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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [Tom_hampton] [ In reply to ]
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Court played in the 60’s. I’d put peak court up against peak Serena. Peak Serena wins. Tennis has evolved just like baseball and basketball. It would be close, but Serena wins
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [ericmulk] [ In reply to ]
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I think everyone in the first and second world has heard of Slater except maybe you? Surfing is now an Olympic sport so hardly a fringe sport...
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [ericmulk] [ In reply to ]
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ericmulk wrote:
monty wrote:
It would be hard not to give this title to Kelly Slater.//

He made my list, Phelps did not. As record breaking and dominant as Phelps was, I just dont consider swimming enough of an all round sport. Surfing on the other hand requires many more facets of the human body, not just endurance and speed. That's why Thorpe was my top pick, besides the 10 sports of the decathlon, the 5 sports of the pentathlon, he played pro baseball, basketball, and football.
I figure a triathlete ought to be in the top 10, pretty versatile sport with a heavy emphasis on endurance. IT is such a hard topic talking about greatest athletes, everyone comes with their own bias and what constitutes greatness, and which sports deserve higher point values. But I think we can all agree that Serena is not the greatest athlete, that seems like a no brainer...(-;


To quote McEnroe (since this started with tennis:)), "you can not be serious" about Kelly Slater. I mean, AFAIK, surfing is even more of a fringe sport than triathlon, and surfing has nowhere near as many competitors worldwide as swimming. I had never even heard of Slater until you mentioned him, whereas virtually everyone in the First and Second Worlds have heard of Phelps.

No way! Slater is the greatest surfer of all time for sure. And surfing, at an elite level, is a pretty 3 dimensional athletic endevour. Not sure he could beat anyone at tennis though, or basketball. So how to compare across wildly different sports? - it can't be done in any meaningful way.

We hear the same arguments every time the Olympics comes around and Phelps starts to do his stuff - All these pundits rattling on about whether he's the "greatest olympian of all time" because he's won more medals..... etc etc. ad nauseam..

It's fine for a bit of harmless punditry but unless you are comparing apples with apples any comparison is largely meaningless.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [Jimocles] [ In reply to ]
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Jimocles wrote:
I think Erin Baker should deserve a mention

Tony Hawk too

I'd put Rodney Mullen ahead of Tony Hawk ;)

The whole point of Nike calling Serena the Goat is because she is objectively awesome and a Nike athlete.
We all have our favourites. I've noticed most posters are very USA dominant. Many I've never heard of.
Depending on criteria we'd have 10 different lists and no one could agree.
It fun to Google the American sports stars who have almost no impact overseas.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [RCCo] [ In reply to ]
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1: Caitlyn Jenner
2:
3:
4:
etc, etc....



RCCo wrote:
ericmulk wrote:
monty wrote:
It would be hard not to give this title to Kelly Slater.//

He made my list, Phelps did not. As record breaking and dominant as Phelps was, I just dont consider swimming enough of an all round sport. Surfing on the other hand requires many more facets of the human body, not just endurance and speed. That's why Thorpe was my top pick, besides the 10 sports of the decathlon, the 5 sports of the pentathlon, he played pro baseball, basketball, and football.
I figure a triathlete ought to be in the top 10, pretty versatile sport with a heavy emphasis on endurance. IT is such a hard topic talking about greatest athletes, everyone comes with their own bias and what constitutes greatness, and which sports deserve higher point values. But I think we can all agree that Serena is not the greatest athlete, that seems like a no brainer...(-;


To quote McEnroe (since this started with tennis:)), "you can not be serious" about Kelly Slater. I mean, AFAIK, surfing is even more of a fringe sport than triathlon, and surfing has nowhere near as many competitors worldwide as swimming. I had never even heard of Slater until you mentioned him, whereas virtually everyone in the First and Second Worlds have heard of Phelps.


No way! Slater is the greatest surfer of all time for sure. And surfing, at an elite level, is a pretty 3 dimensional athletic endevour. Not sure he could beat anyone at tennis though, or basketball. So how to compare across wildly different sports? - it can't be done in any meaningful way.

We hear the same arguments every time the Olympics comes around and Phelps starts to do his stuff - All these pundits rattling on about whether he's the "greatest olympian of all time" because he's won more medals..... etc etc. ad nauseam..

It's fine for a bit of harmless punditry but unless you are comparing apples with apples any comparison is largely meaningless.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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devashish_paul wrote:
monty wrote:
Greatest female tennis player of all time, perhaps and at least in the running..

Not even close to the greatest tennis player(including men)

And not even on the fist 10 pages of greatest athletes of all time, unless the bar for measuring is you have a vagina and have to play tennis..

