Who is the GOAT of GOATs? The greatest of the greatests? An answer to the question: Who is the greatest athlete of all time?
Well, we’re asking you to vote.
When you do, keep this in mind: It’s impossible to compare players of different sports. What we can attempt to determine is this: Who dominated their competition the most?
We seeded 16 athletes from 16 different sports based on your votes of who is the GOAT of each individual sport. The vote is now down to the Final Four. Remember, this isn’t about popularity, but who dominated their sport the most. Vote now to determine who is The GOAT of GOATS.
1. Wayne Gretzky vs. 5. Michael Phelps
The case for Wayne Gretzky
The “Great One” racked up 2,857 points in his 20-year career and would own the NHL’s all-time scoring record even if you took away his career goals (894) and counted only his assists (1,963). A nine-time MVP, Gretzky was so brilliant he cast a shadow on three men who would otherwise have great NHL GOAT cases: Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux.
— Kevin Kaduk
The case for Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps has … deep breath … won 28 Olympic medals, 10 more than anyone else; collected 23 golds, 14 more than anyone else; has the single most dominant Olympics in history, winning eight golds in 2008; has set 39 world records; set a world record at 15, won gold medals in his 30s. Oh, and he has won 20 more Olympic medals than Usain Bolt.
— Pat Forde
2. Michael Jordan vs. 11. Tiger Woods
The case for Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan was so good his claim to the NBA’s GOAT throne is still gaining momentum almost a quarter-century after his retirement from the Chicago Bulls. “The Last Dance” documentary reminded us how thoroughly he eviscerated the league. Jordan went 6-for-6 when a title was on the line, winning Finals MVP each time. He added five regular-season MVPs, three more scoring titles than anyone else in history and a Defensive Player of the Year award. No amount of honors or statistics can properly calculate how much fear Jordan’s blend of skill, athleticism and confidence struck into opponents’ hearts when the game mattered most.
— Ben Rohrbach
The case for Tiger Woods
If we’re talking dominance — and we are — then Tiger Woods’ stretch from 1999-2002 is without comparison. He won five of six majors, including four in a row, and seven of 11. His 82 PGA Tour wins put him in a tie for first.
— Jay Busbee