There is only one David Beckham.
Yes, that's the title of a book about him.
Those words also are lyrics fans use (kindly and not-so-kindly) to serenade him. But who else could pull off the life he's pulled off? He's become an icon in the soccer world, not because of the goals he scores (he's far from prolific) but by the way he facilitates scoring for others. He has made kids all over the world wish they had his magical right foot.
He married a Spice Girl. Photographers follow his kids to school. He hangs out with Beyonce and J-Lo. And he swaps text messages with his VSBF (that's very special best friend, for you non-texters) Tom Cruise.
At age 32, he's not at his best skillwise, but he's still good. And his arrival to Major League Soccer this year has drawn unprecedented attention to what's still a niche sport in this country.
And he's here for one game today at the Dome, as his Los Angeles Galaxy faces the Thunder in the Copa Minnesota (Minnesota Cup).
Afterward, he'll hop on a jet to England, where he'll return to action with England's national team.
Only David Beckham can live so large.
Becoming an icon
How did this all begin?
Beckham debuted with Manchester United at age 20 and the national team a year later. Normally a right winger, he was William Tell in boots, able to send crosses and free kicks anywhere he wanted. Manchester United became a force in the English Premier League as he set up teammates for goals. He wore his hair longer then --think Simon LeBon from Duran Duran.
He announced his arrival during the 1996-97 season when he chipped the goalkeeper from the halfway line. He was going to be a force.
He made major headlines when he dated and later married Victoria Adams (Posh Spice). His good looks made him a pitchman for everything. He became the most well-known soccer player in the world.
Beckham last year became the first English player to score in three consecutive World Cups, but his run on the world's biggest stage has been far from drama-free.
He was red-carded in the 1998 World Cup for kicking Argentina's Diego Simeone after he was fouled. England lost the emotional match on penalty kicks, and Beckham received most of the blame. One headline read, "10 heroic lions, one stupid boy."
But he redeemed himself at the 2002 World Cup, scoring a goal that helped England avenge its loss to Argentina and reach the quarterfinals.
Beckham hobbled off the field during a 2006 World Cup loss to Portugal. He limped to the podium the next day and had to fight to keep composed as he relinquished his captaincy. It was supposed to end his international career, but now his country needs him to qualify for the European Championships.
Coming to America