Greatness transcends the boundaries of sports and some of these stars come to be known in circles outside their chosen sports. There are certain moments that define their respective careers. Here are 24 iconic photographs that define these great sports stars:

1. Muhammad Ali

The power and greatness of, as he was known to be, Cassius Clay . He said it himself and followed every word: ‘I’ll float like a butterfly, sting like a bee . The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.’


2. Pele

‘Black Pearl’ – The footballer of the century. The only person to win 3 World Cups, the first of which came when he was just 17.


3. David Beckham

An artist in dead ball situations. When he kicked the ball, we were all ready for the inevitable. The bend, the keeper flabbergasted and the net bulging.


4. Michael Phelps

He is all about speed and aggression in the water but his dominance over the sport is his true legacy.


5. Sachin Tendulkar

No one ever played the straight drive with such grace. The best of the best have been driven straight down the ground by the little master. His magnificence lay in the fact that he looked completely at home while doing it.


6. Cristiano Ronaldo

His greatest strength is his finishing. Even if he has to jump 10 feet in the air like there is a trampoline under him, he will do his best to reach the ball and score.


7. Michael Schumacher

He won it all in red. The champion never forgot to thank the car that saw him become a legend.


8. Roger Federer

Arguably one of the best tennis players ever. His grace on the court has left millions in awe.


9. Michael Jordan

Stated as the best basketball player of all time. He had speed, dribbling skills and shooting accuracy. But when he dunked, he did not just jump, he flew.


10. Lionel Messi

The Barcelona Golden Boy. He is a legend already and he can embarrass defenders better than anybody. With the ball at his feet, he simply dribbles to wreak havoc.


11. Tiger Woods

The best golfer of his era, Tiger Woods, does measure his putt shot like a tiger crouching for its prey.


12. Usain Bolt

The Jamaican is the fastest man on earth. His lighting celebration is his trademark and a testament to his speed.


13. Mike Tyson

The baddest man on the planet had a knack of knocking his opponents out. He may have been a controversial contender, but his knockouts and aggression are legendary.


14. Mahendra Singh Dhoni

The most composed captain to grace the game. Even while hitting the six that won us the World Cup, his expression defines his composure.


15. Milkha Singh

The Flying Sikh; one of the fastest men India produced. His eyes confess his passion, aggression and his will to fly.


16. Ronaldinho

A genius with the ball, who won everything he wanted to. He was even applauded on enemy turf. He did not just play, he enjoyed the game and could make the ball do anything he wanted. He may lose or be fouled, but he always smiled on the field.


17. Rahul Dravid

The Wall was impenetrable. “Try to take his wicket in the first 15 minutes, if you can’t then only try to take the remaining wickets.” – Steve Waugh

18. Diego Maradona

Controversial as he may be, but anybody who gets help from the great divine has to be a legend. He described it the best: “A little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of Diego (God).”


19. Rafael Nadal

The King of Clay Courts. No matter where you put it on the court, this man always finds a way to stretch and get there.


20. Vishwanathan Anand

He has this aura about him, thinking so casually and that is what shakes his opponents the most. You always know that the Lighting Kid is planning a grand move.


21. Major Dhyanchan

The best hockey player of all time. Proof: He has been immortalised in a statue on top of the world.


22. MC Mary Kom

The boxing champion personifies hard work, persistence, will and the dream to make it big.


23. Jonty Rhodes

There is little doubt that the South African is the most gifted fielder to have ever set foot on to the field. His unimaginable diving catches made him more famous than anything else he did.


24. Saina Nehwal

The Indian badminton starlet became the first Indian woman to be World No.1 in badminton. Her poise and concentration in every game is her biggest strength.


This article was inspired by a thread on quora