<
>

World Fame 100: Australia and New Zealand's Top 10

play
Fame 100: Australia (0:53)

Where did your favourite athlete rank on the list? (0:53)

ESPN has determined 2018's most famous athletes on the planet. But where do representatives from Australia and New Zealand fit on the list?

From Jason Day to Dan Carter, the athletes from both sides of the Tasman form a formidable who's who of world sport. And with the likes of Ben Simmons -- whose absence from the list is explained in Fame FAQ -- lighting up the NBA playoffs, there's no doubt that this Top 10 will be even stronger come 2019.

But without further ado, let's take a look at Australia and New Zealand's Top 10 most famous sports stars:

1. Jason Day - Golf (World Fame Rank: 113)

WHY HE'S GOT FAME

Before winning the 2015 PGA Championship, Jason Day gained fame for being the gracious bridesmaid in several Major tournaments. In September of 2015 he made it to World No. 1 for the first of three occasions, staying there for a collective total of 51 weeks.

At the start of May, Day won the Wells Fargo Championship by two strokes for his second PGA victory of the season, following his Farmers Insurance Open win in January. The victory has the Beaudesert-born 30-year-old on course to move up to No. 7 in the world. And while Day draws plaudits for his style of play and laid-back attitude away from the course, his fame was briefly eclipsed by wife Ellie in 2015 when LeBron James landed in her lap during an NBA game in Cleveland.

FOR THE FAMILY

In 2017, Jason Day tearfully announced that his mother had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He pulled out of several tournaments to help her through the successful surgery, saying the golf course was furthest from his mind during the difficult time. "Emotionally it's been wearing on me for a while. And I know my mum says not to let it get to me, but it really has," Day said. Day lost his father to cancer when he was 12 years old and his mother raised the three Day children on her own, often struggling financially.

IT'S BEEN SAID

"It was probably a good thing that I watched LeBron's buzzer-beater this morning instead of last night. That was awesome to watch and hopefully I could pass that along in my game today." - Day after winning the Wells Fargo Championship.

2. David Warner - Cricket (World Fame Rank: 145)

WHY HE'S GOT FAME

David Warner's bandaged hand was the centre of attention for South Africa's host broadcaster in Port Elizabeth, leading to his Newlands delegation of "working on" the ball to his opening partner Cameron Bancroft, complete with instructions on how to rough it up with the use of sandpaper. This act, which led to Bancroft being caught on camera and all the recriminations that followed, brought unprecedented focus upon Warner, now stripped of leadership roles in Australian cricket for life, in addition to the one-year playing ban he shares with Steve Smith.

As the most prominent exemplar of Australia's unsociable approach to opponents on the field of play -- such as his goading of Quinton de Kock in Durban, which led to a response from the South African that disparaged Warner's wife, Candice -- there has been far less public sympathy for Warner than Smith and Bancroft. His public statement of apology on returning to Australia included the admission that "in the coming weeks and months I'm going to look at how this has happened and who I am as a man."

WILL HE RETURN?

While there appears to be unity about Smith being welcomed back into the Australia team fold next year, the same does not apply to Warner, something he acknowledged in saying that he was resigned to the fact it "may never happen." What it may come down to is whether or not Australia's new coach Justin Langer feels the need to choose Warner for his runs, should the team fail to make enough in his absence. The cultural roadblock appears to be major.

IT'S BEEN SAID

"I think the biggest thing for us has been when you are in a routine you can get caught in a bubble -- cricket, hotels, packing your bags, coming home. I've missed that part until now where the kids run up to the gate saying, 'Mummy and daddy are here,' and I am really enjoying and embracing that." - Warner embracing the alternative lifestyle his ban has enforced.

3. Glenn Maxwell - Cricket (World Fame Rank: 159)

WHY HE'S GOT FAME

Glenn Maxwell isn't (yet) an Australian cricketing legend... he's not even a regular or a staple in the Australia Test team. But he is one of the most well-known names in world cricket. So why is Maxwell on this list? He is arguably the world's most mercurial cricketer and has a social media following most Australian athletes (and companies!) could only dream about. On the field, Maxwell's distinctive swagger is befitting of a man whose fielding skills are second to none, while his sometimes perverse shot selection would have long-gone cricket traditionalists in a spin.

