Derrick Rose somehow named world’s 36th most famous athlete by ESPN

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Derrick Rose’s game has fallen faster than his popularity. | Jim Mone/AP Photo

It’s been seven years since Derrick Rose won NBA MVP and six years since he first tore his ACL, but the former Bulls star’s global popularity remains strong. ESPN released its ranking of the world’s 100 most famous athletes Tuesday, and Rose somehow manages to come in 36th on the list.

That puts Rose ahead of Tom Brady, Venus Williams, Sergio Aguero and other international hot shots. It’s down three spots from a year ago, when he was 33rd.

“It all came so fast for Rose, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft at age 19 and the youngest MVP in league history in 2011,” ESPN’s Doug Mittler wrote. “Injuries, however, have been a constant companion in recent years, and his stock in NBA front offices took a notable hit.”

However, they note that while Rose’s game has fallen off, the point guard’s “popularity endures” as a endorsement figure for Adidas. He did a promotional tour in China with the shoe company last year, during which he earned $14 million off the court. Only LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook earned more from endorsement deals, according to Forbes.

ESPN estimates that in addition to those lucrative off-court deals, Rose also has 10.4 million social media followers and a Search Score, which measures how often a name is searched online, of 15. That’s compared to Cristiano Ronaldo, who has a perfect Search Score of 100. Rose’s Search Score beats Rory McIlroy, James Harden, Mesut Ozil and Andres Iniesta, all ranked higher than him overall.

Even with Rose’s struggles in recent seasons, where he’s bounced around different roles and teams, his popularity among fans is there. A season where he averaged 8.4 points per game in 26 contests wasn’t enough to push him significantly down the list of the planet’s most famous athletes.

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