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ESPN: Morgan, Howard among Top 100 most famous athletes in world

Measuring an athlete's fame levels with analytics

MLS: MLS Press Conference Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Fame is a purely subjective concept, right?

For example, there could be an actor (let's just say Don Cheadle, because Don Cheadle is the man) that I think is famous, but some other random person may have never even heard of.

ESPN is trying to turn fame into a scientifically proven method. Their director of sports analytics has devised a formula that scours all avenues to assess an athlete's fame around the world. He's compiled all of this data into a Top 100 list of most famous athletes in the world. The first ever ESPN World Fame 100 rankings are now out and feature a total of 17 soccer players from across the globe. Cristiano Ronaldo (1), Lionel Messi (3), and Neymar (4) all crack the Top 5.

While it shouldn't be surprising that soccer has a strong representation, as it is the world's game, the fact that two American players made this list is a little eyebrow-raising.

Alex Morgan comes in at No. 55 on the list ahead of the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Frank Lampard, and Alex Ovechkin. Morgan being this high isn't all too surprising. She has tons of endorsement deals and is basically the face of women's soccer in the commercial realm. Not to mention she's pretty darn good on the field as well.

Rounding out the duo of Americans to crack the 100 is USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard. This one is a little bit puzzling on the surface. Howard has been the backup keeper at Everton for the last four months and has been on the downside of his career of late. However, it's easy to forget just how popular he was among the mainstream audience during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He earned the nickname "The Secretary of Defense" and was known for his immaculate beard. While he's fallen on hard times of late, he's still apparently really popular.

You can see ESPN's full list here