Thursday Apr 27
Written by Ben Pogany
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1) Sugar Ray Robinson (1940-1965) 
Middleweight, welterweight
Record: 175-19-6-2 (109 KOs)
World welterweight champion December 20, 1946 -- August 9, 1950
5-time World middleweight champion between 1951--1960
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1950
Defining Fight: St Valentine's Day Massacre vs. Jake LaMotta VI. February 14, 1951
2)  Henry Armstrong (1932-1945)
Featherweight, lightweight, welterweight
Record: 151-21-9 (101 KOs)
World featherweight champion October 29, 1937 -- September 12, 1938
World welterweight champion May 31, 1938 -- October 4, 1940
World lightweight champion August 17, 1938 -- August 22, 1939
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1940
Defining Fight:  vs. Lou Ambers. August 17, 1938
3)  Muhammad Ali (1960-1981)
Heavyweight
Record: 56-5 (37 KOs)
Gold medalist at 1960 Rome Olympics
Undisputed heavyweight champion February 25, 1964 -- September 19, 1964; February 6, 1967 -- April 28, 1967; October 30, 1974 -- February 15, 1978
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1965, 1974, 1975
Defining Fights: Thrilla in Manila v Joe Frazier III Oct 1, 1975
Rumble in the Jungle v George Foreman October 30, 1974
vs. Sonny Liston I. February 25, 1964
4)  Willie Pep (1940-1966)
Featherweight
Record: 230-11-1 (65 KOs)
World featherweight champion June 7, 1946 -- October 29, 1948; February 11, 1949 -- September 8, 1950
Defining Fights: vs. Sandy Saddler II. February 11, 1949
vs Chalky Wright I November 20, 1942
5)  Joe Louis (1934-1951)
Heavyweight
Record: 68-3 (54 KOs)
Undisputed heavyweight champion June 22, 1937 -- March 1, 1949
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1941
_vs. Billy Conn. June 18, 1941
_vs Max Schmeling II June 22, 1938
6)  Roberto Duran
(1968-2001)
Lightweight, welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight
Record: 103-16 (69 KOs)
Undisputed lightweight champion January 21, 1978 -- January 1979
_vs. Sugar Ray Leonard I. June 20, 1980
_vs. Iran Barkley. February 24, 1989
7)  Sugar Ray Leonard (1977-1997)
Welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight
Record: 36-3-1 (25 KOs)
Gold medalist at 1976 Montreal Olympics
Undisputed welterweight champion September 16, 1981 -- February 15, 1982
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1976, 1979, 1981
_vs. Thomas Hearns I, September 16, 1981
_vs. Marvin Hagler. April 6, 1987
8)  Rocky Marciano (1947-1955)
Heavyweight
Record: 49-0 (43 KOs)
Undisputed heavyweight champion September 23, 1952 -- April 27, 1956
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1952
_vs. Jersey Joe Walcott. September 23, 1952
_vs. Ezzard Charles. September 17, 1954
9)  Floyd Mayweather Jr. (1996-Present)
Superfeatherweight, lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, light middleweight
Record: 49-0 (26 KOs)
Bronze medalist at 1996 Atlanta Olympics
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 2007
10)  Archie Moore (1935-1963)
Light heavyweight, heavyweight
Record 183-23-10-1 (131 KOs)
Most knockouts in history
World light heavyweight champion December 17, 1952 -- October 1960
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1958
_vs. Yvon Durelle. December 10, 1958
11)  George Foreman (1969-1997)
Heavyweight
Record: 76-5 (68 KOs)
Gold medalist at 1968 Mexico City Olympics
Undisputed heavyweight champion January 22, 1973 -- October 30, 1974
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1973, 1994
_vs. Ron Lyle. January 24, 1976
12)  Julio César Chávez (1980-2005)
Super featherweight, lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight
Record: 108-6-2 (87 KOs)
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1987
_vs. Meldrick Taylor I, March 17, 1990
13)  Ezzard Charles (1940-1959)
Middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight
Record: 96-25-1 (58 KOs)
Undisputed heavyweight champion September 27, 1950 -- July 18, 1951
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1949
14)  Marcel Cerdan (1934-1949)
Middleweight
Record: 111-4 (66 KOs)
World middleweight champion September 21, 1948 -- June 16, 1949
_vs Tony Zale September 21, 1948
15)  Marvin Hagler (1973-1987)
Middleweight
Record: 62-3-2 (52 KOs)
Undisputed middleweight champion September 27, 1980 -- June 6, 1987
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1983, 1985
16)  Rubén Olivares (1965-1988)
Bantamweight, featherweight
Record: 88-13-3 (78 KOs)
_vs. Chucho Castillo. April 18, 1970
17)  Manny Pacquiao (1995-Present)
Flyweight, super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, light middleweight
Record: 57-6-2 (38 KOs)
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 2006, 2008, 2009
BWAA Fighter of the Decade: 2000's
Only boxer to ever win world titles in eight different weight classes
_vs Juan Manuel Marquez I. (Draw) May 8, 2004
18)  Sandy Saddler (1944-1957)
Featherweight, junior lightweight
Record: 144-16-2 (103 KOs)
World featherweight champion October 29, 1948 -- February 11, 1949; September 8, 1950 -- January 1957
19)  Pernell Whitaker
(1984-2001)
Lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight
Record: 40-4-1-1 (17 KOs)
Gold medalist at 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
Undisputed lightweight champion August 11, 1990 -- January 18, 1992
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1989, 1993
20)  Joe Frazier (1965-1981)
Heavyweight
Record: 32-4-1 (27 KOs)
Gold medalist at 1964 Tokyo Olympics
Undisputed heavyweight champion February 16, 1970 -- January 22, 1973
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1969, 1971, 1975
_Fight of the Century vs. Muhammad Ali. March 8, 1971
21)  Jake LaMotta (1941-1954)
Middleweight
Record: 83-19-4 (30 KOs)
World middleweight champion June 16, 1949 -- February 14, 1951
_vs. Laurent Dauthuille. September 13, 1950
22)  Emilie Griffith (1958-1977)
Welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight
Record: 85-24-2-1 (23 KOs)
Undisputed welterweight champion June 8, 1963 -- December 10, 1965
Undisputed middleweight champion September 29, 1967 -- March 4, 1968
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1963
23)  Eder Jofre (1957-1976)
Bantamweight, featherweight
Record: 72-2-4 (50 KOs)
World bantamweight champion November 18, 1960 -- April 4, 1963
24)  Carlos Monzón (1963-1977)
Middleweight
Record: 87-3-9-1 (59 KOs)
Undisputed middleweight champion November 7, 1970 -- February 9, 1974; June 26, 1976 -- July 30, 1977
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1972
_vs. Rodrigo Valdes. July 30, 1977
25)  Billy Conn (1935-1948)
Light heavyweight
Record: 64-12-1 (15 KOs)
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1939

26) Evander Holyfield (1984-2011)
Light heavyweight, cruiserweight, Heavyweight
Record: 44-10-2-1 (29 KOs)
Bronze medalist at 1984 Los Angeles games
Undisputed heavyweight champion October 25, 1990 -- November 13, 1992
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1990, 1996, 1997
_vs Dwight Muhammad Qawi July 12, 1986
_vs Mike Tyson I. November 9, 1996

27) Bernard Hopkins (1988-Present)
Middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight
Record: 55-7-2-2 (32 KOs)
Undisputed middleweight champion September 29, 2001 -- July 16, 2005
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 2001

28) Jose Napoles
(1958-1975)
Welterweight, middleweight
Record: 77-7 (54 KOs)
Undisputed welterweight champion April 18, 1969 -- December 3, 1970; June 4, 1971 -- May 1975

29) Tommy Hearns (1977-2006)
Welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, cruiserweight
Record: 61-5-1 (48 KOs)
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1980, 1984