In addition to his work in Australia, Maxwell is also one of the world's best gun-for-hire bats in the Twenty20 world. In January, he signed a whopping $[Aus]1.75 million contract to play for six weeks in the Indian Premier League -- one of the reasons he has more than 4.7 million fans on Facebook.

HARD TO PLAY AGAINST, HARDER TO PLAY WITH?

A maverick with the bat in his hand, Maxwell has recently been the subject of bizarre controversy Down Under. Despite doing wonderful things in the longer form of the domestic competition in late 2017, Maxwell was consistently knocked back for a call-up to the national side. For a team which, at the time, required a middle-order batsman who could pile on scoreboard pressure, Maxwell's omission stunned the Australian public and explanations were demanded during the Ashes series which was being played at the time.

Then-Australia captain Steve Smith controversially said that Maxwell needed to "train a bit smarter" and "focus on the basic things," despite the laconic Maxwell having belted 278 and 98 runs in successive domestic matches in the lead-up to the series. It sparked rumours of discontent within the locker room, and talk of favourites being selected ahead of those who earn their place, but Maxwell was left out of the national side for the remainder of the Ashes and has not re-appeared since.

IT'S BEEN SAID

"Glenn Maxwell is at a crossroads. There are issues outside of his cricketing ability that are keeping him out of Australian XIs in all forms. Glenn Maxwell could travel around the world and earn millions playing T20, but I still don't think he would be satisfied with where his career is at." -- Former Australia cricketer Simon O'Donnell.

4. Adam Scott - Golf (World Fame Rank: 161)

WHY HE'S GOT FAME

Think Adam Scott. Think green jacket. Few Australians will ever forget that grey Sunday afternoon at Augusta National in 2013 as Scott entered national folklore as the first, and still lone Australian to win the Masters. Driving rain. Fading light. The broomstick putter. "Come on Aussie!" Scott's winning birdie putt dropped in on the second sudden-death playoff hole and instantly erased the now distant memory that Australia had never seen one of its own don the most famous jacket in sport.

The 37-year-old is now part of the pantheon of national sporting legends -- among them Cathy Freeman, Ian Thorpe, Lauren Jackson, Don Bradman -- names that when mentioned make Australians reflect on how significant their achievements have been in shaping the sporting psyche of the country. Victory was just reward for not only the elite-level talent that he has possessed since he first entered the professional ranks, but also the endless amount of support he has provided to golf on these shores. The Adelaide-born, Gold Coast-raised golfer returns to Australia year after year, which only endears him more to golf and sport fans alike, particularly in a time of struggle for the domestic game that cannot compete with the prizemoney on offer in the United States or Europe.

LIFE ON AND OFF THE COURSE

Over the past two years Scott's ranking has slipped from seventh at the end of 2016 to his current ranking of 64th, outside the top-60 ranking he needs to compete at the U.S. Open. That slide puts in jeopardy a 67 major-appearance streak that dates back to the 2001 Open Championship. Of active players, only Sergio Garcia stands ahead of Scott in consecutive major-appearances with 75. Fortunately, Scott's struggles on the course have been offset by focusing on enjoying life away from golf, including the birth of his second child with wife Marie, son Byron, in August 2017.

IT'S BEEN SAID

"Australia's a proud sporting nation, and it's amazing that it's come down to me today. There was one guy who inspired a nation of golfers, and that's Greg Norman. Part of this definitely belongs to him," Scott said after winning the 2013 Masters, referencing the three heartbreaking runner-up finishes at Augusta National for Norman.

5. Steve Smith - Cricket (World Fame Rank: 198)

WHY HE'S GOT FAME

As the long-term Australia captain and the world's best performing Test batsman since Sir Donald Bradman, Steve Smith already cast a pretty enormous shadow. But add the infamy of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, which Smith did not participate in directly but as captain allowed to occur under his watch, and the 28-year-old became one of the most watched figures in all of world sport.

