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AshlynM's avatar

Who are some famous white athletes?

Asked by AshlynM (10291points) February 9th, 2012

All the famous athletes we are familiar with are black.

Magic Johnson
Michael Jordan
Reggie Bush
Serena Williams
Tiger Woods
Kobe Bryant
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Grant Hill
Dennis Rodman
Jackie Robinson

The only white athletes I know are:

Larry Bird
John McEnroe
David Beckham
Babe Ruth

This isn’t meant to be a racist question. I seriously want to know some famous white athletes. Thanks!

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63 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

Most of the tennis players.
Lots and lots of the soccer players.
Tebow, Elway and a bunch of football players.
Lots of baseball players.
Arnold Palmer and most golf players.

JLeslie's avatar

If you count any sport played in the olympics there are tons. Most of the cold weather sports are played by caucasians, especially in history. Skiing, ice skating, bob sledding, etc. Swimming also is typically very white. Are we counting those types of sports? If so, I can name some people.

Generally sports that cost a lot of money to practice were led by white people. Now that is changing of course.

AshlynM's avatar

@JLeslie I’ve always wondered why black athletes only seem to dominate the basketball and football scene. I hardly see any black baseball players. Or for any of the other sports you mentioned. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black swimmer. Is there a specific reason for this or none at all? Who did you have in mind for the sports you listed?

JLeslie's avatar

@AshlynM In America black people tend to be poorer, and so they play what is available to them. Football can be played on any field. Many public playgrounds have at least half courts for basketball. Black people also tend to live in much larger numbers in the southern part of the united states where it is warmer. All these things play into it. Some of it is culture and tradition, there is a stereotype in America that black people don’t swim, and in my experience in America black people are more likely to not be swimmers. If your mom and dad don’t swim, probably the kids don’t either, but that is changing over time. Still to be an athletic swimmer you need to be able to swim all year, and indoor pools usually take a membership, which costs money.

Swimmer – Mark Spitz
Runner – Bruce Jenner
Ice Skating – Dorothy Hamill, Brian Boitano, Peggy Flemming

zenvelo's avatar

@AshlynM There have been a lot of black baseball players, many in the Hall of Fame, but there has been a decline in baseball’s popularity amongst black kids relative to basketball.

Willie Mays
Willie McCovey
Barry Bonds

and that’s just off the top of my head at 4:30 a.m.

If you are still looking for white athletes, the Tour de France has a couple hundred every year.

jazmina88's avatar

bruce jenner
lance armstrong

SuperMouse's avatar

Michael Phelps
Tom Brady
Peyton/Eli Manning
Jimmy Connors
Steve Garvey

auntydeb's avatar

Famous white sporting Brits: Duncan Goodhew, Olympic swimmer (and famous baldy); Robin Cousins, figure skater; David Beckham, footy (Soccer); does sailing count? Well, Ellen MacArthur, Round-the-World Yachtswoman; Paula Radcliffe, marathon winner. The first four minute mile was set by a white British man: Roger Bannister.

There has been some research in the UK in recent years (sorry not to have a ref to hand), relating to the apparent success of so many athletes of colour. It appears really simple, it’s nothing to do with straight genetics, more to do with the closeness of family or cultural support. The close family ties in many athletes from Nigeria, Jamaica etc, or from families living in the UK that originated in these places, provide immense support and self belief. This enables better focus, more determination and great sportsmanship. We could all do with a bit more of this I reckon.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Anyone disturbed by the racism in this thread? (Yeah that’s not going to draw some heat)

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I don’t see any racism in this thread. No one is saying a certain race can or can’t or shouldn’t do something.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JLeslie Excuse me? That’s the basis of the question. Throw any disclaimer on it you want.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

Arnold Palmer (Golf)
Jack Nicklaus (Golf)
Ben Hogan (Golf)
Ben Roethlisberger (Football)
Joe Flacco (Football)
Tim Tebow (Football)
Bode Miller (Skiing)
Shaun White (Snow boarding)
Nadia Comăneci (Gymnastics)
Nikolai Andrianov (Gymnastics)

AshlynM's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I specifically stated in my question it’s not meant to be racist. I’m expressing my opinions and what I notice. This is a serious, honest question that I’d like serious, mature answers to. I don’t appreciate words being put in my mouth and being called something I’m not.