30) Larry Holmes (1973-2002)
Heavyweight
Record: 69-6-0 (44 KOs)
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1978
_ vs. Ken Norton. June 9, 1978

31) Roy Jones Jr. (1989-Present)
Middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight, cruiserweight
Record: 61-8-0 (44 KOs)
Silver medalist at 1988 Seoul Olympics
Undisputed light heavyweight champion June 5, 1999 -- September 7, 2002
BWAA Fighter of the Decade: 1990's

32) Oscar De La Hoya (1992-2008)
Super featherweight, lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight
Record: 39-6 (30 KOs)
Gold medalist at 1992 Barcelona Olympics
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1995

33) Alexis Argüello (1968-1995)
Featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight
Record: 80-8 (64 KOs)
_vs. Ruben Olivares. November 23, 1974

34) Mike Tyson (1985-2005)
Heavyweight
Record: 50-6-0-2 (44 KOs)
Undisputed heavyweight champion August 1 1987 -- February 11, 1990
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1986, 1988

35) Pascual Pérez (1952-1964)
Flyweight
Record: 84-7-1 (57 KOs)
Gold medalist at 1948 London Olympics
World flyweight champion November 26, 1954 -- April 16, 1960

36) Ike Williams (1940-1955)
Lightweight
Record: 128-24-5 (60 KOs)
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1948

37) Salvador Sánchez (1975-1982)
Bantamweight, featherweight
Record: 44-1-1 (32 KOs)

38) Kid Gavilán (1943-1958)
Welterweight
Record: 108-30-5 (28 KOs)
World welterweight champion May 18, 1951 -- August 29, 1951; February 4 1952 -- October 20, 1954
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1953

39) Dick Tiger (1952-1970)
Middleweight, light heavyweight
Record: 60-19-3 (27 KOs)
Undisputed middleweight champion August 10, 1963 -- December 12, 1963; October 21, 1965 -- April 25, 1966
Undisputed light heavyweight champion December 16, 1966 -- May 24, 1968
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1962, 1966

40) Carmen Basilio (1948-1961)
Welterweight, middleweight
Record: 56-16-7 (27 KOs)
World welterweight champion June 10, 1955 -- March 14, 1956; September 12, 1956 -- February 22, 1957
World middleweight champion September 23, 1957 -- March 25, 1958
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1955, 1957
vs. Sugar Ray Robinson. September 23, 1957
vs. Johnny Saxton II. September 12, 1956

41) Aaron Pryor (1976-1990)
Light welterweight
Record: 39-1 (35 KOs)
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1982
_vs. Alexis Arguello I. November 12, 1982
_vs. Alexis Arguello II. September 9, 1983

42) Charley Burley (1936-1950)
Welterweight, middleweight
Record: 83-12-2-1 (50 KOs)

43) Fighting Harada (1960-1970)
Bantamweight
Record: 55-7-0 (22 KOs)
World flyweight champion October 10, 1962 -- January 12, 1963

44) Lennox Lewis (1989-2003)
Heavyweight
Record: 41-2-1 (32 KOs)
Gold medalist as 1988 Seoul Olympics
Undisputed heavyweight champion November 13, 1999 -- April 29, 2000
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1999

45) Marco Antonio Barrera (1989-2011)
Junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight
Record: 67-7-0-1 (44 KOs)
_vs. Érik Morales III. November 27, 2004

46) Érik Morales (1993-2012)
Super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight
Record: 52-9 (36 KOs)
_vs. Marco Antonio Barrera I. February 19, 2000
_vs. Paulie Ayala. November 16, 2002

47) Manuel Ortiz (1938-1955)
Lightweight, featherweight, bantamweight
Record: 99-28-3 (53 KOs)
World bantamweight champion August 7, 1942 -- January 6, 1947; March 11, 1947 -- May 31, 1950

48) Michael Spinks (1977-1988)
Heavyweight, light heavyweight
Record: 31-1-0 (21 KOs)
Gold medalist at 1976 Montreal Olympics
Undisputed light heavyweight champion March 18, 1983 -- September 21 1985
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1976

49) Bob Foster (1961-1978)
Light heavyweight
Record: 56-8-1 (46 KOs)
Undisputed light heavyweight champion April 7, 1968 -- December 9, 1970; April 7, 1972 -- September 16, 1974
BWAA Fighter of the Year: 1968

50) Beau Jack (1940-1958)
Lightweight
Record: 88-24-5 (43 KOs)


