LeBron’s Q Score takes huge hit

Miami Heat guard LeBron James(notes) has a lot of work to do on his reputation. That’s at least according to the latest Q Score, released exclusively to CNBC, on Tuesday morning.

Following James’ move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat, and the way he announced it in the ESPN hour-show dubbed “The Decision,” the general population has changed its opinion of the man nicknamed King.

In January 2010, The Q Scores Company took a poll of the general population and found that 24 percent of people thought of James in a positive light, compared to a 22 percent negative opinion.

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Henry Schafer, executive vice president of the company, told CNBC that the average sports personality has a 15 percent positive score and a 24 percent negative score.

“LeBron’s positive score at that time was the highest we had ever seen it,” Schafer said.

But since “The Decision” show on July 8, things have gone seriously downhill for the NBA star.

“Instead of his change to the Heat being seen as the best way he can win a championship, many have looked at it and how he chose to announce it as a selfish move,” he said.

Schafer says that now only 14 percent of the general population see him as a positive figure, a 41.6 percent drop, while 39 percent view him in a negative light, a 77 percent increase.

In fact, LeBron is now the sixth most disliked sports personality, according to The Q Score Company, behind Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco and Kobe Bryant(notes).

Perhaps equally as interesting is the fact that James has apparently dragged down the general population’s opinion of his new teammates.

Dwyane Wade’s(notes) positive Q score went from 21 in January to 15 today.

His negative Q score rose from 18 in January to 25 today. Chris Bosh(notes) – whose move to Miami was part of what sealed the deal for LeBron – saw even a worse drop. His positive Q score only fell from a 13 in January to a 12 today, but his negative Q Score rose from 21 percent in January to 35 percent today.

Schafer says that LeBron’s “Decision” was one of the most detrimental acts – not related to any anti-social behavior – by a sports personality since the Q Scores were first developed more than 45 years ago.

James didn’t lose any endorsement deals as a result of his change. He still has deals with Vitaminwater, Nike and McDonald’s. His popularity didn’t seem to suffer in Miami, where his jersey has been among the top three best sellers in the offseason and season tickets have sold out.

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Updated Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010