No one else seems to have any problems with this except you. Perhaps you’d like to move to a different thread.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

@AshlynM, some self-appointed “politically correct police” think that only African American persons can talk about race and have “Black History Month,” or a “United Negro College Fund” and they are quick to call anyone else talking about race a “racist.”

ucme's avatar

I could quite literally go on all day long, the list is endless, but I won’t because I got stuff to do see.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe How is making an observation racist? The OP was open to finding out the many many white, famous, athletes out there. She was not trying to prove white people can’t play sports, or there is some sort of media conspiracy. We should be glad people ask the question, rather than just live with their observation from their perspective. The question allows them to learn and broaden their horizons. There simply are cultural, financial, and regional reasons for why some groups are seen in certain sports, especially in history. It’s a fact of history. Part of the history did have racist reasons as for why, that is true, but that goes to more the reverse of the question, that blacks were kept out of sports previously in history.

AshlynM's avatar

I appreciate all other’s answers so far. I just love it that any question on race the original poster is automatically assumed a racist. Lovely way to judge someone.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@AshlynM I’m the least PC person out there. I think I stand corrected. Okay I can admit when I’m wrong.
@JLeslie GA Very good point. I like your last sentence.

AshlynM's avatar

I realize the subject of race may be sensitive to some people, so maybe I didn’t take that into consideration, but in any case @Adirondackwannabe It’s ok, it’s cool.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@AshlynM I’m not crazy about this but here you go. Start with the NHL and MLS. Wait a minute, you said famous. Forget about it.

thetas49's avatar

I think its worth pointing out that MOST of the world isn’t America, I don’t recognise most of the people mentioned in the original post by AshlynM, In Britain there is a pretty balanced set of athletes from all creeds, but the “famous” ones are probably only famous in Britain with a few exceptions. Basketball and American football and its players are definately not followed in the major part of the world and there are very few “world famous” people from those sports.

JLeslie's avatar

@thtas49 Because of the athletes stated in the original Q, I assumed the OP was speaking from an American perspective, and stated that my answers were also from an American perspective. The UK, and other western European countries are likely to have many many more famous white athelets probably, because statistically the countries have higher percentages of white people than other minorities compared to America. But, even in America the athletes that are promoted, and in our face, and in the media much of the time, who are the most famous, are black, and even in America, white people are still the majority. Sports are one of the industries in America where minorities seemingly don’t have discrimination or glass ceilings blocking them. At least not now, the past is different. Anyway, when a minority group dominates an industry it is usually noticed.

AshlynM's avatar

I realize there may be famous white athletes from other countries but they may not be as well known to Americans. I was asking mostly from an American perspective.

AshlynM's avatar

Just to clear things up…I apologize if this question has caused some ill feelings among some people. That wasn’t my intention at all. And I’m not saying one race is better at something than the other. All I want to know are some famous white athletes because my list is very short with the few names I do know.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@AshlynM My apologies too. I come from a racist family, it drives me nuts.
Also look at the World Cup skiing circuit. Franz Klammer was insane. The Shea family form Lake Placid had three generations of Olympians, the Hamm brothers in gymnastics.

