The Most Famous Lacrosse Players of All Time! Top 11 Lacrosse Legends!

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If you love lacrosse, then you're sure to be familiar with the most famous lacrosse players of all time - the lacrosse all-stars. From Hall-of-Famers to iconic figures in pop culture, these legendary figures are some of the most influential identities within our sport.

To celebrate their incredible contributions to lacrosse, we've compiled a list of the top famous lacrosse players in history! In this article, we'll honor their accomplishments and dive into what makes each one stand out as one of the best.

So come and join us as we explore some memorable names, past and present, that helped shape this beloved game.


Take Away Key Points:

  • There are multiple GOAT lacrosse players, but Gait might be the number #1 of all time
  • Many players enter the National HOF and set the standards for future generations
  • They are still recognized by global lacrosse fans and are considered the best legends the sport has ever seen

National Lacrosse Hall of Fame: All Stars

Here are some of the greatest players in their professional lacrosse careers. These players were recognized by lacrosse fans worldwide for their persistence, advanced performance, and game-changing methods.

Let's see the best of the best in lacrosse history!

1. Premier Lacrosse League

most famous lacrosse players

Below are some of the best Major League Lacrosse players that later become part of the PLL.

Paul Rabil

Paul Rabil is one of the best, if not the best, lacrosse player in the world. He was a co-founder of the PLL and one of the highest-paid players within the lacrosse community. He plays lacrosse professionally for the Premier Lacrosse League he co-founded with his brother.

Paul Rabil plays professional lacrosse with his Cannons Lacrosse Club team, but his last Major League Lacrosse teams included New York Lizards and Boston Cannons.

Paul Rabil participated in the MLL All-star Game in 2008 after being selected as the top lacrosse player of the Boston Cannons lacrosse team. During the 2009 season, Paul Rabil won the Major League Lacrosse Offensive Player Award and MVP Award. In 2010, he was part of the MLL All-star team and won the Player of the Year title in 2011.

In addition, Paul Rabil won the MLL Fastest shot and Bud Light Skills competition and became the first lacrosse player in history to win both awards. For this reason, lacrosse fans claim he is the best lacrosse player ever.

Brodie Merrill

Brodie Merrill plays professional lacrosse in Canada. However, Merrill currently plays for San Diego Seals in the National Lacrosse League and Cannons in the Premier Lacrosse League.

Merrill won the Rookie of the Year award in 2005 when he was on the team of the Baltimore Bay Hawks. Playing for the Rochester Rattlers in 2006 and 2007 is what he did in those years. Brodie Merrill won the Major League Lacrosse Defensive Player of the Year award four times during his professional lacrosse career.

He became the fourth Defensive Player of the Year award winner during the Toronto Nationals' inaugural season when helping the team win its first MLL Championship. Merrill set the groundball record for the history of Major League Lacrosse players.

In the 2006 World Lacrosse Championships in London, Ontario, Merrill was a member of the Canadian national lacrosse team. Additionally, he won All-World honors after winning Best Defender at the championship.

2. National Lacrosse League

Here are the most influential lacrosse players in the NLL category.

Gary Gait

most famous lacrosse team

Gary Gait is undoubtedly one of the best NLL lacrosse players in the history of the sport! The legendary player is the head coach of the Syracuse University men's lacrosse team. He won the NLL Sportsmanship Award twice. However, since 2017, he has been the Interim Commissioner of the United Women's Lacrosse League.

In his professional career, Gary Gait played lacrosse in the indoor National Lacrosse League and the outdoor Major League Lacrosse. He represented Canada internationally in box lacrosse. Gary Gait's multiple accomplishments have been recognized by the United States Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the National Lacrosse League. His performance and exceptional career make Gary Gait one of the greatest lacrosse players of all time.

He was a four-time All-American for the Syracuse University Orange men's lacrosse team. But, Gait was also an NCAA championship winner between 1988 and 1990. In addition, he won two Lieutenant Raymond Enners Awards while at Georgetown. The award belongs only to the most outstanding college lacrosse players. Syracuse University and Gait hold NCAA records until 2008 with their individual and career goals.

Gait won MVP honors for five straight years, 1995-1999, and each season won All-Pro awards. During his box lacrosse professional career, Gait won 1091 points, setting a league record at the time. During 2001-2005, the legendary player was a member of Major League Lacrosse for five seasons, winning three titles and co-winning the 2005 MVP award. And no lacrosse fan would ever forget his famous air gait shot at the University of Pennsylvania.

John Christopher Grant Jr.

John Grant Jr. has had an impressive career both in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and Major League Lacrosse (MLL). He is the son of the former player John Grant Sr. He also played for the Ontario Lacrosse Association before he became a lacrosse star.

