Darts, a game that’s been around for a long time, has transformed from a simple activity where people threw small arrows at beer barrels into a thrilling sport played on big stages. It’s a bit like how your favorite childhood game can turn into a huge competition.
As precision and skill became paramount, countless players stepped up to the oche, etching their names in the annals of competitive darts. In recent years, darts has reached new heights in popularity, thanks to events like the Premier League. As a result, more and more darts players are becoming like superstars in the world of sports. People are starting to see them as big-time heroes of the game.
In this article, we embark on an exhilarating countdown to unveil the famous dart players, each a testament to the sport’s enduring legacy. We’ll delve deep into their profiles, exploring the tapestry of their careers and the significant contributions that have shaped the world of darts into the professional spectacle we know today.
1. John Part – The Canadian Trailblazer
Starting our countdown at number 10 is John Part, the Canadian darting sensation. John gained fame in 1994 when he won the BDO World Darts Championship, becoming only the second unseeded player to achieve this feat after Phil Taylor.
From 1995 to 2006, Phil Taylor dominated darts, winning 11 out of 12 World Championships. But in 2003, John Part achieved the impossible, defeating Taylor 7-6 in the final. This victory was monumental, showcasing that even a giant like Phil Taylor could be toppled. Although Taylor claimed three more championships, John Part’s triumphant return in 2008 solidified his 2003 win as a historic moment in darts, demonstrating that even the greatest legends could be challenged.
2. James Wade – The Machine
At number 9, we have James Wade, known as “The Machine.” Wade burst onto the scene in the early 2000s, securing seven major titles and numerous other accolades.
Despite facing formidable opponents in the form of Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, Wade’s consistent success solidified his place as one of the game’s greats. His career is far from over, and he remains a contender for future titles.
3. Jocky Wilson – The Charismatic Scot
At number 8, we honor Jocky Wilson, a Scottish legend who clinched two BDO World Championships in 1982 and 1989. Known for his charismatic style and cheeky nature, Jocky was a fan favorite.
Jocky’s influence stretched beyond his titles. Wilson’s pair of World Championships not only won him a devoted fan following but also played a pivotal role in raising the profile of Scottish darts on the global stage. His remarkable victories not only demonstrated outstanding skill but also shattered preconceived notions about the sport’s regional biases. Wilson’s legacy continues to inspire countless aspiring players, making significant contributions to the ever-growing international appeal of darts.
4. Dennis Priestley – The Double Champion
Dennis Priestley, “The Menace,” takes the 7th spot in our countdown. He made history by winning both the BDO and PDC World Championships.
He, who was a determined and patient player known for his slow and careful style, secured two World Championship titles during his career. However, he faced off against Phil Taylor, widely regarded as the greatest darts player ever, in four finals and didn’t come out on top. In one of those finals in 1996, both Taylor and Priestley became the only pros to achieve an average score of 100 or more in a World Championship final. Dennis not only battled against the best but also played a crucial role in the early days of the PDC, helping to build its reputation as a top-notch darts organization.
5. Gary Anderson – The Flying Scotsman
At number 6, we have Gary Anderson, “The Flying Scotsman.” Anderson has claimed eight PDC majors, including back-to-back World Championships in 2015 and 2016.
Since making the switch from the BDO to the PDC, this 50-year-old darting legend has shown immense prowess, boasting two World Championships, two Premier League titles, and numerous other victories. What sets Anderson apart is his incredible ability to consistently score big, making him a formidable and enduring presence on the darting stage. Even in the face of stiff competition, like his clash with Michael van Gerwen in the 2017 World Championship final where he averaged an impressive 104.93, Anderson remains virtually unstoppable when he’s at his best.
6. Raymond van Barneveld – The Dutch Master
Raymond van Barneveld, the “Dutch Master,” grabs the 5th spot on our list. A transition from the BDO to the PDC in 2006 saw him win six major titles.
In just eight years, from 1998 to 2005, the Dutch darts legend secured four BDO world titles before moving to the PDC circuit. His career peaked in the unforgettable 2007 final, where he defeated Phil Taylor in what’s considered the sport’s greatest match. Alongside those world titles, he clinched prestigious victories, including the Desert Classic in 2007, the Grand Slam in 2012, and the Premier League in 2014. He also showcased his prowess with back-to-back UK Open titles in 2006 and 2007. Barney’s epic clash with Phil Taylor in the 2007 World Championship remains an iconic moment, and he’s credited with inspiring a wave of Dutch talent in darts.
7. John Lowe – The Old Stoneface
Taking the 4th position is John Lowe, a player whose career spanned the entirety of the BDO era. His slow and methodical style of play made him a formidable opponent.
He reached eight BDO world finals, winning three titles across different decades, a testament to his dedication. Lowe’s trophy collection includes three world titles, two World Masters wins, five WDF majors, and numerous other titles. He’s also known for hitting the first televised nine-darter in 1984, earning £102,000. Lowe’s resilience and presence in BDO competitions make him a respected icon in darts. He remains a respected figure and a symbol of longevity in darts.
8. Eric Bristow – The Crafty Cockney
Eric Bristow, a five-time World Champion, claims the 3rd spot on our list. His charismatic style and dominance in the 80s helped popularize the sport.
In the 1970s and 80s, Bristow’s dazzling performances not only made him a household name but also propelled darts into the limelight, captivating a broader audience. His incredible contribution to the sport was recognized with the prestigious MBE award. Though he is no longer with us, Bristow’s legacy as one of the greatest darts players of all time endures, reminding us of his pivotal role in elevating darts to the iconic status it enjoys today.
9. Michael van Gerwen – The Green Machine
In the 2nd position, we have Michael van Gerwen, “MVG.” At just 31 years old, MVG has already won 36 major PDC titles, including three World Championships.
What sets MVG apart is not only his ability to win the biggest tournaments but to do so repeatedly, with multiple victories in nearly every major PDC event. Undoubtedly the best darts player today, MVG’s dominance in an era of fierce competition and high averages showcases his extraordinary skill. His influence extends beyond his titles, inspiring the next generation of dart players. With MVG still in the game, it’s safe to say that no darts record is truly secure, and he might even go down in history as the greatest darts player ever.
10. Phil Taylor – The Power
At the pinnacle of our list is Phil Taylor, “The Power.” With an astounding 16 World Championships and countless other titles, Taylor’s dominance is unrivaled.
His impact on professional darts is immeasurable, as he took the game to new heights, not only in terms of skill but also in the prize money that players could earn. Taylor’s legacy as the ultimate darts player remains unchallenged, having clinched eight consecutive World Championships between 1995 and 2002, and an impressive 13 out of 19 titles available until 2013. With a staggering tally of 85 major titles, Taylor’s place at the top of the darts pantheon is secure, and even if others like MVG come close to his record, many will still consider “The Power” as the greatest darting legend of all time.
These top 10 famous dart players have left an enduring legacy in the world of competitive darts. From the pioneering Eric Bristow to the modern phenomenon Michael van Gerwen, each player has made invaluable contributions to the sport’s growth and popularity. Their profiles and achievements inspire current and future generations of dart players, ensuring that the game of darts remains a cherished and thriving pastime around the world.