I do not want to repeat the things I share with most of Iancho's post and all the others. Here is my 2 cent.
We humans are the only animal that manipulates his own kind. And this is the raison d'etre for our civilization. That is how we get to know and also how we are lead, and also lead astray... Manipulation is the base of education and ... propaganda.
The contribution to the backgammon of today and tomorrow (I intentionally omit the past) is not only playing; but organizing - Perry Gartner, Chiva, Bill Davis etc. etc.; research - Nack, Paul, Stick, Neil etc. etc. incl all of you here; education - Phil and the gang. What about the other nations' Giants? I would like more financial promoters in the Giant's pub.
There was an interesting post, I can't remember where I got this info (Iancho?): the top backgammon performers won approximately every tenth event. If someone in the last years won prizes more often - then he could be considered a Giant. Robertie did, Sly did, Kit did it last years. I guess when they read Iancho, they think in the good old style: don't scare me by mouth young guy, reach out for your wallet.
There is a good way to measure success - the golden ranking of the WBF - the annual winnings recalculated in gold. Alberto Da Pra also belongs here with his long term contribution.
I have to remind X-22's definition of a top player - the one who consistently manages (using his cashes) to cover his traveling, hotel, entry fees etc. expenses. Travellers are sure tops.
This also reminds me of my long time idea: LEAVE US ALONE!
Suppose I play 10 events a year and eventually win a tournament. There comes Mr. Taxman to collect the income tax. Please, wait Mr. Taxman - all the moneys here were taxed once - every player was fleeced by you when he earned this money - this is double taxation. I am not a law Giant, but I have some other reasoning - Mr. Taxman. If just dealing with my own money is taxable (if this is considered business) then only the NET income should be taxable - whether the organizer or the player is an object of taxation. When the TOP PLAYERS win approximately 1 out of 10 tournaments - what is the proportion of winnings and expenses? What is the situation with other sports - e.g. tennis.
At last, the first thing: BACKGAMMON IS A SPORT. Games may be just games in the kindergarten. They may be competitive games - at home or in the local pub for a box of Turkish delight. Backgammon is played by millions and that is still not enough for it it be a sport. But when such games are studied scientifically, organized and played professionally worldwide... This game is much more a sport than many olympic games and deserves it's place in the family of intellectual sports.