by Zettler Clay
This may come as a shock, but umm, LeBron James is enormously popular. So much so that Forbes gave him the
coveted highest ranking of any athlete in its recent Celebrity 100 issue. OK, not exactly. Tiger Woods is still the top athlete in the 100 (12). Since I won’t allow you to refer to a golfer as a baller in the strict sense, the title of this post retains its accuracy.
LeBron sits at 15, raking in a cool $53 million in 2011. Kobe Bryant is the next highest-ranked hooper (27). And that rounds out the NBA’s representation on the list, which is based on an amalgam of income, television/radio exposure, how
exhaustive often they’re covered by the press and their online and social capital.
These criteria are vague and interrelated enough — the line between press coverage and television exposure crosses quite often — but I won’t gripe. If you want to spend the next few minutes of your life arguing that ‘Bron isn’t more popular than Beyonce or Tyler Perry, be my guest.
This should come as some consolation to the newly-crowned MVP, who as you may have heard, is confronted with certain occupational challenges at the moment.