The Most Badass Athletes from the 80s


Before I start, this article is by far more opinion than anything else. But I guess if I were to make a definition I would say that badass in the context of this writing is a combination of success in your respective sport, overall “coolness,” and a quality that’s unspoken.

I can’t really explain it. It’s like when you watch sports on TV and say “that guy’s a badass.”

Well the 80s weren’t all that badass but these athletes sure as hell were…..

Michael Jordan


Before all the titles and MVP’s Michael Jordan was a high flying guy with amazing kicks. He wasn’t the smart, dominating player he became in the 90s. This is when Jordan was young, overpowering and full of energy that he never saved for the end of games. He was an animal.

Walter Payton


He might have looked like a sweetheart but Payton was far and away one of the toughest and most talented running backs in the history of the NFL.

Jim McMahon


I’m pretty sure it’s because he wore sunglasses and rapped with a bunch of black football players that made McMahon such a badass. It’s when he got to the Eagles that he became a tool.

Magic Johnson


Well now that we know how many women he took down, back in the 80s Johnson was the poster child of showtime basketball. And being that dominant with the Lakers made him as badass as they come.

Tim Raines


The guy had cocaine in his back pockets while he was stealing second base. I mean, really? No wonder he was called “rock” Raines. It was probably crack.

Lawrence Taylor


I don’t think there was a more badass football player in that decade than Lawrence Taylor, period.

Mike Tyson


If you were another heavyweight in the 80s you did NOT want to face off against Iron Mike. Guy was beating his wife as much as he was beating opponents. He was not to be trifled with. Plus he had his own video game.

Larry Bird


“There will be another Magic Johnson in the NBA. There will be another Michael Jordan in the NBA. But there will never be another Larry Bird.”

Jimmy Connors


I had to put tennis in here and Connors qualifies because he was such a dick but he also backed it up on the court.

Rickey Henderson


Pretty sad that he was the best baseball player of the 80s but can you really argue against it? Maybe Mike Schmidt but he was definitely not a badass.

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4 thoughts on “The Most Badass Athletes from the 80s

  1. No list of Badasses is complete until you add Bob Probert. Really!!!
    The ultimate enforcer of the late ’80s. How can you look to tennis before you examine hockey for an awesome list like this??

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