I was watching a TV commercial the other day with Michael Jordan pitching underwear and wearing underwear and it got me thinking about great-looking athletes.
There is a thing called a "Q rating" that measures the popularity of a group of people, like athletes. And one of the things that plays into the Q rating is how good-looking you are.
It's the same reason you don't see ugly television anchors; you've got to be good looking to sell it.
For an athlete, performance is practically a prerequisite for a high Q rating. You ought to be a bit of a matinee idol.
With those thoughts in mind, I began the process of identifying the best (and sometimes the worst) looking athletes in sports.
Brewers -- J. J. Hardy is a textbook teenage heartthrob. Billy Hall has one of the best smiles around. And Gabe Kapler looks like a model from one of those "Hot Firefighters I Have Known" calendars. At the other end of the spectrum, Eric Gagne has inherited the crown from Derrick Turnbow. What is it about closers?
Packers -- Brett Favre retired with the all-time cute-guy crown, so we have to look for someone else. It's no contest: Donald Driver and Greg Jennings have smiles so bright you have to reach for your shades. As Shakespeare said, "The brightness of their smiles shames the stars as daylight doth a lamp." At the other end of the spectrum, you've got the entire offensive line and A. J. Hawk, who may have set an unmatchable standard.
Bucks -- Desmond Mason is a real man's man. He is good looking without being threateningly cute. Mo Williams is cute. And then you have Andrew Bogut, new hair or not, and Michael Ruffin. Bogut's slouch doesn't add a thing to his overall look. Stand up straight, man, and be a proud 7-footer.
That's about it for our local professional teams. Now, let's take a look at the national and broadcast landscape.
Women's tennis -- This sport is fertile ground for good-looking women. Nobody can ever convince me that Venus Williams isn't one of the best looking female athletes ever. And for my money, she puts her fashionista sister to shame. I am not one of those on the Maria Sharapova bandwagon. Ana Ivanovich has got it all, including the ranking as the top player in women's tennis. At the other end of the women's tennis spectrum we find Billie Jean King, proving that great deeds are not always performed by beautiful people.
Men's tennis -- I think Lleyton Hewitt, with his blonde, blue-eyed California look is a real sparkler. James Blake has that sultry gaze designed to make women swoon. And as they say, elsewhere in the world of tennis you have both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, two men who have faces made for radio.
Women's golf -- This is a tough category because so many players are attractive. Nevertheless, Natalie Gulbis, Christie Kerr and Paula Creamer stand out in the crowd. In addition, there is a young Japanese player named Momoko Udea who can take your breath away with her porcelain grace. Standing somewhere back in the crowd is Christina Kim, an outstanding player who doesn't need to hold her breath for the advertising agencies to call.
Men's golf -- Nobody looks like Tiger. Nobody. But Trevor Immelman, who beat him at the Masters, is cute. Mark Calcavecchia's mother doesn't even have a picture of him in the house. And John Daly is a picture of dissolute waste.
Auto racing -- I saw Danica in person. Sure, they used an airbrush in Maxim and SI. But they didn't need it. She is a doll and sexy as hell. Dan Wheldon is just as good-looking as Danica. Then, of course you have the NASCAR superstars like Kasey Kahne and Dario Franchitti, who is made better looking because he's married to Ashley Judd. Tony Kanaan looks like a terrorist and Kyle Busch looks like Mr. Potato Head with a few pieces in the wrong places.
All the others -- Erin Andrews (enough said); Alex Rodriguez (money and looks, what a combination); Tom Brady (I'm unsure about his morals, but he's got the look); Isiah Thomas (what a jerk, but cute as a button); Del and Larry Harris (the most distinctive looking father-son tandem in sports); Big Brown (I know he lost, but he's better looking than the Budweiser Clydesdales); Jenny Finch (who knew softball could be sexy?); Marion Jones (shamed, yes, but great style); Allison Stokke (a freshman pole vaulter at Cal, she has that crazy look that all pole vaulters have); Amanda Beard (she makes the list, but she is close to trying too hard, which is why Ana Kournikova doesn't make the list); Jennifer Baretta (who knew pool was a sport? She's a winner with or without a cue in her hands).
Additions? Subractions? Feel Free to use the Talkback feature to share your list.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.