Topic #3, Group #2: Most Internationally Famous Athlete
This thread is to be used by those in Group #1 (see the stickied thread for rosters if you're unsure of where you are). Any other posts in here will be flagged for spam and deleted. You have four days from the time this is posted to post (as in the time this is posted on Saturday, which is approximately when the new topic will go up. Note that I mean 96 hours after MY initial post, not the lead off debater.) your arguments, rebuttals and anything else you want. Best overall debater in that time period receives 10 points, second receives 9, third receives 8, all others receive 7.
Hitting Lead-Off in this debate is Little Jerry Lawler. He has 24 hours to reply and if he doesn't then it's open season.
Again: 4 days, best overall poster gets first place points.
Topic: Which athlete is the most famous on a global scale? This can be anyone throughout history and does not have to be current.
Scores will be posted as soon as the three judges give their scores.
This was a hard decision to make because some sports lend to more international spotlight and notoriety than others. I'm choosing a guy who was legendary in the United States and took that legend to other parts of the world and is still remembered to this day.
I seriously thought about choosing Michael Jordan but I had to go with Ali. Ali was unlike anything we've ever seen. He could trash talk you to death and he had the ability to back it up. He was pre-internet's Terrell Owens or Shaquille O'Neal. To some, Ali was a larger than life character. I'm going to highlight two of his fights to prove my case.
1. The Rumble In The Jungle
I couldn't stress enough the significance of this fight. The payoff to this fight was $5 million but Don King didn't have the money so he had to go to an outside country and Zaire was willing to sponsor the fight. The president of Zaire wanted publicity and he got exactly what he achieved. For maybe the only time in history, the eyes of millions was focused on a country in Africa.
2. Thrilla in Manila
This was the end to the bitter feud Ali and Frazier had which was one of the greatest of all-time. President Ferdinand Marcos wanted the honor to host this fight as a way to divert the social chaos Manila was experiencing at the time. HBO broadcasted the fight and numerous countries got to see this happen.
Muhammad Ali brought boxing and his personna to other countries of the world in a sport that had mainly been localized to America at that point. Ali and the sport of boxing didn't have the advantages that other athletes have today in the world of technology. Muhammad was one of the greats and he got to display that talent to other parts of the world so they could see it too.
Reading this question, I instantly had one thought of who it would be, and I hoped that someone wouldn't take him. He's the best NBA player of all time, and no doubt is the most famous North American athlete in the past 50 years. Of course, I'm talking about the one, the only, Michael Jordan. Why is he so famous around the world? Well...
Jordan has had a lot of these memorable moments in the NBA. The shot over Cleveland in the first round, the reverse layup against the Lakers in the NBA finals, and the shot over Byron Russell in Game 6 of the 1998 finals (which was the highest rated final ever, along with Game 6 being the highest rated game in television history). All of these Jordan moments are iconic and many can be remembered by not only diehard NBA fans, but casual fans who don't watch a whole lot, mainly because of who was the star in all of these moments: Jordan.
Michaels biggest merchandise apparel has been the Air Jordan shoes, first released in 1985 and there's still new releases every year to this day. Not only that, but Nike, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Gatorade, McDonald's, Ball Park Franks, Rayovac, Wheaties, Hanes, and MCI have also been sponsored by Jordan one time or another. He's starred in Movies (Space Jam) and commercials. Also, his total amount of money from endorsements is estimated at over 40 million per YEAR. That's amazing. And that's not just people in NA buying his stuff. Europenas, Asians, and South Americans are a large part of that as well.
Plus, he was rated as the 20th most powerful celebrity by Forbes for the time between June 2009-10, earning over 55 million dollars.
Affect on NBA
Almost every Bulls game, home or away, was sold out at Jordans peak in both the early and late 90s (the time b/w him taking off for baseball). The NBA's ratings were much higher when he was in it then each time that he left (to play baseball and retire forever). He made the NBA into the #2 league (behind the NFL), and his presence influenced stars like Lebron James and Dwayne Wade (now two of the NBA's biggest stars). This guy was not just popular, he was the most well known athlete in the world.
(source on first claim: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print...744&type=story)
Note: I'll add more onto this later, but I wanted to get this in before I had to go.
There's no doubt about it, there were a wide variety of athletes to choose from, spanning the entire globe, when considering who the most internationally famous athlete would be. In the end, though, it was actually a surprisingly easy decision. My selection for the most internationally famous athlete was Tiger Woods.
Here's a guy whose hype preceded him in a big way, and make no mistake about, he did not fail to live up to every single bit of the hype and hooplah which he brought from the amateur ranks into the realm of professional sports. Eldrick was being touted as being all that, signing record endorsement deals, and creating a buzz and anticipation like no one before him.
He has proceeded to win golf tournaments at an absolutely torrid pace. He has won all components of the Grand Slam of golf, some of these events multiple times, not to mention the plethora of non-major titles which he has been victorious in. He's won everywhere: North America, Europe, etc., he's truly been a global phenomenon.
