Muslims have made their mark in history as far as sports is concerned. It’s quite inspirational. Let’s take a look at ten great athletes from the Muslim world!
#1. Bernard Humphrey Hopkins, Jr.
Born January 15, 1965. An American professional light heavyweight.
20 times World middleweight champion from 1994 to 2005.
Won the International Boxing International Boxing Federation title in 1994, then added the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, and The Ring titles in 2001 and became the first man to hold all four major titles when he Won the World Boxing Organization title in 2004.
Converted to Islam after his release from jail in 1988.
#2. Michael Gerard “Mike” Tyson
Nicknamed ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’, ‘Kid Dynamite’, and ‘Iron Mike’. Born June 30, 1966. An American former professional boxer.
He held the undisputed world heavyweight championship and the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA AND IBF heavyweight titles at age 20. He became the only heavyweight to successfully unify these three titles. Considered one of the best heavyweights of all time and has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Hall of Fame
#3. Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal
Born March 6, 1972. Nicknamed Shaq, is a retired American professional basketball player. Currently an analyst on the television program Inside the NBA. Known as one of the heaviest players to ever play for NBA, listed at 2.16m tall and weighing 325 pounds (147kg).
His achievements: 1999-2000 MVP award, the 1992-93 NBA Rockie of the Year award, the 15 All-Star game selections, the 3 All-Star Game MVP awards, the 3 Finals MVP awards, the 2scoring titles, 14 All-NBA team selections and 3 NBA All-Defensive Team selections. He became one of the only three players to win the win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP and Finals MVP awards in the same year.
#4. HAKEEM OLAJUWON
Nicknamed ‘The Dream. Born January 21, 1963. Nigerian-American retired professional basketball player. Played centre position in the NBA and led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008, he was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He is considered one of the greatest centres to ever play the game.
Achievements -:12 times All Star, Olympic gold medallist, 2 times NBA champion, 2 times NBA Finals, 2 times Defensive player of the year.
Ranked number 13 in SLAM Magazine’s 2009 revision of top 50 greatest players of all time.
#5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr., April 16, 1947. An American retired professional basketball player. He played Centre during his time and had a record of a 6-time NBA Most valuable Player, 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, and an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member. He remains the all-time leading scorer In the NBA and was honoured as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
He has been an actor, an author and a basketball coach. In 2012, he was selected to be United States global cultural ambassador.
#6. Muhammad Ali
Nicknamed ‘The Greatest’. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.; January 17, 1942. An American former professional boxer, one of the most recognized heavyweights in the history of the sport. He was crowned ‘Sportsman of the Century’ by Sports illustrated and ‘Ports Personality of the Century’ by the BBC.
He was awarded the Double Helix Medal in 2006
#7. Gnégnéri Yaya Touré
Born 13 May 1983. Commonly known as Yaya Touré. An Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City and the Ivory Coast national team. He was voted African Footballer of the Year four times consecutively, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He also played for Barcelona and was part of the historic 2009 Barcelona side that won 6 trophies in a year. He scored several goals for Manchester City and is especially known for the goals in the 2011 FA Cup Semi-final and final.
#8. Mesut ozil
Born 15 October 1988. A German footballer who plays for English club Arsenal and the German national team. Became internationally known during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was awarded best player of the tournament- Golden Ball Award. In 2013, he became the most expensive German player of all time when he was transferred to Arsenal for £42.5 million.
#9. Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Born December 11, 1976. A retired American professional basketball player. Director of the player personnel for the Sacramento Kings of the NBA as well as the general manager of the Reno Bighorns. In his day, he played both forward and centre positions, and played on the United States men’s national basketball team that won the gold medal in the 2000 Sidney Olympics. He was named an NBA All-Star in the 2001- 2002season.
#10. Papiss Demba Cissé
Born 3 June 1985. A Senegalese footballer who plays as a striker for Newcastle United and the Senegal national team. He holds the record of most goals scored (22) by an African in a single Bundeslia campaign- 2010 to 2011. In the same season, he also won an s4 award for being the most efficient striker in the league.
This article hasn’t done justice to all the great Muslim sportsmen and women the world has seen. But it at least gives us a glimpse of how far a person can go, no matter your religion, race or political inclination.