Top 9 Best Sports Anime Of All Time

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Sports anime

Sports and athletics are a part and parcel of some of our lives since we were kids. Watching or playing a sport can teach people a lot of good values in life like discipline, team spirit, confidence, and the ability to keep calm in times of intense situations.

Sports in Japan is a big deal, with the Japanese being hardcore sports and anime enthusiasts, immersing themselves in games like soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball, etc. Not to mention that the 2020 Olympics was held in Tokyo.

Sports anime wallpapers

Given the love of sports among Japanese people, it is no wonder that this has left its impression in the world of anime as well. There are various sports anime that have made an appearance, so much so, that it has become an entire category in anime! In this article, I will be taking you through some of the best sports anime that ever was, and you can decide for yourself whether to check them out. You can watch these sports anime online on any top anime streaming sites in English subbed and dubbed versions.

So let us not waste any more time and jump into the wonderful world of sports anime!

Also read: Best sport streaming websites

Best Sports Anime 

Kuroko no Basuke

This motivational sports anime with an OP MC is about basketball. Kuroko no Basuke narrates the tale of Tetsuya Kuroko who used to be the mysterious sixth member of the Teiko Junior High Basketball team, a group consisting of top-level players known as the Generation of Miracles.

Now, a freshman at Seirin High, Kuroko along with Taiga Kagami, a naturally talented player, begins taking on the former’s ex-teammates one by one.

Muscular characters from Kuroko no Basuke sports anime

Kuroko no Basuke consists of muscular sports anime characters who are exceptionally talented and skilled at their game. It is one of the best sports anime that I’ve ever watched which never fails to inspire me. Everyone should definitely check out this gem of an anime at least once in their lives.


Probably the most popular right now, Haikyu!! is an inspirational sports anime about volleyball. It is definitely one of the best male sports anime that I’ve ever watched. It narrates the story of junior high school student, Shoyo Hinata who dreams of being a volleyball champion after catching a glimpse of Karasuno High bringing the National Cup home, on television.

Although being inexperienced and having a height disadvantage, Hinata has an impressive vertical jump. He soon gets accepted into Karasuno and starts training with their official team, forming a friendly rivalry with Tobio Kageyama, the school’s prodigal setter.

Haikyuu!! volleyball sports anime

Haikyu!! Has garnered massive amounts of popularity since it came out. In fact, at one point, volleyball anime was synonymous with Haikyu!!. This is definitely one of the best sports anime with an athlete protagonist and I would recommend everyone watch it because frankly, it’s amazing.


Free! is a sports anime about swimming. It is set in the fictional town of Iwatobi in Japan and narrates the story of a high school student named Haruka Nanase, who is a gifted swimmer.

After coming across his childhood rival Rin Matsuoka from Samezuka Academy, he and his friends decide to bring back Iwatobi High School’s swim team.

As the team prepares for tournaments, the relationship between Haruka and Rin is put to the test owing to Rin’s setbacks in improvement. However, during the prefectural tournament, the boys’ friendship is revived.

Free! is a classic sports anime

Free! is a sports anime that has characters with the best physique. I loved watching this anime as I was also into swimming back when I was a kid. I would definitely recommend everyone watch this series because truly it is one of the bests out there.

SK8 the Infinity

Sk8 the Infinity is an offbeat sports anime about skateboarding. It has some of the most popular sports anime characters like Langa and Reiki who meet through a chance encounter.

Reiki is passionate about skateboarding and passes on his love for the sport to Langa after the former watches the latter battle it out at “S” a free-boarding race competition.

The two boys form a solid friendship that occurs as a result of their love for skateboarding and Reiki teaching Langa how to board.

SK8 the Infinity sports anime

SK8 the Infinity is one of my favorites of all time. Being someone who is into this particular sport, I thoroughly enjoyed it and fell in love with the characters along the way. I will definitely recommend this sports anime to everyone, especially those who love skateboarding just as I do.

Hajime no Ippo

Hajime no Ippo is a sports anime that centers around boxing as its main theme.  It narrates the story of Ippo Makunouchi, a timid and introverted high school student with no friends.

Due to this, he was often a victim of bullying and after one especially bad beating, he was rescued by a middleweight professional boxer who took him to Kamogawa Gym and thus began Ippo’s journey towards becoming one of the best boxers of Japan. 

