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Learning how to play the game

Although athletic performance is essential to sports celebrity, writes former WNBA president Val Ackerman, other factors are needed to attract the media buzz and average-fan-on-the-street interest that drives star power and its accompanying rewards. Are the top men's sports stars better than their female counterparts at cultivating celebrity, or do the men just have more opportunities to do so?

Updated: February 8, 2011, 11:43 AM ET
By Val Ackerman

In her newly published book "Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity," Elizabeth Currid-Halkett explores our collective fascination with the lives of certain people in our culture, most commonly movie stars, recording artists, tycoons, YouTube sensations (a modern phenomenon) and, of course, sports heroes. Our obsession with the "anointed ones" is expressed through our rapt attention to the details of their lives: their romantic interests, where they vacation, how they spend their money, their rehab ...

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