Vintage Photos That Capture Some of the Greatest Athletes

To see the movement and physical nature that characterize sports in these photos–static and elegant–is a new way to pay tribute to the game. With each photo, we see that sports are so much more than just win or lose; it is about moments that affect the hearts of the people who have their eyes set upon the field.
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From joy or sadness to awe or disbelief, these sports photos have given fans a rainbow of emotions over the years, with every photo striking people differently.

First Stanley Cup Finals

The World Hockey League folded in 1926 and was acquired by the National Hockey League, who immediately became the sole league in charge of Lord Stanley’s Cup. Therefore, the 1927 Stanley Cup Finals was the first in NHL history, exclusively featuring two NHL teams. The Ottawa Senators squared off against the Boston Bruins, pictured here, and won the series 2-0.


To date, it’s their most recent Stanley Cup victory. As for the Bruins, their most recent Cup victory came in 2011 – they are sixth overall. What is interesting is the lack of helmets and padding. Yikes!

U.S. Hockey Team at the 1960 Olympics

Before there was the “Miracle on Ice,” it was Squaw Valley, and the 1960 Olympic hockey tournament was held there in California. The United States were the underdogs to the more agile and more skilled skaters from the Soviet Union. They played in a small semi-covered rink, most fans in attendance believed the U.S. would not emerge victoriously. But regardless, the United States succeeded in reaching the semifinal matchup against the Soviet Union.

Getty Images Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios

Facing the USSR, the Americans pulled off the tournament’s greatest defeat, winning the game 3-2, and celebrating the first time the U.S. beat the Soviets in the Olympic competition. Just the next day, the U.S. beat Czechoslovakia 9-4 to win their first-ever Olympic gold.

Staubach Wins the Heisman

The second, and also last, Heisman winner in the U.S. Naval Academy’s history belonged to Roger Staubach, the All-American quarterback. As one of the greatest athletes to come from the Naval Academy, Roger Staubach won the 1963 Heisman Trophy Award and became a highly coveted NFL player. But service to the country came before the field.

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Before playing for the Cowboys, Roger Staubach served in the U.S. Navy and was later deployed to Vietnam. During his time at the NFL, Roger led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl victories in four appearances.

O.J. Simpson in the USC

He was probably regarded as one of the most prolific players in USC’s illustrious history, Simpson finished his career as a National Champion, two-time All-American, and Heisman winner. It’s incredible to see how basic the Oregon uniforms used to be, a far cry from what they wear today.

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He would finish his NFL career as a 5-time Pro Bowler and won many awards. But, it would be his controversial off-field incidents that truly defined O.J. Simpson, a tragic way to remember such an exceptional running back who could have been the face of the NFL for decades.

Wayne Gretzky and the Cup

Wayne Gretzky was, without question, the greatest hockey player. He started off his career by joining a team that became one of the greatest dynasties in NHL history. During nine seasons in the league, he would win four cups.


However, 1988 proved to be the last time that Gretzky would hoist the greatest prize in hockey. He’d give his best over the next 11 years to get back to the summit, but every year fell short. Today, Wayne Gretzky’s signature No. 99 has been retired throughout the league, an appropriate tribute to the great one.

Willie Mays’ Famous Catch

Willie Mays was simply referred to as “The Catch,” with his famous over-the-shoulder basket catch. In the 1954 World Series Game between the New York Giants and Cleveland Indians, Mays stole Vic Wertz of a guaranteed extra-base hit in the eighth inning that kept the score tied at 2-2.

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Right after Mays made the crazy save, he immediately spun around and threw the ball back to the infield as he knew the runners were advancing. The catch was made famous as The Giants went on to win the game in extra innings and the series in four games.

Ali’s First Fight

After his promising amateur career, Ali took on Tunney Hunsaker, a policeman from West Virginia, in his first-ever professional fight. In front of a local crowd at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ali won unanimously.


Soon after, the two opponents became good friends, but Ali was remembered as the greatest boxer of all time. In 1981, Ali retired from boxing, and just three years later, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Ali passed away in Scottsdale Arizona in 1996, after a lengthy and difficult battle with the disease.

Tony Esposito vs. the Soviets

Sports have always been one of the great equalizers – especially against rival countries. Here we see Canadian goalie Tony Esposito during the intense eight-game hockey series that pitted the Soviet Union against Canada in 1972. This heated series symbolically marked the seriousness of the Cold War and was one of the War’s signature head-to-head games, except it was fought on ice.

