What will sports be without Venus, Serena and Tiger?

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By ALYSHA TSUJI
College Contributor Network

The average person associates dominance with power, success and leadership -- all positive characteristics. But too much of a good thing always ultimately turns into a bad thing.

An excess of dominance can prove detrimental, especially in the world of professional sports. A lengthy reign of superstars spoils fans.

The 20th century birthed a copious number of legendary athletes. Four prominent examples: Venus and Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan.

Altogether, the four have 72 years of professional experience, and the Williams sisters and Woods are still competing. They've changed their respective sports. They single-handedly sell out tournaments and events. They're universally known.

What happens when their bodies wear down and age forces them to retire? The first potential path: everything dies.

Venus and Serena are plastered across women's tennis. Their rise from Compton to the pros serves as an inspiration to tennis players young and old. On top of that, they've yet to slow down on the court. Today, Serena stands at No. 1 on the rankings, while her older sister Venus sits at No. 19.

Other notable players trail behind such as Maria Sharapova, Na Li and Caroline Wozniacki, as no other names have that same recognition as the Williams sisters. None of them have that star pull. With the exception of Sharapova, they aren't household names.

The two tennis phenoms could be responsible for the fall of women's tennis. They add so much weight to the sport that when they leave there may as well be nothing left.

The same could be said of Woods in the realm of golf. After 18 years in the pros, 79 PGA Tour victories, 12 international victories and billions of dollars, what more can be done on the greens.

Jordan Spieth carries fame in his swagger, as does the hot Rory McIlroy, yet no one claims the same weight of Tiger. The zing in his name headlining a tournament, the red shirt Sunday tradition, the recovery from the sex scandal -- the man is inimitable.

Golf.com published an article stating that this summer's U.S. Open sans-Tiger posted some of the lowest Sunday ratings numbers in history. The future looks cloudy.

Though there is a second potential path, if you like to see the glass as half full: the story of the great Air Jordan offers a glimmer of hope for the futures of tennis and golf.

Jordan is the best to ever play the game of basketball. That's settled. When he retired, people thought the NBA would die. It didn't.

Talents like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James swooped in, causing debate over who would dethrone MJ as the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time). Basketball lives on.

Although a crucial difference divides tennis and golf from basketball in that the former are individual sports and the latter is a team sport. It's easier to rally people behind a team and a city than it is to rally people behind an individual.

Individual athletes need a catchy name to accompany a unique upbringing or a redemption story in order to gain popularity. Talent alone wins titles, but not fans.

The departure of the Williams sisters from tennis and Woods from golf will result in plummeting TV ratings and their sports will suffer. But it can't be long before a couple fresh-out-of-college kids drop out of the sky and start swinging away.


Alysha Tsuji is a senior Journalism major at Pepperdine University. Her passion lies in sports media, namely when it comes to covering the NBA. Follow her on Twitter: @AlyshaTsuji
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