He has brought interest to the sport in an unprecedented fashion. He's changed the demographics of who watches golf, and for that matter, who plays it. Look at the attendance figures and/or ratings in events where Tiger Woods is featured, and compare this to events where he is absent. Look at how the numbers have dropped off when he has been out nursing injuries, or when he missed time more recently due to his extracurricular activities and affairs. And imagine how the numbers will be if he is able to regain his form and retake his seat on the throne as the king of golf.
Talk to someone who is not a golf fan. For that matter, talk to anyone who isn't even a sports fan. Everyone knows Tiger Woods. He's got the most recognizable face out there, if not always for the most positive reasons. Few athletes before him, and few to come, will carry this presence which spans beyond the athletics world and into the mainstream.
But habs, it's only golf, it's not a real sport! Bullshit. The talent, strength, precision, accuracy, etc., that it takes to play professional golf at this level is remarkable. Those who say golf is not a true sport must have never played the game, or if they have, they must have missed the significance of what it takes to excel at it. Pin-point precision, sometimes in adverse elements, in front of a global audience, no small feat if you ask me.
But HHF, his game is in decline. First of all, I don't buy into this for a second. Sure it's been a rough 12-18 months, but I for one fully expect Tiger to eventually right the ship and re-ascend to the pinnacle of the sport. Once he becomes physically healthy again and gets his mental state rectified, with the resolution of all his outside distractions, he'll be back. And even if his doesn't recapture his past glory, he has already achieved more to date than most professional athletes would ever dream of achieving. Winning a professional golf tournament is not easy. Winning a major is even tougher, just look at all of the athletes in the PGA who have never done so, or have only done so once or twice. Winning like Tiger has, often in dominating fashion, now that's legendary.
Come on, habs, he's a scumbag. Just look at what he did. Honestly, I couldn't care less. He's the most internationally famous athlete, not the best person. He's no role model to me or to my kids except for his skills on the golf course. Not my place to comment on his morality, or lack thereof. I'm tired of his entire life being nitpicked to the extent that it has been, leave the man alone and let him move forward. But I guess that's not possible when you are the most internationally famous athlete on the planet. With all of the fame, fortune, glory, accolades, etc., comes scrutiny and expectations off the links. Plus, even if you don't approve of his conduct away from the PGA tour, it has made him probably even more recognizable internationally. Not only is he visible now on ESPN, TSN, CBS, etc., but he's also on TMZ, in the Enquirer, etc.,
All due respect to Muhammed Ali, Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, or whomever else, the most internationally famous athlete out there is the incomparable Tiger Woods.
Glad to see my choice hasn't been picked yet, that being the greatest and most recognizable athlete of all time, Pele. He is the easy choice for a few simple reasons.
Simply put, he was the best athlete ever in the world's most popular sport. Compare it to anything, and soccer is king. And among soccer enthusiasts everywhere, there is no question he is the best and brightest of all time. Ask almost anyone in the world and they know who Pele is.
His time on the New York Cosmos in the early 70s also greatly helped to raise public interest of soccer in America, no easy accomplishment. A certain Mr. Beckham couldn't even do as much. All in all, Pele is revered as a God, and rightly so. The man is legendary.
I'll get back to all of the above argument later, but I just wanted to point out that Megatron made a huge mistake in his choice. Sure, Jordan may be the most popular North American athlete ever, but this is about being famous around the world, which he isn't compared to some other bigger names.
Basketball isn't an international sport, even though it is growing, and MJ has never done anything major to make an impact on the other side of the world. The fact that he's sponsored by big companies is in no way proof to his fame overseas.
Also, "Effect on the NBA" not Affect. Not trying to be a grammar Nazi, but is was in bold.
My choice is the man who has been the face of the worlds most popular sport for the past 10+ years, David Beckham. This is a person who has found fame both with his sport and without it, in nearly every country in the world.
With his sport he has played for two of the worlds most renowned teams, Real Madrid (Spain) and Manchester United (England) he has also played for and captained his national team, England. During his time with Manchester United from 1993-2003 he amassed an amazing resume, winning the Premier League six times, the FA Cup twice and the UEFA champions league once. During his four year stint with Real Madrid from 2003-2007 he won the La Liga once. He has also played for his home country of England 115 times, captaining them 59 of those times making him the most capped player in English history.
Some other achievements he has include:
Premier League Player of the Month: August 1996
PFA Young Player of the Year: 1996–97
Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year: 1996–97
UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 1998–99
UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year: 1998–99
Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (1992–93 to 2001–02):
Domestic & Overall Team of the Decade
Goal of the Decade (vs. Wimbledon, 17 August 1996)
BBC Sports Personality of the Year: 2001
ESPY Award – Best Male Soccer Player: 2004
ESPY Award – Best MLS Player: 2008
English Football Hall of Fame: 2008
BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award: 2010
As you can see his on field achievements are mind blowing, there is good reason he is regarded as one of the best players ever.