Getty Images Photo by Focus On Sport

Called the Summit Series, the USSR dominated international hockey because the NHL was banned from playing, putting Canada at a severe disadvantage. Team Canada, led by Tony Esposito, the Hall of Fame goalie who won four games with one tied, while the Soviets won three games.

Super Bowl 1970

The final Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings was held on January 11, 1970. Many people thought the NFL to be the far-superior league, the Chiefs of the AFL dominated the game from the outset. And as of late, the Vikings still haven’t won a Super Bowl.


Held in New Orleans’ Tulane Stadium, the muddy game saw kicker No.3, Jan Stenerud hit three field goals and gained on two extra points. Stenerud was later elected into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

First World Series

The first World Series in recent history took place over a century ago, in 1903. The Boston Americans defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in an exhausting nine-game series. Captured here, we see fans storming Boston’s Huntington Avenue Grounds following Boston’s victory in the series.

Getty Images Photo by Mark Rucker

Today, the field is home to Boston University’s sports teams. And while Hunting Avenue Grounds was a famous venue, the Red Sox moved to Fenway Park, an equally outstanding and impressive home field that has seen its fair share of World Series.

Lew Alcindor Makes His Mark on UCLA

Before we knew Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as Kareem, he was Lew Alcindor of the UCLA Bruins; he altered his name before his senior season. During his time playing on the varsity squad for UCLA, Lew Alcindor went on the win three National Championships, was also a three-time All-American and was named the NCAA Most Outstanding Player three times.

Getty Images Photo by Bettmann

In a short period of three years, Alcindor and the dominant Bruins lost only two games, bringing their remarkable record over that time period to 88-2. Lew Alcindor was drafted first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969. He resigned from basketball, a six-time champion, and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

Larry Feels the Magic

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson played for two of the NBA’s biggest rivals, the Celtics and Lakers, even though they were legendary rivals on the court, they were great friends off it. They level-off each other three times in the NBA finals, with the Lakers winning twice.

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Their rivalry really began in 1979 at the NCAA Championship game, with Magic’s Michigan State Spartans beating Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores 75-64, with this game being a hint of things to come. Michigan State would become of the NCAA’s most dominant teams and Indiana State fading into relative oblivion.

The One and Only Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth heralded in the live-ball era of baseball with profound power and grand home runs and, as such, is widely regarded as one baseball’s greatest hitters. He was an indispensable part of baseball’s growth and was both a reliable pitcher and an intimidating hitter.

Getty Images Photo by Mark Rucker

After his upsetting trade from Boston to New York, Boston suffered a distressing dry spell of 86-years in the World Series championship, while New York dominated baseball for years. Babe was one of the original members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and retired with an extraordinary 714 home runs.

Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics

Although the Olympics are meant to be an apolitical event, it seems they hardly ever are. The Berlin Olympics in 1936 was supposed to be Adolph Hitler’s way of broadcasting to the world that Germany was superior, expecting the podium to be full of Aryan-looking Germans.

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But American sprinter Jesse Owens proved everyone otherwise. Jesse won four gold medals during the games while breaking multiple world records. More importantly, he stood up to Hitler and succeeded in what we can only imagine being a hostile and hateful environment.

Johnny Unitas Making History

The winning quarterback and three-time NFL Champion of the so-called “Greatest Game Ever Played” – also known as the 1958 title game and the first sudden-death game in NFL history – Johnny Unitas popularized the quarterback position. Unitas was drafted out of Louisville in 1955 and had a prolific career defeating the Baltimore Colts.


His record of consecutive games with a passing touchdown stood for a remarkable 52 years when Drew Brees finally broke it in 2012. Back in 1979, he was soon elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and retired a three-time NFL Champion and 10-time Pro-Bowler.

Bob Cousy Makes Friends With the Hoop

One of the true pure point guards in the NBA was Bob Cousy; he led the league in eight seasons straight. He was a part of the Celtics dynasty and won six championships. Before his time playing professionally, Cousy was leading Holy Cross College to the NCAA Tournament.

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After his retirement, Cousy coached both NBA and college basketball. To this date, Cousy holds the Celtics record for steals in a game with a tremendous 28 assist.

Carlton Fisk’s Wave

Back in 1975, the Red Sox did not end up winning the World Series. Heartbreakingly, they lost in the last Game. But to get to Game 7, Boston was on the right side of one of baseball’s most clutch home runs. At the bottom of the 12th inning of Game 6, Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk hit a walk-off, Game 7-forcing home run that clinked off the left-field foul pole.


