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15 Most Overpowered Sports Game Athletes Ever

Looking at the players that run faster, jump higher, and hit harder than everyone else throughout the history of sports games

Stu Stalter

Feb 27, 2023

When life gives you Donald Duck, make Aaron Donald. Sports games permit those with the verticality and speed of a tortoise to live vicariously through virtual specimens. Here are the best of the impossibly brawny bunch of athletes. User-generated characters are disqualified of course.

15. Skip to my Lou - And 1 Streetball

Rafer “Skip to my Lou” Alston failed to reach hallowed NBA heights. Regardless, streetballers worship him as the only AND1 team member to enter hardwood heaven. The brand’s official game honors the miracle of going from streetball to an 11-year NBA career by gifting Alston perfect ratings unavailable to anyone else, alongside awesome dribbles.

14. DMX - Def Jam Vendetta

X gon' give it to ya via lightning-quick counters and thunderous kicks Def Jam Vendetta. The storm lasts with durability that withstands finishers better than anyone except perhaps the main antagonist, D-Mob. Def Jam hosting a tournament in a shoot wrestling league makes DMX an athlete, right? You better not disagree to this rapper’s vicious, virtual visage.

13. Peja Stojaković - NBA Ballers: Phenom

At the time of his retirement, Sacramento’s forgotten sniper held fourth place all time in three-pointers with a .401 percentage. The decidedly ahead-of-his-time big man shot even better than that in NBA Ballers: Phenom. Milquetoast marksmanship from the best shooter with an automatic hot spot foiled Midway’s plan to favor flashy handles and dunks in its gameplay.

12. Galaxy Opal Shaq - NBA 2K19

Imagine Lakers-era Shaq with Steph Curry’s range/accuracy, Allen Iverson’s speed, and LeBron’s driving ability. Dr. Dunkenstein created a 2K monster that features all that and more. He even swishes free throws!

11. Mr. Sandman - Punch-Out!! Series

Mr. Sandman brings dreams to unsuspecting boxers that go from unaware to unconscious once the quick jab and quicker difficulty hike lands flush. The former champion rolls with the punches and hardware changes to continue giving Little Mac big headaches.

10. Jerry Rice - Madden NFL 98

The real-life Jerry Rice is the all-time leader in receiving yards by a seemingly impossible margin. Rice accumulated 5,403 yards more than Larry Fitzgerald in second place. Perhaps more astonishinly, Rice caught 41 more touchdowns than Randy Moss. 

Unbreakable records extend to Madden NFL 98 (called Madden Football 64 for Nintendo 64) where EA bestowed a golden 189 overall rating upon the 49er when nobody had eclipsed 100 in the history of the series. Rice jumps too high, runs too quickly, and is simply too good.

9. Charles Barkley - Barkley Shut Up and Jam!

Sir Charles' avatar says it best in his signature 1993 Accolade release for Sega Genesis: "I can feel every single b-ball that has ever existed at my fingertips, I can feel their collective knowledge channeling through my veins. Every jump shot, every rebound and 3-pointer, every layup, dunk, and free throw. I am there."

If his real-life NBA presence wielded the same abilities like those in his pixelated paradise, Barkley would be the one shouting at Shaq about rings.

8. Lawrence Taylor - Tecmo Bowl

From a historical perspective, the real Lawrence Taylor permanently changed NFL pass protection schemes. True to life, there is no shielding QBs from L.T. in “Tecmo Bowl.” He anchors the fastest defense in the game as its highest-rated player. His abusive speed and tenacity is the bane of field goal kickers as well.

7. Tom Chambers -  Lakers vs. Celtics and the NBA Playoffs

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Tom Chambers! “The Man of Sega” flies through the air from the 3-point line to deliver an unblockable dunk in EA's 1991 Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs. Developers coded the double-pump slam in the likeness of the Phoenix Suns forward's famous posterization of Mark Jackson. It is unstoppable but can draw fouls for the and-one.

6. Pablo Sanchez - Backyard Baseball Series

The Life of Pablo Sanchez oozes athletic greatness. Gaming’s sportiest 8-year-old excels at basketball, football, hockey, and soccer. Clobbered fastballs reach the zenith.  “The Secret Weapon” nullified future Nolan Ryans via maximized stats in everything except pitching.

5. Kid Franchise - Blitz the League II

If your government name is Kid Franchise, you'd better be good. Mr. Franchise demonstrated two-way dominance before Shohei Ohtani was cool. Franchise can play any position except offensive line or defensive tackle, plus he returns punts. The game’s campaign demands unseen dominance, or an agent bemoans your stick shabbiness.

4. Super Tiger Woods - Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002 & 2003

Glancing at Tiger Woods in his classic colors drives players to see red in another context. Beating Tiger necessitates pure perfection. He refuses to commit errors. Unlike reality, you can’t create colorful distractions to make the master beat himself. Makes sense for golf’s icon the PGA had to literally change course for.

3. Michael Vick - Madden NFL 2004

Cover athlete Michael Vick’s unprecedented 95 speed and agility rolled through defenses one generation behind intricate countermeasures. Players barking about imbalance forced Madden to debut the hit stick the following year. A comparatively mediocre 84 throwing accuracy tackles Vick before reaching this list’s end zone.

2. Mike Tyson - Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Kid Dynamite ruled the ring with an “Iron” fist when ding, ding, ding outplayed puff, puff, pass on the soundtrack of his wonderous life as boxing’s youngest undisputed heavyweight champion. Facing Tyson, seemingly every mistake resulted in an uppercut that knocked you down for the count.

The digital version worsens the punishment. Landed blows guarantee knockdowns. Attack patterns randomize after the first round. The limited 2D environment and controls eliminate fancy tricks to acing this test of will and skill. To study is to fail endlessly until muscle memory or spasms dismiss would-be contenders.

1. Bo Jackson - Tecmo Super Bowl

Bo knows baseball. Bo knows football. Not even Bo knows how to stop his digitalized likeness in “Tecmo Bowl.” 

The rapid Raider reaches a maximum speed of 75 — 6 points higher than electrifying Hall of Famer Barry Sanders in second and a statistic co-developer Shinichiro Tomie struggled to calibrate. Jackson adds Herculean strength expected from a dual all-star that can break a baseball bat over his helmet. 

Lazier thumbs receive a vigorous workout when making laps around the field that can last hours before putting linebackers out of their artificial misery.

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Stu Stalter

Stuart Stalter is a lot better at writing articles about playing video games than writing in agony while playing Dark Souls. However, he did graduate from the College of Winterhold and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration in real life. You can find him on social media complaining about the Chicago Cubs @StuartStalter"


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Avenir Light is a clean and stylish font favored by designers. It's easy on the eyes and a great go-to font for titles, paragraphs & more.

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Avenir Light is a clean and stylish font favored by designers. It's easy on the eyes and a great go-to font for titles, paragraphs & more.

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Avenir Light is a clean and stylish font favored by designers. It's easy on the eyes and a great go-to font for titles, paragraphs & more.

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