It’s back, Time Magazine’s ranking of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. As I’ve done in the past, I’m covering this from a sports perspective, seeing who the most influential sports figures in the world are, according to Time Magazine. Usually I just focus on athletes, but because of the Jay-Z factor, I’m expanding it a bit to make room for Hov. It’s only right considering he is undeniably one of the influential people in the sports industry over the past year. From reshaping the culture of the Brooklyn Nets and actually making them relevant to his latest foray into athlete management. He’s definitely handling his business…damn. The recognition by Time Magazine is 100% deserved.
Additional notable sports figures joining Jay-Z on the list are all athletes: reigning NBA champion LeBron James, ski racer Lindsey Vonn, soccer player Mario Balotelli, and tennis champ Li Na.
Click on the images to view the slideshow and read more about each featured person.
“Jay Z embodies so much of what makes New York New York. A kid from a tough neighborhood who grows up in public housing, overcomes lots of bad influences on the street, never lets go of his dream, makes it to the top — and then keeps going, pursuing new outlets for his creativity and ambition. When no one would sign him to a record contract, he created his own label and built a music empire — before going on to design clothing lines, open sports bars and, most recently, represent professional athletes. He’s an artist-entrepreneur who stands at the center of culture and commerce in 21st century America, and his influence stretches across races, religions and regions.” – Michael Bloomberg (image via Mark Seliger)
“LeBron never takes a play off. His all-out effort is what stands out when you watch him. Whether his team is up 20 or down 20, LeBron is playing like it’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals. His dedication, devotion and focus have won the admiration of fans — and his athletic peers. He’s someone anyone, in any profession, can look up to. Set the bar high for yourself, like LeBron does.” – Derek Jeter (image via Chris Trotman)
“We’re witnessing history with Lindsey’s accomplishments. She again won the World Cup downhill crown this year despite a season-ending knee injury in February. We should all wish her a speedy recovery so she can wow us again when she returns for the World Cup season and the Sochi Olympics.” – Danica Patrick (image via Alexis Boichard)
“Mario can play the big games and handle the crucial moments, but he needs to keep control. That is vital for him. From afar, people may think he’s a madman, but he isn’t. Mario is a lovely guy, very humble and very funny. I can assure people he has always been a pleasure to deal with. He has returned to Italy from England as the main man with lots of attention. Now he has to ensure he keeps control and keeps focus. Mario loves the pressure, but to succeed, it is about finding balance.” – Gianfranco Zola (image via Levon Biss)
“Li Na is a maverick. Who else would stand up to the centralized Chinese sports system as Li did, back in 2008, when she pushed for more control over her career? Li persuaded the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) to start the “fly alone” policy, which gives players more independence. Now they keep more of their money, giving just a fraction of their earnings to the CTA, compared with the bulk before. Rather than let the bureaucrats pick her coach, Li went with Jiang Shan, who is now her husband. Li has soared. She’s ranked fifth in the world and won the 2011 French Open, becoming the first Asian-born player to win a Grand Slam singles tournament.” -Chris Evert (image via Mark Seliger)
For the complete list, go here.