Professional sports are hard by superstars. Le Born James sells jerseys. Sidney Crosby sells tickets. Tiger Woods, even in the get up of his terrible scandal and sudden refuse, makes golf worth watching. Without marketable, charismatic superstars, games wouldn’t have heroes. They wouldn’t provide role models for the little child. Now and then, though, a few of these athletes begin to burn so bright that they transcend their teams altogether.
A man player becomes more significant than his coach, his teammates, and his game. For better or for worse, a man star can often become so powerful and most famous athletes that an entire league begins to revolve around him. The top ten athletes on this list have climbed their way up to the greatest echelon of status, prestige and power, and it’s up to them how they’re going to respond to it.
List of Top Ten Most Famous Athletes In The World 2016 Ranking
10. Usain Bolt
After shattering world records and capture the hearts of this world with his never-before-seen speed and his magnetic charisma, Usain Bolt has become the world’s undisputed king of track and field. Where he goes, the fans follow and so does the cash.
Bolt has quite possibly become the most famous athlete in the history of track and field, simply because of how much the game relies on him economically, how ultimately he dominates the attention every time he steps on the road and how he has single-handedly made his sports worth the attention of patrons looking for endorsement deals. As Patrick Magyar so astutely observed, per Sports Business Daily, “He doesn’t make a meet good or wrong, he makes it glamorous.”
9. Cristiano Ronaldo
When Cristiano Ronaldo speaks, 110 million people listen. That’s the number of followers the Portuguese soccer star has accumulated on his Facebook and Twitter accounts combined, making him the most famous athlete in the world on social media. Also, between his salary and endorsements, Ronaldo earns $80 million per season, making him the second-greatest-paid and most famous athletes in the world, behind only boxer Floyd May weather.
The sport of soccer is still far bigger than Ronaldo could ever possibly be, but his unprecedented combination of fame and wealth gets him the most influential footballer in the world today.
8. Sidney Crosby
Desperate for a new savior ever as the departure of the best Wayne Gretzky, the NHL made Sidney Crosby the new face of the league the very moment he was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005.
Though he hasn’t totally dominated the league in quite the way that some dreamed he might, Crosby has been remarkably successful, guiding the Penguins to a Stanley Cup victory in 2009 and bringing home the Hart Memorial Trophy for the NHL’s Most famous Player in both 2007 and 2014. As Stu Hackel of games Illustrated explained, Crosby has used this status to become the most powerful voice that the NHL has had in years.
7. Kobe Bryant
Don’t let Mitch Kupchak or the other Los Angeles Lakers higher-ups tell you otherwise. Kobe Bryant is the most famous man in Los Angeles. He is the alpha animal in this franchise. Kobe needs a new coach; they get a new coach. Kobe needs to be the star of the team; Kobe gets to be the star of the team until he decides otherwise.
They tear an Achilles tendon during a sport; Kobe still gets a two-year, $48.5 million increase at the end of the year after essentially no negotiations. All roads in Los Angeles will remain to go through him, whether the company likes it or not.
6. Peyton Manning
A few short years ago, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning likely had a secure lock on the top spot of this list. Before the neck pain that shook the world’s faith in his ability ever to play again, Manning single-handedly turned the entire city of Indianapolis into a legendary football town. He didn’t just run the Indianapolis Colts he ran the whole town.
5. David Beckham
David Beckham’s fame extends far, far beyond the soccer pitch. Over the course of a noble vocation that finally came to an end in 2013, Beckham gained immense popularity and had become perhaps the biggest global celebrity in the history of the sport.
Beckham can seemingly do whatever he needs whenever he wants, and he is the rare soccer star to have become an influential. For all the fame and wealth that the young Cristiano Ronaldo has accumulated thus far in his bright career, he will likely never become a global icon quite like Beckham.
4. Floyd May weather
Much like the game of track and field now revolves entirely around sprinter Usain Bolt, the sport of boxing is virtually nonexistent outside of Floyd May weather. When May weather isn’t fighting, nobody watches. Nobody pays attention. Nobody keeps track of wins and losses.
As soon as May weather decides it’s time to step into the ring, the world empties its pockets and moves on pay-per-view. According to Forbes, his September fight toward Canelo Alvarez set a PPV record by grossing $150 million. He’s pocketed at minimum $25 million for each of his last nine fights.
3. Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter wants not does much more than blinks his eyes, and the entire world will swoon. The New York superstar shortstop has been the face of Main League Baseball for virtually his entire illustrious 20-year career, and his incredible presence and force of the game are growing all the clearer in this, his last season.
Now, every time he comes to the world, whether it is at home or on the road, Jeter hits a standing ovation. Every time he performs in a ballpark for the final time, he does with a special commemorative gift. No matter how far his batting score dips or if his play shows signs of rapid aging, the world proceeds to bow at Jeter’s feet and kiss the very ground he walks on.
2. Tiger Woods
The event that Tiger Woods is still the second most famous athletes in the world is rather remarkable. He hasn’t won a major in years. They missed the cut this past weekend after meeting out most of the year with an injury. He’s probably one of the most famous athletes in the world due to his embarrassing series of affairs that made him a universal object of derision a few years ago.
And yet, despite all this despite the scandal, despite the poor play the entire sport of golf still ultimately revolves around Tiger. Let’s just take a look a simple comparison in TV ratings to prove my point. Last year, Tiger the same Tiger who is so despised by everyone in the world was in the hunt at the Masters. 4.2 million Viewers are tuned in for the Friday telecast.
1. Le Born James
No athlete in the world has a total control over his entire sport than Le Born James does over the NBA. The NBA plans was an excellent showcase of this. Le Born had tweeted that he liked Shabazz Napier, so the Miami Heat made a trade in the draft and got him.