Two athletes come to mind immediately:
1.) Jim Brown - Fullback for the Cleveland Browns
2.) Jackie Robinson - Second Baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Brown is to this day acknowledged to be probably the greatest professional football player in history. He was a four-letter athlete in his college days at Syracuse, playing football, basketball, lacrosse and track and field. He led the NFL in rushing yards in 8 out his 9 years, and is to date the only player in NFL history to average over 100+ yards per game for his career. Classic photos show the Cleveland Brown’s famous sweep play with Brown carrying the football running behind a covey of Cleveland linemen like Gene Hickerson and Lou Groza. The only reason Brown’s offensive records aren’t greater is because he retired while still at his peak.
Jackie Robinson’s role in the desegregation of professional baseball has been so recognized that his skill as an athlete has actually received less recognition than it should. In fact, Robinson was a four-letter athlete in football, baseball, basketball and track while he was at UCLA. In fact, many felt he was actually a better track or football player than at baseball. Robinson would have been an Olympic competitor had not WW II service intervened. Not only was Robinson the one athlete with the personality and mentality required to endure the abuse he encountered as the integrator of professional baseball, he was also the one with such athletic talent and courage that he was able to overcome some of those abusers by winning their respect with his athletic ability and talent.
There is no doubt in the mind of anybody who knows professional sports that Jim Brown and Jackie Robinson would have excelled in nearly any professional sport they chose to make their careers. As it is they are both flag bearers for a host of athletes of all races who followed their examples of greatness as competitors and sportsmen.