at the United Nations in 1971 and was later awarded by the Benin government in 1973. According to several of his students, he trained the alphabet boys: DEA and the FBI. He was especially known for his Sanuces one finger roll out, which could be utilized for defense and attacking. According to some reports, Bruce Lee had shown interest in training with him; real talk. The grand master, known as “Musa,” passed in 2005.
Nzingha Prescod (Fencing / USA) / American female foil fencer, bronze medallist at the 2015 World Fencing Championships.
Albert Pujols (Baseball / Dominican Republic) / Albert Pujols broke into the league with one of the best rookie seasons of all time in 2001, and that would be the first of 10 straight seasons in which he topped a .300 average, 30 homers and 100 RBI. All told, he finished his 11-year stretch with the Cardinals with a .328/.420/.617 line to go along with 445 home runs and 1,329 RBI. He won three NL MVP awards during that stretch and helped lead the Cardinals to three NL pennants and two World Series titles.
Kagiso Rabada (Cricket / South Africa) / South African international cricketer who plays all formats of the game. Rabada, who is known by the nickname KG, is a fast bowler and plays domestic cricket for the Highveld Lions. He made his South African debut in November 2014 in limited-overs cricket before going on to make his Test debut in November 2015. Rabada attended St Stithians Boys College, leaving the school in 2013. By January 2018, he had topped both the ICC ODI bowler rankings and the ICC Test bowler rankings aged 22. In July 2018, he became the youngest bowler to take 150 wickets in Tests (23 years and 50 days). In July 2016, Rabada became the first cricketer to win six awards at Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) annual dinner, including the prize for Cricketer of the Year. In June 2018, he again won six awards at CSA’s annual dinner, including Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer and ODI Cricketer of the Year. In August 2018, Wisden named him the best young player in the world.
Mithali Raj (Cricket / India) / Indian cricketer and the captain of the Indian women’s national cricket team. A right-handed opening batter, she is often regarded as India’s greatest female batter. She is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and the only female cricketer to surpass the 6,000 run mark in Women’s One Day International matches. She is the first player to score seven consecutive 50s in ODIs. Raj also holds the record for most half-centuries in WODIs. In June 2018 during the 2018 Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup, she became the first player from India (either male or female) to score 2000 runs in T20Is, and also became the first woman cricketer to reach 2002 WT20I runs. In 2005, she became the captain of the side. Raj is the only player (male or female) to have captained India in more than one ICC ODI World Cup final, doing so twice in 2005 and 2017.
John Randle (Football / USA) / Randle went to his first Pro Bowl in 1993 after recording 11.5 sacks, and quickly became one of the dominant defensive tackles of his era. Once Henry Thomas left the Vikings, Randle increased his training regimen. Randle would record double-digit sacks during nine different seasons, including a career-high and league-leading 15.5 sacks in 1997. On February 6, 2010, he was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Karim Abdul Razak (Futbol or Soccer / Ghana) / Popularly called the “Golden Boy”, Razak also played for the Ghana national team, helping it win the 1978 African Cup of Nations. He was named African Footballer of the Year later that year.
Ed Reed (Football / USA) / During his playing career, Reed was selected to nine total Pro Bowls, was the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award winner, and has an NFL record for the two longest interception returns (106 yards in 2004 and 107 yards in 2008). He also holds the all-time NFL record for interception return yards, with 1,590, and postseason interceptions (9, tied with three other players). His 64 regular season interceptions ranked him 6th on the NFL’s all-time leader list at the time of his retirement. Reed is considered to be one of the greatest safeties in NFL history, and was often referred to as a “ball hawk” during his prime. Reed was known for studying film to memorize opposing teams’ tendencies, as well as his ability to lure quarterbacks into throwing interceptions. Reed was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019.
Jerry Rice (Football / USA) / Due to his numerous records, accomplishments, and accolades, he is widely regarded as the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, and one of the greatest players in NFL history.
Willy T. Ribbs (Formula One / USA) / American race car driver, racing owner, and sport shooter known for being the first African-American man to have tested a Formula One car (he did so in 1986) and to compete in the Indianapolis 500 (tested in 1985, raced in 1991). Ribbs competed in many forms of auto racing, including the Trans-Am Series, IndyCar, Champ Car, IMSA, and the NASCAR Cup Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
Viv Richardsm (Cricket / Antigua) / He is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. In December 2002, he was chosen by Wisden as the greatest ODI batsman of all time, as well as the third greatest Test batsman of all time, after Sir Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar. Richards was voted one of the five Cricketers of the Century by a 100-member panel of experts in 2000, along with Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs and Shane Warne. He is also the mentor of T20 team Quetta Gladiators in Pakistan Super League. In one-day cricket, Richards was judged by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack to have played the best One Day International (ODI) innings of all time. His consistent batting ability resulted in him becoming the first cricketer in ODI history to achieve 20 Man of the Match awards. Overall, Richards scored 8,540 runs in 121 Test matches at an average of 50.23, including 24 centuries. As a captain, he won 27 of 50 Test matches and lost only 8. He also scored nearly 7,000 runs in One Day Internationals and more than 36,000 in first-class cricket. Knighted for his contributions to cricket, today Richards is an occasional cricket commentator and team mentor. In 2009, Richards was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
Rivaldo (Futbol or Soccer / Brazil) / A left-footed player equipped with exquisite technique, great dribbling ability, powerful shot and facility with the goal, Rivaldo was honored with FIFA World Player of the Year, Ballon d’Or winner and European Footballer of the Year, all within a year. With Barcelona, he won two Spanish a Copa del Rey in 1998, a European Supercup in 1998 and a Catalan Cup in 2000. In 2003, after a transfer to AC Milan, he won a Champions League and a Scudetto. In 2002, he captained the Brazil team to the World Cup.
Mariano Rivera (Baseball / Panama) / The most dominant reliever the game has ever seen, Mariano Rivera wrapped up a phenomenal 19-year career last year as the all-time saves leader by a wide margin, with 652 for his career, along with a career 2.21 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He built his legacy in the postseason, though, as he converted 42 of 47 save chances and went 8-1 with a 0.70 ERA over 96 appearances.