The classic photo of Fisk bouncing in the air, desperately trying to sway the ball, burnt into the brains of baseball fans everywhere. It wasn’t until many years later, in 2004, that the Red Sox would win their first World Series since 1918. Three years later, the Red Sox won yet another World Series when they beat the Colorado Rockies.

Kentucky vs. Baylor 1948

The University of Kentucky has one of the most storied basketball programs in America. Their head coach, Adolph Rupp, was one of the most successful coaches of all time and made the Wildcats into the powerhouse that they eventually became.


Their winning streak began in 1948 when they won their first NCAA title. Adolph Rupp’s Wildcats defeated the Baylor Bears 58-42. They’d win four titles in a five-year period.

Vince Lombardi Lifted Off into Victory

Head Coach Vince Lombardi guide his team to a staggering five NFL Championships back in the 1960s, along with the first two Super Bowls in 1966 and ’67. As they celebrated, Vince Lombardi was lifted off the field and carried by his players, here he is pictured with Jerry Kramer.

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This turned out to be Lombardi’s final run as the Parkers’ coach. Lombardi stepped down soon after the game, and he later coached the Redskins before passing away in the early 1970s. In his honor, The Super Bowl trophy was then re-named the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Tackling Jim Brown

As a nine-time Pro Bowler and three-time league MVP, Jim Brown is openly recognized as the greatest Cleveland Browns player, if not the best running back in NFL history. And tackling him was no easy feat, and the photo here, exhibits two Giants struggling to tackle the future Hall of Famer, only further reinforcing this claim.

Getty Images Photo by Focus on Sport

Besides being a standout football player, Jim Brown was also an All-American lacrosse player as well as an athlete on the field and track team while at Syracuse University.

Joe DiMaggio’s Famous Streak

Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941 doesn’t seem like it will ever be broken, and this is his crowning achievement. The closest longest hitting streak was Pete Rose’s during the 1978 season, where he safely hit 44 straight games — an impressive feat, but it still falls markedly short of DiMaggio’s.

Getty Images Photo by Bettmann

Joe DiMaggio may have been a loner in his personal life, but when it came to baseball, he was the ultimate team player and won more championships than even Babe Ruth.

Hank Aaron Becomes King

Hank Aaron will remain the home run king to many baseball purists. On April 8, 1974, at the bottom of the fourth inning in front of the sold-out stands, Aaron launched a ball over the left-center wall for No 715, passing Babe Ruth for the record and unleashed pandemonium.

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Security was much more relaxed back in those days, and fans could easily run onto the field, so as Aaron rounded one of the final bases, two eager fans eagerly greeted the new home run king. Finally, reaching a home run, a worthy celebration took place, interrupting the game as Aaron discussed his monumental feat.

Bill Mazeroski Takes Off

The most exciting game in baseball is arguably the walk-off home run by Bill Mazeroski. The Pittsburgh Pirates were up against the favored New York Yankees in 1960,  and yet they managed to reach seven games in the series. This is where Mazeroski comes in, the Pirates’ second baseman known best for his glove.

Getty Images Photo by Bettmann

In Game 7, the bats were ready, and the score was tied at 9-9 going into the bottom of the ninth. Mazeroski drove his pitch deep to left and high over the outfield wall, finishing the game and series with one fateful swing.

Bob Feller Kicking It

As an eight-time All-Star Pitcher, Bob Feller helped the Cleveland Indians win the World Series in 1948. As the first athlete to volunteer for military service during World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy. Feller was naturally a national attraction any time he stepped on the mound.

Getty Images Photo by New York Times Co.

Feller’s famous leg kick is pictured here, exaggerated but also effective. He was celebrated as one of the best pitchers and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1962. Note how the mound in this photo is much shorter, meaning pitches had to be that much more accurate.

Greg Norman and Tiger Woods

Pictured here, we see Tiger Woods and Greg Norman at the 1995 Masters. He was just a 19-year-old freshman at Stanford, and this was Woods’ first major championship. Tiger then placed 41st in the tournament and was the only amateur play in this series. Norman finished tied for third place.

Getty Images Photo by Augusta National

Just two short years later, Woods would win his first Masters, becoming the youngest — and the first person of color — to win the tournament. Years later, Tiger made a name for himself as the world’s best golfer amid a remarkable, unprecedented run at winning tournaments.

The Olympic Games of 1980

Russian-Polish relations during the Cold War were tepid at the best of times and had a tendency to incline to a being cold. So when the Summer Olympics took place in 1980 in the Soviet Union, it was bound to happen that they would have tense interactions. The games served as an exhibition showcasing Communism vs. Capitalism.