John Grant Jr. has been hailed as one of the best players ever to set foot in the indoor lacrosse league, having won six NLL Championships with three different teams.

Additionally, John Grant Jr. became a four-time All-Star in both the NLL and MLL and was given numerous awards, including Rookie of the Year in 1999, Offensive Player of the Year in 2007-2008, and two MVP awards. His success in lacrosse even continued into his post-playing career as well.

John Grant Jr. was inducted into both the NLL Hall of Fame and the MLL HOF in 2020. One can say that John Grant Jr.'s legacy in both pro leagues will remain for many years to come.

3. NCAA College lacrosse league

Here are some of the best lacrosse players in the NCAA league.

Jimmy Lewis

James Lewis played in the Navy from 1964 to 1966. Jimmy Lewis led his team to national titles during the three years. The Navy won its national championships with the Wingate Memorial Trophy format since the committee selected the national champions during these years. Baltimore Sun in 1966, proclaimed Jimmy Lewis as the "greatest living lacrosse player."

Lewis scored 169 points in his Navy career and ranked fifth all-time. During his college career, Lewis earned the Jack Turnbull Award in 1964, 1965, and 1966. As a lacrosse player for the Navy, Jimmy Lewis became a part of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1981 and is known as the best men's lacrosse player ever. Lewis also received the Sword for Men award in 1966.

Lewis is among the best lacrosse players of all time due to his impressive career. The Midshipmen was the most famous lacrosse team, winning their fourth straight national championship game, and Lewis led the team to 22 consecutive victories in 1965.

When USILA voted for the best lacrosse teams, Lewis led the Navy team to three straight National Championships. Between 1960 and 1968, the Navy lacrosse team shared or won eight consecutive national championships. Thus, they left their trace as the most successful lacrosse team in Navy men's lacrosse history.

Michael Powell

Michael Powell is a four-time honorable mention All-American at Syracuse University. He had thirteen career assists upon his graduation. He was also an outstanding lacrosse player for the Boston Cannons and Baltimore Bay hawks.

Powell played for the USA men's lacrosse team in both the 2002 and the 2006 World Lacrosse Championships and served as an All-World selection both times.

In addition, Michael Powell won the Jack Turnbull Award six times during his career and was the Top Attackman in the NCAA Division I lacrosse. During his career, Powell also won the Tewaaraton Trophy, the lacrosse equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.

Only two male players have won the Tewaaraton Trophies twice, like Powell. His record for school career points at Syracuse University and the first two national champions makes him one of the greatest lacrosse players in history.

Dave Pietramala

Dave Pietramala is a former head coach of the men's lacrosse team at Johns Hopkins University. The National Lacrosse Hall of Fame awarded lacrosse player is regarded as one of the greatest in the defenseman position. He marked his entrance into the HOF in 2004. His accomplishments as a coach and player include winning both coach and player of the year titles.

Dave Pietramalla chose to attend Johns Hopkins University to play lacrosse for the powerhouse. While at the university, Dave Pietramala was a member of the 1987 National Championship team. In addition, he was honored with the Schmeisser Award as the nation's best defenseman in 1988 and 1989.

In 1989 Pietramla also received the Enners Award for being the best player in the country. During this college career, he earned three first-team all-American honors. The International Lacrosse Federation presented Pietramala with the All-World selections in 1990 and 1994 and the Best and Fairest Player (Most Valuable Player) title.

In 1995, Pietramala was honored with the NCAA Silver Anniversary Team. But he also received the Magazine's All-Century Team and Johns Hopkins All-Time Team awards.

Jim Brown

Jim Brown is one of the most valuable lacrosse legends who not only excelled in lacrosse but had outstanding athletic ability. He conducted multiple sports, and before lacrosse, he played football professionally. He even reached the National Football League before he switched to the lacrosse world.

Jim Brown was also an outstanding basketball star and a track star at Syracuse University. During his college lacrosse, Jim Brown was a Second-Team American and First-Team Selection during his senior year. When he scored 43 career points in only ten games, he became the second-highest scorer on the national track.

The PLL named the MVP Award after Jim Brown, who entered the HOF in 1983 as one of the greatest players of all time.

Other NCAA players include:

  • Paul Gait - part of the NLL, Western Lacrosse Association, won MVP awards and entered the HOF with his brother in 2005
  • Oren Lyons - the wolf clan faith keeper, member of the Six Nation Group
  • Jason Coffman - from Salisbury University, famous leader scorer in the shot clock era
  • John Grant Sr. - NLL league MVP who won multiple Man Cup finals and won the World Championship in 1978

4. Famous lacrosse players: Female version

There are multiple female lacrosse players famous for their outstanding skills, performance, and highest ranks at competitions. Let's meet some of the crucial women's lacrosse figures.

famous lacrosse players female

Katie Shwarzmann

Katie Schwarzmann was honored with the Inside Lacrosse Preseason Player of the Year and was also titled with the Tewaaraton Award winner, recognizing her as the top player.