Simon Roberts (Wrestling / USA) / At the 1956 NCAA tournament Simon Roberts broke new ground in the college wrestling world. As a junior, competing at the 147-pound weight class for the University of Iowa, Roberts became the first black wrestler to ever win an NCAA title. Entering the tournament seeded sixth, Roberts upset the second and fourth seeded wrestlers on his way to a hard-fought championship victory. A native of Davenport, Roberts was also the first black wrestler to win an individual state title in Iowa. He was a state champion in 1954 at 133 pounds.
Oscar Robertson (Basketball / USA) / nicknamed “the Big O”, is an American retired professional basketball player who played for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Robertson played point guard and was a 12-time All-Star, 11-time member of the All-NBA Team, and one-time winner of the MVP award in 14 seasons. In 1962, he became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. In the 1970–71 NBA season, he was a key player on the team that brought the Bucks their only NBA title to date. His playing career, especially during high school and college, was plagued by racism. Robertson is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, having been inducted in 1980 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the 1960 United States men’s Olympic basketball team and president of the National Basketball Players Association. He also was voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. The United States Basketball Writers Association renamed their College Player of the Year Award the Oscar Robertson Trophy in his honor in 1998, and he was one of five people chosen to represent the inaugural National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame class in 2006. He was ranked as the 36th best American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN.
David Robinson (Basketball / USA) / Based on his prior service as an officer in the United States Navy, Robinson earned the nickname “the Admiral”. Robinson is a 10-time NBA All-Star, the 1995 NBA MVP, a two-time NBA champion (1999 and 2003), a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner (1992, 1996), a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (2009 for his individual career, 2010 as a member of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team), and a two-time U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame inductee (2008 individually, 2009 as a member of the 1992 Olympic team). He is widely considered one of the greatest centers in both college basketball and NBA history. To date, Robinson is the only player from the Naval Academy to play in the NBA.
Frank Robinson (Baseball / USA) / The only player to win MVP honors in both leagues, Frank Robinson spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Reds before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles and labeled “an old 30” by GM Bill DeWitt. He quickly proved that notion wrong, hitting .316/.410/.637 with 49 home runs and 122 RBI in his first season with the Orioles, winning the Triple Crown and AL MVP and leading the team to a World Series title. All told, Robinson hit .294/.389/.537 with 586 home runs and 1,812 RBI in his 21 big league seasons.
Jackie Robinson (Baseball / USA) / Jackie Robinson means more to the game of baseball and the sports world in general than simply his statistics, as he opened the door for African-Americans everywhere when he broke the color barrier in 1947. Already 28 years old when he debuted, Robinson managed to hit .311/.409/.474 with 137 home runs and 197 steals in his 10 seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Sugar Ray Robinson (Boxing / USA) / Born Walker Smith, Jr., Sugar Ray competed from 1940 to 1965. Robinson’s performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions prompted sportswriters to create “pound for pound” rankings, where they compared fighters regardless of weight. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. He is widely regarded as the greatest boxer of all time, and in 2002, Robinson was ranked number one on The Ring magazine’s list of “80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years.”
Alex Rodriguez (Baseball / USA) / Alex Rodriguez has been one of the most productive players the game has ever seen. As things stand today, he has a .299/.384/.558 career line with 654 home runs and 1,969 RBI. He topped 30 home runs and 100 RBI every year from 1998-10, including six straight years over the 40-home run mark and a pair of 50-homer seasons. He’s a three-time AL MVP, and his 115.7 rWAR ranks 12th among position players.
Yoel Romero (Mixed Martial Artist / Cuba) / Cuban mixed martial artist and former freestyle wrestler. He is currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, competing in the Middleweight division. As a freestyle wrestler, Romero is a former world gold medalist and an Olympic silver medalist. He won six world and Olympic medals in total. As of March 9, 2020, he is #4 in the UFC middleweight rankings. Despite having never become champion, Romero’s credentials as an Olympic wrestler and abilities inside the UFC have earned him several comparisons to the greats of the sport. He has several notable victories against former world champions, as well his rivalry with former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. Due to both his explosiveness and power, he is widely regarded as one of most athletic fighters to ever grace the octagon.
Ronaldinho (Futbol or Soccer / Brazil) / He played mostly as an attacking midfielder, but was also deployed as a forward or a winger. He played the bulk of his career at European clubs Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and A.C. Milan as well as playing for the Brazilian national team. Often considered one of the best players of his generation and regarded by many as one of the greatest of all time, Ronaldinho won two FIFA World Player of the Year awards and a Ballon d’Or. He was renowned for his technical skills and creativity; due to his agility, pace and dribbling ability, as well as his use of tricks, feints, overhead kicks, no-look passes and accuracy from free-kicks.
Kyla Ross (Gymnastics / USA) / She was an elite gymnast from 2009 to 2016 where she was a member of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team. She was named to the 2012 Summer Olympic squad, dubbed the Fierce Five, which won the gold medal in the team competition. Ross was also a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. team at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Individually, she is the 2013 world all-around, uneven bars and balance beam silver medalist and the 2014 world all-around bronze medalist.
Chanda Rubin (Tennis / USA) / Winning seven WTA Tour singles titles, she reached her highest ranking of world No. 6 on April 8, 1996, after reaching the semifinals at the 1996 Australian Open. Rubin achieved a career-high ranking of No. 9 in doubles, winning the Australian Open in 1996 with Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. She is also a three-time Grand Slam singles quarterfinalist, having reached that stage at the French Open in 1995, 2000 and 2003.
