Royce Gracie cracks Beckett’s ’50 Greatest Athletes’ List

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Commentary/Opinion, Cool Stuff We Like
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royce-gracieIf Top 10 lists always provide great fodder for debate, then a Top 50 list should blow your freaking mind. Beckett Media came out with their list of the 50 greatest athletes of all time and there’s at least one or two names you might enjoy seeing get some credit.

Royce Gracie came in at number 44 as the only entrant to fall under the Mixed Martial Arts category. He’s sandwiched in between Mark Allen—who I have never heard of; I guess he’s an iron man competitor or something—and Jesse Owens, the legendary track and field star of the 1936 Olympics.

Interestingly, Bruce Lee made the list at #15, which technical gave “martial arts” two representatives. Not bad. Obviously boxing has gotten plenty of love in lists like this thanks to Muhammad Ali, who always finishes quite high—here he’s #2.

Of course like all lists like this, I have major grievances with the placement of a few of these athletes. For example, Jackie Robinson certainly isn’t the #3 greatest athlete of all time, when he’s never even considered in the top 5 or 10 of all-time great baseball players, so that’s ludicrous. Babe Ruth should be in the top 3 (he’s 6).

I’m sure there will be plenty of people who aren’t pleased with the placement of the back end of the top 10—Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Michael Phelps and Pele—due to the fact that those aren’t considered “major” sports by most.

Jim Brown can’t be happy with being number 27—I’d say he should be higher. Same with Wilt Chamberlain, who I feel is being forgotten as the legendary athlete he was.

Overall it’s a cool list and the recognition of MMA is refreshing to see. One day, we may see Anderson Silva or Jon Jones break into the fray. Here’s Beckett’s complete Top 50…

  1. Michael Jordan, basketball
  2. Muhammad Ali, boxing
  3. Jackie Robinson, baseball
  4. Wayne Gretzky, hockey
  5. Jim Thorpe, football, basketball, baseball, track and field
  6. Babe Ruth, baseball
  7. Tiger Woods, golf
  8. Roger Federer, tennis
  9. Michael Phelps, swimming
  10. Pele, soccer
  11. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball
  12. Bo Jackson, baseball, football
  13. Carl Lewis, track and field
  14. Gordie Howe, hockey
  15. Bruce Lee, martial arts
  16. Larry Bird, basketball
  17. Magic Johnson, basketball
  18. Bill Russell, basketball
  19. Joe Montana, football
  20. Babe Didrikson Zaharias, golf, basketball, track and field
  21. Mickey Mantle, baseball
  22. Willie Mays, baseball
  23. Jack Nicklaus, golf
  24. Ted Williams, baseball
  25. Margaret Court, tennis
  26. Diego Maradona, soccer
  27. Jim Brown, football
  28. Mark Spitz, swimming
  29. Deion Sanders, football, baseball
  30. Walter Payton, football
  31. Joe Louis, boxing
  32. Emmitt Smith, football
  33. Lou Gehrig, baseball
  34. Hank Aaron, baseball
  35. Laird Hamilton, surfing
  36. Jerry Rice, football
  37. Wilt Chamberlain, basketball
  38. Mia Hamm, soccer
  39. Tony Hawk, skateboarding
  40. Joe DiMaggio, baseball
  41. Peyton Manning, football
  42. Ty Cobb, baseball
  43. Mark Allen, Ironman competitor
  44. Royce Gracie, mixed martial arts
  45. Jesse Owens, track and field
  46. Serena Williams, tennis
  47. LeBron James, basketball
  48. Sandy Koufax, baseball
  49. Cy Young, baseball
  50. Lawrence Taylor, football
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