They say records are meant to be broken. And for the most part that’s true. Even some of the most coveted records in sports have fallen over the years, but there are special ones that are so far ahead of the competition it appears they’ll stand forever. Here are some of the most untouchable and celebrated records in sports
Stephen Curry’s single-season 3-point record: 402
To be clear on this one, this record is unreachable for any other human being. It’s entirely possible that Curry himself could break his own record down the line, but for now his 2015-16 season total of 402 made 3-pointers is so ridiculous that no other player in NBA history has even reached 300 in a single season. Remarkably, the most threes made in a single season by anyone other than Curry happened that same season and on the same team. Fellow Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson knocked down 276 that year. So yes, Curry is more than 100 clear of his closest challenger.
Byron Nelson’s consecutive PGA Tour wins: 11
Even as much as Tiger Woods once completely ruled the game of golf, the best he ever did was seven PGA wins in a row in 2006-07. No one has come closer to Nelson before or since. The thought of any golfer winning even two or three events in a row today would be an unbelievable stretch of success. Eleven? No way. And while Nelson’s streak during a different era of golf in 1945, he was still competing with all-time greats Sam Snead and Ben Hogan, who were both still in their primes.
Cy Young’s career MLB wins record: 511
There are a few reasons this record is untouchable. For one, pitchers simply don’t start as many games or pitch as many innings as they used to. Gone are the days of starting 40 or sometimes even 50 games a season. That just doesn’t happen in the modern game. And on top of that, hitters are flat-out better today than in Young’s era (1890-1911). The nearest player to Young’s record who played at any point in the last 50 years is Greg Maddux, who retired in 2008 with 355 wins.
Michael Phelps’ career Olympic medals: 28
The only one who could top this record is Phelps himself if he decides to swim in another Olympics. His 28 medals, 23 of which are gold, stand alone because of a unique set of circumstances that allow Phelps to compete in several different events while also competing in a sport that lends itself to more longevity than others. He collected the hardware across four Summer Games from 2004-2016. The second-most Olympic medals of all time is 18 by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.
Jerry Rice’s career receiving yards: 22,895
Rice still owns all three major receiving records, for career yards, receptions and touchdown catches. But his yardage mark seems like the most unreachable when you consider that Terrell Owens is No. 2 all-time in career yardage at 15,934, or close to 7,000 yards behind. The active player who is closest? Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald at 14,389.
Julio Caesar Chavez’s win streak: 87 fights
From his first professional bout in February 1980 to September 1993, Chavez won all 87 of his fights. No losses, no draws in more than 13 years. The previous record official win streak in boxing was 62 by Willie Pep in the 1940s. Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s career 49-0 record is the best recent example of extended dominance, but Chavez’s streak is highly unlikely to ever be topped simply because modern-day boxers don’t fight nearly as often anymore. It took Mayweather 19 years to accumulate his 49 wins.
Wilt Chamberlain’s single-game NBA scoring record: 100 points
No one has really come all that close to Chamberlain’s 100-pointer against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. Kobe Bryant scored 81 in a game in 2006, and other than that only four other players have ever scored at least 70 in a single NBA game. What makes it particularly incredible that no one has caught Chamberlain yet is the fact that he scored all those points several years before the introduction of the 3-point line.
UConn women’s basketball’s win streak: 111 games
This could be considered the most impressive win streak in all of sports. It’s certainly the longest streak in basketball history, college or pro, male or female. It spanned from November of 2014 to March of 2017, included two national titles, and it broke UConn’s previous NCAA Division I record streak of 90 games that was already seen as nearly unbeatable.
Wayne Gretzky’s career points: 2,857
There were just too many unbelievable seasons Gretzky piled up in his career to allow anyone to catch him. He’s almost 1,000 points clear of the second-place player on the list, former teammate Mark Messier, who retired with 1,887 points. Jaromir Jagr is third on the list at 1,629 and he’s remarkably still playing at the age of 45. But there’s no way he comes close to The Great One.
Joe DiMaggio’s MLB hit streak: 56 games
The fact that this record has stood so long (set in 1941) is one thing. The fact that no one has really threatened it in that time further demonstrates how staggering of a record it is. You have to go back to 1978 to find the last time any player even reached 40 games (Pete Rose’s 44 straight), and the second-longest hit streak in MLB history occurred in the 19th Century when Willie Keeler (don’t act like you know who he is) hit safely in 45 straight games spanning the 1896-97 seasons.
Cal Ripken Jr.’s Iron Man streak: 2,632 games
Ripken’s consecutive games played record is one of those facts that serve as a reminder of a bygone era of sports. Player health and analytics tell us taking more days off increases career longevity, so modern-day players really don’t even try to chase this one. Miguel Tejada’s 1,152 straight games between 2000-2007 is the best streak since Ripken finished his in 1998. Since then, only four players have even cracked the 500-game mark.