She might be on the front page near the bottom, of highest paid athletes though, not sure how much she makes in comparison to top men in other sports...

I think when you decide on greatest athlete of all time, you just compare women against women and men vs men. Obviously you cannot compare men vs women even if they play the same sport. If I use that criteria, I'd put Serena right up there.

Here is a sanity check comparing men and women grand slam totals (not men playing against women, just each sex vs their peers). Here is what you see after I entered names into google


Grand Slams Wins

  • Serena Williams 23
  • Steffi Graf 22
  • Federer 20
  • Chris Evert 18
  • Navratilova 18
  • Nadal 17
  • Sampras 14
  • Djokovic 13
  • Rod Laver 11
  • Bjorn Borg 11
  • Monica Seles 9
  • Connors 8
  • Becker 6
  • McEnroe 7
  • Venus Williams 7
  • Hingis 5

Just based on this, Serena is the best tennis pro of all time at least in my lifetime of half a centure. I know a lot of men will jump in and say depth of field is a greater on the men's side, but that's because women across the board have less access to sport, so the women who win are the best of the half the world of women who actually make it to pro tennis.

Now how does Serena compare to say Wayne Gretzky, Jim Brown, Pele, Tom Brady, Don Bradman, Ronaldo, Alberto Tomba, Jean Cluade Killy, Eric Heiden, Sanchin Tendulkar, Lebron James, Usein Bolt, FloJo, Michael Phelps, Bjorne Dahlie, Mark Spitz, Diego Maradona/George Best (can I include them here...probably not), Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens, Emil Zatopek, Lasse Viren, Lance/Merckx/Hinault (gallery of dopers, but hey, everyone on this list is likely well enhanced with what they can get away with anyway)...I'd have no idea who is the greatest among all of those....I could pick any of them and make an arguement for any of them.

Depth of field? You’re either not getting it.....or, you’re being obstinate.

She likely couldn’t beat the world 300th ranked male.........yet she is a better athlete?

Please. Just stop this nonsense.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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i think the main thing is that she's really good at sports

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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [bluntandy] [ In reply to ]
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bluntandy wrote:
Jimocles wrote:
I think Erin Baker should deserve a mention

Tony Hawk too

I'd put Rodney Mullen ahead of Tony Hawk ;)

The whole point of Nike calling Serena the Goat is because she is objectively awesome and a Nike athlete.
We all have our favourites. I've noticed most posters are very USA dominant. Many I've never heard of.
Depending on criteria we'd have 10 different lists and no one could agree.
It fun to Google the American sports stars who have almost no impact overseas.

Hell, I’d put CHRIS Mullen in front of Tony hawk.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [Tri-Banter] [ In reply to ]
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While I agree with you that Katie Ledecky is better at her sport than Serena at hers. And I believe Ledecky dominates her events like no other swimmer. Ledecky cannot lay claim to being the best swimmer since she can't beat the top males. Just the way it is.

Tri-Banter wrote:
Even as far as females go, Katie Ledecky is better at her sport than Serena at hers. In fact, Katie might be the greatest ever, mens or womens in any sport.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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imsparticus wrote:
While I agree with you that Katie Ledecky is better at her sport than Serena at hers. And I believe Ledecky dominates her events like no other swimmer. Ledecky cannot lay claim to being the best swimmer since she can't beat the top males. Just the way it is.

Tri-Banter wrote:
Even as far as females go, Katie Ledecky is better at her sport than Serena at hers. In fact, Katie might be the greatest ever, mens or womens in any sport.

So effin' what? It's generally accepted that you only measure against your potential competition, and for the most part that means that males are measured against males and females against females. Para-athletes get measured against other para-athletes. It really doesn't matter that Ledecky is behind the top males, since she isn't competing against them.

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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [Sanuk] [ In reply to ]
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Sanuk wrote:
Wayne Gretzky

If you look in terms of records that will never be broken, he's up there, indeed. I'd probably give him a nod as the greatest of all time.

Serena, Federer... they are amongst the greats, but the problem is that you can easily compare them to other players that were/are almost as great. Heck, for Federer, you only have to look at current players.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [lordhong] [ In reply to ]
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lordhong wrote:
Sanuk wrote:
Wayne Gretzky


If you look in terms of records that will never be broken, he's up there, indeed. I'd probably give him a nod as the greatest of all time.

Serena, Federer... they are amongst the greats, but the problem is that you can easily compare them to other players that were/are almost as great. Heck, for Federer, you only have to look at current players.


Anyway, I'd put Ashton Eaton as the greatest athlete of all time

http://www.jonmulkeen.com/blog/athletics/greatest-decathletes-eaton-sebrle-dvorak-obrien-thompson/

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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [nc452010] [ In reply to ]
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nc452010 wrote:
devashish_paul wrote:
monty wrote:
Greatest female tennis player of all time, perhaps and at least in the running..

