Best Athletes of the 1980s


The Top Ten

1 Wayne Gretzky Wayne Gretzky Wayne Douglas Gretzky CC is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and former head coach. He played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League for four teams from 1979 to 1999.

No question. Reinvented offensive hockey - Ned964

2 Larry Bird Larry Bird Larry Joe Bird is an American retired professional basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association. Bird is a 3x champ, 1x ROTY, 1x Finals MVP, 3x 3PT Contest winner, all with the Boston Celtics. (1979-1992)
3 Joe Montana Joe Montana Joseph Clifford "Joe" Montana, Jr., nicknamed Joe Cool and The Comeback Kid, is a retired American football quarterback.
4 Vladimir Salnikov
5 Lawrence Taylor Lawrence Taylor
6 Magic Johnson Magic Johnson Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association for 13 seasons.
7 Eric Dickerson Eric Dickerson Eric Demetric Dickerson is a former college and professional American football player who was a running back in the National Football League for eleven seasons during the 1980s and 1990s.
8 Diego Maradona Diego Maradona Diego Armando Maradona is a retired Argentine professional footballer. He is known for "The Goal of the Century" and the "Hand of God" goal.

I voted here. This man was one of the most brilliant players the sport has ever seen, and he helped to attract me to a sport many of my countrymen still despise. In the USA, If I were to ask 100 people here who he is, I believe maybe 1 would know. What a shame. Still I'm glad I got to see him play - Ned964

The absolute number 1 of the decade

He is still the God of football for the Argentinians (Messi haven't manage to dethrone him).

100% no doubt one. - ParasN2000

9 Michael Jordan Michael Jordan Michael Jeffrey Jordan, also known by his initials, MJ, is an American retired professional basketball player.

CORRECTION :I totally disagree...
(I'm sorry).

I can understand the differened opinions with the list maker as I just realized that he's too young and didn't lived in the 80s.

I totaly disgorge with this top ten.
The absolute number 1 of the decade is D.A.Maradona.
The number 2 belongs to M.J. MVP of the NBA 1988, three consecutive years (1987,1988,1989) top scorer, twice best male basketball player of the year (1983,1984) as a college player, Olympic champion with the National team (1984).Also, his personal best career year in NBA was in this decade.Although three NBA super players were at their best in '80s (Jabbar. Johnson. Bird), Jordan was the one that amazed everybody. Only club titles weren' t in his hands.

10 Moses Malone Moses Malone Moses Eugene Malone was an American basketball player who played in both the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association from 1974 through 1995. The center was named the NBA Most Valuable Player three times and was a 12-time NBA All-Star and an eight-time All-NBA selection. more.

The Contenders

11 Carl Lewis Carl Lewis Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis is an American former track and field athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold. His career spanned from 1979 to 1996, when he last won an Olympic event.

He should be in the top ten.
The number 1 of this list (Gretzky) is famous for 350 millions of people and totally unknown for over 6 billions...(also third as greatest athlete of all time! ).

Amazing Athlete fast,powerful just a great all round athlete,should be #1

12 Naim Süleymanoğlu

One of the greatest athletes of all times, 'the Pocket Hercules' was the first weightlifter to won 3 gold Olympic medals and the broke his first world record in men's category aged 16!

13 Florence Griffith Joyner Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith - Joyner is regarded the fastest woman of all times.
In 1988 USA Olympic trials she broke the world record of 100 meters by 0.27 seconds and in same years' Olympics the world record of 200m by 0.37 seconds. I remind that Usain Bolt improved the world record of 100m totally 0.15 seconds and the 200m totally 0.13 seconds. She won 3 gold and one silver medal in 1988 Olympics. She also won a silver medal in 1984 Olympics.
Her world records still stand.They aren't the oldest (J. Kratochvilova, 800m since 1983), but if there is a record of track and field that will stand for half a century, it will be her one of 100m (10.49).
She's quite forgotten by a lot...

14 Mike Bossy Mike Bossy Michael Dean Bossy or, according to some sources, Michael Jean Bossy is a Canadian former ice hockey player who played for the New York Islanders for his entire career and was a crucial part of their four-year reign as Stanley Cup champions in the early 1980s.

What a sniper. Deadly accurate shot - Ned964

15 Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Jacqueline "Jackie" Joyner-Kersee is an American retired track and field athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlon as well as long jump. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, in those two events at four different Olympic Games (1984 - 1996). Her best performance was in 1988 Seoul Olympics, were she won both gold medals. One year earlier she succeded the same in 2nd World Championship of Track and Field, held in Rome.
Joyner-Kersee was the first woman to score over 7,000 points in a heptathlon event (during the 1986 Goodwill Games). Also she still holds the second best record in long jump with 7.49m from 1994.
Sports Illustrated for Women magazine voted Joyner-Kersee the Greatest Female Athlete of All-Time.

16 Marvin Hagler Marvin Hagler Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns, was a world middleweight championship boxing match between undisputed champion Marvin Hagler and challenger Thomas Hearns, the then reigning world's junior middleweight champion, who had gone up in weight for the bout.
17 Michel Platini Michel Platini Michel François Platini is a football administrator, who served as the president of the Union of European Football Associations from 2007 until 2015, after which he was banned for 8 years following an ethics investigation by the FIFA Ethics Committee on 21 December 2015, and formerly a French football more.
18 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.

In 2013, Julius Earving (always an opponent of Jabbar, said that according to stats Kareem is the number 1 of all times.
Maybe this is partially true, but Jabbar is definitely in the 5 best of all times (positions 3-5 with LeBron James and Earving Johnson).

19 Manuel Estiarte

One of the 3 greater waterpolo players ever.

20 Marco van Basten Marco van Basten Marcel "Marco" van Basten is a Dutch football manager and former football player, who played for Ajax and Milan, as well as the Netherlands national team, in the 1980s and early '90s as a forward.
21 Leonid Taranenko

Leonid Arkadevich Taranenko is a former Soviet/Belarusian weightlifter. His 266 kg clean and jerk in 1988 is still the largest amount ever lifted in competition, though no longer an official world record due to restructuring of weight classes. His record in total (475 kgr-1988) stood for 29 years.
He won one gold Olympic medal (1980) and one silver (1992).

22 Sergey Bubka
23 Marita Koch

Marita Koch is a German former sprint track and field athlete. During her career she collected sixteen world records in outdoor sprints as well as fourteen world records in indoor events. Her record of 47.60 in the 400 metres, set on 1985, still stands (the second long lived track and field world record). Her 200m world record was broken by Florence Griffith - Joyner.
She won one gold Olympic medal and one silver in 1980 Olympics.

24 Daley Thompson
25 Sugar Ray Leonard Sugar Ray Leonard Ray Charles Leonard, best known as "Sugar" Ray Leonard, is an American former professional boxer, motivational speaker, and occasional actor.
26 James Worthy
27 Russ Grimm
28 Keith Millard

18 sacks in 1 season, from the Defensive Tackle position - Ned964

29 Lorenzo Charles

For one shining moment in 1983, this was the biggest athlete on the planet - Ned964

30 Mark Messier
31 Martina Navratilova Martina Navratilova
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