Here’s all you need to know about the best athletes who rocked this year.
You may follow them, hate them or love them but you for sure can’t ignore them.
15. Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy. The US Masters continues to elude McIlroy and grasp as it is the only golf major he has not yet
won. The Northern Irish athlete has made $35 million in endorsements so far and turns 30 next year.
14. Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather. The retired boxer was the most searched-for athlete on ESPN’s list. He last fought in
August 2017 and defeated UFC fighter Conor McGregor in the 10th round of their boxing rules contest, a fight
ESPN called it a “farce”.
13. Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic. Tennis star Djokovic may have fallen from the summit of his sport, but he retains a good social
media following, is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, and has a foundation that supports childhood education
12. Serena Williams
Serena Williams. The American tennis player took a hiatus from the sport to focus on her pregnancy last year.
But despite being away from the game, she remained the most visible women’s player in tennis. She graced many magazine covers, wrote an article on the gender pay gap for Fortune, and married Reddit co-founder Alexis
11. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli was named in Time and100 most influential people in the world with
good reason — he is the 2017 ICC World Cricketer of the Year and is married to Bollywood star Anushka Sharma.
10. Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson. The American golfer maybe 48 in June, but that has not deterred his success or commercial
viability. He won the Mexico Championship in March and has made $50 million in endorsements.
9. Steph Curry
Steph Curry. According to ESPN, Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry is the most popular player in
the NBA, His biggest social media channel has a following of 19.4 million and he found even bigger fame
when he said he didn’t want to go to the White House to celebrate last season’s championship. President Donald Trump later rescinded the invitation.
8. Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal. Spanish tennis player Rafa Nadal is enjoying a career renaissance. He finished 2017 as the
ATP world ranked number one and continues to compete with arch-rival Roger Federer.
7. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant. The basketball player has had a busy year. Kevin Durant swapped Oklahoma City Thunder for Golden State Warriors and founded The Durant Company, which invests in tech startups.
6. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods. The American golfer’s DUI arrest “might have been his lowest point” and his back injury even jeopardized his playing career, but Woods is “fit healthy, smiling, and thankful for an opportunity to
extend his career” according to ESPN.
5. Roger Federer
Roger Federer. The 20-time Grand Slam tennis champion has undergone a “career reboot” according to ESPN. After a six-month layoff from injury, Federer won two majors and finished 2017 with a world number two
ranking. He has also given considerable time to his Africa foundation.
Neymar. Brazil forward Neymar swapped FC Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a $263 million deal last
summer and will be a key player for his country in the upcoming FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia.
3. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi. The FC Barcelona forward has a social media channel followed by 88.1 million fans on his biggest platform — but that is over 30 million less than Ronaldo. Messi’s name, though, is more widely searched
on the likes of Google.
2. LeBron James
LeBron James. Cleveland Cavaliers small forward James is the NBA’s best player, according to ESPN, but ” it is his
social commentary that has set him apart” in this year’s list. This is because he called President Trump “a bum”
in a tweet that was retweeted 650,000 times.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
striker Ronaldo is the most famous athlete in the world, according to ESPN. He is the Champions League all-time
leading goalscorer (120), has equaled Lionel Messi’s record of five Ballon d’Or trophies, and his biggest social
media platform has 121.7 million followers.