The Laws of Attraction

*Disclaimer: This is an article written strictly as a belated birthday present for Maria Carmichael, my ever-enthusiastic law school classmate who is only willing to visit my site if I am constantly peppering my posts with pictures of shirtless men (yes, Cat Taschner, this applies to you too).  So, Maria, let this be evidence that I am a man of my word.  I just wanted it to be known (to the rest of the world) that such topics (and pictures) are not, and will not, ever be my forte (or a dominant theme on Sportsgooru.com)

What are the Laws of Attraction (aside from being an exceptionally bad movie from 2004 about two divorce attorney’s falling in love?) Maybe I should be more clear.  Professional athletes don’t always look nice.  And yet when they do something about them seems to change. In what I believe to be the ultimate “chicken or egg” debate of sports, observing society’s treatment of attractive athletes ultimately begs the question:  Does being attractive increase the perception of your talent, or does being talented increase the perception about how attractive you are?   To wit, I conducted a mini-experiment during one of my podcasts a few weeks ago where I asked two of my friends’ girlfriends (Susan Mukai and Del Tanabe) to each name 5 male athletes off the top of their head.  Consequently, the athletes they named (and later admitted all they cared about) were 5 “attractive” men.  Here is an abridged version of their lists:

Athlete #1: Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez is probably the best case study for whether or not being physically attractive elevates the perception of your talent.  I hate Sanchez as anyone who has ever talked to me knows.  Bias aside though, I think that despite the wide understanding that in his current state he is a barely average NFL quarterback, the public and scouts alike seem to be constantly enamored with his “potential” (minus, of course, the Jets fans that are going to boo him off the field in favor of the next guy on this list.)

Athlete #2: Tim Tebow

…I don’t really have anything to say about Tebow that hasn’t already been said…lets just leave it at I’ll never really understand how or why he is so popular but I will not question the lord and savior (nor his overly bulging muscles)

Athlete #3: Tom Brady

The modern day poster boy for the attractive male athlete, Tom’s transformation from skinny 6th round draft pick to multiple-super-bowl-winning-married-a-model stud remains one of the more underrated (but also overrated) stories of my generation.  How could so many people (both professional scouts and women alike) miss on this guy when he was in college?  What changed during his NFL career that made him both a GOAT-candidate at QB and an international sex symbol alike?

 

Athlete #4: David Beckham

The British Tom Brady.  Married a spice girl and has his own line of wildly expensive men’s underwear.  And has a kick and a movie named after him.  Idk, must be a UK thing.  I’ll stick with “American” Football.

Athlete #5: Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese David Beckham, and the newest (though likely not the last) footballer to be the subject of idolatry everywhere.  I don’t really have anything intelligent to say about him since I don’t watch soccer.

Athlete #6: Eric Decker

Wide Receiver for the Denver Broncos and the most likely (aside from Demaryus Thomas) beneficiary of the teams upgrade at quarterback from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning.  Also married to the singer Jesse James (who I’d never heard of but who I’ve discovered is quite pretty).  However he was plagued by a case of bad-hands and seems to be a middling talent at best.

Taking this sample size of 6 athletes, we actually have a pretty good mix (there were 6 listed instead of 10 because some of their selections overlapped).  3 of the guys listed here (Tebow, Sanchez and Decker) are mediocre talents.  The other 3 (Brady, Beckham and Ronaldo) are bona-fide superstars.  However this doesn’t actually tell us too much and thus, I felt that more information was needed.

Thanksfully, recruiting people to help wasn’t difficult at all.  It seems that people are more then happy to discuss celebrities they find attractive and thus, the list of potential candidates that I received was fairly long.  Normally, I’d prefer to summarize the bulk of this list into just a few pictures.  Since, however, the main point of this article is actually to provide Maria and Cat with “Man-Candy” I will try to be as thorough as possible.

 

Athlete #7: Kelly Slater

Slater was actually the most popular choice of all the people I asked (mostly because the majority of them were from Hawaii and thus had a natural affinity for the locally grown product.)  In the sea of star surfers from the state, Slater’s unquestionably shines the brightest (10 time world champ) and he is one of the few members of the sport whose celebrity is recognized on a fairly wide basis.

