LeBron James is not the most handsome dude on the planet, but he is amazing on the basketball court. That is enough for him to get millions of dollars of endorsements and get pasted on the front cover of the most prestigious magazines.
Dwayne Wade is sailing in the same boat, but he was voted the ‘Sportsman of the Year’ for 2006 by Sports Illustrated. He is a virtual magnet for endorsements.
Even Nadal is not known for his looks, but has a huge following and is hot property for advertisers. Other tennis players that come to mind are Guillermo Canas, who is a hero in his country. Gonzales is more popular in Chile than most top ranking politicians. You can go on and on.
When the Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova won the US Open in 2004, there was not even a whimper.
Justine Henin has been World’s No. 1 for more weeks than Sharapova and has won five Grand Slams. With only 5’5″ and just 126 lbs, that’s a huge achievement against giants like Serena, Venus, Sharapova, Davenport etc. She leads Sharapova 5-2 in head to head clashes. She also lead another 6 footer, Davenport 7-5.
But does she get the coverage like Sharapova or Vaidisova or Ivanovic? Forget about advertisers or endorsements, the tennis media itself won’t recognize her. Pound for pound, she is undoubtedly the most talented woman on the tour. What a pity, beauty gets more recognition than pure talent and performance on the court.
The ultimate tennis player in this respect has to be Anna Kournikova. She had two titles in her entire career, (TWO!!!) but she is one of the most sought after womens’ tennis player. Any questions!!! She has not even picked up a tennis racket for the last 2000 years, but she can still outpace the best there is on the tour, in popularity and endorsements. Talent? Performance? What’s that???
Have you heard of Laila Ali? Sure you have. She is the daughter of the ‘greatest’ Mohammad Ali. She sure must be thankful that she is beautiful, for there is no dearth of talent there. You are thinking: well, she is getting all that attention because of her father. Maybe. But have you heard of Joe Frazier’s daughter Jackie Frazier, who Laila fought and defeated. No, you haven’t. Point is, it’s all about the beauty, talent is just a nice supplement.
You think Jankovic, the Serbian, is getting anywhere with the advertisers or the media, anytime soon, irrespective of how many titles she wins? She has already won more titles than anyone on the tour this year and is tied with Serena and Henin. You wouldn’t know with the huge media uproar over it!!!
It’s time for the world to discard the double standard and recognize the beauty of actions over the physical beauty. Why short change people, who have the audacity to force life pay, what they want, no matter what their appearance is – whether male or female.
You go, Henin, Swetlana, Jankovic!!!