By Aaron Jackson
ESPN recently came out with its annual “World Fame 100” list, ranking the most famous athletes in the world. Topping the list are a number of soccer players, tennis stars and others that the US frankly doesn’t care a whole lot about. They use a number of different pieces of data to come up with the list scientifically, but I feel like this is one time that science shouldn’t play a factor. So I’ve decided to take the matter into my own hands and come up with the five most popular American athletes.
*Disclaimer: This list is in no way scientific, or likely even accurate. I don’t care, it’s my opinion and that’s good enough for me. Also, this list includes CURRENT athletes only. So no Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant.
#1. LeBron James, Cavaliers Forward: As much as I would love to not have this guy #1 on the list, everyone, and I mean everyone, knows who Lebron is at this point. He has officially transcended sports. NBA players have a built in marketing tool other sports don’t…we can see their face for the entire 48 minutes of a basketball game. That certainly helps his cause, but LeBron would likely be top 5 even if they played basketball with black veils over their faces.
#2. Tiger Woods, PGA Golfer: Gone are the glory days for Tiger, who once stood atop the sports world for a number of years. He hasn’t been overly relevant to his sport for some time now, and it’s been his antics off the course that have made the splashy headlines, but he still is arguably more well known that just about any other major athlete out there. He definitely passes the Grandma test (would your grandma know who he is?)
#3. Tom Brady, Patriots Quarterback: It almost seems like sacrilege as someone from New England to have Brady be anything than the top spot on a list like this, but I feel like this is probably higher than he should be in all honesty. I’m biased, sue me. Brady has certainly made his name on the field while only recently doing things off the field to gain notoriety on social media. That has vaulted him up much higher than he would’ve been just a couple short years ago. Hard to believe the most popular player in the most popular sport is in all honesty a controversial pick to be this high on the list.
#4. Stephen Curry, Warriors Guard: You could certainly make the case for Kevin Durant here, as he is clearly incredibly popular. And I have no science to back up my assertion that Curry is the guy deserving of this spot. There’s a very simple reason for my choice; at the Bangor Mall recently I saw two young kids wearing Curry jerseys. I have not to this point seen anyone wearing a Durant jersey in the New England region.
#5 Serena Williams, Tennis Star: The greatest female tennis player of all time. 23 grand slam singles, the most in the open era. It’s pretty clear why she’s popular in terms of her on court talent, but she also has a certain swagger off the court that is impressive too. And if you want sheer numbers she has a combined 18.3 million followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Serena definitely deserves a spot on this list.
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.