Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
American, 28, Basketball
Basketball's returning triple-double king
Key partners: Jordan Brand, Mountain Dew, Subway
2016 ranking: Re-entry
Russell Westbrook was dropped from this list last year having debuted in 2015, but if his omission was somewhat of an oversight, it was impossible to leave him out for a second time.
This year, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s inimitable guard registered one of the all-time great individual National Basketball Association (NBA) seasons, surpassing Oscar Robertson’s 55-year-old record to post an unthinkable 42 triple-doubles, arguably basketball’s clearest signifier of all-round excellence.
“Westbrook’s defining trait is not precision or skill but something harder to describe: some combination of hunger, will and frenzied self-belief.” - Sam Anderson, The New York Times Magazine.
Like his former Thunder teammate and fellow MVP candidate James Harden, Westbrook has benefited from a colleague moving on, afforded greater licence for self-expression following last summer’s departure of Kevin Durant to Golden State. Like Harden, too, Westbrook exudes classic NBA swagger whilst cultivating a personal brand that extends, wild and free, well beyond the basketball court.
Westbrook is, in many ways, a special, once-in-a-generation athlete. He’s an eccentric, outspoken fashionista but he’s also enigmatic, a private soul who doesn't court the limelight. As an article in The New York Times Magazine recently opined, he’s ‘a misunderstood genius’ who cares little for criticism. Just when you’ve written him off, the dimpled dynamo returns bigger and better than ever, dead-set on notching his next triple-double. ML