Bubble: Carlos Zarate, Wilfredo Gomez, Miguel Canto, Wilfred Benitez, Sonny Liston
Written by Ben Pogany
Ok, so straight off the bat, that title is grossly misleading.  What I should have said is "The 50 Greatest Artists Whose Solo Careers Rival the Success of the Groups That Brought Them To Prominence", but frankly, that doesn't have quite the same ring to it (nor would it fit in the allotted space.)  In short, you won't being seeing the likes of Elvis or Dylan in the following rankings; these artists all had to begin their careers as a member of a well-known group before going solo.  Without further adieu, here are the 50 greatest encore acts since "Freebird".
  1. Michael Jackson (Jackson 5) It seems trite to just come right out and say that Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, but heck, if the shoe fits...  Ingratiating himself into the hearts of millions at the ripe old age of six, Michael would maintain his reign atop the entertainment universe for nearly half a century thereafter.
  2. Eric Clapton (The Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Derek and the Dominos, Cream, Blind Faith) "Clapton is God."  So proclaimed a graffiti scrawled wall in Islington, London in 1967, and when it comes to guitar mastery, Clapton is indeed divine.  Eric Clapton was first introduced to the world playing for The Yardbirds, and from there he would never look back, hopping from one legendary group to the next before embarking on an independent career in the 1970s.  For all his efforts, Clapton would go on to achieve the distinction of being the only musician to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times.
  3. James Brown (The Famous Flames) Long overlooked as the mere backing group to this legendary showman, the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame finally came to its senses in 2012, taking the rare step to retroactively induct this vocal outfit into their ranks. Though it was clearly Brown that would come to put the "famous" in Famous Flames, way back in 1953 he was just another one of the guys with dreams of making the big time.  Brown in fact joined the group as a drummer before finding his way to the front of the stage, where he would remain for nearly fifty years until his death in 2006.
  4. 2Pac (Digital Underground) Initially getting his foot in the door as a roadie and backup "humpty" dancer for the Digital Underground, Tupac finally got a shot on the mic in "Same Song," appearing on the soundtrack to Dan Aykroyd's overwhelmingly horrific 1991 film Nothing But Trouble.  The late MC stuck around for one more album before dropping the now classic 2Pacalypse Now and the rest is history.
  5. Paul Simon (Simon and Garfunkel) Great as they were together, it was always clear that Art was the Robin to Simon's Batman.  So it went that Simon eventually had to go to do his own thing, penning such masterpieces as There Goes Rhymin' Simon and Graceland in the years that followed.  A true songwriting genius, he continues to enchant audiences from Central Park to Wembley.
  6. Paul McCartney (The Beatles) Ok so yea, if we're strictly restricting this list to artists whose solo careers outshone or at least rivaled the bands that brought them to prominence, it's pretty much impossible to include any Beatle.  The Beatles were, and remain, the most successful, influential and popular band of all time, so essentially that bar could not possibly be any higher to surpass.  However, for Paul, John, and George, we just have to make some exceptions.  True masters of their craft, it proved only natural that they would carry that brilliance over to their subsequent solo careers, and did they ever.  Not even counting his work with Wings, Paul released a ridiculous 20 gold and platinum albums.  Were it not for the fact that he was always in the shadow of his Fab Four days, it would be hard to deny that McCartney rivals only MJ for the most successful solo artist of all time.
  7. John Lennon (The Beatles) Post Beatles, John Lennon evolved into perhaps the most socially significant artist of the seventies, becoming almost a figurehead for the anti-war movement.  So compelling was his message, he was actually subject to deportation efforts by President Nixon.  Though his life would be tragically be cut short just ten years after his departure from the band that made him a legend, his all too short solo career further cemented his status as a true revolutionary of his time.
  8. Marvin Gaye (The New Moonglows) A pioneering R&B and doo-wop group, The Moonglows would descend into turmoil by the late 1950's as power struggles among lead singers Harvey Fuqua and Bobby Lester made any further collaboration all but an impossibility. The death-knell came when Fuqua discovered a nineteen-year-old talent named Marvin Gaye, prompting him to ditch his old bandmates and absorb Gaye's little-known Marquees to form what he would dub The New Moonglows in 1959.  Now awarded the platform he'd been long searching for, Gaye soon inked a deal Motown, the label that would ultimately turn him into the crown prince of soul.
  9. Curtis Mayfield (The Impressions)
  10. Diana Ross (The Supremes) Once named the female entertainer of the century by Billboard Magazine, Ross has won just about every award but a Pulitzer since she first entered the public eye in 1959.  With a career eighteen #1 records to her name, she has lead the way in everything from classic doo-wop to disco to modern pop.
  11. Dr. Dre (World Class Wreckin' Crew, NWA) When you really stop and think about it, is there anyone who had has more impact upon the entire course of hip hop than Dr. Dre?  Sure he's no Pac behind the mic, but the guy has literally had his hand in almost ever major trend in the history of the genre.  His illustrious career began as a member of the World Class Wreckin' Crew, a mid-eighties electro-rap group who, though less well known than many of their contemporaries, were every bit a part of that old school vanguard that helped shape the infant genre (Does it get any more old school than this get-up?) With N.W.A., he was the backbone of the group that introduced gangsta rap to the masses, both shocking and terrifying middle America with their raw, unapologetic treatise on life in South Central L.A.  With The Chronic, he refined and perfected the West Coast sound, while at the same time launching the prolific career of Snoop Dogg.  Years later, he would do the same for Eminem and 50 Cent, updating his world class beat-making for a new generation of hip hop fans.  Producing classic tracks for his proteges on albums such as The Slim Shady LP and Get Rich or Die Tryin', he would soon pour those same efforts into his own record, releasing the phenomenal Chronic 2001 that now featured songs suited more for the club than the low-rider.  His supposed magnum opus Detox continues to elude consummation after eleven painstaking years, but when it does, we can only assume that it will only further affirm the unrivaled legacy of this tremendous hip hop trendsetter.
  12. Sam Cooke (The Soul Stirrers) Forming all the way back in the mid-1920's, the gospel-based Soul Stirrers would not add the talents of Sam Cooke until well into their third decade.  Tasked with the daunting burden of having to replace lead singer R.H. Harris in 1950, Cooke more than rose to the challenge, spurring the Stirrers on to even greater heights with hits like "Jesus Gave Me Water" and "Peace in the Valley." In 1957, Cooke struck out on his own, moving from gospel to a more secularized form of soul music.  Among his classic soul standards, he would record one of the seminal protest songs of the civil rights movement in "A Change is Gonna Come."
  13. Neil Young (Buffalo Springfield)
  14. Tina Turner (Ike and Tina Turner)
  15. Justin Timberlake (N'Sync) When your initial group sells 28 million records, some might say you've hit your peak.  When that group happens to be N'Sync, others might insist that there's no where to go but up. Nowadays, its hard to deny the former teen idol his just dues, both as a legitimate music producer and SNL revelation.
  16. Janis Joplin (Big Brother & the Holding Company)
  17. George Harrison (The Beatles)
  18. Beyoncé (Destiny's Child)
  19. Van Morisson (Them) In truth, when compiling this list, I myself had no idea Van Morisson first broke out with a group, nor had I any idea who that group was.  After an exhaustive search (ok, so I Wikipedia'd him), I determined that Them had indeed existed for two years in the mid-sixties, and even had a handful of charting singles (go figure).  I can only imagine they likely pailed in comparison to classics like "Brown-Eyed Girl", "Moondance", and "Domino," making Van among the artists on this list who put the farthest distance between his previous and subsequent solo career.
  20. George Michael (Wham!) On second thought, let's put George Michael right up there with Morisson for people whose solo status truly dwarfed that of their initial group, albeit the fact that Wham! is considerably more well know than those other guys (what was their name again?).  Seriously, who doesn't know all the words to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go?" (Be honest)  Michael dropped the duo after four years, and only went on to sell another 75 million records.  Though he will perhaps always be remembered for that infamous bathroom incident, George Michael has been a true titan of the industry for over a generation.
  21. Peter Gabriel (Genesis) Back when MTV actually meant music television, Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" practically played on repeat.  It remains the most played video in the history of the station.
  22. Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath) When you get fired from Black Sabbath for doing too much drugs, you know you're doing one whole hell of a lot of drugs.  Replaced by Ronnie James Dio in 1979, The Prince of Darkness didn't miss a beat, venturing into even darker waters with hard rock standards like Blizzard of Ozz and Bark at the Moon.  40 years, 11 albums, a bat head, and 1 weirdly captivating reality show later, Ozzy continues to remain (somehow) alive and prospering.
  23. Jeff Beck (The Yardbirds) Kind of crazy to think that three of the top five or six guitarists of all time played for the same band, but that's exactly how stacked the Yardbirds were.  Of course, it was only a matter of time before that talent became to large for one band to contain.  Jimmy Page would land himself a gig with Led Zeppelin, Clapton went off to play with John Mayall, and Jeff Beck would form his own supergroup of sorts, The Jeff Beck Group, which featured our #29 man Rod Stewart and current Stones' bassist Ronnie Wood.  Beck would release his first solo album in 1975 and an eleventh in 2010, all showcases of unadulterated guitar resplendency.
  24. Phil Collins (Flaming Youth, Genesis) Along with Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, Collins is one of only three artists to have sold over 100 million albums both individually and as part of a group.
  25. Smokey Robinson (The Miracles)
  26. Kenny Rodgers (The First Edition) Before he was The Gambler, Kenny Rogers was a little-known bassist and singer for a psychedelia-leaning rock group called The First Edition, a gig he would remain with for almost a decade.  They would peak with the 1967 release of "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)". (Say friend, ya got any more a that good sarsaparilla?)
  27. Lionel Ritchie (The Commodores) Please help
  28. Frank Zappa (The Mothers of Invention)
  29. Rod Stewart (The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces) When the Faces entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this past April, Stewart joined Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Curtis Mayfield, Paul McCartney, Clyde McPhatter, Paul Simon, and Neil Young as the only artists to be inducted both individually and as a member of a group.
  30. Ice Cube (NWA)
  31. Lou Reed (The Velvet Underground) Like the Beatles clan, its hard to really contend that Lou Reed in any way approached the legacy of The Velvet Underground.  Still, for sheer musical brilliance, I can't in good conscience leave Lou off this list.  Reed released over twenty albums after his departure from the Underground, continuing to push the boundaries and confound critics (the guy effin' released a double album of feedback!) well into the 21st century.
  32. Bobby Womack (Valentinos)
  33. Clyde McPhatter (Billy Ward & the Dominos, The Drifters)
  34. Morrissey (The Smiths)
  35. Sting (The Police)
  36. Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mack)
  37. Billy Idol (Generation X)
  38. Joe Walsh (James Gang)
  39. Peter Tosh (The Wailers)
  40. Elliott Smith (Heatmiser) The tenth person on this list to die young (see: Jackson, Pac, Lennon, Cooke, Gaye, Joplin, Zappa, Tosh, and McPhatter), Smith went out in just about the most unfathomably horrific way possible- by stabbing himself through the heart.  Still, his haunting, angst-laden melodies live on as testaments to the power of the human voice.
  41. Ted Nugent (The Amboy Dukes) While you might not agree with his politics, its hard to deny the stranglehold The Motor City Madman has had on rock audiences the past 35 years.  With a righteous 30 million albums sold to date, Nugent continues to be a fixture of concert halls, NRA conventions, and Glenn Beck rallies everywhere.  
  42. Wyclef Jean (The Fugees)
  43. Lauren Hill (The Fugees) Ok, so she's really only released a single studio album before essentially going into hiding, but when that album ends up being a modern classic of its genre, you have to get at least a nod with the 43rd spot in our countdown.
  44. Peter Frampton (The Herd, Humble Pie) Gotta love that talk box...
  45. George Clinton (Parliament/Funkadelic)
  46. Lil Wayne (Hot Boys)
  47. John Fogerty (Creedance Clearwater Revival) After a less than amicable break-up with CCR in 1972, Fogerty went on to become the only artist to ever be accused of plagiarizing himself.
  48. Bobby Brown (New Edition)
  49. Busta Rhymes (Leaders of the New School) In one of the more awkward music moments to be captured on film, in 1993 the world got to witness a hip hop group breaking up in real time, as tensions over Busta's monopolization of the spotlight came to a head right in middle of an episode of Yo! MTV Raps.
  50. Steve Winwood (The Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith, Traffic)
Other notable solo careers:
Don Henley (The Eagles), KRS One (Boogie Down Productions), Glen Frey (The Eagles,) David Crosby (The Byrds, Crosby Still & Nash), Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music), Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Brian Eno (Roxy Music), David Byrne (The Talking Heads), Bootsy Collins (Parliament/Funkadelic), Les Claypool (Primus), Method Man (Wu-Tang), RZA (Wu-Tang), GZA (Wu-Tang), Raekwon (Wu-Tang), Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang), Ol' Dirty Bastard (Wu-Tang), Gwen Stefani (No Doubt), Fergie (Black Eyed-Peas), Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs), Everlast (House of Pain), Rob Zombie (White Zombie), Bjork (The Sugarcubes), Eric Burdon (The Animals, War), David Johansen aka Buster Poindexter (New York Dolls), Rick Springfield (Zoot), Linda Ronstadt (The Stone Poneys)
Written by Ben Pogany
1) Celtics- Founded in 1946. 17 championships and 21 conference titles.
Last Championship: 2008 (1 this century)
All-Time Winning %: .590 (3rd)
All-Time Wins: 3,133 (2nd)
Playoff Appearances: 52 (2nd)
Hall of Famers: 31
Defining Voice: Johnny Most
Defining Coach: Red Auerbach
Legends: Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Paul Pierce
2) Lakers- Founded in 1946. Formerly the Detroit Gems and then the Minneapolis Lakers (Hence the name Lakers from the "Land of 10,000 Lakes.") 16 championships and 31 conference titles.
Last Championship: 2010 (6 this century)
All-Time Winning %: .614 (1st)
All-Time Wins: 3,197 (1st)
Playoff Appearances: 60 (1st)
Hall of Famers: 21
Defining Voice: Chick Hearn
Defining Coach: Phil Jackson
Legends: Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Elgin Baylor
3) Bulls- Founded in 1966. 6 championships and 6 conference titles.
Last Championship: 1998
All-Time Winning %: .520 (10th)
All-Time Wins: 2,023 (12th)
Playoff Appearances: 34 (tied for 8th)
Hall of Famers: 9
Defining Voice: Johnny Kerr
Defining Coach: Phil Jackson
Legends: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Bob Love, Artis Gilmore, Derrick Rose
4) Spurs- Founded in 1967 as the Dallas Chaparrals (Chaparral refers to a type of shrub land).  Became Texas Chaparrals in 1970 before taking present name in 1973. 5 championships and 6 conference titles.
Last Championship: 2014 (4 this century)
All-Time Winning %: .593 (2nd)
All-Time Wins: 2,262 (9th)
Playoff Appearances: 43 (tied for 5th)
Hall of Famers: 7
Defining Voice: Terry Stembridge
Defining Coach: Gregg Popovich
Legends: Tim Duncan, George Gervin, David Robinson, Tony Parker, Avery Johnson
5) 76ers- Founded in 1939 as the Syracuse Reds before changing their name to the Nationals in 1946.  They took their present title in 1963, after the year the Declaration of Independence was signed.  3 championships and 9 conference titles.
Last Championship: 1983
All-Time Winning %: .525 (8th)
All-Time Wins: 2,698 (3rd)
Playoff Appearances: 47 (3rd)
Hall of Famers: 14
Defining Voice: Marc Zumoff
Defining Coach: Billy Cunningham
Legends: Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson, Hal Greer, Dolph Shayes
6) Pistons- Founded in 1941 as the Fort Wayne Pistons. 3 NBA championships and 7 conference titles.
Last Championship: 2004 (1 this century)
All-Time Winning %: .488 (19th)
All-Time Wins: 2,540 (6th)
Playoff Appearances: 40 (7th)
Hall of Famers: 16
Defining Voice: George Blaha
Defining Coach:
Chuck Daly
Legends: Isiah Thomas, Bob Lanier, Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars, Dave Bing
7) Warriors- Founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors before moving to San Francisco in 1962.  Took their present name in 1971. 4 championships and 7 conference titles.
Last Championship: 2015
All-Time Winning %: .461 (22nd)
All-Time Wins: 2,450 (7th)
Playoff Appearances: 31 (tied for 11)
Hall of Famers: 14
Defining Voice: Tim Roye
Defining Coach: Al Attles
Legends: Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, Chris Mullin, Steph Curry, Nate Thurmond, Paul Arizin
8) Knicks- Founded in 1946. 2 championships and 8 conference titles
Knicks is short for knickerbockers, referring to a men's trouser popular in New York City in the early 20th century.
Last Championship: 1973
All-Time Winning %: .499 (17th)
All-Time Wins: 2,652 (4th)
Playoff Appearances: 42 (tied for 5th)
Hall of Famers: 17
Defining Voice: Marv Albert
Defining Coach: Red Holzman
Legends: Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Patrick Ewing, Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere
9) Heat- Founded in 1989.  3 Championships and 5 Conference titles.
Last Championship: 2013 (3 this century)
All-Time Winning %: .521 (9th)
All -Time Wins: 1,085 (24th)
Playoff Appearances: 18 (23rd)
Hall of Famers: 1
Defining Voice: Tony Fiorentino
Defining Coach: Erik Spoelstra
Legends: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway
10)
Rockets- Founded in 1967 as the San Diego Rockets before moving to Houston in 1971. 2 championships and 4 conference titles.
Last Championship: 1995
All-Time Winning %: .514 (11th)
All-Time Wins: 1,955 (13th)
Playoff Appearances: 29 (15th)
Hall of Famers: 10
Defining Voice: Bill Worrell
Defining Coach: Rudy Tomjanovich
Legends: Hakeem Olajuwon, Moses Malone, Clyde Drexler, Calvin Murphy, Elvin Hayes


