Originally posted on Busted Coverage  |  Last updated 10/27/11

What does it take to be one of the Top 50 Most Popular Athletes on Google? You better be a winner and controversial. Or a winner & interesting. Or a winner, female & sexy. Thanks to days and days of pouring over numbers and names, we can tell you the world’s 50 most popular athletes and some of the names will shock you. Tim Tebow is on the list. So is Mike Tyson. But Yao Ming and Magic Johnson don’t make the cut. Check out the list to find out which athlete is #1 and if you’re interested to see how the results were produced and see numbers 51-60 click here.

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He's a Pro Bowl away from jumping into the low 40s in 2012.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/50-tim-tebow.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120996,"post_title":"#49 Babe Ruth - 8,250,000 results","post_content":"The modern Internet era started some 50 years after The Bambino died at 53, but that doesn't mean people aren't continuously fascinated by the Sultan of Swat. The guy is such a pop culture stud he even got a mention in Knocked up with Pete's line, \"You look like Babe Ruth's gay brother... Gabe Ruth.\" Advertisers know Babe's ability to move products. Pepsi has featured Babe in two commercials over the past few years. There was also the Boston Red Sox World Series run in 2004 that propelled Ruth into Internet stardom. Google Trends shows that 2004-2006 set Babe up with enough search results to get through the lean years.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/49-babe-ruth.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120995,"post_title":"#48 Ana Ivanovic - 8,260,000 results","post_content":"How does the WTA's 20th ranked tennis player get into this elite company? Sex. Ivanovic, a Serb, uses sex appeal and a great Google Image search page to keep her stardom rolling along. 2008 was a huge year for Ivanovic and generated such intense Google trafficshe would have easily been a Top 20 Most Searched athlete during her run as the world's #1 tennis player. Not winning many tournaments these days, Ivanovic maintains a high profile via boyfriends such as Adam Scott and Novak Djokovic. Can she get any bigger than that 2008 stardom? Not likely unless she starts winning again or marries a fellow tennis player. Meanwhile, she'll just be that hot chick on YouTube where men still go nuts for her videos. 4.7mm views for this. ","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/48-ana-ivanovic.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120994,"post_title":"#47 Pau Gasol - 8,340,000 results","post_content":"Thanks to NBA titles and playing in Los Angeles, Gasol's profile within the States has risen to this surprising level. Pau can also thank his rise in Google fame to a certain situation where it was rumored that Kobe Bryant's wife had caused a breakup between the 7-footer and his girlfriend. The high-profile relationship and the proximity of TMZ's offices to the Staples Center has resulted in Gasol gossip becoming a cottage industry. As the Lakers go, so goes the Gasol Google machine. The off-court drama in the spring should keep Pau on this list for years to come. ","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/47-pau-gasol.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120993,"post_title":"#46 Zinedine Zidane - 8,420,000 results","post_content":"Our first soccer player on this list, Zidane is considered one of the most influential athletes in history of French soccer. Name an international award and Zidane has won it. World Cup? Check. UEFA Championship? Yep. The guy had 31 international goals and 128 in 506 club games. He's an advertising machine. Zidane has appeared in ads ranging from Louis Vuitton to Audi to Adidas. U.S. Googlers might not know the name, but the world is well aware. He still holds one of the most impressive Google Trend days in Internet history (bigger than Tiger Woods' post-Thanksgiving wreck) when Zidane was sent off for a headbutt in the 2006 World Cup final.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/46-zinedine-zidane.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120992,"post_title":"#45 Aaron Rodgers - 8,470,000 results","post_content":"Aaron Rodgers was just another NFL QB before this year's Super Bowl. He'd had minor Google Search days via Brett Favre fodder but nothing like the stardom that came after beating the Steelers. Just 27, the guy who replaced Favre is poised to bust through the top-30 with another deep playoff run. Still not an advertiser's dream, Rodgers is moving up the chain for pitchmen via a recent commercial release for State Farm. Will Rodgers ever become a staple of the gossip pages? It's not likely. He's been rumored to be dating a commoner for the last year and remains fairly silent during the offseason. ","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/45-aaron-rodgers.