U.S. companies pay millions a year to star athletes, managers and assorted other sports figures to endorse products.

But do American men actually buy Noxzema shaving cream because they see Quarterback Joe Namath lathering his beard with it on TV, Fruit of the Loom underwear because it is recommended by tell-it-like-it-is Sportscaster Howard Cosell, or Schick razors because they are approved by Olympic Swimming Star Mark Spitz?

According to Manhattan's Alan R. Nelson Research, Inc., the answer is no. In fact, the firm reports, after questioning 2,500 men on the product-pushing talents of 192 sports figures, consumers are far more likely...

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