Quick Facts:
--The Bobcats trail all teams with a .364 winning percentage.
--The Clippers are by far the most career games under 500 with an all-time record of 1360-2200.
--The Kings suffer the longest championship drought in the league, having not won a title since the 1950-51 season (as the then Rochester Royals).
--Five teams were established prior to the '89 expansion and have yet to win a title: the Nuggets, Jazz, Suns, Cavs, and Clippers.
--Four teams have an all-time winning record and have yet to win a championship: the Suns (.553), Jazz (.537), Magic (.500), and Nuggets (.502).
--Four teams remain from the ABA: the Spurs, Pacers, Nuggets, and Nets.
--The Knicks and Celtics are the only two teams present at the NBA's founding to remain in their original city.  Teams that have retained both their original name and city since their founding include the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors, and Charlotte Bobcats.
Written by Ben Pogany
Some say winning isn't everything.  And that's probably true; after all, there is that next big contract to consider.  But for these 35, winning wasn't just everything, for much of their careers it was the only thing.
  1. Bill Russell--2 college championships with the University of San Fran (which included a 55-game win streak at one point), an Olympic gold medal, and 11 NBA championships in 13 years.  Just insane.
  2. Michael Phelps--28 Olympic medals including 23 golds make Phelps the most decorated Olympian of all time.
  3. Rocky Marciano--Only heavyweight to retire undefeated at 49-0.  Not bad for a white guy from Brockton, MA.
  4. Jack Nicklaus--18 majors including 4 US Open wins, and 6 green jackets. with 73 PGA Tour wins overall.
  5. Tiger Woods--14 majors, 78 PGA tour wins, and 39 European tour wins.
  6. Yogi Berra- 10 World Series rings as a player and another 3 as a coach.
  7. Henri Richard--Nicknamed "The Pocket-Rocket" (I kid you not), Richard won 11 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens in his 20-year NHL career..
  8. Joe Dimaggio--9-time World Series champion and 1 Marylin Monroe.
  9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-6-time NBA champion, 3-time college champ with UCLA (over which they went 88-2), and captain of a Power Memorial High School basketball team that won 71 straight games and 3 New York City Catholic championships.
  10. Roger Federer--18 Grand Slams and 89 career titles.
  11. Pele--Only soccer player to be a part of 3 World Cup-winning teams.  Pele also led his original club team, Santos, to 10 championships in the Campeonato Paulinista league.  And let us not forget his 1977 North American Soccer League championship with the New York Cosmos.
  12. Michael Jordan--6 championships in 8 years, 2 gold medals, and 1 NCAA championship with the Tarheels.
  13. Tom Brady- 5 Super Bowls, 2 league MVPs, 12 division titles and a quarterback high 208 regular + postseason victories.
  14. Pete Sampras--64 career titles including 14 Slams.
  15. Alexander Karelin--Though most remembered here in America for his stunning defeat at the hands of Rulon Gardner, "Alexander The Great" went undefeated in international Greco-Roman wrestling competition for thirteen years, the last six of which he didn't even give up a single point.
  16. Otto Graham-- Took the Cleveland Browns to the championship game in every one of the ten years he played, winning seven and going 105-17-4 over that span. He also won a championship playing professional hoops with the Rochester Royals.
  17. Martina Navratilova-- 167 singles and 177 doubles career titles (both records for men or women) Her singles career includes 9 Wimbledons and 4 US Opens.
  18. Lance Armstrong--He might be doper, but he's the winningest doper there ever was.
  19. Mickey Mantle--7 World Series rings in 12 years and a 1956 Triple Crown.
  20. Larissa Latynina--The Soviet gymnast has held the all-time Olympic medal record for nearly a half century with 18, including nine golds.
  21. Carl Lewis--9 Olympic golds and 8 world championship golds.  Side note: Lewis was drafted by both the NBA and NFL, though never played a game for either.
  22. Kelly Slater--The most decorated surfer of all time has won a record 11 ASP World Championships, his titles spanning an incredible eighteen years from age 20 to 38.
  23. Edwin Moses-- Won an astounding 122 consecutive races (107 finals), 2 Olympic golds, and 2 World Championship golds.
  24. Robert Horry--7-time NBA champion with 3 different teams.
  25. John Havlicek-- 8-time NBA champion and a NCAA title.
  26. Cael Sanderson-- Wrested to an incredible record of 159-0 with 4 consecutive NCAA titles for Iowa St before capturing gold in Athens 2004.
  27. Bill Dickey-- 8-time World Series Champ.
  28. Magic Johnson--5-time NBA champion, 1 gold medal, and enough money to makes AIDS his bitch.
  29. Bart Starr--5-time Super Bowl champion
  30. Joe Montana--4-time Super Bowl champion and an NCAA national title at Notre Dame.
  31. Lou Gehrig--6-time World Series champion and the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.
  32. Kobe Bryant--5-NBA championships (one more than Shaq) and 2 gold medals.
  33. Shaquille O'Neal--- 4-time NBA champion, 6 crappy albums and 11 crappy movies (see: Kazaam)   And he beat up Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya.
  34. Babe Ruth--7 World Series trophies with both the Sox and Yankees.
  35. Derek Jeter--5-time World Series champion.

