Sunday, August 24, 2008

If not Becks, who?

David Beckham's appearance at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics made me ponder a couple of things.

If you want a man to appear on top of a double decker bus with a small child and do something vaguely symbolic involving a ball, he's certainly your man.

But if for any reason he were unavailable, who the hell else would you call?

We hear a lot about the transformation of sportsmen into superstars, how even young names today can parlay their images into big money via massive advertising campaigns for anything from pop to pumps, about how sportsmen today enjoy a level of fame that would have been unknown to earlier generations of athletes.

But if Becks had not been able to do the gig, who would you have called? There isn't another footballer who would have been able to command that degree of recognition and affection. Is there anyone from another sport? I can't think of any. Maybe they aren't as famous as they think they are. They think they're in the same business as Becks. Fact is, they're not on the same planet.


  1. I think Tiger Woods could accomplish something "vaguely symbolic with a ball," and while I'm a narcissistic American, I still think that most everyone knows who he is. Would have had to be a smaller ball though...

  2. I once did some work experience for a London based news agency. One particularly miserable assignment entailed waiting outside the entrance of a private hospital in Kensington where an ailing George Best was resting his liver.

    I was supposed to be keeping an eye out for any famous visitors. Unfortunately my knowledge of the beautiful game was such, that the great and the good of English football could have paraded past in full kit and the only person I would have recognised would have been David Beckham, who even back then had transcended fame within his profession and was well on the way to becoming a celebrity icon, known to all.

  3. Not sure whacking a golf ball into crowd such a good idea! Also tiger seems to have mistaken not saying much for charisma.

  4. You could say the same about fireworks. How would be celebrate anything without fireworks? Good on the Chinese.

  5. Good question. Wayne Rooney would probably trip over the kid.

  6. David Beckham's not really in the football business. He's in the advertising and modelling business.