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Can You Believe That LeBron James Is Officially The Most Popular Male Athlete In The U.S. For The First Time Ever?

Submitted by on July 18, 2014 – 9:49 am4 Comments

LeBron James has finally found a way to beat Michael Jordan in something. It’s just too bad that the thing he beat him in is a popularity contest.

There’s no denying that LeBron is one of the most popular people on the planet. By the time he was drafted into the NBA back in 2003, LeBron had already been on the cover of Sports Illustrated and was easily the most well-recognized high school basketball player in the country. And over time, he’s gotten more and more and more popular both in America and abroad.

As a result of that, LeBron was just named the most popular male athlete in America for the first time in career. He had previously ranked No. 2 in the popularity contest, which is conducted by Harris Poll every year, but he had never been able to overtake Michael Jordan. That changed this year.

According to the Harris Poll, LeBron fell all the way out of the Top 10 back in 2011 after he made his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and head to the Miami Heat. But he has rebounded nicely since then—no pun intended—to overtake MJ and land at No. 1 in the poll. MJ is still No. 2 overall but he’s trailed closely by Derek Jeter at No. 3, Peyton Manning at No. 4, and Kobe Bryant and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at No. 5 (they finished in a tie this year).

Are you surprised to see LeBron jump over Air Jordan in the Harris Poll standings? To be honest, we’re not. After all, MJ is over 50 now and hasn’t played in more than a decade. So it’s not exactly a shock to see him slip a little in the standings. But it is kind of crazy to see how popular LeBron is now, just a few years after seeing just about the entire basketball world turn on him.

Now that he’s back in Cleveland, we imagine that LeBron will be even more popular next year. And if he manages to win a championship with the Cavs? Look out. Other athletes will have a very, very tough time catching up to him in the years to come.

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