Floyd Mayweather, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Alex Rodriguez. What do they have in common?
They are all divisive personalities. In fact, if you look at that list, you could literally think it’s a list of the most hated athletes on the planet today.
Well, ironically, that isn’t where I got this list of names. It happens that these are also currently 5 of the 6 richest athletes, as compiled by SI. The ironic part is that it isn’t their salary that puts them atop this list — it’s the endorsement deals.
I’d think that endorsement deals go to the affable, likable athletes. And, for the most part, they do. There is often some connection there. However, it seems there is a give and take between likability and pure talent. Really, when it comes to compensation, talent can replace likability, based on the income of these 5 athletes. if you are talented enough, likability almost goes out the window.
Maybe the top-tier of athlete can only achieve so much likability anyway. This could potentially be related to the “killer instinct” cliche we hear.
I think about it as some version of a production possibility frontier. Example:
Work with me here. Maybe in this example the green dot on the blue line could be Kobe Bryant. His likability to talent ratio leans a bit to the talent side, for example. The green dot on the red line could be Dwight Howard. He has achieved less total likability and has less talent. However, Howard falls more towards the likability side, rather than talent.