In 2012, Katie Shwarzmann was an IWLCA First Team All-American and Synapse Sport Midfielder of the Year. She was also named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team and was awarded the 2012 ACC Offensive Player of the Year.

Katie held the title of the ACC Championship's MVP. She broke the tournament's record with eleven goals in a three-game span. In addition, Schwarzmann led Maryland with 72 goals and became the school's fifth-highest mark in single-season history.

Katie also had 22 assists giving her 94 points on the season, and she also brought in 52 draw controls. The player is a member of the 2012-14 USA Women's National senior team.

Lacrosse Magazine marked this midfielder as the top returner for the fourth-ranked Terrapins. A rival D I lacrosse coach told the magazine that Katie Schwarzmann is one of the best players in the nation.

Taylor Thornton

Lacrosse Magazine selected Taylor Thornton as the 2013 Preseason Player of the Year. It honored her as the top returner for the No. 3 Northwestern squad, which won the National Championship last season.

Thornton won the Tewaaraton Award and broke her record in 2012 when she scored 58 ground balls and 71 draw controls. Thus, she proved she was dangerous on both sides of the ball.

Taylor Thornton was an early favorite player, as she was part of the 2013 Tewaaraton Award women's watch list. Thornton also won the Lacrosse Honda Sports Award, titled the National Player of the Year. Her other lacrosse achievements include:

- Tewaaraton finalist,

- IWLCA First Team All-American,

- 2012 ALC Player of the Year,

- First Team All-ALC selection.

Taylor Thornton set the school's single-season record with a career-best 33 goals and 58 ground balls on the year and caused 28 turnovers. Various opposing coaches said a single player could not stop her. Instead, they need the whole pack of players to prevent her from scoring points.

Michelle Tumuro

Michelle Tumolo played lacrosse with the Syracuse Orange from 2010 to 2013 under her head coach Gary Gait. Tumolo was famous for the highest single-season points and assists for a freshman in program history.

With her Orange college team, Michelle Tumolo played for a pair of Big East Championship teams in 2012 and 2013. Additionally, she participated in the 2012 NCAA Championship game.

Next, she was complemented by a pair of NCAA Final Four competitions in 2010 and 2013. Then, in her senior season with the Orange university lacrosse team, she played against Cornell in 2013 and tore her ACL. This injury separated the player from the rest of her senior season.

Tumolo is the second player in school history to record 100 goals, 100 assists, and 200 points in her career. In 2012, she earned the National Attacker of the Year award and became the first player to receive such a title. During that lacrosse season, she assisted with 43 points and set a career-high 95 points while leading her team.

Tumolo made her entrance into the USA national team despite her injury. Along with Katie Rowan and Liz Hogan, Tumolo and Becca Block were the two players accepted by the National team in 2015.

Tumolo wears the number 35 jersey. She is a crucial lacrosse player on the attacking end. During a five-game tour in England in 2016, Tumolo had six assists and scored nine goals for the USA Team. During the Team USA Fall Classic in 2016, Tumolo led her team with ten assists and scored seven goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the greatest lacrosse player of all time?

Gary Gate is the greatest lacrosse player of all time.

Which men's lacrosse player has scored the most goals in NCAA Lacrosse?

Currently, Chris Gray at Boston University has scored the most goals in NCAA lacrosse. He has played 71 games, scored 204 goals with 197 assists, and has the highest points - 401.

What are the best high school lacrosse players of all time?

Some of the best high school lacrosse players of all time include:

- Lyle Thompson

- Trevor Baptiste

- Miles Jones

- Jules Nehemiah Heningburg.

Who is the best lacrosse player right now?

At present, the best lacrosse player is Tom Schreiber.

Who is the most popular American lacrosse player?

Jim Brown is the most popular American lacrosse player.


No one can deny that some of the most famous lacrosse players of all time are genuine legends. However, it's crucial to recognize that any such list is highly subjective, and many other outstanding players could have been included.

Whether or not someone's favorite player is included, anyone with love for the sport should be deeply appreciative of those who have set such an example and taken the game to new heights with their inspiring play.

Freddy Woods

Freddy is the heart and soul of Lacrosse Runner. As a former athlete, Freddy is very passionate about Lacrosse. He keeps up with the sport's changes and innovations and often tests the new equipment released by the leading manufacturers. Read more here