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120991,"post_title":"#44 Caroline Wozniacki - 8,700,000 results","post_content":"Having trouble keeping track of Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic and which one is which? Wozniacki is the one who is dating golfer Rory McIlroy. She's the WTA world #1 and has had this public relationship with McIlroy, considered the PGA's #1 golfer. Looking at Caroline's astounding rise in public exposure, you can look at the 2009 and 2010 U.S. Opens. She lost in '09, but it was her coming out party. The victory in 2010 solidified her as a force on the court and then came the exposure off where she's considered one of the most beautiful female athletes in the world.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/44-caroline-wozniacki.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120990,"post_title":"#43 Shaquille O'Neal - 8,730,000 results","post_content":"The past year has been insane for The Diesel. If the NBA season ever starts he'll join the TNT broadcast team. Then there was news of his retirement. Then there was news of a sex tape crime scandal. The guy remains an A-list 'get' for sports events and even a movie here and there. Shaq will have a part in the upcoming Adam Sandler comedy Jack & Jill. It's our educated guess that O'Neal could pop into the top 25 via new scandals, a TNT flub or some sort of TV show where he competes in sports against other famous athletes.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/43-shaquille-oneal.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120989,"post_title":"#42 Tony Romo - 8,750,000 results","post_content":"The guy dated Jessica Simpson but dumped her as it became apparent that she was dominating too many cupcakes. That relationship and the resulting gossip pages created around the relationship made Romo a Google superstar. He QBs America's Team and is now married to Candice Crawford. She just happened to be a Miss USA contestant. It was recently learned that Romo's bachelor party included several games of hide-n-seek. Straight out of his mouth. Can't make that up. Need any more reasons why this guy made the Top 50? He's one of five go-to NFL faces for promotion, which means NBC, ESPN, CBS and Fox are nearly required to utter his name on Sundays. Still, he has just one NFL playoff victory to his name.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/42-tony-romo.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120988,"post_title":"#41 Shaun White - 8,780,000 results","post_content":"The Flying Tomato is still just 25 and has already built a sports empire thanks to the explosion in the X-Games world. He's hawked American Express, Oakley's, multiple video games, HP, Burton, etc. The guy rarely appears on live television, yet checks in with more search results than the NFL Super Bowl MVP. How is it possible to take his profile to the Top 20 level? He'll need a scandal and more exposure from the gossip sites. A European model girlfriend would probably help, too. He continues to kill Google after X-Games so not much is going to change for White over the next five years. He'll remain a force. ","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/41-shaun-white.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120987,"post_title":"#40 Dirk Nowitzki - 8,830,000 results","post_content":"There was a famous shirt from the 2011 NBA Finals that read, \"How's My Dirk Taste,\" worn by DeShawn Stevenson after the Dallas Mavericks beat Miami. It became a watershed moment for Dirk. He's capable of just going by his first name. He was comfortable drinking a giant bottle of champagne while cameras snapped away. Word of his epic partying quickly spread. Google search results ballooned. Dirk, with a few commercial deals, could be a Top 25 athlete in 1-2 years if the NBA can salvage a season with the lockout already eliminating games. If we were just ranking athletes for a single year (2011) on Google, Dirk would be Top 10. His. 40.0 Google Trend number after the Finals nearly matched Tiger Woods and his Escalade wreck\/drama.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/40-dirk-nowitzki.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120986,"post_title":"#39 Dale Earnhardt Jr - 8,940,000 results","post_content":"Now you realize why NASCAR makes a major effort to have Earnhardt Jr. front and center for its media campaigns. The guy might not win on Sunday, but he moves TV ratings and merchandise. Of course the case here is riding coattails. Dale Earnhardt, as you'll see, is #34 of this Google list. The way Google Trends works, Earnhardt Jr. and Sr. are interchangeable. When one is mentioned, the other is ultimately drawn into the story. Take February when the 10th anniversary of Sr.'s death was remembered. The story told most was how Jr. was dealing with the anniversary. These two will trend near each other on Google servers for many years to come","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/39-dale-earnhardt-jr.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120985,"post_title":"#38 Reggie Bush - 9,250,000 results ","post_content":"The Kim Kardashian factor (still 2.6mm search results for 'Kim Kardashian Reggie Bush). That's how we explain the positioning of Reggie Bush in the Top 50. The guy has done nothing in the NFL. True, there was the Super Bowl ring. But it has been the presence of Kardashian that has kept Reggie's flame burning. There was the Reggie rumor that he was trying to put an end to the Kardashian-Humphries wedding. Gossip sites spent two weeks on that story. Meanwhile, Reggie still tries to play in the NFL. It's not going pretty (with Dolphins), but he'll always have his spot in the Google Top 50 as long as Kardashian keeps mentioning his name.