In North America, you gauge your success as an athlete by the amount you get paid compared to your peers. But you're also judged by your ability to attract endorsement contracts.
In Basketball, the greatest like Michael Jordan, Magic, Bird, were tied to Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Hanes, some of the biggest names in the corporate world.
In Football, it's no different. According to CNN, Peyton Manning made $15M last year, a season in which he did not play a single down. His list is impressive as well, including DirecTV, Pepsi, and MasterCard.
The two biggest names in hockey are Sidney Crosby & Alex Ovechkin. Non-hockey fans in the states have a higher chance of guessing who they are than any other name you could throw at them. Ovechkin's claim to fame? That horrible used-car salesman commercial. But at least his excuse is that he can barely speak understandable English.
How about hockey?
Crosby's endorsements? There's SportChek, Tim Horton's... and this morning I was greeted by his smiling face on a bag of Dempster's bread. And that's what prompted this post... me feeling a little pathetic about the state of hockey in the big picture of North America.