Greatest-of-all-time lists are one of those necessary internet evils designed to get people debating, sharing, and ultimately driving website traffic in order to rake in that sweet, sweet ad revenue.
But how do you balance thought-provoking choices that generate discussion without jeopardizing the integrity of the list? How do you get folks in their feelings, but not so in their feelings that they unsubscribe? And won’t some folks get in their feelings no matter what? Isn’t that, like, rule No. 1 of the internet?
List-crafting is a subtle artform, but we’ve found a few patterns that we’re pretty sure are universally applicable to every single G.O.A.T. list ever made. A secret sauce, if you will. Peep game. Do you agree? Like, share, and sound off in the comments! (See what we did there?)
Related: Leave the GOAT Arguments to Farmers
20. Someone we’re pretty sure the editors included just to troll people.
19. Someone you’ve literally never heard of.
18. A person whose inclusion in this list makes readers violently angry for a reason so obscure the editors could not have possibly seen it coming.
17. A person whose inclusion in this list makes readers violently angry for a reason so obvious the editors absolutely should have seen it coming.
16. Someone who probably doesn’t belong on the list but who the editor-in-chief is obsessed with so the editors begrudgingly agreed to include them.
15. A pick who seems equally as good as picks No. 7-14, which makes you realize just how arbitrary and pointless these kinds of lists are.
14. A person who died tragically young.
13. A person who, tragically, is still very much alive.
12. Someone who was a big deal back in the day but didn’t leave a lasting impact as the industry evolved.
11. Someone who, for some reason, is getting an eight-part Netflix docuseries about them even though they’re not that remarkable.
10. A pioneer in the field who everyone universally respects but also agrees is not the G.O.A.T.
9. A G.O.A.T. contender whose accomplishments are overshadowed by some really messed-up stuff in their personal life.
8. A young talent everyone thinks will someday be the G.O.A.T. but who will actually fizzle out in less than three years.
7. Someone who many more would consider the G.O.A.T. were it not for racism and/or sexism.
6. A massively underrated talent who’s never gotten their dues and who diehards believe to be the true G.O.A.T.
5. A person who is only in the G.O.A.T. conversation because of their shameless self-promotion.
4. Someone who was the G.O.A.T. back in the '80s until better talent came along but who the oldheads still (mistakenly) believe to be the G.O.A.T.
3. The G.O.A.T. contender everyone LOVES.
2. The G.O.A.T. contender everyone HATES.
1. Someone who is clearly NOT the G.O.A.T.