Tyson, Lesnar, Ali, MJ: The 25 scariest athletes of all time

Top 25 Scariest Athletes

Professional sports can throw up some scary characters, whether that be their size, antics whilst competing or just sheer dominance in the sport.

If you ask someone for the athlete they deem the scariest, they’ll have their own opinion or they’ll pick a few depending on the different ways they rank why they’re scary.

Thankfully for us, The Top Tens have compiled a list of the scariest athletes in the world, with people voting for who they deem to be the scariest, so let’s get into the top 25…

25. Brittney Griner

24. Conrad Dobler

23. Wilt Chamberlain

22. Jack Youngblood

21. Laila Ali

20. Kobe Bryant

19. Leonard Davis

18. Keith Bulluck

17. Mean Joe Greene

16. Michael Jordan

15. Troy Polamalu

14. O.J. Simpson

13. Muhammad Ali

12. Michael Vick

11. Dick Butkus

10. Mike Singletary

SAN FRANCISCO – NOVEMBER 12: Head coach Mike Singletary of the San Francisco 49ers and head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears meet at the end of their NFL game at Candlestick Park on November 12, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Mike Singletary was a middle linebacker in the NFL and is a Hall of Famer in the sport, known for his hard hitting tackles, tenacity and intensity, making him feared on the pitch by any offensive player who dared to try and pass him.

9. Ray Lewis

NEW ORLEANS, LA – FEBRUARY 03: Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates following their 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers during Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Similarly to Singletary, Ray Lewis was renowned for his hard hitting tackles and lack of fear on the pitch in the NFL, even if he was odds on to come off worse. He was also on trial for murder charges in 2000, but was found not guilty, although many believe he was more involved than he let on, so it’s no surprise to see him voted into the top 10.

8. Randy Johnson

KANSAS CITY, MO – JUNE 1: Pitcher Randy Johnson #41 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the game on June 1, 2005 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 3-1. (Photo by Tim Umphrey/Getty Images)

American sports continue to dominate the list, with famous pitcher Randy Johnson next. He was feared by batters everywhere, with him recording a pitch at 102mph, with not many going faster than that. He’s famous for hitting a bird whilst pitching too in truly tragic scenes.

7. Lawrence Taylor

Lawrence Taylor #56, Linebacker the New York Giants during the National Football Conference West game against the Los Angeles Rams on 12 November1989 at the Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, California, United States. The Rams won the game 31 – 10. (Photo by Mike Powell/Allsport/Getty Images)

In a running theme, we have another NFL linebacker, with Lawrence Taylor now making the top 10. He ended the career of Joe Theismann in 1985 when he ferociously broke his leg when sacking him, so it’s no wonder he’s deemed this scary.

6. Shaquille O’Neal

AUSTIN, TEXAS – OCTOBER 24: Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner poses for a photo with Shaquille O’Neal on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 24, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most famous basketball players of all time. Although his persona on court may not have been overly scary, the fact he was 7ft 1in tall certainly strikes fear into his competitors.

5. Jack Lambert

The public vote is brutal, with Jack Lambert making the list. Again, a hugely successful and famous defensive player in the NFL, Lambert is known to be scary for his looks having lost his teeth as a child.

4. Kimbo Slice

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 17: MMA Heavyweight Sensation Kimbo Slice is seen during the Workout/Media Day with Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano at the Legends Mixed Martial Arts Training Center on September 17, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Kimbo Slice is unfortunately no longer with us, passing away in 2016. However, the Bahamian-American MMA fighter was renowned for his combat street fights and bare-knuckle boxing, showing how tough he was and why so many find him scary.

3. Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman #91 of the Long Beach Jam in action against the Fresno HeatWave of the American Basketball Association in Rodman’s first professional game in four years. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)

Basketballing star Dennis Rodman makes the top three from the public vote, unsurprisingly given his attempts to be scary with his costume choices and makeup.

2. Brock Lesnar

UFC 200 - Weigh-in
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 08: Mixed martial artist Brock Lesnar poses on the scale during his weigh-in for UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena on July 8, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lesnar will meet Mark Hunt in a heavyweight bout on July 9 at T-Mobile Arena. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Brock Lesnar is the only WWE Superstar in the top 10, however it’s no surprise to see him here given his stint in the UFC. The sheer size of Lesnar and his muscles is enough to strike fear into almost anyone.

1. Mike Tyson

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 28: Mike Tyson exits the ring after receiving a split draw against Roy Jones Jr. during Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr. presented by Triller at Staples Center on November 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Triller)

It’s no surprise to see a boxer top the list, with Mike Tyson an obvious candidate. Iron Mike was fearless and destructive in the ring, striking fear into most of those who were brave enough to take him on. Famously, he bit a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear off during a fight, so it’s no shock to see him deemed this scary.

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