There are many questionable or even absurd classifications here.
- First of all, as good as Gretzky was, ice hockey is a niche sport. It is huge only in Canada and important in USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland. That’s it. Just think about sprinting, the most basic sport of them all, and how Bolt dominated it. He MUST be ahead of Gretzky. Michael Phelps at #21 is even more laughable.
- There are also way too many athletes from other big US leagues in that list (not American Football though). IMO out of those only Basketball is a real international sport. So if anyone should be near the top it would be Michael Jordan. Why is he 10th and Gretzky 1st? Jordan is a similar legend of his sport anyway.
- Compared to all this the best football player, the most heavily contested sport in the world, is ranked 24. And then in the end I guess they thought: "Well, we must fill in some random footballers now" and that’s why Schnellinger, Schuster and Gerrard made it, just behind the great Pele.
- The list suggests that Mike Tyson is the second best boxer of all time, only behind Ali. That is ridiculous.
- Serena Willams is 7th and Steffi Graf not in the Top 50. What can be said about this? Also Serena is the only woman near the top at all.
- Phil Taylor was already mentioned, and if darts is considered a sport (which it is), he should at least make the Top 50, despite it’s a niche sport of course. But what about Alexander Karelin (graeco-roman wrestler), arguably the most dominant athlete in his sport ever and likely the strongest man on earth in his prime? People from Russian or generally Eastern-European background are almost non-existant in this list anyway. Or what about Jahangir Khan (Squash)?
- While it’s at least debatable if Ayrton Senna is the better driver than Michael Schumacher, there is no way that Niki Lauda should make this list and not Schumacher (or Hamilton).
And those are only the most blatant absurdities here...