SACRAMENTO—Yogi Berra’s fun with fractured English is the stuff of sports lore. Two of the baseball Hall of Famer’s malapropisms came to mind Tuesday when Manny Paquiao was selected to yet another prestigious list.
Forbes Magazine came out with its choices of America’s most influential athletes and picked Pacquiao, boxing’s marquee attraction, at No. 4.
“I want to thank you for making this day necessary,” Berra once said in
St. Louis as the Cardinals baseball team honored him, replacing the world “possible” with “necessary.”
In all likelihood, Manny, known for tinkering with the Queen’s language at times, would not mind getting wrapped up in Yogi’s words, and then some.
“It’s déjà vu all over again,” Berra said in awe of the frequent home runs by his New York Yankees teammates Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Manny’s been on several select lists—including Time Magazine’s roster of the 100 most influential people on earth—he’d possibly have a ball with this Yogi–ism in his own provocative way.
Pacquiao, who is not even an American but maintains a house in Los Angeles, was listed behind three of most recognizable athletes hereabouts. Nascar driver Jimmie Johnson is Forbes choice as America’s most influential sports figure for the second straight year. Nos. 2 and 3 are two mega-hyped National Fooball League quarterbacks—Peyton Manning, now with the San Francisco 49ers and Makati City-born Tim Tebow, formerly of the Denver Broncos, now with the New York Jets.
Rounding out the list were Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, Manning’s brother Eli of the New York Giants and Jeremy Lin of the NBA’s New York Knicks.
Brady, Rodgers, Brees and Eli Manning are also signal callers in the NFL. Their selection shows the league’s grip on the American sporting scene.
The rankings, released Tuesday, are done by public opinion polling. Forbes used Nielsen and E-Poll, to survey more than 1,100 adults about dozens of well-known athletes to “measure their likeability and whether they are considered influential to marketers,” according to published reports.
Forbes, known for putting out the much-awaited list of the world’s richest people, cited polling numbers that said Johnson held influence over 25 percent of those surveyed.
Pacquiao held influence among 20 percent of those polled. He was fourth behind Lin, Rogers and Brees in likeability at 59 percent.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., Pacquiao’s ring arch-nemesis who had boasted to Ring Magazine that he wielded enough power he would let US President Barack Obama carry his title belt into the ring if his match with the Filipino icon materializes, did not make it to Forbes’ list.
“The contrast between (Pacquiao) and boxing ‘bad guy Mayweather’ doesn’t hurt,” said Forbes.
Dropping off the list from 2011: Another Nascar driver Jeff Gordon, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, LeBron James of the Miami Heat and future NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’ Neal, who has retired from the NBA and was no longer eligible for selection.
Their replacements: Lin, Pacquiao, Eli Manning (who snagged a second Super Bowl ring in January), Brees and Rodgers.