Steve Davis OBE is an English retired professional snooker player. He is best known for dominating the sport during the 1980s, when he reached eight World Snooker Championship finals in nine years, won six world titles, and held the world number one ranking for seven consecutive seasons. The first player to make an officially recognised maximum break in professional competition, and the first to earn £1 million in career prize money, he famously was runner-up to Dennis Taylor in one of the sport’s most memorable matches, the 1985 World Snooker Championship final. Its dramatic black-ball conclusion attracted 18.5 million viewers, setting UK records for any broadcast after midnight and any broadcast on BBC Two that still stand to this day. Named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year in 1988, he remains the only snooker player to win the award.
In addition to his six world titles, Davis won the UK Championship six times and the Masters three times for a total of 15 Triple Crown titles, placing him third on the all-time list behind Ronnie O’Sullivan (20) and Stephen Hendry (18). During the 1987–88 season, he became the first player to win all three Triple Crown events in a single season, a feat that only Hendry and Mark Williams have since emulated. His career total of 28 ranking titles places him fourth on the all-time list behind O’Sullivan (38), Hendry (36), and John Higgins (31). He won his last major title at the 1997 Masters, but competed at a high level into his 50s, making the last of his record 30 Crucible appearances in 2010, when he defeated the defending world champion John Higgins to become the oldest world quarter-finalist since 1983. He retired from professional competition in April 2016, after 38 seasons, but he remains active as a commentator and analyst for the BBC’s snooker coverage.
Outside snooker, Davis competed in nine-ball pool tournaments, most notably representing Europe in the Mosconi Cup eleven times between 1994 and 2004. He defeated Earl Strickland in 2002 to clinch the cup for Europe, ending six years of American dominance. He also reached the final at an event on the World Pool League, and the last 16 of the 2003 WPA World Nine-ball Championship. A keen chess and poker player, he served as president of the British Chess Federation between 1996 and 2001 and has competed in televised poker tournaments. A fan of progressive rock, he has an ongoing career as a radio broadcaster, club DJ, and musician; with Kavus Torabi and Michael J. York, he co-founded the electronic music band The Utopia Strong. He has authored or co-authored books on snooker, chess, cooking, and music, as well as three autobiographies. In 2013, he featured as a contestant on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! He was made a MBE in the 1988 Birthday Honours and an OBE in the 2000 New Year Honours.