So when the Polish pole vaulter named Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz set the new world record in pole vaulting and win a gold medal, his landing was more than moving. Photographed above is Kozakiewicz giving what’s known as the Italian Salute to the raucous Soviet crowd.

England Wins the 1966 World Cup

It’s relatively surprising that England only has one world Cup victory, we would expect more considering it’s a country that loves soccer so much and puts so much pride into the sport. Back in 1966, in front of its home crowd, England won its first and only World Cup by beating West Germany 4-2.

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It would seem that only time will tell how long it takes for England to attain this pinnacle of the soccer world once again. England still remains enduringly frustrated with their country’s performance at the World Cup.

Bill Russell’s Defensive Block

Bill Russell was considered as one of the greatest defensive players of all time, as he transformed how basketball was played from a defensive standpoint. As an 11-time champion in 13 seasons and five-time MVP, he was an eager defender, and throughout his career, he amazes 21,620 rebounds.


To block his opponents, he used skill, rather than force, to prevent shots from being taken. Bill was unmatched at swooping across the lane like a big bird to block and alter shots.

Ali’s Gold Medal

The Summer Olympics of 1960 transpired in Rome and featured a young Muhammad Ali, who was still known as Cassius Clay back then. At the Olympics, Ali represented the US and he would later take his country to court to challenge his draft to the Vietnam War. It would the only Olympic games where Ali performed as an athlete, and he won 4-0 in the Light Heavyweight division by defeating the Polish boxer in the finals.

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Many years later, after fighting for civil rights in America, Ali kindled the torch at the Atlanta Summer Games in 1996. Although he was a highly controversial figure back in those days, Ali is now considered an icon of the Civil Rights Movement.

Cy Young’s Legendary Pitch

Cy Young was the man behind the most prestigious pitching award in MLB. For 22 seasons, the right-hander played in the Majors and won a record 511 games while capturing one World Series title.

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Cy Young passed away in 1955 at age 88, and following his death, baseball introduced the Cy Young award just one year later, and it’s bestowed every year to the best pitcher in baseball.

When UCLA Had a Perfect Season

Head Coach John Wooden had a talent for winning. He led his teams to win a record 10 NCAA Championships. Their first undefeated season was in 1964 and was capped off by a 15-point victory against Duke University.

Getty Images Photo by Rich Clarkson

It would be John Wooden’s first of many championships and was UCLA’s first-ever basketball title. Wooden rightfully earned the title the “Wizard of Westwood,” and, to this day, UCLA has been trying to regain its glory from that era. Since he retired, UCLA has only managed to win one NCAA Championship, coming in 1995.

Wilt Chamberlain Sets a Record

Wilt, “The Stilt” Chamberlain, set the record as the only Basketball player to score 100 points in one game! Wilt also possesses the NBA record for most rebounds in a career at 23,924.

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Wilt received numerous records and is considered as one of the more impressive players of his generation, but he only won two NBA championships. His teammates often criticized him for being too soft and not focused enough on winning.

The Dream Team

Larry Bird was a legend and has been celebrated as one of the greater Celtic players for the NBA of all time. To complement his 12 All-Star appearances, Bird had three championships and three MVP awards. He even shined on the international stage; in the photo, we see him relaxing alongside the court during the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.


Larry Bird was a member of the most extraordinary basketball team ever assembled, also known as the Dream Team. Next to him, we see Charles Barkley. A prominent player himself, Barkley won two Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996, but he never reached the summit of NBA success- winning the Finals.

UTEP Takes the National Championship in 1966

The University of Texas, El Paso, has not had one of the most recognized athletic departments in NCAA history. But the team does have one of the most impressive victories in the NCAA Tournament. In 1966, UTEP, which was then known as Texas Western, defeated Kentucky 72–65 to claim the university’s first title.

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Their success made the first time in history that a team starred five African-American players in a single title game, while Kentucky had no black players on their side.

Jim Brown Becoming a Lacrosse Superstar

As we’ve mentioned before, Jim Brown may be the greatest all-around American athlete. He played professional football for the Browns, but he was also a lacrosse player at Syracuse University. If you were in Jim’s way, you better move as he was not only a goal scorer and lightning-fast runner but also a formidable presence.

Getty Images Photo by Syracuse

Brown himself actually preferred lacrosse and believed he was more talented at it, so if playing lacrosse was as popular as football, Brown effortlessly could have had a career scoring goals instead of touchdowns.

