If there's one good measure of success that's true for any line of work, it's this: Once there's a sandwich named after you, you've made it.
You can be a great athlete, a good person, yada, yada, yada, but getting a sandwich named in your honor represents something even bigger: Be it your virtue, your excellence or your starring role in controversy, your name is known to everyone, and worth enshrining on an innovative dish.
As for how well these sandwiches represent their famous sports namesakes, you can be the judge.
The LeBron James, Mr. Bartley's in Cambridge, Massachusetts
A meal fit for a king, and for someone with a high tolerance for heat, The LeBron James is loaded with flavor: A burger fixed with a slab of bacon and a heaping pile of ghost pepper macaroni and cheese. Fries come on the side, but they're more of a palate-cleanser than anything else. In our opinion, ghost pepper mac and cheese sounds like a dish worth its own spot on the menu. But greatness doesn't settle. Neither does LeBron, or this custom burger.
The Gronk, Mr. Bartley's in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Of course Rob Gronkowski deserves a sandwich of his own. The more important question: Is this the best Mr. Bartley's can do? Don't get us wrong: A burger piled with bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and red onions sounds like a fine entree on its own. But it's not a creation that really evokes the spirit of Gronk. Try adding sprinkles, or a slice of pepperoni pizza to the mix. See, now we're getting closer.
The Tom Brady, Ike's Place in multiple California locations and Phoenix
What a perfect sandwich to represent the NFL's healthiest quarterback. The Tom Brady offers breaded chicken, avocado, mushrooms, cheddar, and garlic and herb sauce. But the truest homage to the Patriots legend is this substitution: If you want, you can order The Tom Brady as a vegan meal. Mock tofu chicken, anyone?
The Madison Bumgarner, Ike's Place in multiple California locations and Phoenix
A hearty sandwich for a simple, hearty man, The Madison Bumgarner is composed of thinly sliced rib eye, habanero, pepper jack and American cheese. It'll stick to your ribs and keep you full for those long Bay Area commutes on horseback.
The Delly Burger, Quicken Loans Arena
It's hard to be a bench player and still warrant your own sandwich. But Matthew Dellavedova managed that trick combination, especially after his inspiring play in last year's NBA Finals. Even though he didn't see much court time this season, Dellavedova became a fan favorite, and the Cavs' home arena rewarded him with his own food item. The Delly Burger is a refined entree, featuring salami, capicola and provolone. We wouldn't call Dellavedova's style of play as particularly refined, but Cleveland fans clearly feel differently.
The Dirkburger, American Airlines Center
The only menu item that is a fusion of two distinct culinary traditions, Dirk Nowitzki's namesake sandwich pays tribute to his German heritage. It's an American, 1/3-pound burger, yes, but it's set on a Bavarian pretzel bun, and dressed with jalapeno beer cheese and a bacon-onion marmalade. In other words, all the good stuff. But it also had a limited run.
The DangeRuss Dog, Century Link Field
Seattle's Century Link Field went all-out for this homage to the city's Super Bowl-winning quarterback. A foot-long hot dog features all the fixings: tortilla chips, Sriracha, jalapenos, onions, and mac and cheese. Plus, you can only get it at Seahawks home games. They say scarcity is the best way to drum up demand.
The Caitlyn Jenner, Mr. Bartley's in Cambridge, Massachusetts
The Caitlyn Jenner is a burger topped with bacon, cheese and a fried egg. In other words, it's a burger you've probably seen and eaten before. Much like the Gronk, we have to wonder: Did someone fall asleep at the brainstorming table?
#7 Roethlis-Burger, Peppi's Sandwich Shop in Pittsburgh
Peppi's is a Pittsburgh institution, and the #7 Roethlis-Burger pays delicious tribute to the hometown quarterback. It's got sausage, American cheese and an egg piled high, for your artery-clogging pleasure. Between Roethlisberger himself and the dietary preferences of football fans in the rust belt, one thing is clear: This menu item's ingredients nail the sensibility.
Steph Curry One, Ike's Place in multiple California locations and Phoenix
Tangy but not too heavy, which is one way to describe Stephen Curry's style of play. And that's what you'll find in the Steph Curry One, a turkey sandwich with provolone and yellow BBQ sauce. Curry's sandwich won't put you into a food coma, making it a great pre-game meal.
Linsanity, Ike's Place in multiple California locations and Phoenix
Maybe Linsanity has died off, but we'll never forget the excitement Jeremy Lin brought, at least for a short while. This sandwich does its best to recapture that magic, bringing in a range of bold flavors to make for a wild eating experience. Linsanity is a turkey sandwich outfitted with voodoo heat chips, Godfather sauce, Sriracha, havarti, and avocado. Just like those fabled months Lin had with the Knicks, this sandwich is hot, hot, hot.
Le Zlatan, Doddy's Cafe in Paris
Europe isn't quite as keen on naming sandwiches after athletes, which is why Le Zlatan created such a stir. The entree, named after soccer star, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is an oversized burger that most of its patrons struggle to finish off. Priced at more than $33 U.S., though, you'd have to be a pretty big soccer fan to justify unloading for this feast.