Across All Sports Who Is The Greatest Athlete of All Time?

By Nick Wilk

Staff Writer

One of the longest going debates in sports history is which athlete is truly the “greatest of all time.” Some names that immediately come to mind are the likes of Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Tom Brady, Serena Williams and Michael Phelps. But what makes somebody the greatest of all time? Is it dominance? Or championships? Or is it something way different like just having a gut feeling. Keeping all these factors in mind, I would argue that the Greatest athlete of all time is Michael Jordan. 

Michael Jordan has what I would consider to be the most important trait in this debate; the clutch factor. When it mattered most he came through everytime. He was undefeated in the NBA finals, winning 6 of them and having 3 of which were three-peats. He also won finals MVP in every one single of those finals. Michael Jordan averaged a ridiculous 30.1 points per game throughout his career. To make it even crazier he put up these stats while only playing 15 seasons with a short hiatus in the middle of his career. Jordan quite literally dominated the league year in and year out winning five MVPs. 

Another important factor is a player’s grit or work ethic. Some light was shined on Jordan’s work ethic in Netflix’s 10 part documentary on Michael Jordan’s career “The Last Dance”. The Documentary opened many peoples eyes to how great he really was for the first time. He would work harder and practice harder than anyone you’d ever seen. Jordan also elevated everyone around him. He had the ability to not only be a great player himself but bring up his teammates level as play as well. In the documentary, you can find Jordan pushing his teammates to new limits and elevating their play. This type of training along with unmatched skill made him the greatest of all time.

 A fan favorite Michael Jordan story is when he was cut from his varsity basketball team his sophomore year of high school. He continued to work hard and became a star player the following year. He then committed to North Carolina and after further developing his skills there he became a first round pick in the NBA draft just a few years later.

 His closest competitor in the GOAT discussion is Lebron James. The single factor that makes the biggest difference in this debate is Lebron’s NBA final record (4-6). Championships hold so much more value in this debate than statistics or athleticism. While Lebron James has played for a longer period of time and put up similar statistics to Michael Jordan, his championship losses outweigh his athletic advantages and longevity. Not to mention the championships he won with the Miami Heat were with one of the greatest supporting casts ever assembled, in Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. They were coined the big three and took over the NBA. While Michael Jordan also had an incredible supporting cast, he had to carry his team way more than Lebron did in Miami. All in all, because of his undefeated finals record, unreal statistics, and outstanding leadership; Michael Jordan is the greatest athlete of all time.