By Dan Shanoff
Page 2

EDITOR'S NOTE: With the help of our readers -- THIS MEANS YOU! -- Page 2 intends to determine the winner in the Battle for the Soul of Sports by matching the seven deadly sports sins against the seven heavenly sports virtues in a series of head-to-head duels. Today, Dan Shanoff pits Sports Envy against Sports Love -- here's his take on the latter.

No athlete is universally loved. Coach K is looking for love in all the wrong places when he goes to the Dean Dome; same with Brett Favre in Minneapolis.

That said: When taken as a group, sports fans and media have bestowed an overwhelming amount of love on a particular group of athletes and coaches in sports.

Is it possible to identify the most beloved names in sports? Limiting the scope to current athletes and coaches, there is a hierarchy -- as in Hollywood, there's an A-List, B-List and more.

Where does sports love come from? It's based on a consensus of approval, which itself is usually a function of success and exposure.

Look over the Love List below, from the A-List on down. (Is there a sports-world "D-List" equivalent of, say, self-proclaimed D-lister Kathy Griffin? Perhaps someone as annoyingly ubiquitous as Johnny Damon, or maybe as noisy and talentless as Freddie Mitchell?)

Don't expect to see Barry Bonds, Randy Moss or even someone as seemingly benign as Bill James -- all ubertalents who have inspired as much loathing as love. Polarizing figures make for the best arguments, but that's a debate for another day.

This list is about unconditional love (or at least as close as we can get to it in sports).

And don't forget to take the poll, deciding once and for all which names in each sport get the most love.

A-List of Sports Love
Tiger Woods

Why He's Loved: He saved the sport

What's Not to Love: Or is he ruining it for everyone else?

It's Round 2 in Page 2's Battle for the Soul of Sports.

Shanoff: Love Stories
Shanoff: The Love List
Shanoff: The Quickie -- Love vs. Envy Edition
SportsNation: Who gets more love?
SportsNation: Who do you envy?

Lance Armstrong

Why He's Loved: Success plus backstory

What's Not to Love: Critics diss biking

Mike Krzyzewski

Why He's Loved: He's not a coach

What's Not to Love: AmEx ads in heavy rotation

Brett Favre

Why He's Loved: NFL's Iron Man

What's Not to Love: Two words: Playoff picks

Joe Torre

Why's He Loved: Even keel in Bronx Zoo

What's Not to Love: Tactically sluggish

B-List of Sports Love
Tom Brady

Here's the fight card for Page 2's Battle for the Soul of Sports:

Round 1: Pride vs. Humility
Pride beat Humility, 75 percent to 25 percent.

Round 2: Envy vs. Love
Love beat Envy, 54 to 46

Round 3: Anger vs. Kindness
Anger beat Kindness, 61 to 39

Round 4: Sloth vs. Diligence
Diligence beat Sloth, 77 to 23

Round 5: Greed vs. Charity
Greed beat Charity, 70 to 30

Tuesday, Aug. 9: Sports Gluttony vs. Sports Temperance
Wednesday, Aug. 10: Sports Lust vs. Sports Chastity
Thursday, Aug. 11: And the winner is ...

Why He's Loved: Three Super Bowl MVPs

What's Not To Love: Is it him or the coaching?

Annika Sorenstam

Why She's Loved: Most dominant female athlete

What's Not to Love: Male fans' misogyny

Matt Leinart

Why He's Loved: Won Heisman, national title but stayed in school

What's Not to Love: Is he crazy?

Tim Duncan

Why He's Loved: All fundamentals

What's Not to Love: No personality

Derek Jeter

Why He's Loved: "Face of Baseball"

What's Not to Love: "Face of Baseball"

Chat: Page 2's Soul of Sports!
Page 2 can't decide who wins these epic battles without SportsNation's input!

Join our writers in chat:

Patrick Hruby wrap
Dan Shanoff wrap
Scoop Jackson wrap
Jeff Merron wrap
• Tue: Kieran Darcy, 3 ET

C-List of Sports Love
Jennie Finch
LeBron James
Phil Mickelson
Tony Hawk
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
David Beckham
Bill Belichick
Theo Epstein
John Madden
Curt Schilling
Poker players

Rising/Maybe Next Year?
Dwyane Wade
Ben Roethlisberger
Michelle Wie
Danica Patrick
Dontrelle Willis

Falling/Losing Luster?
Michael Vick
The Manning brothers
Kevin Garnett
Andy Roddick
Mark Cuban


Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "Daily Quickie" commentary appears every weekday morning. You can chat with Dan every morning 9-10 ET on SportsNation.