ESPN’s The Undefeated used the information gathered to rank the 50 greatest black athletes which includes MJ at #1, followed by Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali. Willie Mays and Jesse Owens round out the Top-5.

Each athlete on the list was ranked on four factors including overall ranking, dominance, inspiration and impact on society.


“Respondents were asked how great of an athlete each person was/is using a scale of 1 to 10 stars. The athletes were ranked in order based on their average scores to form a top 50 list. From there, the top 60 athletes (including the first 10 who didn’t make the cut to 50) were used to create a final ranking.”

“Athletes were ranked in order by their composite score to determine our final list, which will be unveiled in groups of 10 per week for five weeks.”