Honorable Mentions: Mark Spitz, Terry Bradshaw, Paula Newby-Frasier, Bjorn Daehlie, Nikolai Andrianov, Sam Jones, Sean White, Bjorn Borg, Tom Heinsohn, Bob Cousy, Jimmy Conners, Ivan Lendi, Ben Hogan, Paavo Nurvi, Ole Einar Bjorndalen, Lidiya Skoblikova, Sam Snead, Walter Hagan, Lynn Swann, Andre Agassi, Bode Miller, Tony Hawk, Chris Evert, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, Mariano Rivera, Rafael Nadal, Edoardo Mangiarotti, Steffi Graff.

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Written by Ben Pogany
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  1. Jim Thorpe- His Indian name translates to Bright Path, and in every one of the countless paths Thorpe took over his legendary career, he shone with a brightness that few could match.  Gold medals in pentathlon and decathlon, Hall of Fame honors in both college and pro football, and stints playing professional baseball and basketball. Heck, Thorpe even won the 1912 inter-collegiate ballroom dancing championship.  We'll always be left to wonder how Thorpe would have fared among today's athletes, but with his unprecedented versatility and all-around dominance of his era, it's almost impossible to say he's anything but the number one multi-sport athlete of all time.

  2. Bo Jackson- Oh, what could have been.  A Heisman Trophy winner out of Auburn, Bo electrified NFL scouts right out of the gates by running an unheard of 4.12 40-yard dash at the combine.  Drafted by Tampa Bay as the first pick of the 1986 NFL Draft, Vincent Edward Jackson instead went to play for the Kansas City Royals and in doing so cost Tampa their rights to him.  Seeing his potential, Al Davis would subsequently re-draft Jackson despite the baseball career, signing him to a lucrative deal that allowed him to continue playing in the MLB while joining the Raiders in the offseason. Just 29 days into his NFL career, Bo exploded for an astonishing 221-yard rushing performance on Monday Night Football.  Tragically, barely four years later a hit by Kevin Walker in the 1990 playoffs ravaged his hip, effectively ending what was quickly proving to be one of the most promising careers in professional sports history.  Bo would struggle through another couple of years of baseball, but with his legendary speed gone, his days of dominance were clearly behind him.

  3. Babe Didrikson Zaharias- Though lacking the notoriety of her male namesake, BDZ is widely considered to be the greatest female athlete to ever walk the planet.  The female Bambino won gold medals in track and field, achieved All-American status as a basketball player, barnstormed with the local baseball team, and was even reported to bowl an average of 170.  Capping it all off was her legendary golf career, in which she positively dominated her peers to win every tournament in existence at the time including 10 LPGA majors and 82 tourneys overall.  Damn...

  4. Deion Sanders- Prime Time was a part time outfielder and an all-time cornerback, collecting rings for both the World Series and Superbowl.

  5. Jim Brown- In addition to being just about the greatest football player to ever step on the gridiron, Brown holds a place in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, scoring 43 goals in 10 games in his All-American senior season at Syracuse.

  6. Lionel Conacher- Though that name might not ring a bell to many Americans, Conacher was Mr. Canada in the early to mid 20th century.  Conacher won championships in hockey, baseball, boxing, wresting, and lacrosse.  (Sadly, his professional football efforts fell short of a title.)  He is a member of four different halls of fame and even won a seat on the House of Commons after he hung up the cleats, skates, and gloves.
  7. Bob Hayes- Before Hayes was a Hall of Fame receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, he was winning gold medals in Tokyo as a world record-holding sprinter.  As a result, he is the only person who can wear a Super Bowl ring on his finger and Olympic gold around his neck without going on Ebay.

  8. Charlie Ward- Ward entered the public consciousness in 1993, quarterbacking his Florida St Seminoles to a national championship and along the way capturing just about every honor a collegiate football player can win, including, of course, the Heisman.  Though not even playing baseball in college, he was drafted as a pitcher by the Milwaukee Brewers.  Upset that he wasn't taken in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft, Ward instead opted to go play for the New York Knicks, who had selected him 26th in the NBA Draft of the same year. Ward played 11 years in the NBA before being forced to retire due to injuries in 2005.

