Sport is about skill, technique, mental acuity and physical strength. It takes natural ability and hard work to make it into the ‘big league’ of the respective sporting codes. Every once in a while someone extraordinary comes along, someone with natural flair that’s way above and beyond the best of the rest.
These are the athletes who demolish the record books in a bid to set their own, unassailable records in whatever sport they choose. They are the greatest of all time and we celebrate their dazzling prowess.
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With his big mouth and unorthodox boxing style Muhammad Ali bobbed, weaved, jabbed and intimidated his way into boxing history. At 22 years of age he became the youngest-ever boxer to snatch the title from the reigning heavyweight champion, the tough and temperamental Sonny Liston. His bouts against Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Leon Spinks are the stuff of legends and attracted a billion or more TV viewers from across the world.
Ali’s quick hands, awesome reflexes and fancy footwork always took his opponents by surprise but it was his snappy one-liners both ring-side and during the fight that did the most damage… and made him a cult hero in his own time. Muhammad Ali wrapped up his career with 61 fights, 56 wins and 37 knock outs and is widely regarded as the GOAT of world boxing!
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Speed, creativity and technical skill were stand-out attributes that propelled a young Brazilian footballer called Pele to super stardom. The precociously talented forward had his first taste of international football at 16 years of age when he was recruited into the national side.
His playing style was billed by brilliance in the air and an uncanny ability to bend the ball, skills that allowed him to score spectacular goals. Over his long and fruitful career Pele won three FIFA World Cups and scored 1281 goals in 1363 matches.
If you’re looking for cerebral playmaker recognised as one of the greatest football players from Africa, Jay-Jay Okocha from Nigeria easily carries the mantle… but it’s Brazil’s Pele that claims the over-all kudos as GOAT.
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Quick, agile and with a versatile playing style LeBron James is the king of the NBA basketball courts. The 33-year-old has won a litany of awards that include four NBA Most Valuable Player awards, two Olympic gold medals, 14 NBA All-Star game appearances and three NBA champion titles.
He’s great for conjuring up an offense, legendary at blocking, stealing and rebounding and piles on the pressure to stop opponents from penetrating the defence. James is the complete package who always plays at a high level… and his statistic support that fact.
LeBron James pulls off an average of 27.1 points, 7 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. That’s pretty mean for a man who’s earned his stripes as the greatest basketball player of all time!
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With a record 20 grand slam singles titles, one Olympic gold medal and more than $115 million in prize money Roger Federer is the giant of men’s tennis. His elegant playing style, incomparable speed around the court and whip-like forehand make him one of the most difficult players to beat.
He’s as comfortable on the baseline as he is on the net and his agility and excellent footwork allow him to unleash his forehand at will. Federer has won major tournaments on all court surfaces but his nine Wimbledon titles attest to the fact that he’s at his brilliant best on the grass at the All England Club!
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