LeBron James tops Harris Poll for America’s favorite male athlete for the first time


(Evan Vucci/AP)

A Cleveland Cavalier for the second time, LeBron James is officially America’s favorite male athlete for the first time, according to a new Harris Poll. Prior to this latest poll, which surveyed a representative sampling of 2,241 adults online in June, before James signed again with Cleveland, the basketball star never surpassed the No. 2 spot. In 2011, the first Harris Poll for favorite athlete conducted after James moved to Miami, he dropped out of the top 10 entirely.

Truly, James has made, pardon the pun, a rebound. But not everyone ranks James as their favorite. Women polled prefer Michael Jordan, who picked up the No. 2 overall spot, as did Generation X (ages 37-48). Seniors (ages 68 and over), meanwhile, put New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter on the top of their list.

Which one of those three do you like the best? If you’re a Republican, the poll says more of our political brothers and sisters went for Jeter, while Democrats went for Jordan and Independents voted for James.

As for the rest of the Top 10, the men break down like this:

 Harris Poll Ranking Male Athletes
1 LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
2 Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls (retired)
3 Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
4 Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
5 (tie) Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
5 (tie) Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR
7 Tom Brady, New England Patriots
8 Tiger Woods, Golf
9 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
10 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

As for the females, tennis star Serena Williams and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick divided the sexes, as well as the land. Women and those who live in the Midwest and the South prefer Williams, according to the poll, while men and those on either coast voted for Patrick more. Millennials, meanwhile also prefer Williams, while all age groups older than 36 ticked the box for Patrick.

Here’s how the rest of the top 10 female athlete rankings panned out:

 Harris Poll Ranking Female Athletes
1 Serena Williams, Tennis
2 Danica Patrick, NASCAR
3 Venus Williams, Tennis
4 Maria Sharapova, Tennis
5 Mia Hamm, Soccer (retired)
6 (tie) Lindsey Vonn, Skiing
6 (tie) Billie Jean King, Tennis (retired)
8 (tie) Alex Morgan, Soccer
8 (tie) Chris Evert, Tennis (retired)
10 Misty May, Beach Volleyball
Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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