His rough-house departure from South Africa, and rawly emotional public apology on return to Sydney, did much to move public opinion towards him from outrage to sympathy, and the question of how he will go about restoring his place in the Australia team is one that many will ponder. Banned from Australian domestic cricket and the IPL, Smith can be expected to find a way to play somewhere, somehow, between now and April 2019. His return to eligibility will be just in time for the run to the World Cup and Ashes double in England.

NEW YORK REFUGE

In his book The Journey published last year, Smith admitted a fondness for New York and an openness to living there full-time once his playing days are done. Given unexpected time away from the game by his Cricket Australia-imposed ban, Smith and his partner Dani Willis spent quality time in the Big Apple away from much of the public glare they would have faced in Australia.

IT'S BEEN SAID

"I have had some time away to come to terms with everything and now it's time to get back into it. The amount of emails and letters I have received has been incredible and I have been extremely humbled by the enormous amount of support you have given me. I now have a lot to do to earn back your trust." - Smith's message on his return home to Australia.

6. Nick Kyrgios - Tennis (World Fame Rank: 205)

WHY HE'S GOT FAME

Whatever Nick Kyrgios does -- on or off the court -- is always major news in Australia. The enigmatic, wildly talented 23-year-old polarises his home nation, who revel in his power-packed on-court wizardry but bemoan his all-too-often off-court controversies. Every ace, cross-court winner or even trademark "tweener" Kyrgios hits can draw gasps of admiration from fans and rivals alike -- many who foresee Grand Slam glory for the Canberra-born talent -- but those gasps turn to grumbles when he stumbles into another controversy.

His talent is unquestionable: On his first encounters with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, he beat them all. Yet his mental strength has often been found wanting -- witness his fines and suspension for tanking. As captivating on social media as he is in media appearances, Kyrgios is one of Australia's most engaging characters and he appears to finally be maturing as a person.

HOOPS, NOT NETS?

Kyrgios doesn't hide his passion for basketball, admitting his love for the sport sometimes hindered his professionalism as a tennis player. During his run to the Cincinnati Masters in 2017, Kyrgios said: "I was playing basketball ... every day for two hours. I played an hour of basketball before I played David Ferrer in the semifinal." It's that sort of blase attitude that makes many fear he'll never live up to his potential, and ponder just how good he could become if he was as dedicated to tennis as most of his peers.

IT'S BEEN SAID

"I guess [kids] kind of like the flair, and I guess the no-care attitude. I would like to be a bit of a better role model with some of my behaviour, but I guess that will come in time ... I know that I do things that people say are the worst things on planet Earth, but at the same time, to be a role model for [children] makes me feel pretty good." - Nick Kyrgios at the 2018 Australian Open

7. Sonny Bill Williams - Rugby Union (World Fame Rank: 270)

WHY HE'S GOT FAME

Given his status as a rare multi-sport athlete, there are few bigger names in the small corner of the world touching the Tasman Sea. A bona-fide Rugby League superstar, Sonny Bill Williams made the switch to Rugby Union way back in 2008 when he walked out on NRL club Canterbury-Bankstown. He landed at French rugby club, Toulon, before finding his way back to Super Rugby. Ten years later he is at the Blues, having played at the Crusaders and Chiefs before that, and is also an established All Black. Williams also returned to the NRL for a two-year stint with Sydney Roosters -- where he won a premiership -- and found time to become New Zealand's heavyweight boxing champion.

THE QUIET LIFE

After making a splash in the tabloid headlines as much as the sporting pages early in his career, Williams avoids the spotlight nowadays and is a devoted family man. A proud Muslim, Williams now has two daughters with wife, Alana, and is a shining example for an All Blacks brand that has been tarnished by the likes of Aaron Smith and Jerome Kaino in recent years.

