Forbes’ Most Powerful Athletes …..

June 29, 2010 |

As the fiscal year draws to a conclusion, the fine folks at Forbes Magazine have decided to delight us with their MOST POWERFUL lists. Of course, these lists are broken down by profession, and include …. Actors, Musicians, Entrepreneurs, Media Personalities and Athletes.

While I found each list interesting – and certainly controversial – I was inspired to ask myself the very same question for the umteenth year of Forbes lists ….

WHO IN THE HECK COMES UP WITH THESE LISTS ???

Yeah, the standard, sensible criteria is cited as a method for determining the list rankings. According to the official Forbes disclaimer, the order of rank is determined through a combination of “annual earnings (+ potential) and resulting fame.”

The MONEY portion is really attributed to how much they’ve earned, while considering how much they’re likely to earn through future endorsements and increased visibility.

The FAME portion is deciphered by Google searches and official website visits, as well as social media relevance, like Facebook and Twitter. This certainly makes sense to me.

That said, I still came away from each list with the conclusion that a very loud and powerful voice at Forbes is out of touch with the reality of 2010. Perhaps, they’re stuck in 1999 – Tom Cruise is ranked ahead of Leonardo DiCaprio on the list of POWERFUL ACTORS, and one my very favorite bands – AC/DC is ranked several spots ahead of Kenny Chesney on the list of POWERFUL MUSICIANS. While I prefer the music of Angus and his cronies, they don’t have Kenny’s clout.

Enough of the other lists, lets talk about the MOST POWERFUL ATHLETES. Once again, I disagree with alot of these choices. Perhaps, the Forbes crew is trying to be global and diverse. However, the list is supposed to be based on the American market – which renders the rankings even sillier. Agree? Disagree? Here ya go …..
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1) Tiger Woods
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I’m not arguing this one. However, I do wonder how many of the GOOGLE SEARCHES were related to Tiger’s personal life over the last 7 months. He’s every bit as INFAMOUS as he is FAMOUS. But, he’s still raking in cash – much of which he’ll be paying back out, as his divorce settlement is rumored to be in the neighborhood of $750 million.

I do find it pretty poignant that our MOST POWERFUL ATHLETE is also the guy with the most screwed up life, as we sit here today. But, I don’t disagree – I still think he’s on top.
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2) Kobe Bryant
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Umm …. I guess so. I can attest to his popularity in the Los Angeles area, which is also the “Media Capital” of our society. I was in L.A. a couple weeks ago and it’s pretty challenging to walk around without seeing the name “Bryant” affixed to some kid’s back. And, the Kobe billboards are everywhere.

It’s hard to believe Kobe Bryant has reinvented his image, reputation and career in about 5 years time. That’s amazing. I guess it gives Tiger hope, huh? Wait a minute ….. he’s still ahead of Kobe !!!!
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3) Michael Jordan
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Not a bad ranking for the MOST POPULAR ATHLETE EVER, huh? And, he hasn’t played a game in more than 7 years. Is there really anything else to say? Well, if I was WNST’s Chris Pika, I would be holding out hope that MJ remembers his Birmingham Barons cohorts in his will …..
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4) Lebron James
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This stuff is easy – I could write this list from the top of my head. And, I’ve gotta funny feeling he’ll be ranked even higher on next year’s Forbes findings. In fact, he could shoot directly to the top !!!!
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5) Floyd Mayweather
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This is just a STUPID decision. I’m guessing somebody at Forbes really loves boxing …. or they’re totally overestimating the fighter’s actual cut from a purse. Nearly all of them end up with financial problems after retiring and I don’t see ANY of them making commercials.

When is the last time we saw Floyd Maywether on television, at all? If any sports talk show made FLOYD MAYWEATHER the day’s topic, freakin’ crickets would be chimed up. Absolutely ridiculous ….
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6) David Beckham
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Is this supposed to be a calculated, discriminative list? Or, did Forbes just pick names based on some inflated salary figure? I can’t fathom David Beckham yielding more Google searchesor social media hits than Peyton Manning. Heck, does he even merit the web traffic of Eli Manning? Well, maybe ….

By the way, David Beckham poses for more freaky photos than any person on this list. I’ll definitely give him that award.
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7) Phil Mickelson
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If anything, I thought he would be ranked higher on the list. Silly me ….. I guess Floyd Maywether is just a little more marketable. I have ZERO doubt Phil Mickelson is making plenty of money and he’s regularly featured on televisions, from Thursday thru Sunday.

By the way – and certainly outside the Forbes discussion – I talked about Phil Mickelson’s generosity during yesterday’s show. He quietly paid for former NFL player Conrad Dobler’s children to attend college. Dobler is disabled as a result of his football injuries and his wife is a parapalegic. Mickelson has never acknowledged this act of generosity – he won’t address it. But, Dobler is quite humbled by it. A very nice story …..
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8) Cristiano Ronaldo
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Who? I guess all those Tom Brady endorsements are being mistakingly attached to Ronaldo. This might be the most asinine entry on the entire list.
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9) Alex Rodriguez
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I’m kinda torn on this one. A’Rod is raking in a salary $32 million, but Derek Jeter is making $21 million. Yeah, that’s a tangible difference. But, I think Derek Jeter garners much more face time on TV pitches and such.

It seems like Jeter is much more marketable and relevant, especially in the social media aspect. But, I’m not really in disagreement with this selection.
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10) Shaquille O’Neal
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It’s amazing what hanging with Michael Phelps for a day will do for a guy, huh? I’m a little surprised Shaq is still carrying this clout. And, I’ll imagine this is the last year he’ll qualify for the Top-10 list. As much as he’s enjoyed an amazing career, the last year hasn’t been near his best.

After all, he made a TV show with Ben Roethlisberger.
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Well, that’s your list of the TEN MOST POWERFUL ATHLETES. If you’re curious about the athletes that nearly cracked the Top-10, it includes in order from #11 thru #16 ….. Serena Williams, Derek Jeter, Lance Armstrong, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams and Danica Patrick.

Are the Williams’ sisters and Sharapova really more powerful than Roger Federer? I’ve gotta question that finding. And, Danica Patrick? That’s pretty funny. There are easily a handful of NASCAR drivers who make more money and garner more pop culture appeal. To suggest Patrick has more power or clout than Dale Earnhardt Jr. is hard to defend. He appears in many more endorsements. Oh yeah …. Earnhardt made $34 million in the last year, and Patrick made $7 million. You tell me ….

I was very surprised to see Peyton Manning, who is easily the most recognizable face in the American sports landscape, missing from the list. Also absent – Tom Brady, Alex Ovechkin, Roger Federer, Jeff Gordon and Michael Phelps.

I wonder what this list will look like in 5 years? That’s a blog for another day …..

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