  9. Otto Graham- Arguably the greatest quarterback to ever strap on a pair of cleats, Otto would go on to win 11 championships in 11 years, 10 with the Cleveland Browns and another with the Rochester Royals of the National Basketball League.

  10. Gene Conley- While Deion is the only person to have won both a World Series and a Super Bowl, Conley can boast being the only person to win a World Series and an NBA Championship.  Conley pitched 11 seasons in the MLB, compiling 91 wins and a 3.82 ERA for four different clubs.  He also concurrently played in the NBA for six seasons, racking up three championships with the Russell-led Celtics.

  11. Dave Winfield- Playing hoops for the Minnesota Golden Gophers (for which he would help lead to a conference title), his coach Bill Musselman later called Winfield the greatest rebounder he'd ever coached, quite a distinction considering Musselman would coach for over thirty years, nearly half of which time would be on the professional level. Drafted by all four major professional sports leagues, Winfield earned his stripes in baseball, appearing in 12 All-Star games and capturing 7 Gold Gloves.  He ended his career a member of both the prestigious 3000-hit club, and the even more prestigious Baseball Hall of Fame.

  12. Hobey Baker-A pioneering amateur athlete of the early 20th Century until his untimely death in a plane crash at just 26, Baker had since been honored by both the College Football and Hockey Hall of Fames, the only person to ever do so.

  13. Danny Ainge- Long before he ran operations for the Celtics, Danny dominated the high school sports world, and is still the only person to win first team All-American honors in basketball, baseball, and football. Ainge was drafted out of college by the Toronto Blue Jays, and kicked things off with a bang, where he would hit his first home run at 20 years, 77 days, a record that survives to this day as the youngest Jay to go yard. After a mediocre three years in Toronto, he was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1981, where he would contribute to two championships.  Over a fourteen year NBA career, Ainge finished with an impressive 11,964 points and 4,199 assists.
  14. Herschel Walker- A physical specimen even at the ripe old age of 50, Herschel recently made waves in the MMA community, putting his 5th-degree black belt in Taekwondo to use by clobbering his first two opponents in Strikeforce. More importantly, the former Heisman Trophy winner currently holds the NFL's eighth spot for total combined yards, though had he not spent the early part of his career in the ill-fated USFL, he may very well have finished #1.  Herschel was even a member of the 1992 Olympic bobsled team (seriously), with which he finished seventh.

  15. Dick Groat- Best known for his prolific career as an MVP shortstop, in which he accumulated two rings and over 2000 hits, Groat began his athletic career as a Collegiate Hall of Fame guard at Duke.  A two-time All-American, his #10 jersey would be the first ever retired by the school.  Groat was drafted 3rd overall by the Pistons, but he would play only one year in the NBA before being called away to military service.  When he returned home, he opted to pick up the bat instead and the rest is history.

  16. Brian Jordan- Jordan spent two years as an NFL safety for the Atlanta Falcons before jumping to baseball, where he would go on to become a solid contributor to the Cardinals, Braves, Dodgers and Rangers en route to 184 career home runs and a .282 AVG.

  17. Chuck Conners- Our third Celtic on this list is probably best known for playing the lead man on the 1960's hit western series The Rifleman.  However, Conners found time early on to play for both the Celtics and Dodgers, and was even drafted by the Chicago Bears.
  18. Clara Hughes- Clara won Olympic golds in both speed skating and cycling.

  19. Dave Debusschere- Debusschere pitched a year for the Chicago White Sox (finishing with a 2.90 ERA) before becoming an 8-time All-Star, 2-time champion, Hall of Fame power forward for the Pistons and Knicks.

  20. Stephen Neal- Though best known as a three-time champion guard for the New England Patriots, Neal compiled quite the resume as an amateur wrestler, including posting a 151-10 record at Cal St Bakersfield (in which he won his second title victory against now UFC villain Brock Lesner).  He would go on to win both a Pan American Championship and a World Championship en route to being named the best wrestler in the world in 1999.

  21. Dave Logan- Logan was drafted by the NBA, MLB, and NFL before embarking on a successful 9-year career at wideout for the Browns and Broncos.
  22. Wilt Chamberlain- Perhaps the world leader in ass-tappage, the Stilt is enshrined in both the basketball and volleyball halls of fame.

  23. Jackie Robinson- The Dodger revolutionary graduated UCLA as the first person in school history to letter in four sports (baseball, basketball, football, and track and field). Jackie would play professional football in the Pacific Coast League before his momentous entrance into Major League Baseball in 1947.

  24. DJ Dozier- Dozier played five seasons as running back in the NFL before jumping over to the Mets for a single season in 1992.

  25. Willie Gault- An 11-year receiver for the Bears and Raiders, Gault was also a member of the Olympic track and bobsled teams that boycotted the 1980 Moscow games.

 

