Holy Worldwide Leader!

Last night as I was sitting in the waiting room for my appointment, I spotted a copy of the latest issue of ESPN: The Magazine, with a look at what is “next” for next year. As I was flipping through the pages, I spotted a note in the table of contents that they had a look at the world’s next athletes in a page in the middle of the magazine.

So, I flip to the fold out page, which was emblazoned with a large map of the earth, and a line of athletes at the bottom. Among them were some not terribly surprising names – Louis Hamilton among them, as the “Next Michael Schumacher”. There were also entries for the next Jonny Wilkinson (English rugby union player, known for his kicking abilities), and the next Valentino Rossi.

However, at the right side of the page, there was a name which shocked me at even being mentioned – the Next Dennis Lillee. Right below that was a picture of Shaun Tait mid-delivery in his one-day kit at the World Cup. In fact, it might have even been this picture that was used in the magazine.

While the plaudits laid on him were quite thin (considering that they mention that cricket is followed by 1 billion people in the blurb), it was awesome to actually see a cricketer mentioned in an American sports magazine. Unfortunately, it seems that it was kind of downhill from there.

In fact, in the same fold out there were some charts, charting the most viewed television events of the year. The India v. Pakistan Twenty20 World Championship final was mentioned as having 400 million viewers, but they neglected to mention that it was held in South Africa. Also, unbeknownst to fans of Rugby Union, the Stade de France somehow moved across the Channel, as they listed the final as being held in the UK.

Then, on the last page, there was an interview with (if I’m remembering this right) Kobe Bryant. One of the questions asked of him was about a sport he’d want to try out. He said cricket – it was highlighted, and you might expect maybe a picture of a bat. Nope. There was a picture of Jiminy Cricket. Then again, it was an interview with Kenny Mayne – so there was some humor involved…

Just remember though, the irony is that ESPN owns the world’s leading cricket news and information site – Cricinfo.

Who knows, maybe the worldwide leader will start showing highlights of matches on (US) Sportscenter. Probably right after the highlights of any sport held out of the USA that isn’t based in this country… 😉