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Old 01-13-2011, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Boy George Constanza View Post
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.

Muhammad Ali

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.
Ali isn't a terrible choice, but he is the wrong one for a few reasons. Firstly, sure those were big fights, but they aren't even the biggest boxing fights of all time. Jack Johnson vs. James Jeffries in the 30s (due to racial implications), Louis vs. Schemling II (huge fight where Joe Louis singlehandidly took down the Nazis) were both bigger fights. And perhaps more importantly, Ali isn't even the greatest boxer of all time. Sure, the personality is there and all, but he resonated more with the black community more than anyone else. He may be a top 5 choice, but isn't number 1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hatehabsforever View Post
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.
You are mostly spot on, but are a little mistaken here. Tiger isn't actually one of the most famous athletes out there, he's one of the most infamous. There's a difference. After the whole ordeal he has been but in the spotlight more, but for all the wrong reasons.

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.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbrownstone View Post
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: 199697
Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year: 199697
UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 199899
UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year: 199899
Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (199293 to 200102):
Domestic & Overall Team of the Decade
Goal of the Decade (vs. Wimbledon, 17 August 1996)
BBC Sports Personality of the Year: 2001
FIFA 100
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.
Good to see another stupid choice here. First off, he may be one of the most popular soccer players of the last 10 years, but this debate is concerning all time athletes, which he certainly is not. He may have had a very good soccer career, but any credible list wouldn't have him near the top 10 of all time.

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.
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