He has also had a go at trying to make soccer/football more popular in the American market by playing for the LA Galaxy for the past three years. Suffice to say it has worked, LA Galaxy's home attendance has risen from an average of 20,813 in 2006 (the year before he joined) to an average of 26,008 in 2008. There has also been an increase in ratings from an average of 263,000 viewers in 2006 to an average of 289,000 in 2007, therefore an an average of 26,000 more American people are watching soccer on TV. There is also the fact that after his signing was announced LA Galaxy jersey sales reached an all time high sales figure of 250,000. So while these increases may only be slight Beckham has certainly generated interest in soccer in America, a feat thought unachievable for a long time.
So just with his involvement in soccer/football Beckham already reaches the markets of Europe, South America and North America as well as anywhere else in the world that watches the sport. But then for those who don't watch the sport there are other then he has just as much of a celebrity status outside of the sport.
He is married to Victoria Beckham, perhaps better known as Posh Spice, together they form one of the most well known celebrity couples in the world, just through his involvement with her the amount of people who are likely to know of him would increase dramatically. As well as that he has had endorsement deals for internationally recognisable brands such as Pepsi, he has his own clothing and fragrance line, he has been on the covers of magazines and video games, he has even been in movies like The Goal! Trilogy and he has a movie named after him in Bend It Like Beckham.
So whether you know his through Soccer, through his wife, through his clothing line or through Bend It Like Beckham if you have some kind of access to some form of media them in some way shape or form you know of David Beckham.
More importantly, he's a golfer. Nothing against golf, but it just isn't that big of a sport, certainly not when you compare it to something like soccer. I'm not arguing golf isn't a sport, that'd be silly. But arguing that golf is a popular sport would be even sillier.
Furthermore, you are severely overrating his soccer run in the US. He's been hurt or on loan for most of the time and the profile of the MLS hasn't been raised at all. If anything, Landon Donavon is the one responsible for the marginal increase in LA Galaxy attendence.
Beckham may have a semi-famous wife (who hasn't been relevant in a decade) and a rockin' body, but he in no way is the most famous athlete of all time. He isn't even the most famous soccer player. Overall, Pele was much more successful in his run in the US, skilled, and accomplished than Beckham. Just because Pele isn't an underwear model it doesn't mean he's less famous.
I disagree with both of your responses to my selection of Tiger. For one thing, you are somewhat correct in that Woods has become know for his infamy, his indiscretions, his extracurricular hobbies and affairs over the last 12-18 months. But I would suggest that all of that aside, he had more than already established his credentials and staked his claim to the moniker of most famous athlete. All of his amateur success preceded his infamy. He had already won multiple golf tournaments, including repeated major titles, prior to his walk of shame. He was already endorsing a shit load of different products on television and in other media outlets, making his name and face supremely recognizable. All of this was before his ex-wife decided to practice her drive at the side of Tiger's car rather than at the driving range. If this question had been posed before that infamous night, my answer would have still been the same. Tiger was not a product of the infamy only, he was a product of his amazing ability and the way it is perceived on a worldwide global scale. Sure, his appearances on TMZ and the Enquirer and crap media like this has made him more noticeable by the non- sporting population, but it is inaccurate and surprisingly naive of you to suggest that he is only a product of this infamy. And by the way, in typical Tiger fashion, he will undoubtedly rise above these challenges and re-ascend to the top of the golfing world again, displaying his trademark resilience and mental toughness which is only possessed by guys who can make a claim of being the most famous in the world.
You are a little too dismissive of the prominence of golf on the worldwide stage too. Does it enjoy the popularity and fanaticism of football/soccer, of course not, on the international stage I'm not sure anything does, as baffling as that is to me. But I think golf has more global appeal than you give it credit for. Look at the passion that emerges amongst fans and players alike for such events as the Ryder Cup. Check out the locations of the tournaments over the course of a season, the game is played and enjoyed absolutely everywhere. And look at this prominence today and compare it to the pre-Tiger era. Black and white (no pun intended). Tiger has taken a sport which has been enjoyed across the globe for years, and has made it cool, has made it fashionable, and has made a popular sport even more popular.
If Pele had never been born, or had never played the game of soccer, I'm quite certain that this sport would still be supremely popular worldwide. While Pele was remarkable and a very recognizable face and character, he didn't transcend his sport like Tiger did and is still doing. Ratings didn't soar, multitudes of kids did not pick up the sport, or companies were not tripping over themselves to secure endorsement deals for Pele relative to soccer. Tiger's impact upon golf, how it's played, how it's viewed, by whom, etc., is more significant than for Pele and football. And it's this type of presence on the international golfing stage that has made, and continues to make, Tiger Woods the most internationally famous athlete, in spite of rather than because of the infamy and scrutiny.
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