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Badass Alpha Male Characters: Sports Edition

Building on PART I of the series (male movie characters) and Part II (male TV characters) – Below I’ve focused on alpha male athletes. Not only lauded by fans for their athletic achievements, but most were also revered as sex symbols of their respective era’s.

Why is that? Aside from being universally known and popular, note the below characteristics that these men embodied:


  • Ultra masculinity
  • Physically imposing
  • Dominant body language
  • Top 1% athletic ability


  • The belief that they were “the best”
  • Calmness in the “moment”
  • Strong demeanor
  • Assertiveness
  • Dominance
  • Focused
  • Natural leader
  • Advanced way of handling perceptions and/or other people


1. Jim Brown – American Football player


Brown played running back for the Cleveland Browns for 9 phenomenal years (1957-1965), setting multiple records along the way. The dude was a giant on the field, with a violent, punishing running style that required multiple defenders to take him down. He then went on to have a brief acting career. On a statistical per game basis, he is the greatest running back by a landslide.

Bad ass story:

Brown vowed to come out of retirement in 1983 (at age 47), because he thought Franco Harris of the Steelers would break his rushing record (and he hated his running style and dislike of contact). Harris fell short, but Walter Payton broke his record in 1984.

Bad ass quotes:

“I’m not interested in trying to work on people’s perceptions. I am who I am, and if you don’t take the time to learn about that, then your perception is going to be your problem.”


 2. Mike Tyson – American Boxer


Tyson needs no introduction, as any American guy should know about this badass man. Strictly in the ring (he made some horrible decisions in his personal life and was a complete mess), Tyson was the most dominant physical presence boxing may have ever seen. He became the youngest heavyweight champion ever at age 20 and retired with 44 knockouts, many coming within minutes. He was absolutely fearless in the ring, and imposed his dominance over the other physical freaks of his era. His knockout and punching ability is still talked about today.

Bad ass story: Tyson routinely fought growing up in NYC, as he was often mocked for his lisp, high-pitched voice, and love for pigeons.

Bad ass quote: I could feel his muscle tissues collapse under my force. It’s ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm.

3. Muhammad Ali – American Boxer


Ali was another heavyweight boxer, who preceded Mike Tyson and was a better overall fighter, referred to as one of the greats to ever compete in the sport (regardless of class). Ali was born Cassius Clay and was always displayed the utmost confidence in his fighting ability. His pre-fight press conferences were the stuff of legends, always flaunting his ability and calling out his opponents. He also did this during the actually fight. His personality was enormous and he thrived in the spotlight. He won his first championship at age 22 and became the only three-time unified heavyweight champion.

Bad ass story: As the story goes – Ali’s bicycle was stolen as a youth and it made him very angry, as he vowed to beat up whoever did it. A cop named Joe Martin said “You better learn how to box first.” The rest is history.

Bad ass quote:I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’


 4. Ted Williams – American Baseball player


One of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game, Williams played 19 seasons for the Boston Red Sox. The most remarkable part of his life was that he gave up the prime of his career to serve three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He also went on the fly 39 combat missions in 1952 during the Korean War. In all, he lost 5 seasons of his career and likely would have held the most baseball’s records if he had played a full career. Instead, he chose to serve our country. Despite this, Williams never complained once about his missed time.

Bad ass story: During his aviation training program during WWII, Williams was a natural pilot and broke several of the records at the school – including hits on target, reflexes, coordination, and visual-reaction time.

Bad ass quote: A man has to have goals – for a day, for a lifetime – and that was mine, to have people say, ‘There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.’

5. Michael Jordan – American basketball player


This man needs no introduction. Most agree Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all-time. The guy made basketball a global product and is an icon around the world. 6 time NBA champion. 6 time Finals MVP. 5 time MVP. He was also a larger than life personality who hated to lose. Even this day at 51, Jordan is still at his competitive peak whether the discussion is golf, money, or legacy.

Bad ass story: The story is somewhat well-known by now, but Michael Jordan tried out for his varsity high school team as a sophomore and was cut due to his height at the time (only 5’ 11’’). It seems to have served him pretty well in the long run.