Not even close to the greatest tennis player(including men)

And not even on the fist 10 pages of greatest athletes of all time, unless the bar for measuring is you have a vagina and have to play tennis..

She might be on the front page near the bottom, of highest paid athletes though, not sure how much she makes in comparison to top men in other sports...


I think when you decide on greatest athlete of all time, you just compare women against women and men vs men. Obviously you cannot compare men vs women even if they play the same sport. If I use that criteria, I'd put Serena right up there.

Here is a sanity check comparing men and women grand slam totals (not men playing against women, just each sex vs their peers). Here is what you see after I entered names into google


Grand Slams Wins

  • Serena Williams 23
  • Steffi Graf 22
  • Federer 20
  • Chris Evert 18
  • Navratilova 18
  • Nadal 17
  • Sampras 14
  • Djokovic 13
  • Rod Laver 11
  • Bjorn Borg 11
  • Monica Seles 9
  • Connors 8
  • Becker 6
  • McEnroe 7
  • Venus Williams 7
  • Hingis 5

Just based on this, Serena is the best tennis pro of all time at least in my lifetime of half a centure. I know a lot of men will jump in and say depth of field is a greater on the men's side, but that's because women across the board have less access to sport, so the women who win are the best of the half the world of women who actually make it to pro tennis.

Now how does Serena compare to say Wayne Gretzky, Jim Brown, Pele, Tom Brady, Don Bradman, Ronaldo, Alberto Tomba, Jean Cluade Killy, Eric Heiden, Sanchin Tendulkar, Lebron James, Usein Bolt, FloJo, Michael Phelps, Bjorne Dahlie, Mark Spitz, Diego Maradona/George Best (can I include them here...probably not), Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens, Emil Zatopek, Lasse Viren, Lance/Merckx/Hinault (gallery of dopers, but hey, everyone on this list is likely well enhanced with what they can get away with anyway)...I'd have no idea who is the greatest among all of those....I could pick any of them and make an arguement for any of them.


Depth of field? You’re either not getting it.....or, you’re being obstinate.

She likely couldn’t beat the world 300th ranked male.........yet she is a better athlete?

Please. Just stop this nonsense.

If you actually read anything, I started by saying that you can only compare females with females and men with men, and then decide who is the best athlete within their category and then we can compare all time relative to how they do against their peers. You can't compare Mariana Voss against Chris Froome either, just against her cycling peers

Men can't give birth and play pro tennis, so we're comparing tennis players with other tennis players who have the capability to give birth. Not ones who don't have that ability. Once you compare Serena with her peers and past peers, then we're having a logical discussion. Putting her up against the 300th place man is as irrelevant as asking the 300th place man to also have a baby. If you want to do that, of course women will win at many aspect of life that men suck at and men will win at many aspects of life (including tennis) that men are better designed to do.

Of course on a primarily male forum a lot of you guys will pull the, "well she can't even beat the xyz-th place man"....that's a pretty neanderthal measuring stick that is void of any reasonable basic logic. It's no wonder slowman had to start a women's forum so that women athletes could communicate with each other decoupled from this type of crazy male thinking.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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So, you agree nike’s Assertion is ridiculous?
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [nc452010] [ In reply to ]
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not ridiculous, hyperbolic. She is the best / most dominant female tennis player of all time. Where that ranks in the sphere of "best athlete" is up for debate, with no one correct answer.

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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [Tom_hampton] [ In reply to ]
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"The only category where Serena outdid margaret is the number of times they each one a tournement without dropping a single set: Serena =6, margeret =3.

She did all that at a time when being a woman tennis player was disparaged and self supported. But, I assume you know that history."

You bring up a whole 'nother issue we have when comparing athletes of different eras. It's simply impossible to tell who is the better athlete. This day and age we have more access to specialize in one sport, more resources (as noted from someone above), Serena has had a lifetime of better opportunity to succeed. HOWEVER, that also means her competition does as well. We can most definitively say that Serena has beaten and lost to better competition in route to her 23 grand slams (as well as her 13 or 14 double and 2 mixed double grand slam titles).

Also a separate category Serena out did Margaret at - 4 Olympic golds (yes we can argue court didn't have that opportunity, but we cant pick and choose stats to keep in our out - or can we?) Not saying one is greater over the other, just pointing out that the debate is never going to get a definitive answer.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [andy12] [ In reply to ]
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andy12 wrote:
I think she has a respectable argument for greatest female athlete.

