Competition is what makes Sports exciting and it’s what makes the sporting world go round. However, in the history of the world, there were several athletes who ruled over their respective disciplines over a significant period of time. These weren’t just the all-time greats, these were the most dominant athletes in their sports.
These guys are so equally dominant, I had to arrange them alphabetically because I can’t pick which one was more dominant than the others. So read on:
Bill Russell and hockey’s Henri Richard are tied for the record of most titles won in any North American sports league with 11. But what makes Russell’s feat more impressive is that he won 11 NBA titles during his 13-year NBA career. Included in those eleven were 8 straight championship wins from 1959-1966. Russell himself was a force inside the court. He was MVP five times including four during a five year period from 1961-1965. He was a 12-time NBA All-Star and an 11-time All-NBA team selection. He led the NBA in rebounding for four seasons and had 12 1,000 rebounds seasons during his career. He ranks second all-time in the NBA in rebounds per game and total rebounds. Unlike many who dominated the game on offense, Russell did so on defense, making him all the more special.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Love or hate him, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is an all-time great. And regardless of whether you agree with him or not that he is TBE, Mayweather may be the most dominant boxer of all-time. Including his 2017 win over MMA star Conor McGregor in an official boxing match, Mayweather is 50-0 in a professional boxing career that began in 1996. During that period, Mayweather held multiple world titles in five different weight classes and four lineal titles in different weight divisions. He is 26-0 in world title fights, 23-0 in lineal title bouts and an incredible 24-0 against former or current world champions. Throughout his career, Mayweather has generated an estimated 23.8M pay per view buys and was boxing’s biggest pay per view star. Call him boring, but no doubt that Mayweather was as dominant as any boxer we’ve ever seen.
The Golden Bear is considered the greatest golfer of all-time. Jack Niklaus won a record of 18 major golf tournaments during a 25-year career. Because he focused on the majors, Nicklaus competed in more major tournaments than any other golfer at 164. He won a total of 73 PGA tournaments which is third most in history behind Sam Snead’s 82 and Tiger Woods’ 81. The Golden Bear was also the first golfer to win back-to-back Masters. At age 26, Nicklaus is also the youngest golfer to achieve a Grand Slam. He is also the first to complete a double and triple grand slam of golf’s four major tournaments. Nicklaus won his 18th and final Major at the age of 46, becoming the oldest winner of the Masters Tournament. His dominance went beyond his playing years. Nicklaus became involved in golf course design. In fact, his company is one of the biggest in the world.
Jim Brown was a running back for the Cleveland Browns from 1957-1965. He was invited to the Pro-Bowl in every season of his career. Brown led the NFL in rushing yards during eight out of his nine NFL seasons. When he retired, Brown had career totals of 2,359 carries, 12,312 rushing yards and 106 touchdowns which were all NFL records at the time of his retirement. He is also the only running back in the history of the league to average over 100 rushing yards per game during his career. His 5.2 yards per rush average is also the 2nd best all-time in the NFL. Brown virtually had every rushing record when he retired and considering he played less than 10 years, he was the most dominant running back the league has ever seen.
Michael Jordan was a basketball phenomenon. He took the NBA by storm and became an instant hit because of his high-flying moves and dazzling dunks. But MJ was more than just a fan favorite. In his early years, he was the best scorer in the NBA. He led the NBA in scoring in 10 seasons, including 7 years in a row beginning 1987. But Jordan wasn’t just after scoring titles. After the Bulls hired Phil Jackson as their coach and added Scottie Pippen, Jordan became one of the most dominant champions ever. He led the Bulls to six NBA titles during a seven-year period and had he not retired in between two three-peats, the Bulls would have given the Celtics’ dynasty a run for their money. Jordan didn’t just win titles, he made sure his team did. He sank countless game winners and had many epic games where he took over games and carried the Bulls on his shoulders.
Every member on this list has broken a record set by a former athlete in the same sport. But Michael Phelps is different. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Phelps broke a 2,168-year record for most individual titles at the Olympic games. Yes, that’s correct. It was Leonides’ two-thousand-year-old record that Phelps broke in the summer of 2016. Phelps finished his Olympic career as the most-bemedalled athlete in Olympic history with a total of 28 overall medals won. When it comes to gold, Phelps also has the most with a total of 23. Considering the next Olympian on the list has 9, Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever. His 8 gold medals in Beijing are the most by any Olympian at a single Olympic game. He was the most bemedalled athlete in four consecutive Olympics. And we’re not even counting the world records he broke along the way.
