Who is the most famous athlete in the world? ESPN tried to answer this question and compiled what the sports media giant is calling the “World Fame 100.”
There are no Minnesota athletes on the list.
However, there are two superstars with ties to Minnesota that made the cut: Kevin Love and Sidney Crosby.
Love spent six seasons with the Timberwolves where he became a three-time NBA All-Star and two-time All-NBA second team honoree.
Crosby played one season (2002-2003) of his amateur career with Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Fairbault, Minn. In 57 games, he scored 72 goals and 162 points and led the team to the U-18 AAA national championship.
Soccer megastar Cristiano Ronaldo is the most famous athlete in the world, according to ESPN. NBA star LeBron James, Love's teammate in Cleveland, is No. 2. Two more soccer stars, Lionel Messi and Neymar, and tennis star Roger Federer round out the top five.
Here is the methodology behind ESPN’s rankings that include eight women and two cricket players:
ESPN's director of sports analytics, devised a formula that combines salary and endorsements with social media following and Google search popularity to create the ESPN World Fame 100 rankings. The names might be familiar, but where the planet's biggest stars land on the list could surprise you.
Are you surprised the list didn’t include Vikings star Adrian Peterson or Twins hometown hero Joe Mauer? What about Wild standouts Zach Parise or Ryan Suter? How about Timberwolves veteran star and former NBA champion Kevin Garnett?
ESPN built its rankings by starting with Forbes’ list of the 100 highest-paid athletes. Mauer is No. 50 on Forbes' list with a $24 million salary. Love is No. 87 with his $19.7 million salary.
Mauer’s social media following, the second piece to ESPN’s formula, however, is non-existent without a Twitter account or public Facebook profile. His Google search popularity was consistently high until late 2014 when interest dropped.
Peterson has about 1.2 million Twitter followers and 1.4 million Facebook page likes, and his 2015 salary was $13 million, but endorsements have taken a hit since his 2014 suspension. Somewhat surprisingly, Peterson’s doesn’t have much Google search popularity.
Love has 1.9 million Twitter and 1.6 million Facebook followers. His Google search numbers have climbed significantly since joining forces with James in Cleveland.
Garnett, Parise and Suter have little to none social media presence. Garnett has the best Google search popularity among this group, but his earnings are no longer what they used to be.
Crosby didn’t make Forbes’ highest-paid athletes list, but had enough online following to be one of three hockey players included in the “World Fame 100.”
Here are a couple excerpts from Love and Crosby’s spotlights:
It’s good to be (Love)
LeBron James' handpicked wing man and a scorer whose teammates are constantly telling him he should shoot more, not less. Sounds like heaven, right?
It’s good to be (Crosby)
Seen as a promise fulfilled rather than a hyped sensation who never lived up to the label of "The Next One" -- a takeoff on Wayne Gretzky's "The Great One" nickname. Crosby won his first Stanley Cup title with the Penguins in 2009 and owns a slew of individual awards, including two Hart Trophies as the NHL's MVP.
What Minnesota athletes do you think should have made the world famous list?