AshlynM's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Thanks I appreciate your input and amends.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@AshlynM Thanks for that. I have a few buttons that are easy to push. Racism, domestic abuse etc.
I do have one name I have to throw out there regardless of race, this guy is amazing.

ragingloli's avatar

Michael Schumacher, Boris Becker, Steffi Graf, Oliver Kahn, Franz Beckenbauer. Sven Hannawald, Jens Weißflog, Sebastian Vettel

digitalimpression's avatar

Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, Drew Breese, John Stockton, Jerry West, John Mcenroe, Michael Phelps, Joakim Noah, .... well let’s face it.. I could go on forever…

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Tom Brady
Andy Roddick

marinelife's avatar

Jim Thorpe
Wayne Gretzky
Shaun White
Paavo Numi
Roger Federer
Lance Armstrong
Jack Nicklaus
Gary Player
Sam Snead

cookieman's avatar

How ‘bout Ted The Splendid Splinter Williams?

amujinx's avatar

I’m guessing you aren’t much of a sports person.

Aaron Rodgers (NFL)
Clay Matthews (NFL)
Drew Brees (NFL)
Tom Brady (NFL)
Peyton Manning (NFL)
Eli Manning (NFL)
Wes Welker (NFL)
Ben Roethlisberger (NFL)
Dan Marino (NFL)
Joe Montana (NFL)
Steve Young (NFL)
Johnny Unitas (NFL)
Joe Namath (NFL)
Joe DiMaggio (MLB)
Lou Gehrig (MLB)
Yogi Berra (MLB)
Mickey Mantle (MLB)
Wade Boggs (MLB)
Johnny Bench (MLB)
George Brett (MLB)
Pete Rose (MLB)
Carl Yastrzemski (MLB)
Wayne Gretzky (NHL)
Sidney Crosby (NHL)
Steve Yzerman (NHL)
Mario Lemieux (NHL)
Dominik Hasek (NHL)
Bobby Orr (NHL)
Mark Messier (NHL)
Stan Mikita (NHL)
Eddie Shore (NHL)
Toe Blake (NHL)
Terry Sawchuk (NHL)
Marty Brodeur (NHL)
Maurice Ricard (NHL)
Ray Bourque (NHL)
Patrick Roy (NHL)
Scott Stevens (NHL)
Larry Bird (NBA)
John Stockton (NBA)
Chris Mullen (NBA)

That’s just for the four major sports in America (and I don’t follow anything but hockey and some football). A couple of non-American sports players who deserve recognition: Franz Beckenbauer, and Johan Cruijff.

marinelife's avatar

Mickey Mantle
Ryne Sandberg
Carlton Fisk
Wade Boggs
Harmon Killebrew
Mike Schmidt

CWOTUS's avatar

Larry Bird and Kevin McHale
Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito
Carl Yastrzemski and Fred Lynn
Tom Brady and Steve Grogan

King_Pariah's avatar

Wayne Gretzky
Tom Brady
Tim Tebow
Aaron Rodgers
Brett Favre
John Elway
Joe Montana
Steve Young
Michael Phelps
Natalie Coughlin
Amanda Beard
Babe Ruth
Mike Macguire
Chuck Lidell (I hope I spelled that right)
Eli Manning
Peyton Manning
John Lynch
Jay Cutler
Ben Roethlesberger
The Cinderella Man (don’t remember his name)
Bob Griese
And that’s all I have for now.

gambitking's avatar

No one’s gonna name…. Dirk Nowitzki ?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@gambitking Here’s another Chuck Bednarik.

tinyfaery's avatar

Any swimmer. Tee hee

BoyWonder's avatar

@auntydeb I LURRRRRRRRRRRVE your response!! Too bad I’m the only one who liked it. Sad.

Bellatrix's avatar

Sebastian Coe

Blondesjon's avatar

Peter North

rebbel's avatar

@Blondesjon I know it, I know it…..., he’s the guy of pole vault, right?

ragingloli's avatar

was this north guy not involved in the iran contra scandal?

Brian1946's avatar

NFL hall of fame member Terry Bradshaw, who won 4 Superbowl rings.

Troy Aikman, who won 3 Superbowl rings.

Baseball hall of fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, who threw 7 no-hitters in his career.