Ali Knocks Out Liston

This may have been called one of the most significant sporting events of the 20th century, Muhammad Ali versus Sonny Liston’s fight was held in Lewiston, Me.  Ali later revealed that it was Sonny Liston who gave him the toughest fight of his entire career.

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Ali caught Liston with a swift, nearly invisible hook that sent the former champion tumbling to the floor. The photo of Ali reveling above his downed opponent has become one of the most famous in boxing.

Jackie Robinson Going Pro

Jackie Robinson was the man that would derail baseball’s color barrier, and to do so; he had to be amazing on the field. He had to demonstrate to potential suitors that he was fit to play in an all-white league and, despite the racist taunts and intimidations, could still perform professionally.

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Robinson finished his notable career as a six-time All-Star, World Series champion, as well as a National League MVP. More importantly, he completed his career as a trailblazer who would change the fates of minorities in America by opening previously doors shut. Major League Baseball retired his number 42 across the league.

Bobby Orr Taking Flight

Possibly one of the most amazing photos in the history of the NHL belongs to Bobby Orr, the Boston Bruins Hall of Fame defenseman. In Game 4 of the 1970 NHL Stanley Cup Finals, they went into overtime, and the Bruins were on the verge of securing their first Cup since 1941, and Orr delivered.

Getty Images Photo by Frank

Orr was unintentionally tripped by a defenseman, which sent him flying almost immediately after sinking the game-winning goal. The photo, taken from behind the goal, would come to symbolize Orr’s illustrious career.

When Namath Promised a Super Bowl Win “Broadway” Joe Namath is known for his intoxicated, public display of affection on an ESPN NFL telecast as well as his famous guarantee before Super Bowl III. Joe Namath, who was the star quarterback for the Jets, declared to the media, “We’re going to win the game. I guarantee it.” Now that’s a daring statement, Joe.
Getty Images Photo by William N. Jacobellis

In one of the biggest Super Bowl setbacks, Joe Namath and his team, the underdog Jets offense picked apart the esteemed Colts defense on their way to a 16-7 victory. It proved to be the Jets’ only Super Bowl victory. Namath was named MVP of the game. Since Namath retired, The Jets have yet to find a permanent quarterback.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos

They were raising their fists in a gesture for equality during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The atmosphere around the 1968 games was full of tension regarding social injustices taking place across the globe. With this display, they tried to draw international awareness to racial discrimination and bigotry in the United States.

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American sprinters Smith and Carlos (gold and bronze respectively) also took off their shoes to raise awareness for poverty and injustice in America. To some, this move was criticized as a political stunt in an otherwise apolitical event. Others maintained the two athletes were civil heroes who used their platform for good.

Abebe at the 1960 Olympics

Abebe Bikila became the first Ethiopian marathon runner to defend his Olympic title successfully. His first gold medal performance happened during the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics, where he ran the course barefoot, as we can see in the picture. As a seasoned runner, he was used to running without shoes.

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Abebe won gold again in the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 1964, four years later. Nowadays, the thought of running barefoot is unimaginable, never mind a marathon!

Ted Williams’ Bat

Ted Williams was unmistakably the face of the Red Sox and the greatest overall hitter in baseball history. Ted did it all, except winning a world series. As a true American hero, he also a fighter pilot in World War II and the War with Korea.


He procured over 500 home runs and has the highest on-base percentage of all time. Following the Korean War, Williams almost effortlessly transitioned back to baseball as if he never left.

The Black Sox of 1919

The biggest scandal to upset Major League Baseball happened in 1919. The Chicago White Sox deliberately lost the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. At that point in time, Chicago was one of baseball’s best clubs, but they were also one of the most troubled. Despite being a formidable team, players complained at how little they were being paid, so when a local mobster suggested the White Sox fix the World Series for some extra money, some players were eager as can be.

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Eight players in total were found guilty of throwing the series and were banned for life from playing baseball, and they were also forbidden from being elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This kept the White Sox persistently positioned in the second spot for the favorite baseball team in Chicago.

Alan Page Wins an MVP

Defensive players just easily win the NFL MVP Award. Unless they’re Alan Page and his Hall of Fame defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. Alan Page was a nine-time Pro Bowler, and nine-time All-Pro was the league’s first defensive player to win the distinguished MVP Award.


Alan Page eventually went on to become an Associate Justice with the Minnesota Supreme Court after his football career. In 1988, Page was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. During his time playing with the Vikings, Page became the first active NFL player to finish a marathon, now that’s impressive!