IT'S BEEN SAID

"He has always been a player who has been loved by you blokes [in the media] or hated by you blokes. It is a 50-50 split. When he does things wrong all the haters get on top of it, and when he does things right all the good guys get on top of it. He is a good international rugby player." - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

8. Aaron Mooy - Football (World Fame Rank: 272)

WHY HE'S GOT FAME

Once of the Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City, Aaron Mooy is now lighting it up on the world's biggest stage for Huddersfield Town in the Premier League. One of only two Australian internationals getting regular time in England's top flight, it's no wonder that Mooy is rapidly becoming a household name Down Under and across the globe.

A rare mix of guile, tenacity and skill, Mooy is the heartbeat of a Terriers side that avoided relegation with a game to spare -- no small feat for the club with the smallest budget in the Premier League. David Wagner's side stayed up on the back of some world-class displays from Mooy -- including his brilliant strike in Huddersfield's historic 2-1 over Manchester United.

THE WORLD STAGE BECKONS

The Premier League season may be over, but there will be no rest for the 27-year-old as the FIFA World Cup looms large on the horizon. Mooy and Co. have been drawn in a group with France, Peru and Denmark, and while there is little expectation of the lowly-ranked team outside of Australia, there is a quiet confidence brewing in the Socceroos camp. New coach Bert van Marwijk knows what it takes to get to a World Cup final, and in assistant coach Mark van Bommel, Mooy as the perfect midfield mentor to guide him to the next level.

IT'S BEEN SAID

"He doesn't really say much. He doesn't smile a lot ... but he is for sure very happy and very proud as well and I think he deserves all the credit. He's a great technical footballer with such unbelievable working attitude. This is why I love this player." -- Huddersfield manager David Wagner.

9. Dan Carter - Rugby Union (World Fame Rank: 278)

WHY HE'S GOT FAME

Considered the greatest fly-half in the history of Rugby Union, Dan Carter stamped his authority on the sport almost 15 years ago, and has continued to amaze fans ever since. Pinpoint accuracy with the boot and one of the sport's greatest minds, Carter was named Rugby Player of the Year in 2005, 2012 and 2015, and has won two Rugby World Cups (2011, 2015). The richest player in rugby, Carter is estimated to be earning as much as £1.4 million a season at Racing 92 in France, and is set to make more when he leaves for Japan.

But it's his attitude and work off the pitch that has made him a well-loved athlete. One of the world's most charitable athletes, his organisation iSport Foundation funds community projects, while he takes time out to run rugby clinics for young athletes.

TEN YEARS SHIRTLESS

Eleven years after first donning the black jersey, 2014 marked 10 years of Dan Carter as the face of Jockey worldwide. Only a year after making his debut, 16-metre high billboards were erected in Christchurch and Auckland and they reportedly caused nose-to-tail car accidents. A year later, and he was back in shirtless glory, setting records for desktop downloads of a clip that featured him performing sit-ups.

IT'S BEEN SAID

"Dan Carter will be No. 1 in the pantheon. Clearly No. 1. His skills haven't dropped off at all." - Former opponent, now Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham.

10. Chad Reed - Supercross (World Fame Rank: 280)

WHY HE'S GOT FAME

Undoubtedly the most successful international rider in Supercross history. Chad Reed, who has spent almost two decades in the sport, is a two-time world champion (2004 and 2008) and holds the record for most race starts and podium finishes in the sport's history. He has been one of the most popular riders since he first entered Supercross and in 2011 Reed was named a Member of the Order of Australia for his contributions as an Australian athlete. Now, at age 36, he's the oldest rider in the field but it doesn't stop him from mixing it with the younger stars.

FOLLOW YOUR COUSIN

In an interview with Fox Racing, Reed admitted he only really got into dirt bike riding as he wanted to emulate his cousin, Craig Anderson, who he had admired from a young age. Reed said he looked up to Anderson and pestered his parents to buy him a dirt bike. Shortly after receiving his first bike, Reed became hooked forever.

IT'S BEEN SAID

"I raced against a lot of great and talented riders in my career but nobody ever raced me with the package of skill, speed and tenacity that the 22 displayed every time we went to the starting gate." -- Ricky Carmichael, five-time Supercross champion, on what it was like racing against Reed.