Summer 2024

Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas in top 10 on 50 Greatest Black Athletes Poll

Jackie Robinson couldn’t overtake “Air Jordan” in ESPN’s The Undefeated poll of the 50 greatest black athletes of all time.

Michael Jordan took the top spot ahead of 200 black athletes that were voted upon by 10,350 adults. Each athlete was ranked in four categories: overall ranking, dominance, inspiration and impact on society.

Two young women who made the cut in the top 10 were Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas.

Biles, ranked 8th, won four gold medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Since then, she’s written an autobiography titled, “Courage to Sour.” In it she talks about the importance of sharing her faith in Christ to kids who see her as a role model.

Simone Biles at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. (Photo Courtesy: (Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

“Kids today talk about faith, and I think it’s OK for me to share my faith so kids can see how it helps you through the whole process,” Biles told the Houston Chronicle.

Biles’ Olympic teammate Gabby Douglas was ranked 9th in the poll. Douglas took home two gold medals in the 2012 London games and one in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She was introduced to the Christian faith by her mother and the scriptures helped her overcome her fear of failure.

SAN JOSE, CA – JUNE 29: Gabrielle Douglas reacts after competing on the beam during day 2 of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials at HP Pavilion on June 28, 2012 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

“The Scriptures motivate me and I use them to help me overcome circumstances like practices and competitions,” Douglas told the Huffington Post. “If I’m having trouble with a skill: “I can do all things in Christ that strengthens me.” Or sometimes I get a little nervous: “Do not fear; always believe.”

One surprise in the rankings was Stephen Curry and LeBron James were ahead of Jim Brown, who is considered as one of the best football players in the history of the game. Also noticeably absent from the top 50 ranking was Tiger Woods.