The Greatest Two-Sport Athletes Of All Time

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst IJune 17, 2008

Arguably the most intriguing individuals within the realm of athletics are those rare athletes who can compete in two different sports simultaneously and at the highest of levels.

Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to decide who was the greatest two-sport athlete of all time. After careful consideration, I decided to nominate Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, and Jim Brown to contend for this prestigious title.

1)     Bo Jackson: Football (Running Back) & Baseball (Outfield)

Baseball Career: BA- .250, HR- 141, RBI- 415, SB- 82

Football Career: Yds- 2,782, AVG- 5.4, TD- 16

Bo Jackson is considered by many to be one of the most talented athletes of all time. He played both professional football and baseball simultaneously. Bo managed to put up some mind boggling production on the gridiron, along with some prolific power and speed on the baseball diamond.

The most intriguing statistic that Bo has earned throughout his athletic career is his 5.4 yards per carry average, a number that few players in football history have ever approached.

However, Bo Jackson’s contention for the title of the greatest two-sport athlete of all time may be hindered, as his career in both sports was shortened due to a severe hip injury. In spite of this obstacle though, Bo Jackson’s accomplishments on the gridiron and diamond are more than noteworthy.

2)     Deion Sanders: Football (Cornerback) & Baseball (Outfield)

Baseball Career: Soon To Be Updated

Football Career- Tackles- 513, Int- 53 dTD- 9

Deion Sanders may have been the most exciting athlete to watch in the history of sports. On the gridiron, Deion was the definition of a lockdown cornerback, as it was almost impossible for a receiver to beat him. When a quarterback attempted to try him, they often paid the price, as evidenced by his 53 career interceptions.

In addition to his defensive prowess, Sanders was an amazing punt returner, and even received significant playing time as a wide receiver.

On the baseball diamond, Sanders put his great speed to use as well, accumulating 304 stolen bases. Sanders wasn’t exactly a weakling either, as he collected 39 home runs in his baseball career.

Few individuals are ever lucky enough to say they have played a sport professionally. Sanders played two, and he was a star in both.

3)     Jim Brown: Football (Running Back) & Lacrosse (Midfield)

Football Career (Rushing) Yds- 12,312, AVG- 5.2, TD- 106

College Lacrosse Career: Stats Unknown

Perhaps the most fascinating of the three nominees is Jim Brown. Jim Brown is known by many to be the greatest football player of all time, or at the very least the greatest running back. While he only played 9 seasons in the NFL, Jim Brown owned virtually every possible rushing record at the point of his retirement.

In addition, Brown was a solid receiver out of the backfield, and even created some big time trick plays by throwing the ball. However, as amazing as a football player as Jim Brown was, he may have been an even better lacrosse player.

While I was unable to find a copy of Jim Brown’s lacrosse statistics, it is a known fact that he was very, very good. So good, in fact, that Jim Brown is in the Lacrosse Hall Of Fame, and is considered by many to be the greatest lacrosse player to ever live.

Being considered the greatest player of all time in one sport is an incredible, mind boggling accomplishment. Being given the same honor in a completely different sport—I still have trouble comprehending that.

Jim Brown played 3 years for the Syracuse lacrosse team, and in that time dominated in a way that few others ever have in a sport.

Jim Brown was a dominant face off midfielder, winning face-offs at a greater percentage than possibly any other man in history. When he had the ball, the 235 pound Brown would just run over his defenders and score at will. In addition, Brown was a solid defender, effective passer, and was able to do damage both as a lefty and a righty.

While it is difficult to compare Brown wtih modern day players, as there was no such thing as Major League Lacrosse back then, Jim did play against the elite players of his era, and completely dominated in every facet of the game.

So who is the greatest two-sport athlete of all time? After much debate (with myself), I believe that this prestigious honor belongs to Jim Brown. So now, the question is...



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