 

Athlete #8: Sonny Bill Williams

I had no idea who this guy was prior to conducting this…experiment/case-study but apparently he is very highly regarded in rugby circles.  The biggest lesson I learned here is Googling his name brings up pictures of other rugby athletes that I was not prepared for nor do I ever want to experience again.  Lesson Learned.

 

Athlete #9: Jeremy Bloom

Jeremy Bloom is one of my all-time favorite athletes because his story and probably the finest paper I ever wrote are inexplicably tied together.  Bloom was an Olympic level skiier who also happened to run very fast with a football.  Where he ran into trouble was when he accepted endorsement money based on his talents on the slopes and then tried to play college football the very next season.  You see, NCAA rules allow players to receive SALARIES in other professional sports but NOT receive endorsements from those sports.  This little distinction cost Bloom the last year of his eligibility at the University of Colorado and ultimately his very limited career in the pros (which was a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles).  Lesson?  The NCAA sucks.

 

Athlete #10: Fernando Verdasco

Even as a tennis fan I know very little of Fernando Verdasco aside from the fact that he’s from Spain. Admittedly, having spent much of my life playing tennis I had loyalty to only one player, who, coincidentally, is the next athlete featured below.

Athlete #11: Andy Roddick

The reason he was my favorite player was simple.  He played exactly how I played.  Or…how I thought I played.  Really he had only two shots.  A serve and a forehand, and although each was world-class, every other part of his game was horridly porous.  Still though, I believe that as sports fans we root most easily for two types of people.  The underdog and the familiar.  For me, Andy was the latter.

Athlete #12: Nacho Figueras

Athlete #13: Lenny Krayzelburg

The two pictures above are of athletes that I know nothing about.  Really they are in here simply because Cat Taschner made me put them in (and for the record, I’m okay with shirtless but not with speedos.)

 

Athlete #14: Tim Riggins

Yes yes, Tim Riggins isn’t a real athlete and the Dillon Panthers aren’t a real team.  But I love the show and this is my site.  So Tim Riggins gets in! Friday Night Lights FTW!

Athlete #15: Jason Street

So does Jason Street!

Athlete #16: Smash Williams

And Smash

Athlete #17: Vince Howard

And Vince!

Athlete #18: VooDoo Williams

And even VooDoo makes the cut! (okay okay, if you made it this far in the article I’m done stuffing Friday Night Lights down your throat).

Athlete #19: Brady Quinn

Don’t worry Cat, I’d never leave you hanging with a (heaven forbid) actual legitimate sports section!  So I present Brady Quinn, the once semi-rival of my precious alma mater (I say semi since he actually had to have beaten us for me to consider him a rival) and perhaps the only professional football player whose girlfriend (Olympic gymnast Alicia Sacramone) is legitimately stronger then he is.

So what has this superficially useless study of “attractive” male athletes told us?  Honestly not a whole lot.  Actually I take that back.  What it told me is that (based on this list), when you’re an attractive athlete, skill isn’t even something that gets factored into your evaluation.  A hot, skilled athlete is like having million dollar house with 10 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, an 8 car garage and 35 TV’s, only instead of just regular silver fixtures, every metal object in the house is made of gold.  Would you maybe prefer the house with all the fancy appendages?  Sure you would.  But would you still be completely stoked with just having the large, beautiful house in and of itself?  Absolutely.  What I learned then (a lesson that probably applies even more to attractive female athletes), is that in the end if you’re good looking and you’re competent enough to be a professional, no one really cares HOW good you are.  That is, attractiveness and skill can, and in many cases are, mutually exclusive.  Athletes can be known because they are hot, or known because they are good, or, in very rare cases, known because they are both.  I guess after all this, the laws of sports attraction are just that simple.

Oh.  And Cat and Maria.  I couldn’t do a feature on attractive athletes without including the two of you now could I??

Athlete #20: Cat Taschner

Athlete # 21: Maria Carmichael

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