A new study ranks which sports stars, alive or dead, are most likely to be considered the greatest.
In head-to-head matches against others, boxer Muhammad Ali came out on top 78% of the time, tied with six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan.
NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar comes in third place, winning 73% of his matchups, tied with baseball legend Babe Ruth and just ahead of Jim Thorpe, who is seen as one of the most versatile athletes of all time. Thorpe competed in Olympic-level pentathlon and decathlon, as well as football, baseball and basketball. He also won 72% of his matchups in the survey. Half of the athletes who cracked the top 10 are basketball players. Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant are ranked No. 2 and 3 respectively behind Jordan among basketball fans.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bryant appear fourth and fifth place among football fans.
No football players rose to the top five among fans of the sport. And while baseball great Jackie Robinson makes it into the top five among football and basketball fans, he doesn’t appear in the same ranking for fans of baseball.
While seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is seen by a majority of football fans to be the G.O.A.T among football players, the multi-sport phenom Jim Thorpe still bested Brady. Joe Montana, Jim Brown and Jerry Rice make up the remaining top-five players among football fans in the survey.
Babe Ruth is the greatest of all time among baseball players, winning 83% of his matchups. Thorpe, Jackie Robinson, Derek Jeter and Bo Jackson crack the top five baseball players who are most considered the greatest among the game’s fans.
Looking at Millennials specifically, the list changes slightly. LeBron James tops the list, winning 82% of his matchups, followed by Muhammad Ali (77%), Michael Jordan (70%), sprinting legend Usain Bolt (68%) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (66%).