Wilma Rudolph (Track & Field / USA) / American sprinter born in Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee, who became a world-record-holding Olympic champion and international sports icon in track and field following her successes in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. Rudolph competed in the 200-meter dash and won a bronze medal in the 4 × 100-meter relay at the 1956 Summer Olympics at Melbourne, Australia. She also won three gold medals, in the 100- and 200-meter individual events and the 4 x 100-meter relay at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy. Rudolph was acclaimed the fastest woman in the world in the 1960s and became the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games. Due to the worldwide television coverage of the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rudolph became an international star along with other Olympic athletes such as Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali), Oscar Robertson, and Rafer Johnson who competed in Italy. As an Olympic champion in the early 1960s, Rudolph was among the most highly visible black women in America and abroad. She became a role model for black and female athletes and her Olympic successes helped elevate women’s track and field in the United States. Rudolph is also regarded as a civil rights and women’s rights pioneer. In 1962 Rudolph retired from competition at the peak of her athletic career as the world record-holder in the 100- and 200-meter individual events and the 4 × 100-meter relays. After competing in the 1960 Summer Olympics, the 1963 graduate of Tennessee State University became an educator and coach.
Bill Russell (Basketball / USA) / A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a twelve-time All-Star, he was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA championships during his 13-year career. Russell and Henri Richard of the National Hockey League are tied for the record of the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, and he captained the gold-medal winning U.S. national basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Russell is regarded by many as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He is 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) tall, with a 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m) wingspan. His shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the Celtics’ domination of the NBA during his career. Russell was equally notable for his rebounding abilities. He led the NBA in rebounds four times, had a dozen consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds, and remains second all-time in both total rebounds and rebounds per game. He is one of just two NBA players (the other being prominent rival Wilt Chamberlain) to have grabbed more than 50 rebounds in a game. Russell was never the focal point of the Celtics’ offense, but he did score 14,522 career points and provided effective passing. Russell played in the wake of black pioneers Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, and Sweetwater Clifton, and he was the first black player to achieve superstar status in the NBA.
Barry Sanders (Football / USA) / American former professional football player who was a running back for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). A Pro Bowl invitee in each of his ten NFL seasons and two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, Sanders led the league in rushing yards four times and established himself as one of the most elusive runners in pro football with his quickness and agility. In 2007, he was ranked by NFL Network’s NFL Top 10 series as the most elusive runner in NFL history, and also topped its list of greatest players never to play in a Super Bowl. He is often regarded as one of the greatest running backs in NFL history.
Deion Sanders (Football / USA) / Nicknamed “Prime Time” and “Neon Deion”, is an American former professional football and baseball player who is a sports analyst. He played 14 seasons in the National Football League (NFL) with the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and the Baltimore Ravens. He also had a part-time career in baseball as an outfielder for nine seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), where he played professionally for the New York Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, the Cincinnati Reds, and the San Francisco Giants. Sanders won two Super Bowl titles and made one World Series appearance in 1992, making him the only individual to appear in both a Super Bowl and a World Series. During his career, he was named to nine Pro Bowls and made consecutive Super Bowl appearances in XXIX with the 49ers and XXX with the Cowboys, winning both. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Mika’il Sankofa (Fencing / USA) / Sankofa had an outstanding career as a competitive sabre fencer. He was a member of the United States Olympic Team in 1984, 1988 and 1992, and reached the pinnacle of his sport when he captured US national sabre championships in both 1991 and 1992. He took part in the Pan-American Games as member of Sabre Team Silver in 1987 and 1991. In addition, Sankofa was a ten-time National Team Sabre Champion, in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, and 1995. Sankofa was also a four-time NCAA champion for the Violets, capturing the sabre title in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987. He is the only male fencer to ever win four NCAA individual championships. In 1994, he was inducted into the NYU Sports Hall of Fame, and in the summer of 2005, he was inducted into the United States Fencing Association Hall of Fame.
Gale Sayers (Football / USA) / Sayers spent seven seasons with the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1971, though multiple injuries effectively limited him to five seasons of play. He was known for his elusiveness and agility, and was regarded by his peers as one of the most difficult players to tackle. Nicknamed the “Kansas Comet”, Sayers played college football for the Kansas Jayhawks football team of the University of Kansas, where he compiled 4,020 all-purpose yards over three seasons and was twice recognized as a consensus All-American. In his rookie NFL season, he set a league record by scoring 22 touchdowns—including a record-tying six in one game—and gained 2,272 all-purpose yards en route to being named the NFL’s Rookie of the Year. He continued this production through his first five seasons, earning four Pro Bowl appearances and five first-team All-Pro selections. A right knee injury forced Sayers to miss the final five games of the 1968 season, but he returned in 1969 to lead the NFL in rushing yards and be named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
Junior Seau (Football / USA) / American professional football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL). Known for his passionate play, he was a 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection, and named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He was elected posthumously to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Wendell Scott (Auto Racing / USA) / American stock car racing driver. He was one of the first African-American drivers in NASCAR, and the first African-American to win a race in the Grand National Series, NASCAR’s highest level. Scott began his racing career in local circuits and attained his NASCAR license in around 1953, making him the first African-American ever to compete in NASCAR. He debuted in the Grand National Series on March 4, 1961, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. On December 1, 1963, he won a Grand National Series race at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida, becoming the first black driver to win a race at NASCAR’s premier level. Scott’s career was repeatedly affected by racial prejudice and problems with top-level NASCAR officials. However, his determined struggle as an underdog won him thousands of white fans and many friends and admirers among his fellow racers. He was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015.
Lee Roy Selmon (Football / USA) / He was a consensus All-American in 1974 and 1975 and a member of consecutive national championship teams for the Oklahoma Sooners in 1974 and 1975. Selmon was selected by the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the first overall pick in the 1976 NFL draft. He played in the National Football League (NFL) for nine seasons, from 1976 to 1984, all with the Buccaneers. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
Brian Shaw (Basketball / USA) / During his NBA career, he played for the Celtics, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Los Angeles Lakers. He was a member of four squads that made NBA Finals appearances: the 1995 Magic and the 2000, 2001, and 2002 Lakers (with the Laker teams all winning championships). He also played for the US national team in the 1986 FIBA World Championship, winning the gold medal.