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/38-reggie-bush.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120984,"post_title":"#37 Diego Maradona - 9,360,000 results","post_content":"The legendary Argentinian goal scorer is now 50 but still making headlines. He coached his home country to the quarters at the 2010 World Cup. Diego once said about his children: \"My legitimate kids are Dalma and Giannina. The rest are a product of my money and mistakes.\" The legend has never been shy about speaking his mind or destroying a plate of food. Diego has gone from athlete, to fat, to svelte and has had that sweet, party hair all along. Surprised he's on this list? Not us. The guy is an Internet publisher's dream.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/37-diego-maradona.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120983,"post_title":"#36 Carmelo Anthony - 9,930,000 results ","post_content":"At this time last year Melo was disgruntled at his predicament in Denver. He had the former MTV VJ wife, friendships with Bron Bron, CP3 and the New York media but instead had to answer questions from the Denver Post. A mid-season trade to the Knicks catapulted the former Syracuse star into NBA megastar. His return to home was such a huge story that MSG made an entire commercial series about it. ' It also ranks as one of the most searched sports stories of 2011. Coming Home' made Knicks fans nostalgic. Then the team went out and were swept by the Celtics.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/36-carmelo-anthony.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120982,"post_title":"#35 Danica Patrick - 10,200,000 results","post_content":"Sex doesn't sell? Um, whatever. But in this case, we do know that Danica Patrick can at least say that her performance in the 2005 Indy 500 was a factor in her huge Internet success. That day remains Danica's most searched day on the Internet. There have been small bursts here and there thanks to signing to drive in NASCAR but nothing even close to Indy. Sure, there is the collection of bikini photos to keep her stardom rolling along. But it's actually on-track stories that create excitement around the Patrick brand. By the way, aren't we due for new bikini photos to celebrate this full time move to NASCAR?","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/35-danica-patrick.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120981,"post_title":"#34 Dale Earnhardt - 10,400,000 results","post_content":"As mentioned in #36 for Dale Earnhardt Jr., these two are intertwined on the Internet, especially Google search results. Sr. died February 18, 2001 yet the legend lives. It was just this year that an eBay seller claimed to be parting with the hearse that carried Earnhardt during his funeral. The Amazon fan shop sells over 400 different Earnhardt items. In a sport that has yet to get over the death of its icon, Earnhardt's legend will only continue to grow. NASCAR struggles for younger viewers which means younger, polished drivers. Meanwhile, those able to afford the RVs parked for four days yearn for the old days.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/34-dale-earnhardt.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120980,"post_title":"#33 Floyd Mayweather - 10,770,000 results","post_content":"It's been just 30 days since Floyd Mayweather KO'd Victor Ortiz in one of the strangest ends to a boxing match in the sport's illustrious history. September 18 is Mayweather's most searched day in Google history. Webpage after webpage was created as bloggers and newspapers sensed the importance of this fight ending. While the Mayweather-Pacquiao chatter never dies, Mayweather catapulted himself into the low 30s thanks to the fight and his tirade on Larry Merchant. Again, it takes controversy and performance to make this list. Mayweather is solid when it comes to people hating him. Now we just need the Pacquiao fight to happen. ","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/33-floyd-mayweather.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120979,"post_title":"#32 Alex Rodriguez - 11,300,000 results","post_content":"Not even high-profile relationships with Cameron Diaz and Madonna can move ARod into the Top 25. His divorce remains a Google Search highlight. ARod is so rich there is no need for stupid commercial campaigns, unless you count that Guitar Hero spot as raising his off-the-field profile. Baseball has a huge issue when its most hated star can't beat Michael Phelps for the 30th spot. Smoke a bong, marry a stripper or something. Do it for baseball. Do it for yourself. Just quit being so damn boring.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/32-alex-rodiguez.