The criteria for ESPN director of sports analytics Ben Alamar’s World Fame 100 list are an athlete’s salary, endorsements, social media following and Google search popularity. Landing in the top 10 are two NBA stars: LeBron James at #2 and Kevin Durant at #6.
The list, which was unveiled the day after Durant’s disappointing Western Conference Finals series loss to the Golden State Warriors, reconfirms just how big a superstar the Thunder player is. A debate is already raging about whether zen master Phil Jackson has any shot at luring Durant to New York. Among today’s many online guesses is a Hashtag Basketball post headlined “Shut Up, Kevin Durant Is Not Coming to New York:”
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, most people close to Durant believe the most likely outcome will be Durant signing a two-year deal with Oklahoma City, with a player option for the second year. This will enable him to have another run at the title with Westbrook and co. while giving him the flexibility to reassess in 2017, when the player cap is expected to rise to $108 million.
Another interesting wrinkle to the World Fame 100 list is that no NFL quarterback is among the top 10. A reminder that while professional football rules the U.S. and Vegas sportsbook roosts, the sport still got a ways to go internationally to catch up to soccer, basketball, tennis, golf and cricket.