This week ESPN released their second annual World Fame 100 where they list the 100 most famous athletes in the world. They base their rankings on social media following, endorsement deals and internet search popularity. The obvious names such as LeBron James, Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, Serena Williams and Simone Biles of course made the list. Going through the list, however, there were a few names I thought of that could easily have found themselves on the list. So I present to you the ESPN (not) World Fame 100!
Being an intense football fan, that was the sport I looked at first. The obvious players were on the list like Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and J.J. Watt. But looking at the list it was clear a few key players were missing.
The NFL wouldn’t be as entertaining to watch without the fun-loving Rob Gronkowski. He has countless endorsements with companies like Foot Locker and JetBlue, and even scored the Madden cover last year. I’m not sure how he didn’t end up on the list, but I definitely think he should have.
Another glaring absence from the list was Super Bowl 50 MVP, Von Miller. Miller had a huge game on football’s biggest stage. Von backed up his MVP performance with an outstanding 2016-2017 season, and racked up a few endorsements along the way.
LeBron James was the highest-rated basketball player coming in at second. The NBA had an abundant amount of players represented on the World Fame 100, but there were two that were surprise snubs.
Isaiah Thomas’s Celtics earned the first seed in the East for the NBA Playoffs this season, before eventually falling to the Cavaliers. Thomas was undoubtedly the best player on the Celtics. He doesn’t have many nationally run endorsements, however, which probably didn’t help his cause.
Being in a big market such as Chicago, it is surprising that Jimmy Butler didn’t make the list either. Butler’s teammate Dwyane Wade found himself at #24. Butler helped the USA Basketball team clinch its third straight gold medal. Having that kind of international exposure, it is kind of surprising that Butler didn’t snag a spot on the list.
To my surprise, there were no baseball or hockey players featured on the World Fame 100. That leaves a plethora of talent and stardom left off of the list. This is even more surprising when you consider the fact that baseball and hockey draw more international players than the previously mentioned football and basketball do.
Mike Trout was a dauntingly obvious name that wasn’t upon the most recognized 100 athletes. Trout has won the AL MVP twice, Silver Slugger for five years straight, and is having another incredible season. Trout is one of the most recognized names in baseball today and should definitely have been on this list.
Bryce Harper is well known for his temper on the field but also his raw baseball talent. Harper has had endorsements with the MLB, and as of late, T-Mobile. He also earned the honor of being the National League MVP in 2015. If these endorsements and accolades don’t earn Harper a spot on the World Fame 100, maybe the sky-rocketing number of google searches he collected after charging Hunter Strickland after being hit by a pitch will.
“The Next One” has been in the NHL since 2005. Sidney Crosby was originally thought to be the next Wayne Gretzky when he was drafted by the Penguins. Crosby was fortunate enough to make the list last year, but found himself on the outside looking in this year. With endorsements from big name companies such as Gatorade, Reebok, NHL and Tim Hortons, Crosby has made a name for himself with his countless advertisements. It’s near dumbfounding how he didn’t earn a spot on the list.
One of my favorite This Is SportsCenter commercials comes from Alex Ovechkin, when the Russian-born hockey player is accused of being a Russian spy. Alex has been stellar in the NHL and has the most goals by a Russian-born player, but his endorsements pretty much end at SportsCenter. Ovechkin has nearly 2.5 million followers on Twitter. While, that is a lot, it isn’t enough to earn him a spot on the World Fame 100.
This list is slowly becoming one of my favorite traditions, and just another reason to look forward to summer. Who do you guys thinks could have been on the list? Who made it that you think could have been left off?