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120978,"post_title":"#31 Peyton Manning - 11,800,000 results","post_content":"How exactly does Peyton Manning end up in the low 30s? No scandal. He's not exactly hitting the red carpet events. His wife is rarely seen. We expect Manning is this low due to the recent talk of his possible career-ending neck injury. Of course his Sprint commercials had a huge run. Then there were the DirecTV ads. And MasterCard. We're possibly looking at the end of a career for the first QB in NFL history that combined success on the field, a huge advertising career and no scandal. It's an amazing marketing success story. As of January 2010, via AdAge, Davie Brown Entertainment, which publishes a much-cited index of celebrity attributes, ranks Mr. Manning in the top 25 endorsers out of the 2,400 it tracks, with a score comparable to George Clooney and Morgan Freeman.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/31-peyton-manning.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120977,"post_title":"#30 Michael Phelps - 12,000,000 results","post_content":"Combine being caught smoking a bong, scandalous relationships, Olympic glory and numerous advertising campaigns and it's easy to see how a guy who only appears on your TV every four years makes it into the 25 slot. From the NY Times in 2008: \"Michael Phelps is leaving Beijing as a global sports icon. He's now with the likes of the Michael Jordans, Tiger Woods and Roger Federers and he's earned every bit to be in that elite company,\" said Michael Lynch, head of global sponsorship at Visa. By this time next year, with another huge Olympics, you can expect Phelps to be well into the teens on this list.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/30-michael-phelps.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120976,"post_title":"#29 Dwyane Wade - 12,200,000 results","post_content":"While LeBron James takes the brunt of Big Three hatred, D. Wade maintains his squeaky clean image as the face of Miami Heat basketball. Miami fans don't blame Wade for the epic collapse against the Mavericks. Still just 29, this seven-time all star has built an empire of hipness that reaches nearly 1.8mm Twitter followers and sponsorship deals with Nike, Gatorade and T-Mobile. While his advertisers are firmly in place, Wade added extra search results via a nutty divorce that planted him on TMZ and Radar Online.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/29-dwayne-wade.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120975,"post_title":"#28 Derek Jeter - 12,500,000 results ","post_content":"The most searched baseball player in the world is also now in the 3,000 hit club, something no other New York Yankee has done. And his marketing team wants you to know The Captain will remain a powerhouse for years to come. Other than brands that Jeter is affiliated with -- which include Gillette, Nike's Jordan and Gatorade -- no companies will be allowed to run ads featuring Jeter's name or likeness, the number 3,000 or the word \"captain.\" Noted. We expect any kind of marriage news and Jeter easily becomes a Top 15 and possibly a Top 10 on this list.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/28-derek-jeter.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120974,"post_title":"#27 Brett Favre - 13,800,000 results","post_content":"The Ol' Gunslinger. Mr. Wrangler. Mr. Everyman. Brett Favre hasn't played a down of football in 2011, yet ranks ahead of Aaron Rodgers. Penis scandals will do that for an athlete. The key to a high ranking on this list is scandal. Of course you have the normal sports Google results. But Favre's dong scandal still resonates. A year ago, Favre was on top of Google Trends. Top. #1. He maintained the top spot for nearly 10 days in October 2010. Unless another scandal hits, expect Favre to start slipping on this list.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/27-brett-favre.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120973,"post_title":"#26 Jenson Button - 13,900,000 results","post_content":"For those of you who aren't familiar with F1 racing, this should be a lesson in how huge the sport is around the world. While NASCAR goofballs are running tracks in Alabama, F1 is circling the world and creating superstars. Button is 31, has insanely beautiful hair and became world champion in 2009, catapulting him into crazy stardom back home in England. Google took notice. His search numbers went nuts. A high-profile relationship with supermodel Jessica Michibata has kept him on the gossip pages.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/26-jenson-button.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120972,"post_title":"#25 Anna Kournikova - 14,700,000 results","post_content":"Anna Kournikova never won a WTA singles title. Not one. An entire generation of tennis fans has grown up without the Russian in a WTA match since her last WTA action occurred in 2003. But here she is with more search results than Derek Jeter and ARod. Her recent move into the entertainment business (The Biggest Loser) helps. The height of her Google career came way back in 2004 when news broke of her possibly marrying Enrique Iglesias. The two have never married and Kournikova remains a crossover athlete\/entertainer with a cadre of photos to keep creating blog posts and conversation.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/25-anna-kournikova.