Charlie Sifford (Golf / USA) / He was the first African American to play on the PGA Tour. He won the Greater Hartford Open in 1967 and the Los Angeles Open in 1969. He also won the United Golf Association’s National Negro Open six times, and the PGA Seniors’ Championship in 1975. For his contributions to golf, Sifford was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004. He was awarded the Old Tom Morris Award in 2007, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014, and an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews. Lee Trevino referred to Sifford as the “Jackie Robinson” of golf, and Tiger Woods acknowledged that Sifford paved the way for his career.
Mariama Signaté (Handball / Senegal) / In 2009, she won a gold medal at the Mediterranean Games in Italy. She participated at the 2009 World Women’s Handball Championship in China, where the French team won the silver medal behind Russia, and Signate was selected into the All-Star team as the best left back of the tournament.
Anderson Silva (Mixed Martial Artist / Brazil) / Brazilian-American professional mixed martial artist currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is a former UFC Middleweight Champion and holds the record for the longest title reign in UFC history at 2,457 days. This started in 2006 and ended in 2013 and included a UFC record 16 consecutive victories in that span. UFC president Dana White, UFC commentator Joe Rogan, and numerous mixed martial arts (MMA) analysts have named Silva the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Sabrina Simader (Alpine Skier / Kenya) / Sabrina Simander of Kenya is the first person from her country to compete in alpine skiing.
Willie Simms (Horse Racing / USA) / American National Champion jockey in Thoroughbred racing and a U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee who won five of the races that would become the U.S. Triple Crown series. An African American, Simms began racing in 1887 and was one of the most successful jockeys using the short-stirrup style (which gave the rider a crouching posture). En route to winning the United States riding title in 1893 and 1894, Simms won back-to-back Belmont Stakes. In 1895, the Boston Post reported Willie Simms was among the elite jockeys and was earning more than $10,500 a year. (US$315,548 in 2018) That year he raced in England, where he became the first American jockey to win with an American horse in that country. He is the only African American jockey to win all three Triple Crown races. Willie Simms finished his riding career with 1,125 wins and in 1977 was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
O.J. Simpson (Football / USA) / Nicknamed “the Juice”, Simpson attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he played football for the USC Trojans and won the Heisman Trophy in 1968. He played professionally as a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for 11 seasons, primarily with the Buffalo Bills from 1969 to 1977. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1978 to 1979. In 1973, he became the first NFL player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. He holds the record for the single season yards-per-game average, which stands at 143.1. He was the only player to ever rush for over 2,000 yards in the 14-game regular season NFL format. Simpson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
Erinn Smart (Fencing / USA) Smart was the United States National Champion in 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2008, and was ranked 11th at the 2003 World Championships.
Keeth Smart (Fencing / USA) / A US sabre fencer who became the first American to gain the sport’s top ranking for males. He was awarded a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Bruce Smith (Football / USA) / The holder of the NFL career record for quarterback sacks with 200, Smith was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009, his first year of eligibility. Smith was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Emmitt Smith (Football / USA) / The Cowboys selected Smith in the first round of the 1990 NFL draft. During his long professional career, he rushed for 18,355 yards, breaking the record formerly held by Walter Payton. He also holds the record for career rushing touchdowns with 164. Smith is the only running back to ever win a Super Bowl championship, the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the NFL rushing crown, and the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award all in the same season (1993). He is also one of four running backs to lead the NFL in rushing three or more consecutive seasons, joining Steve Van Buren, Jim Brown and Earl Campbell. Smith led the league in rushing and won the Super Bowl in the same year three times (1992, 1993, and 1995) when to that point it had never been done. Smith is also one of only two non-kickers in NFL history to score more than 1,000 career points (the other being Jerry Rice). Smith was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Ozzie Smith (Baseball / USA) / The best defensive shortstop the game has ever seen, Ozzie Smith won 13 straight Gold Glove awards while manning the position for the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals. He was average at best offensively, but he did manage to pile up 2,460 career hits with 402 doubles and 580 stolen bases.
Garfield Sobers (Cricket / Barbados) / Cricketer who played for the West Indies between 1954 and 1974. A highly skilled bowler, an aggressive batsman and an excellent fielder, he is widely considered to be cricket’s greatest ever all-rounder. Sobers was made captain of the West Indies in 1965, a role which he would hold until 1972. He would also captain a Rest of the World XI during their 1970 tour of England. Overall, Sobers played 93 Tests for the West Indies, scoring 8032 runs at an average of 57.78, and taking 235 wickets at an average of 34.03. He has the fifth highest batting average in Test cricket in the list of cricketers with more than 5,000 runs. In his 383 first-class matches, he scored over 28,000 runs and took over 1000 wickets, having spent time with South Australia and Nottinghamshire towards the end of his career. Sobers was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1975 for his services to cricket. He became a dual Barbadian-Australian citizen through marriage in 1980. By an act of Parliament in 1998, Sobers was named as one of the ten National Heroes of Barbados. In 2009, Sobers was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
Javier Sotomayor (Track & Field / Cuba) / Cuban track and field athlete, who specialized in the high jump and is the current world record holder. The 1992 Olympic champion, he was the dominant high jumper of the 1990s; his personal best of 2.45 m (8 ft 1/2 in) makes him the only person to have ever cleared eight feet. Sotomayor is twice a gold medalist at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics and also won two silver medals at the competition. At the IAAF World Indoor Championships he won four gold medals between 1989 and 1999. In addition, he won three straight titles at the Pan American Games from 1987 to 1995. He is regarded as the best high jumper of all time. Cuban boycotts of the Olympics in 1984 and 1988 and an injury in 1996 cost him chances at additional Olympic medals, but he returned to win the silver medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Bonnie St. John (Skiing / USA) / former Olympic skiier, author, and public speaker. St. John had her right leg amputated below the knee when she was 5 years old. Despite these challenges, she went on to excel as an athlete, a scholar, a mother and a businesswoman. She is the first African-American to win medals in Winter Paralympic competition as a ski racer, and the first African-American to medal in any Paralympic event. St. John earned bronze and silver medals in several alpine skiing events during the 1984 Winter Paralympics. After graduating from Harvard and earning a Rhodes Scholarship, St. John went on to successful corporate career, first in sales with IBM, then as a corporate consultant.
