Even in retirement, Lakers’ superstar guard, Kobe Bryant still ranks atop ESPN’s newest World Fame Rankings
From cameo roles in the new Ghost Busters promotions to starring in Copa America Centenario TV spots, similar to former Lakers’ teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant is staying busy already despite only retiring in April.
With that in mind, the Black Mamba is still making his mark on the sports world, ranking 11th in ESPN’s World Fame 100 rankings.
In an “attempt to create a ranking, through statistical analysis, of the 100 most famous athletes on the planet,” ESPN’s director of sports analytics, Ben Alamar, “created a formula that combined athletes’ salary/winnings and endorsements with their social media following — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — along with Google search popularity to create a comparative ranking system.”
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Coming in at 11th, Kobe ranked behind the likes of fellow NBA stars, LeBron James (2) and Kevin Durant (6), golf legend, Tiger Woods (7), and various international soccer stars — Cristiano Ronaldo (1), Lionel Messi (3), Neymar (4) and James Rodriguez (9).
This ranking becomes even more impressive, however, when you consider the fact that he is one of the few players in the rankings that is retired.
ESPN lists his yearly salary at $25 million, endorsements $26 million, Facebook likes 20.9 million, and Twitter followers 9.1 million but also clarified that Kobe is still by far the most popular sports star among Chinese fans.
What’s more attractive to Chinese fans is Bryant’s playing style. His elegant fadeaway jumpers, graceful reverse layups and dunks all separate him from LeBron’s athleticism and violent physicality.
It is akin to Chinese martial arts versus boxing. It’s grace vs. power, which attracts Chinese fans to Kobe more than LeBron. And Chinese fans find it much easier to imitate and emulate Kobe’s moves.
This is an interesting take on the Kobe versus LeBron debate, though I doubt the ability to “imitate and emulate Kobe’s moves” is what really draws them to the Black Mamba as opposed to King James.