ESPN has boosted soccer’s claim as the king of sports worldwide, but LeBron James leads the list of United States-based athletes who are taking their games to higher levels around the globe.
ESPN director of sports analytics Ben Alamar on Tuesday produced a definitive list of the 100 most famous athletes in the world.
Soccer players, particularly those from Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, dominate the top the list, with Cristiano Ronaldo sitting first, Lionel Messi third, Neymar fourth, James Rodriguez ninth and Gareth Bale 12th.
Eight other soccer players rank in the top 50, while Alex Morgan sets the standard for women’s players at No. 55. NBA players also fared well in the rankings. James hold the second overall slot, and Kevin Durant is sixth. Kobe Bryant is 11th, despite retiring earlier this year.
Tennis and golf also were well represented, as they combined to hold 16 places on the top 100, including seven of the top 20 spots. Roger Federer and Tiger Woods are the leading figures in tennis and golf, respectively.