Willie Stargell (Baseball / USA) / A consistent force in the middle of the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup, Willie Stargell hit 475 home runs and drove in 1,540 runs over the course of his 21-year career. He won NL MVP honors as a 39-year-old in 1979, then followed that up with NLCS MVP and World Series MVP as he led the Pirates to a World Series title.
Sloane Stephens (Tennis / USA) / She achieved a career-best ranking of No. 3 in the world after Wimbledon in 2018. Stephens was the 2017 US Open champion, and has won six WTA singles titles in total.
Dwight Stephenson (Football / USA) / With the exceptionally explosive Stephenson as offensive captain, the Dolphins offensive line gave up the fewest sacks in the NFL for a record six straight seasons, from 1982 to 1987, which doubled the length of the previous record. Stephenson was “universally recognized as the premier center in the NFL.”
Pernell-Karl Sylvester “P. K.” Subban (Hockey / Ontario) (Link: / Canadian professional ice hockey defenseman for the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL). Subban was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round, 43rd overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. In 2013, he won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, and tied with Kris Letang as the leading scorer among defensemen.
Sheryl Swoopes (Basketball / USA) / She was the first player to be signed in the WNBA, is a three-time WNBA MVP, and was named one of the league’s Top 15 Players of All Time at the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game. Swoopes has won three Olympic gold medals and is one of ten women’s basketball players to have won an Olympic gold medal, an NCAA Championship, and a WNBA title. She was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. In 2017, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Elana Meyers Taylor (Bobsled / USA) / Meyers won the silver in the bobsled two-woman event with Shauna Rohbock at the 2009 FIBT World Championships in Lake Placid, New York. She was named to the U.S. team for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Lawrence Taylor (Football / USA) / Nicknamed “L.T.”, is an American former professional football player. Taylor played his entire professional career as a linebacker for the New York Giants (1981–1993) in the National Football League (NFL). He is considered one of the greatest players in the history of American football, and has been ranked as the greatest defensive player in league history by former players, coaches, media members, and news outlets such as the NFL Network and Sporting News. Taylor won several defensive awards after his rookie season. Taylor is both the first and currently only NFL player to win the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in his rookie season. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Taylor was a disruptive force at outside linebacker, and is credited with changing defensive game plans, defensive pass rushing schemes, offensive line blocking schemes, and offensive formations used in the NFL. Taylor produced double-digit sacks each season from 1984 through 1990, including a career-high of 20.5 in 1986. He also won a record three AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for his performance during the 1986 season. Taylor is one of only two defensive players in the history of the NFL to have ever won the NFL MVP award (the other one being Alan Page in 1971) and no defensive player has won since him. He was named First-team All-Pro in nine of his first ten seasons. Taylor was a key member of the Giants’ defense, nicknamed “The Big Blue Wrecking Crew”, that led New York to victories in Super Bowls XXI and XXV.
Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (Cycling / USA) / Taylor turned professional in 1896, at the age of 18, living in cities on the East Coast and participating in multiple track events including six-day races. He moved his focus to the sprint event in 1897, competing in a national racing circuit, winning many races and gaining popularity with the public. Between 1898 and 1899, he set numerous world records in race distances ranging from the quarter-mile (0.4 km) to the two-mile (3.2 km). Taylor won the sprint event at the 1899 world track championships to become the first African American to achieve the level of cycling world champion and the second black athlete to win a world championship in any sport (Canadian boxer George Dixon, 1892). He was also a national sprint champion in 1899 and 1900. He raced in the U.S., Europe and Australasia between 1901 and 1904, beating the world’s best riders. After a 2 1⁄2-year hiatus, he made a brief return in 1907, before retiring aged 32 to his home in Worcester in 1910. Towards the end of his life Taylor faced severe financial difficulties, which forced him into poverty. He spent the final two years of his life in Chicago, Illinois, where he died of a heart attack in 1932. Throughout his career he challenged the racial prejudice he encountered on and off the track and became a pioneering role model for other athletes facing racial discrimination. Several cycling clubs, trails, and events in the U.S. have been named in his honor, as well as the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis and Major Taylor Boulevard in Worcester. Other tributes include memorials and historic markers in Worcester, Indianapolis, and at his gravesite in Chicago. He has also been memorialized in film, music and fashion.
Stafanie Taylor (Cricket / Jamaica) / Jamaican cricketer who is current captain of West Indies women’s cricket team. She has represented West Indies women’s cricket team over 80 times since her debut in 2008. A right-handed batsman and off break bowler, Taylor was selected as the 2011 ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year – the first West Indian to receive the accolade.
Debi Thomas (Figure Skating / USA) / American former figure skater and physician. She is the 1986 World champion, the 1988 Olympic bronze medalist, and a two-time U.S. national champion.
Frank Thomas (Baseball / USA) / An imposing figure in the batter’s box who spent some time playing tight end for the football team during his time at Auburn University, Frank Thomas was an absolute beast from the get-go. A slugger who also consistently hit over .300, he finished his career with a .301/.419/.555 line to go along with 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI. He won back-to-back AL MVP awards in 1993 and 1994 while playing for the Chicago White Sox.
Isiah Thomas (Basketball / USA) / A point guard, the 12-time NBA All-Star was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Thomas played collegiately for the Indiana Hoosiers, leading them to the 1981 NCAA championship as a sophomore and declaring for the NBA draft. He was taken as the second overall pick by the Pistons in the 1981 NBA draft, and played for them his entire career, while leading the “Bad Boys” to the 1988–89 and 1989–90 NBA championships.
David Thompson (Basketball / USA) / He was previously a star in college for North Carolina State, leading the Wolfpack to its first NCAA championship in 1974. Thompson is one of the six players to score 70 or more points in an NBA game. Thompson was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996. Thompson was known for his exceptional leaping ability that enabled him to become one of the game’s premier dunkers in the 1970s, which earned him the nickname of “Skywalker”. Michael Jordan said, “The whole meaning of vertical leap began with David Thompson.” Bill Walton described Thompson as “Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, and LeBron James rolled into one.”
