Michael Jordan Is Best Sports Star of All Time, Says Harris Poll

By Jim Liao
Jim Liao
Jim Liao
December 31, 2015 Updated: January 1, 2016

Michael Jordan is the best sports star of all time, according to new results from the Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll was a survey conducted online in the United States between September 9 and 17, 2015. The survey recorded responses from 2,368 general population U.S. adults, with results also differentiated by race, age, gender, and region.

The top 10 greatest sports star are, in this order: Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, , Serena Williams, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Lebron James, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, and Wayne Gretzky.

The last survey was conducted was 2009, with Jordan also holding the top spot in that survey. Newcomers to the top 10 this time around were Serena Williams and Tom Brady, replacing Brett Favre (#5), Ted Williams (#8 – tie), and Hank Aaron (#10 – tie).

In regards to gender, woman tend to lean toward female tennis star Serena Williams. Williams tended to be the second choice for best sports star behind Jordan among women voters, while men favored Babe Ruth.

In regards to age, mature people (age 70+) were the only group that considered Babe Ruth—not Jordan, to be the greatest sports star. It was also the only age group that included legendary 49ers quarterback Joe Montana in its top three (#3). Millenials (ages 18-35) were the only age group that included Lebron James in its top three (#3).

The Harris Poll also asked voters which sports they followed. The most popular sport was pro football, followed by 50% of surveyors. Rounding out the top 5 are baseball (32%), men’s college football (29%), pro basketball (22%), and men’s college basketball (19%).

The Harris Poll also asked fans to name their top 5 players by sport. For instance, for football, here’s the top 5: Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Walter Payton, and Jim Brown. Brett Favre (#1) and Jerry Rice (#5) dropped out of the previous poll. For complete results from the rest of the survey, see here.

Jim Liao