In each of the last two years, Stephen Curry has set the record for most 3-pointers in a season, won MVP and reached the NBA Finals. His absurd ability to make unmake-able shots has made him possibly the most viral athlete in the sport of basketball, and the NBA’s willingness to let social media help blow up the popularity of their game has made Curry and his family some of the most visible people on the internet.
However, that’s only good enough for Curry to narrowly make the top 40 on a list of the world’s 100 most famous athletes.
According to ESPN’S World Fame 100 list, which uses a formula that takes into account salary, endorsements, social media following and Google search popularity to rank the most popular athletes on the planet from 1 to 100. The top 5 may not be everyone’s obvious selections, but it’s certainly stocked with the very best players from some of the most internationally popular sports in the world (so, yes, three of them are soccer players).
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Forward, Real Madrid)
- LeBron James (Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Lionel Messi (Forward, Barcelona)
- Neymar (Forward, Barcelona)
- Roger Federer (Tennis player)
Other notables are Kevin Durant (#6), Kobe Bryant (#11), Maria Sharapova (#18), Serena Williams (#25), Floyd Mayweather Jr. (#26) and Peyton Manning (#38). The most interesting of them all, however, might be Curry’s placement at #34. It’s hard to believe that there are 33 people more popular than the MVP who just played in the most-watched Western Conference Finals in cable TV history, but considering the global scope of the study, it’s certainly possible. How about this, though. There’s a cricket and a rugby player that place higher than Curry.
If he continues the trajectory that he’s on, that will soon change.