Not close. Babe Didrickson by a mile. Two Olympic gold medals (hurdles with a WR and javelin!), one silver medal (high jump). Won the AAU track *team* competition one year by herself. Won 10 majors in golf; made the cut in two men's PGA tournaments (only woman to ever do so). All-American in HS in basketball. Holds the record for the longest baseball throw by a woman: 296 feet.

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"i disagree with your analysis [or judgment], nevertheless you have the responsibility of moderating this board so i honor your authority to make the moderating decisions."
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [nc452010] [ In reply to ]
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nc452010 wrote:
So, you agree nike’s Assertion is ridiculous?

Who cares what Nike thinks. Serena has won more grand slams than any male tennis player. That's all I was pointing out. I listed a grouping of top athletes across sports, and practitioners of those sports could claim why their athlete is greatest. There is no correct answer. Nike is just doing marketing. In general marketing claims by any marketing department or agency are borderline ridiculous and often outright lies.....why are people even worrying about what Nike says. It's like worrying about Tesla saying that they are better than Audi and trying to weigh with facts what Musk is lying about next. It does not matter what Nike or Musk claim....its all hyperbole
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [KENNBR] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe, that's unknowable. Alternatively, assume Court grows up and trains in the 80s and 90s, who's the better player now? Or Serena grows up and trains in the 40s/50s...again, who's better? Equally unknowable.

The fact remains that Court set the standard for dominance in women's tennis 50+ years ago. That standard has NOT been eclipsed in that time....its only been matched or exceed in one aspect or another by a single player here or there, but no one has come close to matching ALL of the standards that she set across the board.

For reference in Men's tennis the 60's era record setter was Roy Emerson with 12 slam tournament wins. Sampras eclipsed Emerson's record in 2000. Emerson now sits 5th on the all time list, with Federer leading at 20 titles. 3 of the top 4 spots on the Men's side are active players with current top 10 rankings.

So, despite all the improvements in training methods, access, popularity, sponsorship, equipment, etc, etc, etc...Margaret Court's records remain largely in-tact 50+ years later. During the same time period the same thing cannot be said of the Men's side. The standard of dominance is being redefined by the modern era Men.

And my point was not that Court was the defacto best Women's tennis player...but, rather that Serena is NOT the greatest athlete of all time because she arguably isn't even the greatest women's tennis player. If someone isn't UNARGUABLY the greatest in their chosen sport, then its absurd to suggest they are the greatest ATHLETE across ALL sports....Even if we were to conclude that Tennis is the hardest sport of all---because Serena doesn't do anything else. The only caveat to that standard (in my mind) might be someone like Bo or Dion who were able to excel in multiple sports (or multisport athletes).
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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thank god tennis isn't under a massive PED cloud (cough)
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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monty wrote:
When I think of some one who would be called the greatest athlete, I think of someone who has an incredible combination of strength, speed and coordination. They could be successful at almost any sport. They probably wouldn’t be the best at any one sport. //

You just described Jim Thorpe. Decathlon, pentathlon, high jump, long jump(separate events he competed in from the multi ones) pro football(hall of fame)Pro baseball, and pro basketball. He also did a couple other sports, which people said he never trained for!! Said he would just show up and win. For a guy like him with his background, I would say he gets the all round greatest athlete award.


I wonder if he ever swam or rode a bike???


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Thorpe

Fight between Thorpe and Jackie Robinson. Varsity at UCLA in football, basketball, baseball, and track. NCAA champion in the broad jump. Undefeated one year in football. Of course, that color barrier thing in baseball, and MVP one year.

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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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How can you be even the greatest ever in your sport, if hundreds playing that sport..... IN YOUR ERA can beat you?
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [elf6c] [ In reply to ]
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elf6c wrote:
thank god tennis isn't under a massive PED cloud (cough)

Thank you.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [ In reply to ]
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There are a lot of names who play North American specific sports being put into the top lists.
Baseball, Hockey and NFL aren't worldwide games, that shouldn't be forgotten when picking the greatest of all time. Picking Jordan and Lebron James is the same as picking Muttiah Muralitharan or Sachin Tendulkar.

It's also a question of the best career, or the best at the peak of their career. Best career might say Federer or Floyd Mayweather, best at their peak I would say Tiger Woods or Mike Tyson or Bolt.
Kipchoge in the marathon is the best ever pretty clearly (though he lacks the official WR), Bekele might be the greatest distance runner of all time.

All together though, the greatest athlete of all time for me is Usain Bolt. In Berlin in 2009 he was incredible, but he was great over pretty much his entire career.
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Re: What's with all the talk about Serena Williams being the greatest athlete of all time? [nc452010] [ In reply to ]
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nc452010 wrote:
How can you be even the greatest ever in your sport, if hundreds playing that sport..... IN YOUR ERA can beat you?

please don't make lazy arguments.

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