Her name is Sugarpova? Call her Sillypova

Her name is Sugarpova? Call her Sillypova
Maria Sharapova showing off her rather expensive brand of sweets during a promotional event in London in June.

SINGAPORE - "I can whip anything on two legs," says the man on the screen, "but even me, The Greatest, needs help beating things with six legs. "I mean roaches."

I mean, really!

Muhammad Ali - vain, anti-war, poetry speaker - doing a cockroach spray advertisement! Ah, but then athletes and dubious taste are familiar buddies.

Joe Namath, the rugged 1960s New York Jets quarterback, endorsed pantyhose while an Indian cricketer had his honeymoon sponsored.

Sometimes, the crude commercial choice is a necessity because the athlete is manacled by hardship.

The proud Jesse Owens, heroic at Berlin 1936, returned home only to race horses.

Later, he said: "People said it was degrading for an Olympic champion to run against a horse, but what was I supposed to do? I had four gold medals, but you can't eat four gold medals."

Maria Sillypova's alleged plan to alter her name to Sugarpova from Sharapova for the US Open has no such tragic story.

To be fair, she once said, "my family never had it, so I'm always very respectful for every single dollar that I make to this day"; to be clear, she is now rather well off.

In Sports Illustrated's 2013 list, she ranks above Rafael Nadal and Lewis Hamilton in earnings among non-US stars. She has no excuse to degrade herself except to be even more well off. Seems like an excellent reason.

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