Jimmie Johnson 'Most Influential Athlete' In Sports?

Are championships more “influential” than popularity?

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Jimmie Johnson, who was voted as NASCAR’s eighth-most popular driver in 2010, was named as the “Most Influential Athlete” – in all of sports – by Forbes.com on Monday.

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Johnson is one of three NASCAR drivers in the top 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is No. 3 and Jeff Gordon is No. 8.

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While Johnson is certainly NASCAR’s greatest winner, I have a hard time believing he’s the most influential.

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For example: When Earnhardt Jr. makes a criticism or comment about NASCAR or a track, it has sometimes resulted in change. And when Gordon talks to NASCAR behind the scenes (remember the no bump-drafting rule?), he has influence.

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I’d personally rank Johnson third on his own team in terms of influence. So it’s interesting that Forbes.com ranked him No. 1 in all of sports.

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Clearly, "influence" has different meanings to different people. You can read Forbes' explanation here.

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