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120971,"post_title":"#24 Manny Pacquiao - 16,700,000 results","post_content":"Pac Man hasn't lost a fight since 2005 when Erik Morales beat him via unanimous decision. But Pacquiao would avenge that loss by knocking out Morales twice in 2006. With his amazing run, Manny has become boxing's biggest name and sell. His fights continue to create huge Google traffic and keep pumping posts back into the marketplace. But the big nugget dangling remains Mayweather. Pacquiao actually defended Mayweather's recent controversial KO of Victor Ortiz. This is the kind of synergy we like to see from these guys. One step closer to boxing's biggest day in 25 years.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/24-manny-pacquiao.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120970,"post_title":"#23 Tom Brady - 16,800,000 results","post_content":"Supermodel wife. Check. Multiple Super Bowl rings. Check. High-profile organization. Check. Dancing at Carnivale. Check. Great hair. Check. What else can be said about Tom Brady? The guy has seven years of Google traffic to base this #23 spot off of. With each Super Bowl run or red carpet event with Gisele, the legend grows. But doesn't this number seem awfully strange? Only 23? It's because he doesn't have an international profile. Brit tabloids aren't pumping out 15 posts per week. The NFL is powerful, but its road on the Top 50 list ends with Brady.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/23-tom-brady.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120969,"post_title":"#22 Michael Schumacher - 16,800,000 results","post_content":"Notice a trend here? International stardom, your Google Search traffic soars. Schumacher hasn't won a F1 world championship yet remains a Google machine thanks to his days with Ferrari. There were five consecutive F1 titles from 2000-2004. Forbes ranked him the second highest paid athlete in the world. Where do all the Google Search results come from? He's still racing which means pages are still being created. But the big difference is that he has outlets around the world writing about him. F1 stopped in Korea over the weekend.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/22-michael-schumacher.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120968,"post_title":"#21 Usain Bolt - 16,900,000 results","post_content":"Here is a name and ranking that totally shocked us until we realized that Usain Bolt is more than just the fastest man in the world. He's a freak show. And it's proven that freak shows\/characters have search power. The guy even has his own Urban Dictionary entry. The name is synonymous for fast. For example, a race horse is being called the 'Usain Bolt of horse racing.' We also know, via his Google Trend graph, that people still care who the fastest man in the world is. Bolt smashes the 100-m record in 2009 and the Internet nearly explodes. Expect his number to escalate in the next 10 months. Olympics, coming soon.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/21-usain-bolt.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120967,"post_title":"#19 Tony Hawk - 17,000,000 results","post_content":"More search results than Ali? More search results than Derek Jeter? Looks like this is your warning that skateboarding\/alternative sports can propel its superstar into international stardom via video games, and great marketing campaigns. Hawk is a force when it comes to cross promotion. Take, for example, the recent news that the shredder would be involved with the IndyCar World Championships. He's the Michael Phelps of skating. Looking at Hawk's biggest Google days in the last two years, he rakes on days when his video games are released or reviewed. How long can this last for a 43-year-old. A long time. John Madden is 75. The name resonates with a generation. Hawk isn't going anywhere.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/19-tony-hawk.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120966,"post_title":"#19 Muhammad Ali - 17,000,000 results","post_content":"Looking at the Google Trends, Muhammed Ali is searched more now than he was in 2011. Why? It's unclear. The Champ remains a news force. He's still traveling. He's still posing for photos. While the sport of boxing remains a disaster, Ali keeps rolling. Using Google Insights, we can see that Ali's trend is upward when it comes to search results from the Lifestyles category. Example: one of Ali's big coups was commenting on the U.S. hikers that were jailed in Iran, which resulted in one of his most searched days in over five years. (Sidenote: Steve Jobs' death brought even more search results via an Apple commercial called 'The Crazy Ones.' Jobs notes people who've changed the world. Ali is in that commercial.)","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/19-muhammad-ali.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120965,"post_title":"#18 Mike Tyson - 17,600,000 results","post_content":"Iron Mike might be nearly broke and living a pretty boring life in Las Vegas but he's now bigger than ever thanks to movies, network TV employment and tragedy. Tyson's daughter dying was his most searched day in Google history. But the content that keeps Tyson humming along is via his work on Hangover and Hangover 2. He became a crossover act capable of commanding sports search results and viral videos. Want to see how much power Tyson has on the Internet? Look at his YouTube tribute videos. This one has 24.3mm views. Mike's story continues to be written by outlets such as the New York Times Magazine. This piece debuted in March. ","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/18-mike-tyson.