Nneka & Chiney Ogwumike: In recent months, the Ogwumike sisters have been given a unique opportunity to change the world for the better. Both former #1 picks in the WNBA draft, the Nigerian-American sisters have witnessed the recent destruction taking place in their home country and are taking steps to use their influence as professional athletes to make a difference through social media and political activism. They have become national heroes in Nigeria for their success in professional sports and are leading efforts to raise awareness of the perilous situation that is taking place in their home country. It takes courage to speak out against a dangerous regime, and these girls have not let the success on the court blind them from taking a stand on important issues in their community.
Mike Ditka: Who would win in a fight: Ditka? Or a hurricane named Ditka? While that question still remains unanswered, the legendary coach and fellow restaurateur has answered the call of a local Chicago restaurant franchise and is now the new spokesperson for Al’s Italian Beef and Nancy’s Pizza. The coach has become a legend in Chicago and in popular culture since his glory days coaching the Bears to the Super Bowl title in 1985, and his iconic figure and booming personality make him the perfect marketing megaphone for the hometown restaurant chains.
Venus Williams: As the second oldest woman in the draw each week at 33 years of age, Venus has enjoyed a long and fruitful tennis career with many a trophy to hang her hat on. Yet Venus is taking steps to solidify her career after tennis as an entrepreneur with her own line of active wear called EleVen. The tennis star and her line were recently featured on a segment for CBS News on Sunday and her new venture off the court could be her best serve yet.
Jordan Spieth: Let’s just get straight to the point; 20-year-old Jordan Spieth is taking over the golf world as we know it. His runner-up finish at the Masters this year and subsequent stellar play has made him a top candidate for the Ryder Cup this year and The Texas native is now joining forces with another powerhouse from Dallas, AT&T, as a new brand ambassador who will appear in everything from print and TV to social media advertisement campaigns for the company. Jordan’s ability to reach the younger demographic while becoming a crowd favorite on tour has set him up to become one of the sport’s brightest ambassadors and now as an ambassador for one of the largest phone and internet companies in the world.
Monica Abbott: Since bursting onto the fastpitch softball scene as a freshman at the University of Tennessee, Monica Abbott has been bamboozling batters with her vicious curves and killer heater. The USA Olympic silver medalist and current starter for the National Pro Fastpitch’s Chicago Bandits is now enjoying the fruits of her labor and has signed an endorsement deal with 3N2 Footwear and Apparel. Monica continues to be one of the top female athletes in their respective sports and she joins a 3N2 team that also includes former softballer turned ESPN analyst Michele Smith.
Landon Donovan: They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Well, Landon Donovan is hardly trash and just days after being left off the U.S. National team the vet scored 2 goals and broke the all-time MLS record for goals scored with 136. Now it’s ESPN and Fox Sports who are after the soccer star to join their team in the broadcast booth for next month’s World Cup coverage. As the longtime poster boy of the U.S. National team, it’s only right he stays a part of the action this summer and the transition would be easy for a man whose overwhelming fan base would follow him to the ends of the earth.
Blake Bortles: Being a quarterback in this year’s draft may have seemed like an uphill battle with the glare from all the spotlights on the sport’s newest Godsend Johnny Football, but it was UCF’s Blake Bortles who heard his named called before any of his fellow QB’s on draft night. The kid from South Florida is tasked with becoming the hometown hero for a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars franchise but his new endorsement deal with Nike now has him dressed for the part. Blake’s fundamental skill set and character on and off the field make him the perfect poster boy for the apparel giant and any other company looking for a successful brand ambassador in this year’s draft class.
Phil Mickelson: It’s like that one free-throw you missed in 100 shots; that one last thing on the to-do list you can’t ever seem to complete. The PGA Tour Pro affectionately known as “Lefty” has been the runner-up at the U.S. Open an incredibly frustrating 6 times, leaving him just short of the career grand slam of major tournament wins. Now in celebration of the tournament and his sponsor’s new line of clubs, Callaway is offering 1 lucky fan the chance to win Phil’s paycheck from this year’s Open! In a brilliant marketing strategy, the company is set to match Phil’s total tournament earnings and have given Callaway golfers and Lefty fans just one more reason to get behind him this year to finally capture that illusive U.S. Open trophy.
Jimmie Johnson: The new rules in NASCAR requiring drivers to win at least 1 race to be eligible for the postseason 10 race chase may have had some drivers starting to worry a bit, but not the 6-time defending champ. As if scripted, Jimmie drove his #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet to victory lane on Sunday at his home track Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. We know Lowe’s Home Improvement enjoyed quite the weekend, but now Jimmie can also simply focus on tuning up before the postseason instead of racing to make the field.
Gregg Popovich: Over the last decade and a half, the dominance and beauty with which the San Antonio Spurs have played the game of basketball has become a staple in a league that glorifies highlight plays and lazy defense. With 18 years as the Spurs head coach under his belt, Gregg Popovich can be credited for creating one of the most cohesive units of unselfish basketball players in the history of the NBA and his team is eager to avenge their postseason lost to the Heat last year after coming up just short in a dramatic NBA Finals that left the Spurs just one rebound away from another NBA title.
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