By Kaleb Anderson
TRENTON — Fans adore him. His teammates need him. People travel to see him. The team would be nothing without him. Who is this superstar? Two words: Chase Utley. Utley is a widely popular, professional baseball player who is irresistibly talented and has a large fan base. He currently plays for the Philadelphia Phillies, but because of his recent ankle injury he has played for the Double-A baseball team, the Reading Fightin’ Phils. Utley represents the archetype for athletes who will always have support from their fans regardless of their performance in games.
At 36, Chase Utley is a multi-millionaire, family-oriented, handsome pile of hugs and talent. Utley rose to stardom at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he played Division 1 baseball. In 2000, he was drafted as a first-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies. In just three years, he exceeded rookie limits and debuted on April 3, 2003. Utley shined alongside great players like David Bell and Marlon Byrd. Despite other teammates leaving the team, he has stayed for over 13 years. A six-time All-Star and a 2008 World Series champion with the Phillies, Utley has continued to gain popularity and has developed into an even better second baseman. He has gotten older and has faced injuries, but his fanbase is still loyal based on his presence on the field.
Utley is just one of a number of professional athletes who have managed to balance their commitment to one team with great success.
NBA star Carmelo Anthony has committed himself to the New York Knicks not only because of his $22 million contract, but also because he’s a native New Yorker, and unarguably the star of the team. He is married to TV and radio personality LaLa Anthony, and they have a son named Kiyan Anthony. Carmelo Anthony receives support from his father’s native Puerto Rico, and from those impressed with his stellar college basketball performance at Syracuse University.
He has an astonishing career average of 25 points per game but just like Utley, Anthony isn’t always performing at his best. Anthony’s field-goal percentage this past season ranged from 21 to 52 percent, lowering his career average to 44 percent.
The Knicks increased his salary even though he was not performing as well as he was in 2011. Fans still come to games to see Anthony play. A skilled player who is generally fun to watch, he’s still the star.
According to Statista.com, from 2010 to 2015, ticket sales have risen 53 percent. Anthony was acquired from the Denver Nuggets in 2011, and this rise in ticket sales is a clear result.
Another athlete who exemplifies the qualities of this archetype is Tiger Woods. He has over 79 PGA tour titles at the age of 39, and became the youngest player to win the Masters at age 21, which happened to be the first time he competed in the tournament. The Tiger Woods brand has sold millions of video games, Nike golf equipment, and tickets to people willing to stand in the heat, rain, and wind to see him compete in tournaments across the globe.
Even though he is a legend of golf, he has slipped in recent years. According to PGATour.com, in 2010 and 2011 he earned a total of $1,955,003. This is 69 percent less than his career annual average earnings of $6,309,110. During these two years, he went through a traumatic cheating scandal, divorce and a custody battle, resulting in a loss of sponsors and drop in rankings. Even though those two years challenged him emotionally and personally, he did not let it change the trajectory of his career and fame. In 2012, he earned $6.2 million dollars from tournaments and gained sponsors back, largely because his loyal fans still came to support him. Woods, like Anthony and Utley, still had his large fan base even when he had performed poorly those two years.
These men project charisma and pure talent, which makes them stand out and gets fanatics excited to see them compete. They have all overcome physical and personal obstacles while still triumphing. Fans adore them. Their sports need them.