Roger Bannister Breaks the Four Minute Mile

Breaking the four-minute mile was regarded as impossible, that is until Roger Bannister, an average guy from Harrow, England, broke the record in 1954. Bannister’s official time was 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds, and he instantly became one of the world’s most celebrated athletes as well as a hero in England.

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His record would only last only 46 days, meaning his remarkable feat paved the way for future runners. Nowadays, with runners breaking records at an unprecedented clip, Bannister’s reputation is still the one tracked back to.

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson was America’s premier amateur golfer while at Arizona State University. He would go onto win three individual NCAA Championships. Back in 1990, Mickelson led his Sun Devils to the NCAA Championship. He was also selected as the first-team All-American all four years while at school.


Here, we see a young Phil Mickelson and dapper Dr. J pose for a photo while attending a banquet. Following graduation, Mickelson went on to dominate as a professional golfer. With five Major Championships and a record six runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open, Mickelson transformed into one of the most memorable names in professional golf in the 2000s.

Terry Bradshaw Flexing for the Camera

Terry Bradshaw was a man on a mission; here he is pictured preparing for Super Bowl XIII in Miami versus the Dallas Cowboys. Having won against the Cowboys in Super Bowl X in 1975 and 1976, Bradshaw entered this game as a two-time Super Bowl Champion.


During the game, Bradshaw passed four touchdowns – the first four-touchdown performance in Super Bowl history – as the Steelers built a 35-17 lead in the fourth quarter. The Steelers clasped on for a 35-34 victory, then defeat the Rams in Super Bowl XIV to win back-to-back for the second time and become the first four-time champion in the league history.

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders was a champion on many levels. Whether it was the football field, the baseball diamond, or the fashion world, he proved himself to be an outstanding player. Drafted in 1989 as fifth overall in the Florida State, he joined the league as one of the most athletic players, an unprecedented athlete who could be engaged in all three parts of the game.

Getty Images Photo by Thearon Henderson

Sanders is considered one of the greatest dual-sport athletes, as he played in both the MLB and NFL for multiple teams. Nowadays, with youth athletes concentrating on a single sport from a young age, the chances of seeing another athlete of Deion’s ability are slim to none.

Alabama’s Bear Bryant

Known for his classy hat and jacket, Alabama’s Bear Bryant led his teams to six national championships. He fully solidified ‘Bama as one of the premier programs in college football- a title they have yet to waiver. Bear was also one of the few coaches to have coached at a stadium named after himself.

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When Bear Bryant retired in 1982, he held the record for most national championships by one coach, something Nick Saban would only tie many years later while coaching at Alabama.

The First Super Bowl

The first-ever Super Bowl in NFL history was a game between the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. The Packers ended up winning the intensely anticipated game 35-10, thanks to their powerful offensive play and strong defense. This Super Bowl became known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game.

Getty Images Photo by James Flores

Jim Taylor, the running back picture here, is seen leading the famous “power sweep,” the Packers’ most unstoppable and straightforward, running play in Vince Lombardi’s playbook. Taylor had gained 56 yards, and one score as the Packers defeated their inferior opponents from the upstart AFL. The Packers achieved 11 NFL Championships, two AFL-NFL Super Bowls, and two modern-day Super Bowls.

Red Auerbach’s 1963 Victorious Cigar

It was legendary the Celtics coach Red Auerbach who made the victory cigar popular during his time as head coach. And with an incredible nine championships in a 10-season span between 1957-66, the image of Auerbach with a cigar was everywhere.

Getty Images Photo by Bettmann

Today, smoking a cigar is a staple of locker room celebrations, with Jordan, Kobe, and other champions rejoicing with their team behind closed doors.

Monica Seles and Shaquille O’Neal

The great Shaquille O’Neal and tennis star Monica Seles share a tender moment at a press conference in New York. Monica Seles, a tennis star who was an international sensation signed-on to be the first female investor in a multi-million dollar sports restaurant in Times Square.


Shaquille O’Neal was a retired four-time NBA champion and also agreed to invest. The restaurant, called the Official All-Star Cafe, went out of business in 2007 following the closure of their last existing location in Disney World.

Pete Rose’s Head First Dive

Pete Rose was known for his intense style of play, and as such, he was even called “Charlie Hustle. The Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose popularized this head-first slide in baseball. He often crashed into players and walls and played with reckless abandon.


Rose was a 17-time All-Star and three-time champion, the Major Leagues’ all-time hits leader. Thanks to his involvement in gambling, he became one of the most controversial figures in baseball history – which resulted in a lifetime ban in 1989.

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