The World Snooker Championships get underway at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre this week so now feels like the right time to look back over the game’s brightest ever stars.
There have been plenty contenders for this list over the years and, while some may disagree, here, we believe, are the top 5 greatest snooker players of all time.
Hurricane Higgins makes this list purely because he was a showman.
There is a school of thought – and not one that we would disagree with – that says he probably would not have won very much if he was playing today because of the type of shots he was only too happy to take on.
Higgins loved to shoot for the risky, outlandish shots and put on a show rather than play tight and to win.
Win he did though. In fact, he won two World Championships, the UK Championship and two Masters titles, making him one of only ten players to complete snooker’s Triple Crown.
A real star of the game throughout the 70’s and 80’s, you couldn’t write up a list of the game’s greatest ever players and not include Alex.
Much the same goes for Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White, unquestionably the greatest ever never to win a World Championship.
While he might never have won the big one, the legend did make it to six finals and also took down both The Masters and the UK Championship.
In 1992 he became only the second player to make a maximum break at the Crucible and was a true ambassador for snooker in the 80’s and 90’s.
An early superstar of the sport whose celebrity transcended the game.
He may have played up to his boring reputation, but on the felt Steve Davis was anything but.
Steve possessed the greatest combination of concentration and temperament during his near total domination of the 1980’s.
Davis was indeed the dominant force in the 1980’s, carrying off world titles in 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988 and 1989.
At the height of his powers, he was a winning machine that was, a great deal of the time, unplayable and certainly unbeatable as he crushed the life out of frame after frame after frame, time after time after time.
When Hendry won the World Championship in 1990 he did so at just 21 years of age, a record that still stands today.
The Scotsman played on for a further 27 years and in that time he topped the world rankings for eight consecutive seasons, won seven world title wins, six Masters titles and five UK Championships.
Unbelievable in his prime, there are many who would argue that Stephen Hendry is the greatest snooker player of all time.
He certainly won like no one else before or since.
At the time of writing, Hendry is tied with another players on 36 career ranking titles as the most successful snooker player of all time. A record he shares with…
Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan is, quite simply, a genius of the felt and the game’s most natural talent.
His achievements speak for themselves. His unbelievable 147 in the 1997 World Championship (do yourself a favour and watch it below) will probably never be bettered.
He is also the holder of six Masters titles – the first of which he won aged 19 years and 69 days making him the youngest ever – and five UK Championships as well as holding the record for most career 147s (13 in competition) and delivering the fastest ever recorded.
At the end of the day, and being tied in titles with Stephen Hendry, it was O’Sullivan’s mix of flair and brilliance that wins him the number one spot.
There is, after all, a little of all the above in Ronnie, which makes him our number one.
The five times world champion is back at The Crucible once again in 2020 and is, at the time of writing, a 4/1 shot to pick up a sixth world title.