Introduction:God blessed me to turn half a century old this year. I can't speak for the most influential sports figures of ALL time but I want to advocate for these 5 over the last 50 years or so.
The charismatic personality and charm of the "greatest" boxing champion of all time gave him world wide influence that transcended his sport! Plus his daughter Laila turned out to be an excellent fighter too!
The University of North Carolina star became an icon in the sports lore of Chicago. As a Chicago bull he won league scoring titles, championships and simply made all his team mates better. Shucks, he even dealt with Dennis Rodman, with his crazy self.
The world #1 in women's tennis has a serve and game that is just unbelievable. She shows power and grace on the tennis court, a fierce combination. Of course, when she plays doubles with her sister, Venus, she is even better!
The former world #1 in golf Tiger's determination on the course has been sheer poetry when he's been on his game. The injury bug has bitten him recently but I think he'll be back and will break Jack Nicklas' record for winning the most golf major tournaments.
During his years as the star of the Brazilian world soccer team Pele was called the "best footballer of all time." He never forgot the plight of the poor in his native Brazil. His teams won a total of three World Cup Championships.
Each of these athletes are or have been champions in their sport. Each have faced mighty challenges in their assent to the top of their sport. Yet each has shown determination, grit and enough love of their sport to make them fun to watch and root for, even if you can only see the highlights of their sporting achievements now.
select one here...