NBA center Bill Walton, who was named Most Valuable Player when his team won the championship in 1977, and also played on the 1986 champion Boston Celtics team with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.

Brian1946's avatar


“was this north guy not involved in the iran contra scandal?”

I think that was his sister, Olivia. ;-p

SuperMouse's avatar

Pistol Pete Marvich
Bill Bradley

Bellatrix's avatar

Steve Hooker (high jumper)
Michael Klim (swimmer)
Libby Tricket (Swimmer)
Grant Hacket (Swimmer)
Ian Thorpe (Swimmer)
Kurt Fearnely (Paralympian)
Olga Korbut (gymnast)

Those are just off the top of my head but there are thousands and especially if you include the many footballers (many codes), tennis players, cricketers etc.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Blondesjon Wasn’t he some kind of shooting specialist?

Fluthyou's avatar

Jeffrey Buttle

mrrich724's avatar


tranquilsea's avatar

I’m happy when I see a black man on an NHL hockey team.

Kardamom's avatar

Don’t forget about figure skating: Tara Lipinski, Sasha Cohen, Oksana Baiul, Scott Hamilton, Kurt Browning, Torvill (Jane) and Dean (Christopher) Nancy Kerrigan, Sarah Hughes, Dorothy Hamill, Janet Lynn, Peggy Flemming, Sonya Henny, Dick Button, Elvis Stojko, Victor Pentrenko.

And gymnastics: Nadia Comenici, Olga Korbut, Mary Lou Retton, Kurt Thomas, Bart Conner, “The Magnificent Seven,” 1996’s Women’s Olymic gymnastic team (Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps.

And golf: Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Annika Sorenstam.

Swimming: Esther Williams, Mark Spitz

Speed Skating: Dan Jansen

Skiing: Picabo Street, John Claude Killy

Surfing: Laird Hamilton, Tom Curren, Kelly Slater, Jericho Poplar

Snowboarding: Shaun White

Skateboarding: Tony Hawk

Bicycling: Lance Armstrong

Horseracing: Bill Shoemaker

Boxing: Rocky Marciano, Jack Dempsey

And we musn’t forget about Nascar, Rodeo and Lumberjacking (which is a lot more interesting IMO than any of the typical American ball sports) See

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Kardamom You like Timbersports? I’ve been to the Great Outdoor Games!

mattbrowne's avatar

Define athlete.

Kardamom's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I’ve never seen any timber sports live, but I love to watch them on TV. I like that there are lots of really strong women that participate. I’m not sure what they call that one where they shimmy up a tree and then cut off the top section with their saw and then literally slide down the tree. I’m surprised they don’t have more broken legs. I also like the log rolling.

I just found the event, it’s called Tree Topping

Kardamom's avatar

I just realized that Domenique Dawes and Amy Chow do not qualify as white athletes. I just love the Magnificent Seven so much that I got all carried away.

See Domenique Dawes on the balance beam.

And Amy Chow on the uneven bars.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Not that anyone would care, but there is:
Richard Petty (NASCAR)
Steve Young (NFL)
Sebastian Janikowski (NFL)
Red Grange ”The Galloping Ghost” (NFL)
Rocky Graziano (boxing)
A.J. Foyt (CART/Indy cars)
Tom Kite (golf)
John Stockton (NBA)
Don Prudhomme (drag racing)
Don “Big Daddy” Garlit (drag racing)
Dale Earnhardt (NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)
Danica Patrick (CART/NASCAR)
Tom McEnroe (Tennis)
Andre Agassi (tennis)
John Riggins (NFL)
Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)
Frank Dux (martial arts)

I came up with those alone having the audacity to stay in the US.

PullMyFinger's avatar

Rocky Balboa

And wouldn’t Brian Boitano do ??

And hey, come on, @Adirondackwannabe , leave Scott “Wide Right” Norwood alone. As I understand it, he has seen a psychiatrist twice weekly for 27 years….

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