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120964,"post_title":"#17 Lance Armstrong - 18,700,000 results","post_content":"We've said it time and again on this list; controversy and performance equal Google gold. You put the two of them together, combined with international scandal and you make the Top 20. Lance Armstrong has pretty much retired from the public spotlight, but it's his early Google days that have him so searchable. 2011 has been relatively quiet, but Lance rides on thanks to a 2010 when he rode his final Tour de France. Expect the LiveStrong legend to fade with time. Without some sort of major news, Lance could be finding a spot in the 30s or 40s within 2-3 years.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/17-lance-armstrong.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120963,"post_title":"#16 Serena Williams - 21,900,000 results","post_content":"Serena Williams can thank her Grand Slam outbursts at referees for her spot near the Top 10. According to Google Trends research, when Serena goes nuts on a tennis court, media responds with thousands of stories, videos, etc. Her most-searched Google day is from 2009 at the U.S. Open when she went nuts on a line judge. 2nd highest? This year at the U.S. Open when she went nuts again. Serena has also seen Google success via a variety of relationships that have ended up on the pages of TMZ. Her latest gossip date occurred with a country singer, sending urban sites into a frenzy and causing Nashville to gasp.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/16-serena-williams.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120962,"post_title":"#15 Maria Sharapova - 24,500,000 results","post_content":"Think Maria Sharapova's legs are valuable? Day after day, year after year websites continue to churn out content about the 24-year-old Russian. Guilty! Look, you don't see any WNBA players on this list. There's a reason. Not hot. It's not like Sharapova is much of a commercial giant. A Nike commercial released three years ago has only been viewed 1.2mm times on YouTube. And she shares face time with Kobe Bryant, Cristiano Ronaldo, Federer & Pacquiao. Three of those names are above her on this Google search list. It's all about the legs. The body. The Anna Kournikova of the 2010s. A couple new bikini photos or a spot in the ESPN Body Issue and Sharapova explodes up a couple spots.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/15-maria-sharapova.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120961,"post_title":"#14 Fernando Torres - 24,900,000 results ","post_content":"Of course Fernando Torres is helped along in this competition by a name common in Spanish speaking countries. But, before you question this futboler's spot, do realize this guy was signed to the fourth largest contract in futbol history. His move this year from Liverpool to Chelsea sent shockwaves through Europe, garnering hundreds of thousands of indexed Google pages. The Spaniard also saw a boost to his Google profile via a 2010 World Cup victory. Our Spanish-speaking researchers consider this guy to be the LeBron of Spain. He's featured in commercials, books and over 17,000 YouTube videos.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/14-fernando-torres.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120960,"post_title":"#13 Wayne Rooney - 29,000,000 results","post_content":"Is there a day that goes by when The Sun or Daily Mail or any other Brit tabloid doesn't have a piece on Wayne Rooney? Shouldn't be. People continue to be amazed by the 5-9, 25-year-old Man U. striker. Even his hair implants this year received major run from the Brit Internet sites. Rooney is sitting pretty right now as far as Google Search. Another World Cup and he'll be into the Top 10 on this list. Just look at the Google Trends for 2010 (yes, a World Cup year). Wayne will be the face of the 2014 team. It'll be his. Oh, and did we mention the 2012 Olympics are in London.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/13-wayne-rooney.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120959,"post_title":"#12 Roger Federer - 29,200,000 results","post_content":"Have you ever heard Roger Federer speak longer than two minutes on ESPN? Same here. His off-court life is boring. His wife remains relatively unknown. He could walk into a grocery store in Cincinnati, Ohio and barely be recognized. Yet Federer remains an icon who held the WTA world #1 spot for a record 237 consecutive weeks. 4.5 years. Domination. The guy came to the U.S. Open and won it five years in a row. The lesson here for Google observers is that when you play for a championship on Sunday, your Google traffic explodes on Monday. As his career tails off (WTA #4), so too are the Google search results. Could Federer fade away like a Pete Sampras after retirement? It's coming.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/12-roger-federer.