------------------------------------------Honorable Mentions:-------------------------------------------
Joe Mauer- Named the national high school player of the year in both baseball and football before ultimately claiming a cool $184 million contract to catch for the Twins. Tim Duncan (record-setting competitive swimmer in his native Virgin Islands before becoming one of the most celebrated power forwards of all time)Antonio Gates- (one of the greatest tight ends of past last decade, Antonio first made headlines by taking his Kent State Golden Flashes to the Elite Eight in 2002), Allen Iverson (named top basketball and football player in Virginia as a high school junior), Michael Jordan (minor league baseball player for the Birmingham Barons and even found time to play a little basketball for some team called the Bulls), Hakeem Olajuwon (soccer and basketball), Mark Hendrickson (basketball and baseball), Nathaniel Clifton (played baseball in the Negro leagues before becoming the first black athlete to win an NBA contract), Scott Burrell (first athlete to ever be drafted in the first round in both the NBA and MLB), Ron Reed (baseball and basketball), Steve Hamilton (baseball and basketball), John Elway (originally played minor league ball for the Yankees and Royals), Dan Marino (drafted by Kansas City Royals), Cotton Nash (baseball and basketball), Ed "Too Tall" Jones (took a brief hiatus from the NFL to enter professional boxing, compiling a record of 6-0 including the knockout of future heavyweight champ of Mexico Fernando Montes), Frank Baumholtz (baseball and basketball), Dick Ricketts (baseball and basketball), Marion Jones (track, basketball, and professional doping), Howie Schultz (baseball and basketball) Shaun White (snowboarding and skateboarding).
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Last Updated (Monday, 31 December 2012 15:41) Written by Ben Pogany
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1)  USA- 2662 total medals   (1067 golds) 
---Summer: 2408   (first overall)
---Winter: 254    (second overall)
Historically dominant sports: Track and Field (781 medals, more than that of the next five countries combined!), Swimming (518), Diving (132), Basketball (24, 19 of which were gold), Figure Skating (47),  Snowboarding (19), Shooting (107), Boxing (108), Freestyle Skiing (14), Rowing (87)
Greatest Olympians: Michael Phelps (swimming), Jesse Owens (athletics), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (long jump, heptathlon), Jim Thorpe (pentathlon, decathlon), Carl Lewis (athletics), Edwin Moses (hurdles), Cassius Clay (boxing), Babe Didrikson (track and field), Mark Spitz (swimming), Rafer Johnson (decathlon), Greg Louganis (diving), Eric Heiden (speed skating), Al Oerter (discus), Bonnie Blair (speed skating), Michael Johnson (sprinting), Florence Griffith-Joyner (track), Bob Mathias (decathlon), Bob Beamon (long jump), Dan O'Brien (decathlon), Wilma Rudolph (track), Ray Ewry (track and field), Apolo Anton Ohno (speed skating), Matthew Biondi (swimming), Bruce Jenner (decathlon), Mary Lou Retton (gymnastics), Jenny Thompson (swimming) Dara Torres (swimming), Dick Fosbury (high jump), Johnny Weismuller (swimming).
---London 2012 medal count: 104 (46 gold)
---2012's top performers: Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, men and women's basketball, women's soccer, Gabby Douglas and the women's gymnastics team, Felix Allyson, Sanya Richards-Ross, women's beach volleyball, Allison Schmitt, Dana Volmer, women's 4x100 and 400 relay and 4x100 medley relay, Serena Williams, Ashton Eaton, Ryan Lochte, David Boudia, Kimberly Rhode, women's water polo, men's 4x100 and 200 freestyle relay
2)  Soviet Union- 1204 total medals   (473 golds)
---Summer: 1010   (second overall)
---Winter: 194   (fifth overall)
Historically dominant sports: Gymnastics (193), Volleyball (12), Weightlifting (62)
Greatest Olympians: Larisa Latynina (gymnastics), Olga Korbut (gymnastics), Nikolai Andrianov (gymnastics), Boris Shakhlin (gymnastics), Lidia Skoblikova (speed skating), Irina Rodnina (figure skating), Dmitry Bilozerchev (gymnastics), Vladislav Tretyak (hockey goalie), Nellie Kim (gymnastics), Pavel Lednyov (modern pentathlon)
3)  Germany- 937 total medals   (291 golds) 
---Summer: 722   (fourth overall)
---Winter: 209   (third overall)
Historically dominant sports: Biathlon (43),  Luge (31)
Greatest Olympians: Brigit Fischer (canoeing), Claudia Pechstein (speed skating), Reiner Klimke (equestrian), Hans Günter Winkler (equestrian), Kati Wilhelm (biathlon)
---London 2012 medal count: 44 (11 golds)
---2012's top performers: Men's beach volleyball, Robert Harting, women's sprint cycling, team equestrian, men's field hockey, men's rowing
4) Great Britain-828 total medals   (251 golds) 
---Summer: 803   (third overall)
---Winter: 25   (twenty-first overall)
Historically dominant sports: Tennis (41)
Greatest Olympians: Steve Redgrave (rowing), Daley Thompson (decathlon), Sebastian Coe (track), Chris Hoy (cycling), Jayne Torvill and Christophen Dean (ice dancing), Mohamed Farah (long distance running)
---London 2012 medal count: 65 (29 golds)
---2012's top performers: Mohamed Farah, Andy Murray, Jessica Ennis, men and women's track cycling, Alistair Brownlee, Greg Rutherford, women's rowing, Bradley Wiggins, men's canoe double, Charlotte Dejardin, Chris Hoy
5)  France- 815 total medals   (248 golds)
---Summer: 721   (fifth overall)
---Winter: 156    (twelfth overall)
Historically dominant sports: Cycling (96)
Greatest Olympians: Christian d'Oriola (fencing), Jean-Claude Killy (alpine skiing), The Goitschel sisters (alpine skiing), David Douillet (judo)
---London 2012 medal count: 34 (11 golds)
---2012's top performers: Agnel Yannick and the men's 4x100 freestyle relay, men's handball, Renaud Lavillenie, Camille Moufatt, women's basketball.
6)  Italy- 679 total medals   (245 golds) 
---Summer: 571   (sixth overall)
---Winter: 109    (eleventh overall)
Greatest Olympians: Edoardo Mangiarotti (fencing), Alberto Tomba (alpine skiing), Nedo Nadi (fencing)
---London 2012 medal count: 28 (8 golds)
---2012's top performers: Men's archery, men and women's team foil, men's water polo, Elisa Di Francisca
7)  Sweden- 628 total medals   (195 golds) 
---Summer: 496   (seventh overall)
---Winter: 129    (eighth overall)
Greatest Olympians: Gert Fredriksson (canoeing), Gunde Svan (cross-country skiing), Gillis Grafström (figure skating), Sixten Jernberg (cross-country skiing), Ingemar Stenmark (alpine skiing)
---London 2012 medal count: 8 (1 gold)
---2012's top performers: Men's star sailing, Lisa Norden, men's handball
8)  East Germany- 519 total medals   (192 golds) 
---Summer: 409   (tenth overall)
---Winter: 100    (tenth overall)
Greatest Olympians: Kristin Otto (swimming), Katarina Witt (figure skating), Brigit Fischer (canoeing), Roland Matthes (swimming)
9) China- 512 total medals   (207 gold)
---Summer: 468   (tied for ninth overall)
---Winter: 44   (sixteenth overall)
Historically dominant sports: Badminton (38), Table Tennis (45)
Greatest Olympians: Guo Jingjing (diving), Wang Meng (speed skating), Wang Nan (table tennis), Li Xiaopeng (gymnastics), Wang Junxia (long-distance runner), Deng Yaping (table tennis), Gao Ling (badminton)
---London 2012 medal count: 87 (38 gold)
---2012's top performers: Men's gymnastics, Ye Shiwen, men and women's badminton, men and women's synchronized diving, Sun Yang, men and women's table tennis, Chen Ding, Kai Zhou, Ruolin Chen, Minxia Wu
10)  Hungary- 494 total medals   (169 golds)  
---Summer: 488   (eighth overall)
---Winter: 6    (thirtieth overall)
Historically dominant sports: Water Polo (15)
Greatest Olympians: Krisztina Egerszegi (swimming), Aladár Gerevich (fencing), Ágnes Keleti (gymnastics), Tamás Darnyi (swimming), András Balczó (pentathlon), László Papp (boxing), Dezső Gyarmati (water polo)
---London 2012 medal count: 17 (8 gold)
---2012's top performers: Daniel Gyurta, Aron Szilagyi, Krisztian Pars, men's and women's kayaking, Krisztian Berki, Eva Risztov
11) Russia- 488 total medals   (166 gold)
---Summer: 397    (twelfth overall)
---Winter: 91    (thirteenth overall)
Greatest Olympians: Alexander Popov (swimming), Lyubov Yegorova (cross-country skiing), Aleksandr Karelin (wrestling), Alexei Nemov (gymnastics), Dmitri Sautin (diving)
---London 2012 medal count: 82 (24 gold)
---2012's top performers: Men's volleyball, Ivan Ukhov, men and women's synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics team, Llya Zakharov, Mariya Savina, Sergey Kerdyapkin, Elena Yashmanova, Tatyana Lysenko, women's gymnastics, Anna Chicherova, Aliya Moustafina
12)  Australia- 477 total medals   (142 gold)
---Summer: 468    (tied for ninth overall)
---Winter: 9   (twenty-fifth overall)
Greatest Olympians: Ian Thorpe (swimming), Murray Rose (swimming), Dawn Fraser (swimming), Rechelle Hawkes (hockey)
---London 2012 medal count: 35 (7 gold)
---2012's top performers: Women's 4x100 freestyle relay team, Sally Pearson, Men's sailing, Anna Meares, Alicia Coutts
13)  Finland- 467 total medals   (147 gold)   
---Summer: 311   (fourteenth overall)
---Winter: 156    (sixth overall)
Greatest Olympians: Paavo Nurmi (middle and long-distance running), Ville Ritola (long-distance runner), Matti Nykänen (ski jumping), Clas Thunberg (speed skating)
---London 2012 medal count: 3 (0 gold)
---2012's top performers: Tuuli Petaja, women's sailing, Antti Ruuskanen.
14) Norway- 456 total medals   (165 gold)
---Summer: 153   (twenty-sixth overall)
---Winter: 303   (first overall)
Historically dominant sports: Nordic Combined (26),  Cross-Country Skiing (96)
Greatest Olympians: Bjørn Dæhlie (cross-country skiing), Ole Einar Bjørndalen (biathlon), Thomas Alsgaard (cross-country skiing), Kjetil André Aamodt (alpine skiing), Johann Olav Koss (speed skating), Sonja Henie (figure skating)
---London 2012 medal count: 4 (2 gold)
---2012's top performers: Women's handball, Eirik Veras Larsen
15)  Japan- 432 total medals   (139 gold)
---Summer: 395   (thirteenth overall)
---Winter: 37   (eighteenth overall)
Historically dominant sports: Judo (72), Synchronized Swimming (12)
Greatest Olympians: Sawao Kato (gymnastics), Tadahiro Nomura (judo), Akinori Nakayama (gymnastics), Mitsuo Tsukahara (gymnastics), Takashi Ono (gymnastics), Ryoko Tani (judo)
---London 2012 medal count: 38 (7 gold)
---2012's top performers: Kohei Uchimura, men's judo, men's wrestling
16) Canada- 425 total medals   (112 gold)
---Summer: 279   (sixteenth overall)
---Winter: 145   (seventh overall)
Historically dominant sports: Curling (8), Ice Hockey (18, 11 of which were golds)
Greatest Olympians: Clara Hughes (speed skating, cycling), Donovan Bailey (sprinting), Gaétan Boucher (speed skating)
---London 2012 medal count: 18 (1 gold)
---2012's top performers: Rasannagh Maclennan, men's and women's rowing
17)  Netherlands- 356 total medals   (108 gold)
---Summer: 270   (eighteenth overall)
---Winter: 86   (fourteenth overall)
Greatest Olympians: Fanny Blankers-Koen (track), Inge de Bruijn (swimming), Leontien van Moorsel (cycling)
---London 2012 medal count: 20 (6 gold)
---2012's top performers: Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Marianne Vos, women's field hockey
18) Switzerland- 329 total medals   (98 gold)
---Summer: 201   (twenty-third overall)
---Winter: 127   (ninth overall)
Historically dominant sports: Bobsledding (30)
Greatest Olympians: Vreni Schneider (alpine skiing), Georges Miez (gymnastics), Simon Ammann (ski jumping)
---London 2012 medal count: 4 (2 gold)
---2012's top performers: Nicola Spirig, Steve Guerdat
19)  Austria- 307 total medals   (80 gold)
---Summer: 106   (thirty-second overall)
---Winter: 201    (fourth overall)
Historically dominant sports: Alpine Skiing (105)
Greatest Olympians: Toni Sailer (alpine skiing), Hermann Maier (alpine skiing)
20)  Romania- 301 total medals   (88 gold)
---Summer: 300    (fifteenth overall)
---Winter: 1    (forty-first overall)
Greatest Olympians: Nadia Comăneci (gymnastics), Elisabeta Lipă (rowing), Ecaterina Szabo (gymnastics)
---London 2012 medal count: 9 (2 gold)
---2012's top performers: Sandra Raluca Izbasa, Alin George Moldoveanu
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Written by Ben Pogany

