Ranking America’s greatest ever sportsmen and women

What exactly defines greatness? How important is sustained dominance over seasons versus of few moments of unimaginable brilliance in the sun? How do you compare, say, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods? Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell?

In other words, what are the measuring sticks by which we gauge the greatest American sportspeople?

Yes. It’s difficult to compare between eras, weight one sport versus another. And certainly, true “greatness” in sport is transcendent. In other words, the greatest athletes mean something culturally and resonate not only beyond the world of their specific sport, but beyond the sports world in general.

So, while it’s tough to define all the ingredients and the ratios in the cocktail of greatness, we can all great that statistical excellence, consistent superiority to the best of one’s peers, and resonance/perception are all key. And bully for a diehard competitive streak, as the desire to beat another person in an otherwise meaningless contest is at the very essence of sport.

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