In the marketing industry, branding is everything. Most of the time, companies and their products are what is being branded. In modern sports news, it’s not just game scores and noteworthy plays that are being reported. More and more instances of athletes’ personal lives, beit good or bad stories, are being covered as “sports news.” This can range from negative stories such as arrests and domestic violence cases to positive stories like philanthropic efforts or kind words quoted from a press conference.

It’s crucial for famous athletes to realize that themselves as individuals are a brand just as important as they are representatives of their team’s franchise. Here are a few athletes that are making positive moves towards their individual reputations.

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LeBron James

Although he is well known for his Miami Heat titles in 2012 and 2013, he is also a huge contender for giving back to the Boys and Girls Club of America. He raised close to 2.5 million dollars with that organization alone. James not only supports education, but he also believes that all children should have the opportunity to go to college. With this mindset, he sent over 1000 children from his childhood community to college, spending over 41 million dollars. It is evident that LeBron is passionate about the youth and is willing to invest in the education of thousands of kids.

Serena Williams

Apart from her beast-like moves on the tennis court, Serena Williams is known to be quite generous when it comes to giving back, especially to breast cancer foundations. She has won numerous awards for her charity work, including the Young Heroes Award and continuous to be an advocate for education in countries such as Ghana. She works closely with UNICEF and makes an effort to be the voice for the voiceless.

David Beckham

This soccer star puts forth extraordinary efforts to fight for the causes of the less fortunate whether it be from helping the injured personnel returning from Afghanistan or simply providing wheelchairs to children in need.

These are only a few of the many athletes that utilize their fame and funds to help benefit others rather than just to indulge in themselves. Athlete branding management is a huge industry that is growing in relevance due to the expansion of sports news coverage. Positive athlete branding is about much more than just good publicity, it shows that they are human and care about their communities.