Klay Thompson (Basketball / USA) / He is credited as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. A three-time NBA champion with the Warriors, he is a five-time NBA All-Star and a two-time All-NBA Third Team honoree. He has also been named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Thompson is the son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson. He played college basketball for three seasons with the Washington State Cougars, where he was a two-time first-team all-conference selection in the Pac-10. He was selected in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft by Golden State with the 11th overall pick. In 2014, Thompson and teammate Stephen Curry set a then-NBA record with 484 combined three-pointers in a season, earning the pair the nickname the “Splash Brothers”. In 2015, Thompson helped lead the Warriors to their first NBA Championship since 1975, and was a key contributor in the Warriors’ 2017 and 2018 titles.
Jim Thorpe (Track & Field / USA) / Wa-Tho-Huk, translated as “Bright Path”; May 22 or 28, 1887 – March 28, 1953) was an American athlete and Olympic gold medalist. A member of the Sac and Fox Nation, Thorpe became the first Native American to win a gold medal for the United States. Considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, and played American football (collegiate and professional), professional baseball, and basketball. Thorpe has received various accolades for his athletic accomplishments. The Associated Press named him the “greatest athlete” from the first 50 years of the 20th century, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted him as part of its inaugural class in 1963.
Lilian Thuram (Futbol or Soccer / Guadeloupe) / The most capped player in the history of the France national team with 142 appearances between 1994 and 2008. Thuram played at the top flight in France,Italy and Spain for over 15 seasons, including ten in Serie A with both Parma and Juventus. With France, Thuram was a key player for the team that won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, his side also won UEFA Euro 2000, and was in the runner-up squad for the 2006 World Cup. A quick, powerful and versatile player, he was capable of playing both as a centre-back or as a right-back, and was competent both offensively and defensively. Despite his physical and aggressive playing style, Thuram has been described as a “studious” figure off the pitch; in 2010, he became a UNICEF ambassador, and has stood out for his initiatives to fight against racism.
Errol Tobias (Rugby / South Africa) / South African rugby union footballer, and the first player of colour to play in a test match for the South African national side. He gained six caps between 1981 and 1984 when the country was still following the policy of apartheid. Tobias’s selection paved the way for other black players to be added to the national team: first Avril Williams, and later, Avril’s nephew, Chester Williams.
LaDainian Tomlinson (Football / USA) / He is widely considered one of the greatest running backs of all time. He played the majority of his career with the San Diego Chargers, who selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. Tomlinson was invited to five Pro Bowls, was an All-Pro six times, and won consecutive rushing titles in 2006 and 2007, while being named 2006 NFL MVP. At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career rushing yards (13,684), seventh in all-purpose yards (18,456), second in career rushing touchdowns (145), and third in total touchdowns (162). He is currently an analyst on NFL Network. After being elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014, Tomlinson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2017, his first year of eligibility; he is the first Pro Football Hall of Famer whose professional career began in the 21st century.
Segun Toriola (Table Tennis / Nigeria) / Segun Toriola’s name is synonymous with Nigerian and African Table Tennis. Having won numerous African titles and appearing in five Olympic games, Toriola has been influential well into his 40s as he has been consistently placed among Africa’s top ten. His teaming with fellow powerhouse Quadri Aruna in Men’s Doubles and Team events to represent their home country of Nigeria has become common on the world stage.
Regla Torres (Volleyball / USA) / Named the Best Player of the 20th Century, Torres is an excellent middle blocker whose love for the sport started when she was eight years old. Since then, Torres has been bringing home international prestige as she became the youngest Olympic gold-medal winner at the age of 17.
Yaya Touré (Futbol or Soccer / Ivory Coast) / Touré aspired to be a striker during his youth and has played centre back, including for Barcelona in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final. However, he has spent the majority of his career as a box-to-box midfielder for club and country, where he has been regarded as one of the world’s best players in his position. One of the greatest African players of all time, Touré was voted African Footballer of the Year for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Emlen Tunnell (Football / USA) / He was the first African American to play for the New York Giants and also the first to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Tunnell played college football at the University of Toledo in 1942 and University of Iowa in 1946 and 1947. He also served in the United States Coast Guard from 1943 to 1946. He received the Silver Lifesaving Medal for heroism in rescuing a shipmate from flames during a torpedo attack in 1944 and rescuing another shipmate who fell into the sea in 1946. He next played 14 seasons in the National Football League (NFL) as a defensive halfback and safety for the New York Giants (1948–1958) and Green Bay Packers (1959–1961). He was selected as a first-team All-Pro six times and played in nine Pro Bowls. He was a member of NFL championship teams in 1956 and 1961. When he retired as a player, he held NFL career records for interceptions (79), interception return yards (1,282), punt returns (258), and punt return yards (2,209). In addition to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was named to the NFL’s 1950s All-Decade Team and the all-time All-Pro team, and was ranked number 70 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
Mike Tyson (Boxing / USA) / Professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title, at 20 years, four months, and 22 days old. Tyson won his first 19 professional fights by knockout, 12 of them in the first round. He won the WBC title in 1986 after stopping Trevor Berbick in the second round, and added the WBA and IBF titles after defeating James Smith and Tony Tucker in 1987. This made Tyson the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, and the only heavyweight to successively unify them.
Chainey Umphrey (Gymnastics / USA) / Umphrey competed in college gymnastics at UCLA, where he was an All-American and two-time team captain. He was a member of the U.S. national team from 1989 to 1997, competing at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 1991, 1994, and 1996. His best result was a 4th-place finish on the horizontal bar in 1994. He also won a gold medal for the team all-around at the 1995 Pan American Games.
Kamaru Usman (Mixed Martial Artist / USA) / Nigerian American mixed martial artist who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is the current UFC Welterweight Champion. Usman is also The Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament winner. As of January 27, 2020, he is #7 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.
