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Two D.C. stars among ESPN's 100 most famous athletes

Two D.C. stars among ESPN's 100 most famous athletes

Who are the most famous athletes on the planet? It's an interesting question that ESPN tried to tackle with its World Fame 100 rankings. There are two D.C. athletes on the list, and two more if you include people born in the DMV area. 

First, a word about how players were ranked. The formula takes into account each person's salary and endorsement money from 2015-16, number of social media followers and Google search popularity. 

Based on this criteria, Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin is the most famous athlete playing for a local team. He checks in at No. 65 overall and is credited with $10 million in salary, $4 million in endorsements, 129K Facebook likes and 2 million Twitter followers.

ESPN calls him "the most gifted hockey player in two countries." His peak moment is cited as his four-goal performance in a 5-4 OT victory over the Canadiens in the 2008 playoffs. That's the game where he broke his nose on a hard check and had his lip sewn up after taking a puck to the face.

Ovechkin is the most famous hockey player on this list ahead of Sidney Crosby (No. 82) and Evgeni Malkin (No. 92). But he's only the second most famous Russian, coming in far behind tennis star Maria Sharapova (No. 18). 

Next comes Nationals slugger Bryce Harper at No. 71 overall. He's credited with $3 million in salary, $4 million in endorsements, 309K Facebook likes and 606K Twitter followers. 

Harper's bio notes that he "is poised to fetch a contract potentially worth $500 million by the time he becomes a free agent." His peak moment? All of 2015, when he became the unanimous NL MVP. 

Harper, like Ovi, is ranked the most famous athlete in his sport. And he slides in two spots ahead of Angles star Mike Trout. 

Two others on this list hail from Maryland -- No. 6 Kevin Durant and No. 46 Michael Phelps

A few notes about the top 100 that I found interesting:

- There are 20 basketball players listed, more than any other sport. Soccer has 17.

- Soccer players own Facebook by wide margins. The five most-liked athletes on Facebook are all soccer stars. And four of them play for the top two Spanish clubs -- Ronaldo (110.7 million likes) and James Rodriguez (29.7 million) of Real Madrid and Lionel Messi (84.3 million) and Neymar (56.4 million) of FC Barcelona. 

- Americans dominate world sports in several ways. Namely, 56 of the top 100 athletes are from the United States. The next closest country is England, with four names on the list. In addition, America's four major leagues claim all of the world's most famous basketball, baseball, hockey and, of course, American football players. 

- Soccer is the major exception to American influence, as expected. U.S. Women's National Team star Alex Morgan (No. 55) is the only soccer player on the list who rose to fame here. Frank Lampard (No. 62) has played in MLS, but made his career with Chelsea FC of the English Premier League. 

- Morgan is one of just eight women to crack the top 100. The highest ranked is Sharapova (No. 18). 

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal


Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”


Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.


For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.


The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Brett Connolly - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Chandler Stephenson - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Devante Smith-Pelly - Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Michal Kempny

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek


The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.