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120958,"post_title":"#11 Rafael Nadal - 32,900,000 results","post_content":"Need more proof that tennis is still a very powerful world sport? Of course Americans only care eight weeks per year (two weeks per major). But it's those eight weeks that have propelled Raffy Nadal into this spot as a global superstar. And his star is rising. Research shows that while there were single day Google search spurts from 2005-2009, Nadal is destroying the search giant via his Grand Slam performances. Four Slams in two years has him ranked #2 in the world. Nadal has also been helped along via a relationship with Maria Perello. The two don't seem to mind paparazzi hounding them at the ocean. A solid social game away from the court could rocket Nadal into the Top 10 for at least a 2-3 year run.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/11-rafael-nadal.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120957,"post_title":"#10 Lionel Messi - 37,900,000 results ","post_content":"Soccer isn't the most popular sport in the world? Um, our Top 10 rankings are about to show you why. 50% of the Top 10 list are soccer players. Messi just happens to be the youngest at just 24. The Barcelona striker first showed up in Google search results in 2005. His Google Trends chart is scary. At this pace, and with an insane 2014 World Cup, it's possible that Messi could be the most searched athlete in the world. His youth, commercial appeal in Europe and ties to Argentina's national team have made him into a singular name brand. WORDS HEREHis girlfriend\/wife is amazing, which drives both men and women nuts. His Pepsi commercial was shown around the world. Even the NY Times called him Boy Genius in May.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/10-lionel-messi.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120956,"post_title":"#9 Kobe Bryant - 44,400,000 results","post_content":"You know what's strange about Kobe's run as one of the most important athletes in the history of basketball? He doesn't have a single movie acting credit on his resume. He did release an ill-advised rap single back in 2000. His rise to the #9 spot can obviously be credited to two reasons: the hatred factor and that he's usually winning championships (has five rings). But let's focus on the hatred. Sure, there was the rape issue, but that was back in 2003, an Internet lifetime ago. In 2006, Slate released 'On The Pleasure of Hating Kobe Bryant.' By '08 Google was exploding and so was the Black Mamba. Searching for Kobe Bryant Hate shows you how a divisive athlete can maintain a high-profile career, make very few public appearances and still have this much power.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/9-kobe-bryant.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120955,"post_title":"#8 Michael Jordan - 44,400,000 results","post_content":"Still the benchmark. Kobe wanted to be him. So did LeBron. Kobe patterned his fade-away jumper from Michael's game. LeBron patterned his 'Get everyone involved and then I'll take over in the 3rd and 4th quarter' game after Michael. LeBron switched numbers to 'honor' Michael. Sir Airness can one day go from being in the news for shooting an 85 at Tahoe to playing in a pickup game with Derek Rose the next. Or appearing on Oprah. How much power does the guy still have over branding at Nike? This page of available Michael Jordan shoes will blow your mind. Need even more proof that Jordan is still relevant to your generation? His dunk contest video vs. Dominique Wilkins has been viewed 18,000,000 since 2007. ","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/8-michael-jordan.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120954,"post_title":"#7 Ronaldinho - 45,400,000 results","post_content":"Is Brazilian superstar futboler Ronaldinho over-the-hill at 31? He was FIFA Player of the Year in '04 and '05. It's no coincidence that the '05 award garnered him a Google traffic explosion. At the time, he was the second hottest name in the world behind Beckham. There was also the Nike video that became the first YouTube video to pass the 1,000,000 view mark in 2005. Like Messi, Ronaldoinho had the world profile while playing in Spain and still being heavily supported back home in Brazil. But now he's back to playing for Flamengo in his homeland. 20,000 fans showed up when Ronaldoinho was introduced in January to his loyal fans. Could this be Messi's spot in 2012? Expect it to happen.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/7-ronaldinho.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120953,"post_title":"#6 Lebron James - 46,100,000 results","post_content":"The most searched basketball player in the world and he doesn't have an NBA championship. How will LeBron ever rise a spot or two closer to the most searched athlete in the world? Winning a championship. Four of the most searched Google days in LeBron's career revolve around his decision to leave Cleveland for warmer climates. Can one NBA title run get him to #1? No. This year's NBA Finals barely moved the Google trend numbers. And now, with the NBA locked out (possibly losing an entire season) it's going to take a miracle run in early 2012 to push the King any higher than 6. There are no movies in the works and LeBron doesn't seem interested in the music world. In other words, soccer players will keep leapfrogging him without that title.