Professional sports are driven by superstars.
LeBron James sells jerseys. Sidney Crosby sells tickets. Tiger Woods, even in the wake of his atrocious scandal and sudden decline, makes golf worth watching.
Without marketable, charismatic superstars, sports wouldn't have heroes. They wouldn't provide role models for little kids. They wouldn't have storylines that fans could relate to.
Every now and then, however, a few of these stars begin to burn so bright that they transcend their teams all together. An individual player becomes more important than his coach, his teammates, his sport.
For better or for worse, an individual star can oftentimes become so powerful that an entire league begins to revolve around him.
The 10 athletes on this list have climbed their way up to the highest echelon of status, prestige and power—and it's up to them how they're going to respond to it.