Bad ass quote: If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.


6. Arnold Schwarzenegger – Austrian Bodybuilder


Arnold has accomplished a lot in his lifetime. Mr. Universe. Mr. Olympia. World renowned actor. Governor of California. The guy has done it all. Arnold was one of the most important figures in the creation of the bodybuilding industry and has fueled and motivated countless people to pick up weights and get in shape. His physique was a work of art, with some of the finest muscle definition ever seen on a human. Arnold has met success at every stop of his life, including acting and becoming the Governor of California. Even today Arnold is in his mid-60’s he is still making financially successful movies.

Bad ass story: While serving the mandatory one year in the Austrian Army, Arnold left the base without permission to train for the Junior Mr. Europe contest (which he won). For this decision, he spent a week in military prison.

Bad ass quote: The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.


7. Wilt Chamberlain – American Basketball player


From 1959 to 1973, Wilt dominated the game of basketball. Holder of many NBA records – Wilt is the only player to score 100 points in a game and average more than 40 points and 50 points in a season. He is widely considered a top 5 player of all-time. Wilt was equally productive off the court – where he was known throughout his life as a womanizer (the number of women he bedded was well into the thousands by all accounts). Wilt never married or had children, and died in 1999 at the age of only 63.

Bad ass story: In Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Wilt tallied 24 points, 29 rebounds, 8 assists, and 8 blocks with a BROKEN HAND suffered the previous game. The Lakers went on to win the NBA championship, and Wilt was named Finals MVP.

Bad ass quote:If you have ability in a certain area, why not capitalize on it and improve it and use it?

8. Kobe Bryant – American basketball player


Kobe is a shoe-in Hall of Fame player upon retirement, and is one of the most prolific players the game of basketball has seen. 5 time NBA champion – Kobe is a bulldog on the court, hating to lose and demanding the best from his teammates. He has accumulated over $300 million in salaries from the Lakers in his career, and has numerous advertisement deals paying him off the court as well.

Bad ass story: Kobe never beat his father one-on-one until he was 16 years old.

Bad ass quote: I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.

9. Jerry Rice – American Football player


The greatest receiver to play professional football. To most, he is the greatest overall player ever to take the field. Jerry Rice is the definition of an alpha male. For the entirety of his 20 years, Rice always prepared extensively and vigorously. His hatred of losing was so strong that he often classed with teammates. He was so obsessed with greatness that nobody’s effort could satisfy him, no matter how hard they tried. He was always the most prepared player on the field, and it was reflected in his eye-popping career numbers.

Bad ass story: After skipping class, Rice was caught by the school’s principal. He ran away, and noting his speed – the principal said he could either join the football team or be punished. Rice decided to play football.

Bad ass quote:I think the thing about that was I was always willing to work; I was not the fastest or biggest player but I was determined to be the best football player I could be on the football field and I think I was able to accomplish that through hard work.

 10. Jesse Owens – American Track & Field athlete


Some say he was the greatest track & field athlete in American history. He most certainly was the most important Olympian our country has ever produced. During the 1936 Summer Olympics in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Owens won four gold medals – at a time where Nazi propaganda had long been promoting Aryan supremacy above all other races, including African Americans.

Bad ass story: While a boy, Jesse’s teacher asked him what his name was. Born James Cleveland, Owens said “JC.” Because of his thick southern accent, his teacher thought he said “Jesse”

Bad ass quote:We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.


 11. Cristiano Ronaldo– Portuguese Soccer player


One of the most recognized global sports stars and an international sex symbol, Ronaldo is truly on top of the world. At 29 years old, he remains one of the top soccer players in the world, and one of the best to every play. When it comes to his résumé of women, he has zero competition (check out his current girlfriend Irina Shayk). Ronaldo works tirelessly on his craft, and has the musical build not too common among soccer players.

Bad ass story: Not the greatest student – Ronaldo was expelled from school as a boy because he threw a chair at the teacher after he felt disrespected.

Bad ass quote:Why lie? I’m not going to be a hypocrite and say the opposite of what I think, like some others do.

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