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/6-lebron-james.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120952,"post_title":"#5 Tiger Woods - 59,100,000 results ","post_content":"If Tiger Woods never wins another golf major, it's possible for him to rank in the Top 50 most searched athletes via mistress lists that are going nowhere within the Google search world. We also know that December 8, 2009 is a day that'll go down in Internet history. It's the day news broke of Tiger's cheating. The Earl Woods commercial asking Tiger if he learned anything is up to 3mm views. While other athletes need a sex scandal to catapult them 10-15 spots on this list, Tiger's scandal will be hard to topple. That means he's not going anywhere. Those webpages from 2009 are still being searched as reference material on how to kill a marriage and golf career.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/5-tiger-woods.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120951,"post_title":"#4 David Beckham - 62,500,000 results","post_content":"He's invited to royal weddings. He hangs with Hollywood elite. His wife walks out a door, he's in the news 10 minutes later. He gets a tattoo, the world takes notice. Of course David Beckham's best soccer days are way behind him. We know that because he plays in the MLS, where old times go to disappear. Beckham hasn't had single huge days on Google like Tiger Woods. Instead, he's had seven years of consistency. He was the first international Google athlete superstar. Brit tabloids love him. New York tabloids run wild when he makes news. And the gossip sites have no choice but to follow his every move. The recipe for success on the Top 50 list remains an athlete's ability to transcend the playing field. Baseball has this issue. Soccer doesn't. The athletes are cult heros. Beckham has just 11 goals in five years with the L.A. Galaxy. What's on the horizon for Beckham and his ability to hold #4? Movies. Count on it.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/4-david-beckham.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120950,"post_title":"#3 Pele - 72,400,000 results","post_content":"If Pele was a stock, you would have invested $10,000 back in 2003 and be sitting atop a pile of cash in 2011. Thanks to the explosion of soccer as the global sport, Pele seems to have his name in pretty much every conversation. Rio and the 2016 Olympics? Pele backed the bid and Brazil won. Now 70, Pele's commentary on the sport becomes instant must-reads on the Internet. Pele took a swipe at Maradona during the 2010 World Cup and nearly caused an Internet explosion. Is this number skewed because of the World Cup? Sure, but so too are several other soccer players on this list. The latest drama that has propelled Pele to this #3 spot is the drama surrounding Messi and claims that he'd never seen the legend play. ","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/3-pele.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120949,"post_title":"#2 Kaka - 80,200,000 results","post_content":"Best looking guy in the Top 10? Hands down, Kak\u00e1. The guy models for Armani, for God's sake. Dude is 29, can't walk a Brazilian street without having his clothes ripped from his body and just goes by a single nickname. That's power. Again, we're talking an international superstar. One Kaka compilation video on YouTube has been viewed 7.1 million times. As with Messi, Kaka has the luxury of being a huge star in Spain for Real Madrid and being supported back home. A \u20ac68.5 million deal in 2009 meant that Kaka would be one of the highest paid athletes in the world. But the hysteria would be short lived. He was hurt for an eight-month stretch in 2010 and has just now returned to Real starting lineup. As with Tiger Woods, Kaka has millions of Google indexed pages from 2009 when his contract was signed. We expect his standing could fluctuate from 3-6 over the next few years. 2014 could be his year to make #1.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/2-kaka.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"},{"ID":120948,"post_title":"#1 Cristiano Ronaldo - 90,600,000 results","post_content":"Say hello to the #1 most searched athlete in the world and the only athlete on the list who goes by his first and middle name. C. Ron is just 26, has crazy hot girlfriends around the world and can cause men, women and children to faint upon removing his jersey. His Real Madrid contract has a $1 billion buyout clause, he's the highest paid soccer player in the world and has that great head of hair. A major downer was his performance at the 2010 World Cup where he had only one goal and it came against hapless North Korea. How much power does this guy have around the world? A single compilation video of his greatest hits on YouTube has been viewed 35,000,000 times. Are we shocked a soccer player is #1? Not at all. You look at how the sport transcends boundaries and it's easy to see that a soccer player, barring some crazy surge from Tiger Woods, will be #1 for many years to come.","post_excerpt":"","guid":"http:\/\/coedbc.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/10\/1-cristiano-ronaldo.jpg","post_mime_type":"image\/jpeg"}]};initiating the gallery...


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