10 Sports Stars Who Are Way More Popular Overseas Than You Realized

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10 Sports Stars Who Are Way More Popular Overseas Than You Realized
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Let's be real: Outside the United States, soccer reigns supreme over the sports kingdom.

This isn't to say that other major sports are ignored; the NFL has courted pro football fans in the U.K. through its series of games in London, and the NBA has found a passionate and largely untapped well of pro basketball fans in China and throughout Asia.

Meanwhile, hockey and baseball continue to depend on various pipelines of talent from around the world to bring into their development programs and hopefully become the next Sidney Crosby or Yadier Molina.

But, outside of Olympic competition, many of America's star athletes derive their fame from sports and achievements with a fraction of the same captive audience they enjoy here.

And with the exception of U.S. women's tennis queen Serena Williams, the 21st century has not been kind to American athletes competing in sports that are globally popular.

Some athletes, however, unexpectedly transcend market share and cultural differences—often by sheer volition of their unprecedented talent, sometimes by virtue of their personal story and on occasion, without much explanation at all.  

These are 10 sports stars who are way more popular overseas than you realized . 

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