They say that those who can't do, teach.  When it comes to coaching football, however, a little on-field experience never hurt anyone.  Though the sidelines will never boast the skills of say the pregame roundtables, every once in awhile an athlete comes along who finds a way to transmit his own talents to the next generation.  Here are the former playing careers of today's NFL coaches.   

Mike Singletary (Vikings assistant)- Samurai Mike was a two-time All-American at Baylor University before being drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1981. He went on to start 172 games for the Bears during his 12-year career (second most in club history), amassing an impressive 1,488 career tackles.  One of the most frightening "Monsters of the Midway," Singletary was a seven time first team All-Pro and two time Defensive Player of the Year.  Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998, Singletary fared considerably less well on the sidelines, lasting a rough three years at the helm for the Niners from 2008-10.  He is currently an assistant for the Minnesota Vikings.
Jack Del Rio (former Jaguars coach)- The longtime Jags coach began his career as an All-American linebacker at USC, during which he would take MVP honors in the 1985 Rose Bowl. Del Rio concurrently excelled on the diamond, batting .340 and catching for a USC squad that included both a young Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson. Del Rio would be selected by the Saints in the 1985 NFL Draft, going on to play 11 years for four teams and earning All-Pro distinction in 1994. 
Mike Munchak (Titans)- Munchak was a nine time Pro-Bowl offensive guard for the Oilers, later elected to the 1980's All-Decade team.  He entered the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Ken Whisenhunt (Cardinals)- Whiz played for Georgia Tech in the early eighties, where he achieved first team All-ACC honors during his junior and senior seasons.  Drafted in the 12th round by the Atlanta Falcons, he would last four years as their tight end before stints with the Redskins and Jets.  In all, he spent 9 years playing in the NFL and almost a decade more coaching before taking the head reigns for the Cards in 2007.
Gary Kubiak (Texans)- A member of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame, Kubiak started behind center for Texas A&M before going on to have the unfortunate position of playing behind John Elway in his nine seasons with the Broncos. 
Ron Rivera (Panthers)- The Panthers head man compiled the then record for sacks and career tackles at UCLA before submitting nine years at linebacker for the one of the all time defenses in the Chicago Bears of the mid-eighties..
Jim Zorn (Chiefs Assistant)- After going undrafted from Cal Poly Pomona, Zorn became the starting QB for the Seahawks from '76-'83, becoming the second player ever inducted into the Seahawks Ring of Honor.  He spent the next three years serving as backup for the Packers, Buccaneers, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Lovie Smith (Bears)- A three-time high school state champion, Smith played college football at Tulsa, where he would garner two All-American nods at linebacker and safety.
Tom Coughlin (Giants)- Coughlin attended Syracuse University where he played running back.  In 1967, he set the school's single-season receiving record.
Sean Payton (Saints)- A journeyman in the truest sense, Payton holds the distinction of being the only athlete to ever start in five different football leagues over the course of just two years. A successful quarterback out of Eastern Illinois, Payton would go on to play in the inaugural season of the Arena Football League in 1987.  He was subsequently sold for $1,000 to the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders before landing in the NFL as a Chicago "Spare Bear" scab during the '87 player's strike.  Once normal play resumed, Payton fell to the UK Budweiser National League, where he led the Leicester Panthers to the quarterfinals in his first and only year.  However, his journey had just begun.  Payton would ultimately coach at four different colleges and three different NFL teams before finally finding a home with the New Orleans Saints in 2006.
John Fox (Broncos)- Fox was a defensive back at San Diego State under future NFL head coach Herman Edwards.
Norv Turner (Chargers)- Backed up future Hall-of-Famer Dan Fouts for the Oregon Ducks of the early seventies.
Jim Harbaugh (49ers)- An all time Michigan great, Harbaugh excelled under center for the Bears and Colts, the latter electing him to their Ring of Honor for his winning leadership of their mid-nineties clubs.  Despite his success, he is perhaps best remembered around Indianapolis as the guy Peyton Manning replaced.
John Harbaugh (Ravens)- Older brother John was a defensive back at Miami.
Chan Gailey (Bills)- Quarterback at Florida.
Pat Shurmur (Browns)- Co-captained the Rose Bowl Champion 1988 Michigan St. Spartans.
Jason Garrett (Cowboys)- Long time backup to Troy Aikmen during the mid-nineties.
Jim Caldwell (Colts)- Defensive back at Iowa.
Leslie Frazier (Vikings)- Member of the "G Crew" who spent the early '80s as a defensive back with the Bears.  Coaches Frazier, Mike Singletary, Jeff Fisher, and Ron Rivera all received rings as players from the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Bears.
Jim Schwartz (Lions)- Schwartz played four years of linebacker for the Hoyas.
Andy Reid (Eagles)- Offensive guard for BYU.
Mike Shanahan (Redskins)- Quarterbacked at Eastern Illinois until a crushing hit on the practice field ruptured one of his kidney's, causing his heart to stop for over 30 seconds.  Shanahan was so close to death that a Catholic priest was actually summoned to read him his last rites.  Needless to say, that would mark the end of his playing days.
Mike Smith (Falcons)- An All-State linebacker in high school, Smith went on to grab defensive MVP honors twice for East Tennessee State before landing in the CFL for a short stint in 1982.
Rex Ryan (Jets)- Sexy Rexy served as a loyal foot soldier for Southwestern Oklahoma St Bulldogs, playing defensive end opposite his twin brother Rob in 1986.

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