ESPN hosted a 16-athlete bracket to determine who should be considered the greatest athlete of all-time. When it was all said and done with the fan vote, ESPN’s Sports Science named former Oakland Raiders running back, Kansas City Royals all-star outfielder and Auburn Tigers Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson the greatest ever. He edged out former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown for the honor.
On his way to being named the greatest of all-time, Jackson beat out Roger Federer in the first round, Muhammad Ali in the quarterfinals, Michael Jordan in the semis and then Brown in the finals.
“Jackson’s speed qualified him for the U.S. Olympic Team for track and field, but he pursued football and baseball instead,” said ESPN’s John Brenkus. “At the 1986 NFL combine, his time of 4.12 seconds in the 40 is still the fastest ever measured at any NFL combine — and more than a tenth of a second faster than the modern combine record of 4.24 set by Titans running back Chris Johnson.
“Being an athlete is a different analysis. We are not discounting how great of a player an athlete was, but we’re factoring in different aspects, for example, we will look at strength, power, speed, quickness, reaction time, endurance, durability, in addition to weighing in on an athlete’s resume, clutch performances and the overall difficulty of their sport.”
While Jackson may not have been the greatest individual player in any sport despite being the only professional athlete to make an all-star game in two sports, there is little doubt that he is the greatest athlete to ever grace the sports world.
Do you think the fans and ESPN’s Sports Science got the vote right?