Well, thanks for the dime, big man. Now I'll have a TNT with extra Ls, and make it snappy. Cunt.
We seem to suffer from a similar ailment, my mephitic friend. No, not scabies, but close. We suffer from a constant need to over-defend our arguments, and it often leads us to doing what it is we sought to prevent, which is allowing those with whom we disagree to poke holes through individual assertions and ultimately discredit the larger argument, which is not wrong.
I think I'm the only one between us who suffers from the constant need to create run-on sentences. I wish I could say it was for effect.
Your argument: Tiger Woods is not the biggest athlete in the world.
This is correct. In every imaginable sense of the word "biggest," Beckham is clearly ahead. I fail to see how "biggest" can translate into "most dominant" in this situation, because if Pat meant "most dominant," I think he would have just said it. Mind you, I don't think this overstatement is a capital offense; Pat's record, as it were, is fairly unblemished, and Tiger's No. 7 ranking in terms of global popularity doesn't change his story all that much.
To conclude: Justin, I agree.
However, some of your defenses fell a little short of the "correct" classification. And, by that, I mean some of them were totally, utterly, ceaselessly wrong.
1. Tiger's race as a stumbling block: I think the real case is the complete opposite; Tiger's lack of a certain racial identity makes him more accessible to a broader base of fans, not less. White country club types like Tiger because he's very much one of them. Everyone else likes him because he's a non-white dude tearing shit up in a sport that's been whiter, historically, than an orgy in Paris.
2. Nas actually gives props to Tiger Woods in his song, "Our Heroes," which is what you're referring to. Take that for whatever you want it to mean, I just know he was offering Eldrick as a counterpoint to many of the black athletes he was slamming, most notably Kobe, who he compares to Toby. Which is still the most awesome thing I've ever heard in rap, outside of "Don't one of you niggas got sickle cell or something?"
3. (Jumping back) Golf is a very big deal in Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and Japan, off the top of my head. In every one of those countries, in fact, I would say golf is taken more seriously there than it is here. Golf is fucking huge, and Tiger in turn is huge. Not that it means that your main point is wrong; it just means that you're less right than you thought.
4. Yao Ming is less a global phenomena than Tiger Woods, unquestionably. His ubiquity within the world's most populous country does not offset the fact that most people around the world do not find virtual equivalents to Mehmet Okur all that exciting.
Also, addressing a couple of things brought up in the comments section, which should never be read by anyone, ever:
- B: The Schumacher analogy is false. While it's incorrect to think that what Americans think dictates what the rest of the world thinks, it's also wrong to believe that Americans are inconsequential in the process of global popularity building, either. Schumacher might as well be a scheisse porn star, as far as most Americans are concerned (were he, I bet you more people would care about him). I don't care how popular he is in Europe -- and he's very, very popular there, unlike condoms -- his lack of penetration in the U.S. market is the decider.
- Ryan: Ali isn't even in the conversation. I suspect that he might be the prime example of American conceit in re: Athlete popularity. Also, VORA is not a ratio, it's a counting stat, like your beloved RsBI and R. Unlike the latter two, however, it actually means something as opposed to simply hinting at it. We count stats like VORA in that fashion, so people like you who still hyphenate "base-ball" find it a little easier on the eyes, and stop mumbling about how computers can't teach you anything about