Hajime no Ippo is a boxing sports anime

The best part about this anime is that it focuses heavily on character development and that plays a major role in making this sports anime one of the best that ever was.

Ippo is a humble and down to earth person who tries to learn from his opponents and this quality itself is what carries him towards the path of success. I love this anime from the core of my heart and will suggest everyone to check it out at least once.

Inazuma Eleven

This soccer anime is based on a video game of the same name. It narrates the story of Endou Mamoru who is a passionate goalkeeper at Raimon Jr. High, with six other players in the team.

However, his team faces the threat of disbandment if they cannot win a match against a rival team, the Tenkaku Gakuen. Endou wholeheartedly tries to save his team by employing more players and training hard to win the match. 

Group photo of Inazuma Eleven protagonists

This is definitely one of the classic sports anime that won the hearts of many fans across the globe. One of my favorites and probably the first sports anime that I’ve ever watched, Inazuma Eleven really takes the cake when it comes to a series with a great plot and characters. You should definitely check it out as it is thrilling and will fill you with adrenaline.

Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk is another sports anime about basketball and probably the best one yet in this particular genre. It narrates the tale of Hanamichi Sakuragi, a delinquent and leader of a street gang.

However, he is not good with the ladies because of his scary appearance and is taken aback when he meets Haruko Akagi, a girl not intimidated by him.

Haruko, noticing his athleticism introduces him to the Shohoku basketball team. Although skeptical at first, Sakuragi ends up joining the team because of his love for Haruko but ends up falling in love with the game equally.

popular sports characters from Slam Dunk anime

Slam Dunk is definitely my top sports anime ever. I instantly fell in love with it the first time I watched it and I would love to share my passion for this anime with everyone. Therefore, I want everyone reading this article to check it out because I’m sure somewhere down the line, you’d come to love it as much as I do too.

Blue Lock

Blue Lock is able to put an intriguing twist on football that turns the entire sporting event on its head. While teamwork still plays an important role in the sport, Blue Lock decides to put focus on the people of the sport, rather than on the sport itself. 

The story of Blue Lock is something like this, Japan’s national football team is lacking a great striker, and then the entire country turns to Jinpachi Ego’s unorthodox methods to find a solution to this problem. 

The coach invites Japan’s brightest and youngest talents for a battle royale that will help in producing the ultimate players who are and cancel everyone else as failures and ban them from joining the Japanese team.

Blue Lock is a fun anime, and so far, the story continues to maintain a reasonable pace. The characters of Blue Lock aren’t your average characters, and they are all put in unique situations that force them to act in ways that are quite atypical for this type of genre.

Tsurune – The Linking Shot 

Tsurune is one of those animes that is a bit underappreciated in the sports anime genre.

The anime focuses on archery, a sport that doesn’t see a lot of shows made on it. 

The series follows the story of Kazemai High School’s club as the club deals with personal hangups when they are en route for a place at the nationals. 

Even though season 1 of Tsurune set a lot of stage for the sequels in plenty of ways, the story of season 1 ended on a very satisfying note due to the character’s arc and their overall growth. 

After the satisfying end of season 1, season 2 was simultaneously welcomed by its fans, but it wasn’t something that was necessarily required to happen. Season 2 of the show has, so far, has knocked it out of the park again. 

As always, Kyoto Animation, the studio who is behind the animation of the series, has ensured the sequel’s visuals are quite top-notch and better than they ever were before, making them arguably rank among the best in this sports-anime genre. 

More importantly, The Linking Shot continues to explore its characters’ psyches by showing their impact on both the individual and the overall team.

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Final Thoughts

Sports and athletics are popular genres in anime and have been so for a long time now. With classics like Captain Tsubasa, Slam Dunk, Inazuma Eleven, etc. it has come a long way with series like Haikyu!!, Kuroko no Basuke, Free! etc. receiving a lot of attention these days. Sports anime has also contributed massively in inducing the love and interest in sports for a lot of anime fans who were not into it previously. I for sure am one of those people.

Which is your favorite sports anime of all time? Let us know in the comments!

Safdarali Rizvi

Safdarali Rizvi

Safdarali Rizvi the management graduate. Has been an avid book reader all his life so naturally loves playing with his words. His curiosity for discovering futuristic opportunities drives him to enlighten the entire Geekymint team with exclusive and intriguing news. He has a real passion for calisthenics and sports. His management abilities and hunger for learning brings tremendous value to our team.

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