ESPN posted its annual list of the 100 most famous athletes Tuesday, a study that combines how often they're searched online, how much they make in endorsements and what their following is on social media.
As such, Tom Brady, whose social media presence is rather limited, was not the most famous Boston athlete. He was one of only two players currently on Boston teams to show up on the list. Kyrie Irving ranked No. 27, while Brady came in at No. 38.
Isaiah Thomas, now a free agent and two teams removed from his Celtics days, ranked 92nd.
The top five, in order, consisted of Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Roger Federer.
ESPN's ranking of the most famous current athletes is out. Tom Brady comes in at 21st and if you're looking for a baseball or hockey player? Try another list.
Brady is the first NFL player on the list, which shows, among other things, that while the NFL rules in the US, it's can't match soccer, golf, tennis and even cricket in terms of "ESPN's Fame 100" formula for determining worldwide fame.
Brady was 52nd last year (and the fifth-most-hated NFL player of all-time, too, remember?), so a Super Bowl championship - and an increased social media presence - apparently gave TB12's fame stock a boost. After Brady, the next five NFL players on the list are quarterbacks - Cam Newton (No. 47), Drew Brees (52), Russell Wilson (55), Aaron Rodgers (56), Eli Manning (60).
The Top 10:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
2. LeBron James
3. Lionel Messi
4. Roger Federer
5. Phil Mickelson
7. Usain Bolt
8. Kevin Durant
9. Rafael Nadal
10. Tiger Woods
The list was created by the network's director of sports analytics Ben Alamar with a formula that uses salary, endorsements, social media following and Google search popularity to determine the rankings.
So, while David Ortiz cracked the list a year ago at No. 78. There's not an MLB star (Bryce Harper? Mike Trout?) to be found this year. No NHL players, either (sorry Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin). The only other New England athlete making the 2017 list is Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman (No. 99) of Needham, Mass.