Many consider Michael Schumacher as the greatest F1 driver ever. Schumacher is the only driver to win seven Formula One World Championships, including five in a row from 2000-2004. He also holds the record for most Grand Prix wins at 91, most Fastest Laps set at 77 and most races won in a single season with 13. According to FormulaOne.com, he was statistically the best F1 driver of all-time at the time of his retirement. Schumacher’s dominance was on full display during the middle of his 5-year run as world title in 2002 when he clinched the World title with still six races to go during that season while finishing on the podium in every race that year. In 2004, Schumacher won 12 out of the first 13 races of the year en route to a record 13 wins in a single season.
Although experts would agree that he is one of the best ever, Rafael Nadal isn’t the greatest tennis player of all-time. However, what Nadal has done on the clay courts is a dominance we’ve never seen before in the history of the sport. Throughout his career, Nadal has appeared in a total of 15 French Open tournaments. He’s won a record 12 times at Roland Garros including eight during a nine-year period. Considering he retired from the 2016 French Open due to injury. Nadal has lost just twice in 15 years at Roland Garros. His overall record at the French Open is a mind-boggling 93-2. At one point, Nadal won 81 consecutive matches on clay to set the record for most consecutive wins in a single surface. But aside from the French Open, Nadal has also won other Grand Slams. In fact, his 18 grand slams won are the 2nd most ever by any tennis player in the Open era.
Serena Williams is a former #1 ranked tennis player in the world. She held the top ranking on eight different occasions. In her sixth reign, Williams held the top rankings for a total of 186 consecutive wins, tying the record set by Steffi Graf. Overall, she ruled as world #1 for a total of 319 weeks, the third longest in the Open era. She also holds the record for most grand slams won in singles, doubles and mixed doubles among all tennis players, male or female, with a total of 39 won. She is the third player all-time, after Rod Laver and Steffi Graf, to complete the grand slam twice. She has won a total of 23 individual grand slam titles, second most all-time behind Margaret Court and most all-time during the Open era. She is the winningest player at the Australian Open with seven titles and is tied with Chris Evert for the record with six U.S. Open titles. What’s scary is that she isn’t done.
Take away all the scandals and controversies, Tiger Woods is one of the most successful athletes ever. From one of the best amateur golfers in history, Woods embarked on a professional career that has almost put him at par with Jack Nicklaus in terms of major tournaments won. Nicklaus has won 18 and Woods just won his 15th last April at the 2019 Masters Tournament in Augusta. Aside from winning majors, Woods’ rule on top of the rankings is a marvel by itself. Tiger Woods was ranked as the #1 golfer in the world from August 1999 to September 2004 or a total of 264 weeks. He became #1 again from June 2005 to October 2010 or a total of 281 weeks. During this period, he won 13 of his majors and became the world’s highest-paid athlete in several years. Woods has been named PGA Player of the Year in a record 11 times. He was the youngest player to achieve the grand slam and the second ( after Nicklaus ) to complete the grand slam three times.
The fastest man in the world was given the perfect surname. Usain Bolt, as in lightning bolt, was the fastest man in the world during his prime. He is regarded as the greatest sprinter of all-time. Bolt was a nine-time Olympic gold medalist and he won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in three straight Olympic games. During the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, Bolt became the first athlete to win the sprint double and do so in world record time since the fully automatic time became mandatory. He was also an 11-time gold medal winner at the World Championships. Bolt won consecutive 100m, 200m and 4x100m races from 2009 to 2015, dominating the track like no other. As of July 2019, he still holds the world record for the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m races.
The Great One, that’s what Wayne Gretzky was called during his playing career. Hockey was Wayne’s world and Gretzky scored more goals and issued more assists than any player in the history of the NHL. He accumulated more points from assists than any other player has scored in goals. He is the only player to score more than 200 points in a single NHL season. Gretzky also had 16 seasons where he scored 100 or more points, including 14 seasons in a row. Up until 2017, Gretzky owned a total of 61 different records in the NHL. But Gretzky wasn’t just scoring points in the NHL. The Great One won a total of four Stanley Cup titles, 10 Hart trophies as league MVP, 10 Art Ross trophies as the league’s top scorer, and two Conn Smythe trophies as Playoffs MVP. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame immediately after his retirement, having the waiting period for such honor waived.