When it comes to personal branding, some athletes get it and some don’t. Some are lone branding masterminds and some need a team to help them with branding decisions. Some star athletes are presented opportunities in the form of sponsorships and endorsements (even if they have zero personality). Their stellar play on the field or court drives their popularity. Personally, I find more enjoyment in the stories of lesser-known athletes who use their unique personality and creativity to carve out a space for themselves.
Certain athletes are at a disadvantage for a variety of reasons. In football, the average length for an active player’s career is six years. That’s not a lot of time, and is much shorter than other sports. These guys need to have the next phase of their life in mind early in their football career (as early as their first or second season). Plus, football players battle with playing a sport that doesn’t exactly support individual expression. The gladiator-esque equipment required for football doesn’t help either, and their helmets cover their face and hairstyle (unless you’re Troy Polamalu). Professional basketball, soccer, and baseball players have the advantage here. These sports are more open to individual expression and their athletes are easier to recognize. That doesn’t mean they don’t still have to work on building their brand, however, they just don’t have to fight the identity battle right off the bat (pun intended).
So who are some of these athletes who have mastered personal branding? Look no further:
Key: A philosophical fellow who isn’t afraid to think differently.
Attributes: Motivated, unique sense of fashion, quote machine, offbeat sense of humor
Here’s a good story on Arian.
Key: A good person who wants to win and have fun too.
Attributes: Out of this world basketball skills and IQ, leadership, work ethic
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Key: Killer crossover ability from sports to film.
Attributes: Big personality, humorous, best catch phrases in wrestling, good looks
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Key: An unapologetic arrogant son of a gun who knows he’s the best.
Attributes: Superhuman boxing IQ, controversy x quotes, best entertainer in sports, entrepreneur
Who did we miss? Which athletes are branding and balling?