Ron Van Clief (Mixed Martial Arts / USA) / According to reports, Based on what I’ve been told, The Last Dragon mirrored Ron Van Clief’s life in many ways, he was the Black guy walking around Chinatown and fighting in underground tournaments; accomplished international fighter as well: 8 time US Champion and 5 time World Champion.
Billy Vunipola (Rugby / England) / England are a very different proposition when Big Billy leads the charge from the back of the scrum, or in the loose — whether that be in attack or defense. He is absolutely capable of making a complete mess of most defenses, leaving tacklers trailing in his wake, if they’re not still desperately hanging off his back.
Mako Vunipola (Rugby / England) / Vunipola has been a first-choice player for England since 2016. He won the award for England Player of the Year in 2018.
Dwyane Wade (Basketball / USA) / Wade spent the majority of his 16-year career playing for the Miami Heat in the National Basketball Association (NBA). After a successful college basketball career with the Marquette Golden Eagles, Wade was drafted fifth overall in the 2003 NBA draft by the Heat. In his third season, Wade led the Heat to their first NBA Championship in franchise history and was named the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wade led the United States men’s basketball team, commonly known as the “Redeem Team”, in scoring and helped them capture the gold medal. In the 2008–09 season, Wade led the league in scoring and earned his first NBA scoring title. With LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Wade helped guide Miami to four consecutive NBA Finals from 2011 to 2014, winning back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013. After playing for the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade finished his playing career with Miami in 2019. A 13-time NBA All-Star, Wade is Miami’s all-time leader in points, games, assists, steals, shots made, and shots taken.
William Walker (Horse Racing / USA) / Born a slave in near Versailles, Kentucky, Billy Walker was the leading rider at Churchill Downs in the fall racing season of 1875-76 and the spring campaigns of 1876 through 1878. He was the winning rider aboard Ten Broeck in a famous July 4, 1878, match race at Louisville, Kentucky, against the great California mare, Mollie McCarty. For owner Dan Swigert and future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame trainer Edward D. Brown, he rode Baden-Baden to victory in the 1877 Kentucky Derby.
Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr. (Auto Racing / USA) / Wallace is noted for being one of the most successful African American drivers in the history of NASCAR.
Paul Warfield (Football / USA) / Professional football player who was a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) from 1964 to 1977 for the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins, except for a year in the World Football League (WFL) with the Memphis Southmen. He was known for his speed, fluid moves, grace, and jumping ability. A consistent big-play threat throughout his career, his 20.1 average yards per reception is the highest in NFL history among players with at least 300 receptions.
MaliVai “Mal” Washington (Tennis / USA) / He reached the men’s singles final at Wimbledon in 1996, won four ATP titles and achieved a career-high singles ranking of world No. 11 in October 1992.
George Weah (Futbol or Soccer / Liberia) / Widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first and to date only African player to win these awards. In 1989, 1994 and 1995, he was also named the African Footballer of the Year, and in 1996, he was named African Player of the Century. Known for his acceleration, speed, and dribbling ability, in addition to his goalscoring and finishing, Weah was described by FIFA as “the precursor of the multi-functional strikers of today.” He is currently serving as the 25th President of Liberia.
Peter Westbrook (Fencing / USA) / Harassed by the other children because of his mixed race and taught by his mother to “not cry, to work hard, to be ethical, and to fight to achieve our goals; And if we should survive the fight, she said, we should get up and fight some more,” the young Westbrook became a very good fighter. His fencing career started at fencing powerhouse Essex Catholic High School, only because of his mother’s $5.00 bribe. Mariko knew that fencing would keep Peter out of trouble and, if he had any ability, bring him into contact with people who would expose him to a different world that the one he had been born into. Westbrook won the U.S. National Men’s Sabre Championship 13 times (1974–’75, ’79–’86, ’88–’89, and ’95). Winning the Nationals made him an internationally recognized fencer because of the caliber of the competitors. For Peter, the thirteen wins are his “lucky thirteen.”
Pernell Whitaker, Sr. (Boxing / USA) / American professional boxer who competed from 1984 to 2001, and subsequently worked as a boxing trainer. He was a four-weight world champion, having won titles at lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, and light middleweight; the undisputed lightweight title; and the lineal lightweight and welterweight titles. In 1989, Whitaker was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He currently holds the longest unified lightweight championship reign in boxing history at six title defenses. Whitaker is generally regarded as one of the greatest defensive boxers of all-time.
Reggie White (Football / USA) / The two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 13-time Pro Bowl, and 13-time All-Pro selection holds second place all-time among career sack leaders with 198 (behind Bruce Smith’s 200 career sacks) and was selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, and the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. White is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Reece Whitley (Swimming / USA) / American competitive swimmer specializing in the breaststroke. In 2019, he was named 2019 Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Freshman of the Year. At age 15, he won the silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2015 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore, where he also finished 4th in the 200-meter breaststroke. Whitley was named Sports Illustrated Kids’ SportsKid of the Year for 2015.
Donnell Whittenburg (Gymnastics / USA) / American artistic gymnast who won a bronze medal at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. He was the 2014 U.S. National champion on Vault and is the 2015 U.S. National Champion on the Rings.
Dominique Wilkins (Basketball / USA) / Wilkins was a nine-time NBA All-Star, and is widely viewed as one of the best dunkers in NBA history, earning the nickname “the Human Highlight Film”. In 2006, Wilkins was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Chester Williams (Rugby / South Africa) / Williams is best known as the star winger of the South Africa national Springbok team that won the 1995 Rugby World Cup against New Zealand and was nicknamed “The Black Pearl.”
