Linsanity and TebowMania have thankfully died down in recent weeks. Jeremy Lin saw his season come to an unfortunate end with knee surgery and Tim Tebow is settling down into the NFL offseason after being traded from Denver to the New York Jets. Nevertheless, that recent inactivity isn’t slowing down the pair’s influence not just in sports, but the world. Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow were the only two American athletes named on the list of Time’s 100 Most Influential People amongst six total athletes.
The four other sports representatives named on the Time list span quite the wide spectrum and are all international athletes. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and his good-humored dominance of tennis makes the cut as does LPGA star Yani Tseng of Taiwan. South African double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is mentioned as is the best soccer player in the world – Argentina’s Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona.
It is interesting to consider that Tebow and Lin made the list mainly due to the impact they have had away from the game. Is that a sign of the power of the 24/7 sports media that focuses more on debates and buzz versus the sports they actually cover? The best and most notable athletes in American sports – names like Tom Brady, LeBron James, Albert Pujols, Sidney Crosby, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, etc. didn’t make the cut.
All six of the athletes that did make the Time list have certainly made their mark around the world in varying ways – whether that be sheer class in dominating their sport, breaking down social barriers, standing up for their beliefs, and inspiring others in overcoming disabilities. All six are certainly worthy of representing sports on the list. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect from the sporting perspective was Time having Lin write the entry about his now fellow New Yorker Tebow:
But it is the qualities that Tim, 24, embodies in his life off the field that truly set him apart. He is unashamed of his convictions and faith, and he lives a life that consistently reflects his values, day in and day out. Through his foundation, he constantly reaches out to people and communities in need of hope. He realizes what he has been blessed with and seeks to help those who are worse off. As athletes, we pour our hearts into winning games. Tim is a reminder that life is about much more than that.
Tebow and Lin are both very strong in their convictions and their faith. In Tebow’s case, his faith is a considerable factor in why he has become such an influential figure both to football fans and non-football fans. You can question Tebow’s on-field capabilities and you can certainly question the oversaturation of TebowMania and Linsanity, but you can’t question their off-field impact and influence.