Lacrosse is not a game for the weak or unconditioned. Lacrosse is a game of high impact and endurance. The most popular version of the game, field lacrosse requires players to wear protective gear and be able to catch a ball on the end of a stick, as well as pass, and shoot goals. The coordination the game requires is an interesting cross between soccer and hockey (without the ice).
The women’s version is played indoors and does not allow any physical contact, while their male counterparts typically play on an outdoor field. There is also a mixed version of the game known as intercrosse.
The fundamental requirements of being competitive in lacrosse require players to be in peak mental and physical condition. Injuries in this sport can mean a lifetime of debilitating pain or even permanent changes.
In order to be considered one of the best of all time, a player must depend on their entire team. There is no way for an individual to rise to international fame and competition on their own. For this reason, you will find that sportsmanship is a priority for any player considered the best.
Here is a look at the best players in the game:
The undeniable best player that ever dawned a lacrosse jersey, Jimmy Lewis was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1981. Lewis gained his recognition playing for the US Navy Lacrosse team where he was named All-American three different times.
One of the biggest influencers of the game, Lewis, along with his brother John approached the manufacturers of the field lacrosse stick to help with the production of a stick that was better balanced and much smaller than sticks had been in the past.
One of the most dynamic players in the game, Mike Powel won fans all over the world by being a true competitor and part of a true team experience. Powell was also a showman, bringing a bit of fun to the game. Unlike many other players in the game, Powell did not go on to play much on the professional stage but made his mark in college where he developed moves that players are taught today.
Gary Gait is renowned for being one of the winningest players in the game. Gary was the face of lacrosse in the late 1980s. What made Gait unique in the sport was the way he engaged with his fans, making the sport morph into a more fan-friendly experience. If you ever followed the game, then an autograph from Gary Gait was a sought after prize. Gait went on to coach women’s lacrosse.
Unfortunately overshadowed by his brother Gary, Paul Gait is widely accepted as one of the best to ever play the game. Paul was named First Team All-American three times and help his team to three NCAA Championship. What Paul brought to the game was a unique ability to foresee the gameplay out before him and anticipate what the opponents would do. He will always have our respect for not allowing his brothers attention to tearing him down.
Jim Thorpe is one of the best athletes of all time. He played and dominated in multiple sports throughout his career. Thorpe may not have accumulated the college acclaim that many other players usually do, but his record-breaking play in high school cemented his place in the best of all time. Thorpe was truly a legend in the earliest days of the game and his status is still something many modern players aspire to copy.
Jim Brown, known mostly for his success in football, was the first All-American in lacrosse to score 43 goals in 10 games. Known for his prowess in multiple sports, lacrosse was close to Brown’s heart and was once believed to love lacrosse more than any other sport. With the physical strength and condition that lacrosse requires, it is no surprise that a dominant player would be successful in other sports.
Jason Coffman is one of those players that may not look the part of a best of player, but when you look at the numbers, you cannot help but be shocked. Coffman is without a doubt one of the best college lacrosse players of all time. Named All-American all four years in college, Coffman amassed 451 points and 202 assists!
We had to include Oren Lyons on this list. The best goalie to ever play the game, Lyons was playing lacrosse before most of the big names on this list were even born. In his 80s, Lyons was still accepting challenges from players of all ages and was able to stop the scores of players of all national skill levels and acclaim.
Lyons went on to be a spokesman and dedicated activist for Native American rights and decency. We tip our hats to Lyons for being, not only a great player but a great human being!
John Grant, Sr.
While many may expect to see the suffix Jr. on this list, we decided the honor should go to John Grant, Sr. Grant skill level in the game surpasses almost every player to ever attempt the game. Remember that John Grant, Jr. learned how to play from watching his dad, so who deserves the recognition?
One thing that must be attributed to Grant Sr. is his unique one-handed ability and overall ball control. A true legend of the game in all aspects from his own achievements and bringing another generation to the love of the game with his son John Grant, Jr.
Lacrosse is one of the most physically demanding sports in all the world. Known to provide some of the key players to some of the more well known and professional-stage sports such as in the National Football League. Lacrosse players spend their entire careers working to improve the understanding and recognition of the game, all while keeping their teammates and themselves safe.