Doug Williams (Football / USA) / Williams is best known for his performance with the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XXII against the Denver Broncos, being named Super Bowl MVP for his efforts. He passed for 340 yards and four touchdowns, a single-quarter record which he set in the second quarter, to win the game, making him the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
Serena Williams (Tennis / USA) / American professional tennis player and former world No. 1 in women’s single tennis. She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any man or woman in the Open Era. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) ranked her world No. 1 in singles on eight separate occasions between 2002 and 2017. She reached the No. 1 ranking for the first time on July 8, 2002. On her sixth occasion, she held the ranking for 186 consecutive weeks, tying the record set by Steffi Graf. In total, she has been No. 1 for 319 weeks, which ranks third in the Open Era among female players behind Graf and Martina Navratilova. Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined among active players. Her 39 Grand Slam titles put her joint-third on the all-time list and second in the Open Era: 23 in singles, 14 in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles. She is the most recent female player to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously (2002–03 and 2014–15) and the third player to achieve this twice, after Rod Laver and Graf. She is also the most recent player to have won a Grand Slam title on each surface (hard, clay and grass) in one calendar year (2015). She is also, together with her older sister Venus, the most recent player to have held all four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles simultaneously (2009–10). Williams has won a record of 13 Grand Slam singles titles on hard court. Williams holds the Open Era record for most titles won at the Australian Open (7) and shares the Open Era record for most titles won at the US Open with Chris Evert (6). She also holds the record for the most women’s singles matches won at majors with 351 matches. Williams has won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, all with her sister Venus, and the pair are unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals. As a team, she and Venus have the third most women’s doubles Grand Slam titles, behind the 18 titles of Natasha Zvereva (14 with Gigi Fernández) and the record 20 titles won by Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver. Williams is also a five-time winner of the WTA Tour Championships in the singles division. She has also won four Olympic gold medals, one in women’s singles and three in women’s doubles—an all-time record shared with her sister, Venus. The arrival of the Williams sisters has been credited with ushering in a new era of power and athleticism on the women’s professional tennis tour. She has won the ‘Laureus Sportswoman of the Year’ award four times (2003, 2010, 2016, 2018), and in December 2015, she was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine.
Stevie Williams (Skateboarding / USA) / Professional skateboarder who was included in the twenty-seventh position of the “30 Most Influential Skaters of All Time” list that was compiled by Transworld Skateboarding in late 2011.
Venus Williams (Tennis / USA) / American professional tennis player. A former world No. 1, Williams is generally credited with ushering in a new era of power on the women’s professional tennis tour. Williams has been ranked world No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association on three occasions, for a total of 11 weeks. She first reached the No. 1 ranking on February 25, 2002, the first African American woman to do so in the Open Era, and the second all time since Althea Gibson. Williams’ seven Grand Slam singles titles are tied for 12th on the all-time list, and 8th on the Open Era list, more than any other active female player except her sister. She has reached 16 Grand Slam finals, most recently at Wimbledon in 2017. She has also won 14 Grand Slam Women’s doubles titles, all with Serena Williams; the pair is unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals. Williams also has two Mixed Doubles titles. Her five Wimbledon singles titles tie her with two other women for eighth place on the all-time list, but give her sole possession of No. 4 on the Open Era List, trailing only the nine titles of Martina Navratilova and the seven of Serena Williams and Steffi Graf. From the 2000 Wimbledon Championships to the 2001 US Open, Williams won four of the six Grand Slam singles tournaments in that span. At the 2020 Australian Open, Williams extended her record as the all-time leader, male or female, in Grand Slams played, with 85. With her run to the 2017 Wimbledon singles final, she broke the record for longest time between first and most recent grand slam singles finals appearances. Williams was twice the season prize money leader in 2001 and 2017.
Russell Wilson (Football / USA) / Wilson has been named to seven Pro Bowls and has started in two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XLVIII. He holds the record for most wins by an NFL quarterback through seven seasons (75) and is one of two quarterbacks in NFL history with a career passer rating over 100.
Dave Winfield (Baseball / USA) / An elite athlete who was drafted by the MLB, NBA, ABA and NFL after a standout collegiate career at Minnesota, Dave Winfield jumped straight from the college game to the San Diego Padres lineup. He posted a .283/.353/.475 career line with 3,110 hits, 465 home runs and 1,833 RBI over his 22-year career.
Jimmy Winkfield (Horse Racing / USA) / Thoroughbred jockey and horse trainer from Kentucky, best remembered as the last African American to ride a winner in the Kentucky Derby.
Kellen Winslow (Football / USA) / Winslow played in five Pro Bowls, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. In his nine NFL seasons, Winslow caught 541 passes for 6,741 yards and 45 touchdowns. Kellen was a consensus All-Pro in 1980, 1981, and 1982. He is also a member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Tyron Woodley (Mixed Martial Artist / USA) / American professional mixed martial artist, actor, broadcast analyst, rapper, and former UFC Welterweight Champion. A professional since 2009, Woodley also fought in Strikeforce. As of January 27, 2020, he is #13 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings and #1 in the UFC welterweight rankings.
Tiger Woods (Golf / USA) / He is tied for first in PGA Tour wins and ranks second in men’s major championships and also holds numerous golf records. Woods is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers, and one of the most famous athletes of all time.
Rod Woodson (Football / USA) / He had a 10-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a key member of the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV championship team that beat the New York Giants. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, wearing the jersey number 26 throughout his career. He holds the NFL record for fumble recoveries (32) by a defensive player, and interceptions returned for touchdown (12), and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1993. His 71 career interceptions is the third-most in NFL history. He was an inductee of the Class of 2009 of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on August 8, 2009. Woodson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Rod played most of his career as a cornerback then switched to safety during the later part of his career.
Peceli Yato (Rugby / Fiji) / Yato is — powerful, dynamic, rapid and with an offloading ability to die for. There’s little wonder he’s a firm favorite with fans of his home club.
Rashidi Yekini (Futbol or Soccer / Nigeria) / A Nigerian footballer who played as a striker. His professional career, which spanned more than two decades, was mainly associated with Vitória de Setúbal in Portugal, but he also played in six other countries besides his own. Yekini scored 37 goals as a Nigerian international, and represented the nation in five major tournaments, including two World Cups where he scored the country’s first-ever goal in the competition. He was also named the African Footballer of the Year in 1993.