Sex Sells Sports. Period.

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, The Sports Network

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -- Victoria?s Secret, Hollywood, television and radio, magazines and books, the clothing industry, perfumes and a desire to stay young forever without Ponce de Leon guiding us to that famous fountain. They all had a hand in it. Maybe even an arm up to the elbow or a foot or two. Sex sells. We are narcotized by it. It is the king of Quaaludes, the high priestess of the hypnotic. The media knows it and the sports leagues prioritize it more than scoring titles, batting averages, Golden Gloves or triple doubles.

Michael Jordan is the best player to ever set foot on the hardwoods of the NBA but it is his image that everyone loves. Mr. Clean, for the most part, and he dresses as nattily as an Yves St. Laurent model coming down the walkway sporting this winter's fashions. Heavy threads are in. One?s trappings define the man or woman, as the case may be. Good looking that draws the ?ooohs? and ?aaahhhs? of the fans does not go unrecognized by management. Beau Brummel is smiling down on all of this, and loving every minute of it.

Dan Majerle, also of professional basketball fame, is picking up as many fan clubs this past season as he is frequent flyer miles on NBA schedules that resemble someone running for office, or from it. He?s the guy next door who just happens to earn some millions of dollars a year but that ?Aw shucks? image plays to everyone that love Li'l Abner and Daisy Mae. Welcome to middle America.

Katarina Witt
Katarina Witt is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in figure skating.
Katarina Witt topped it off ? or should that be took the top off, among other things ? for Playboy in recent years, scoring more points off the ice than she ever did twisting, leaping, spinning and skating her way to international fame. If you thought she was hot enough to melt the frozen glaze beneath her blades before the photo shoot, that particular issue of Playboy sold out faster than all the perfect scores she garnered and has become a collector's item.

The cheers for Lance Armstrong come from the women that cannot get enough of outfits that are skin tight on bodies form fitted as a result of years and years of exercise and preparation. Add some good looks, mix with a mountain hill or two, a tight tush on a bicycle seat and you have an international sex symbol. By the way, the fact that he ?owns? the Tour de France is just secondary. Hell, he beat cancer and an entire nation rooting against him and still looks good. The ladies love it.

Mia Hamm
Mia Hamm is the all-time leading goal scorer in women's international play.
The girlish and sometimes impish attitude of Mia Hamm has created a youthful revolution, an uprising of wannabe?s. Are they running around tearing their tops off after every win? Not hardly. Not as long as Mom and Dad are in the stands. Some day? Maybe. We are a nation that glorifies heroes and heroics. Mia is a right time, right place personality. Her sexy persona has ?Hey, look me over? written on it from head to toe. You gotta love it!

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Maybe the greatest heavyweight of all time. Perhaps the most recognizable athletic face on the planet. Bigger than life even when just a shell of what once so proudly was. And who is to take up the baton for Muhammad Ali? His daughter, Leila. Sexy? As women boxers go, definitely. Would you date her and worry about putting a short jab in the wrong place? You bet. Don?t be surprised to see her featured in Playboy in months to come unless, of course, Dad vetoes the idea.

What do you see coming at you when Tiger Woods enters the room, or appears on the screen teeing it up at the first hole of a major tournament? About $100 million dollars worth of dental work. That smile of his can attract companies seeking endorsements faster than a salmon fish fry in Alaska sends signals out to any bear within a hundred miles of the fire. The best golfer in the world is a definable sex symbol on the course, behind the wheel of his commercialized Buick, pumping his fist in the air after making a 60-foot putt or just holding a press conference. Finding a date for the prom will not be one of his major hurdles in life.

Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter has four World Series rings in seven years.
The most eligible bachelor in New York, and probably the whole of baseball, has to be Derek Jeter. Mr. Right can do no wrong, even when an errant throw causes a runner to be safe at first or a bad hop sends a routine ground ball skipping over his outstretched glove. Strike out in a key situation? He is forgiven. All those signs in the stands, with ?Derek, Marry Me? scrawled across them, are crafted by the same groupies that used to follow Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and Elton John. Jeter was designed, not born. In an era where there are more good shortstops playing at the same time than ever before, he ranks at the top in sexuality. Major League Baseball knows that and they certainly know the meaning of image when all else that they are doing is determined to tear theirs apart. If they strike (which they have not done as of this writing), it will be the Derek Jeters of the sport that will bring the fans back through the turnstiles.

Tennis is a sport with low cut sweaters and shirts, skirts that rise up as often as the tide on the shores of Gibraltar and flimsy bras and see through tops catch the eye of the cameraman as quickly as a baseline saver stroked with unerring accuracy. What better center stage than this sport for Anna Kournikova, a made to order centerfold? She has the looks, body and grace to be one of the higher priced models in the world. Instead, she has chosen tennis as her stage and she and the Williams sisters are battling as much for supremacy of the mammary set as they are for trophies and checks. Who better to establish the sexier side of the sport than a member of the gender that created it?

For the handful of you out there that actually watch a volleyball event, do you have a life size poster of Gabriela Reece adorning your bedroom wall? If not, you should. She is just about enough to get this sport some space on the revered sports pages of the nation. If you have to be spiked by someone, she is your lady. Here?s a sport that has been taken to the beaches of California where thongs and talent are the order of the day. Anything less than a perfectly tanned body probably means disqualification. I can think of worse ways to spend Sunday afternoon. Hello Venice Beach, NFL who?

The LPGA still doesn?t get the respect that it should and will live forever ? at least for the foreseeable future - in the shadows of their male counterparts occupying the fairways and greens of golfdom. But, for those with telephoto lenses that they were able to get past the guards, Natalie Gulbis is worth the reverse impression of Willie Sutton?sneaking in instead of out. From setup to back swing and follow through this is the lady to watch. She has all the angles of the game down pat. Will her sexuality attract more fans crowding the fairways for a glimpse? Likely not since putting this vision of loveliness out in front is just not stylish with the ladies so she remains undiscovered save for a few of us that appreciate some of the finer things on the golf course.

Talking head are out and good-looking ones are in. No one is really listening but they sure as heck are watching. Jill Arrington at CBS and Lisa Guerrero from Fox are two of the reasons that the ?S? in sports really stands for sexy. They grace the sidelines, ask the questions and no one can turn them down, or off. The networks know what sells and in-depth analysis of the last play takes a back seat to these two when they come into your den or living room. Luckily, some talent accompanies those high priced smiles but is anyone really evaluating that?

Sex sells. And, there is nothing like it. Not even the excitement of the game itself.

You gotta be kidding!

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