September 14, 2010
For a long time, people loved LeBron James(notes). Totally loved him in a non-platonic way (for the most part). At the same time, Kobe Bryant(notes) has been one of the most hated players in the NBA for the past few seasons. But it is funny how a summer can change things.
Now, after LeBron's decision and "The Decision," more and more people dislike LeBron James. Whether they think he's a coward, a jerk or just has a bad beard, the LeBron James train has less and less people enjoying its complimentary peanuts. And while LeBron has been busy making people angry, Kobe has been enjoying a great run that has seen him win an Olympic gold medal and two straight titles while staying out of headlines for anything bad. The tables have turned.
[Photos: See NBA star LeBron James in action]
Or so you'd think. But according to Q Scores revealed by CNBC's Darren Rovell, some things will never change.
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.
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.
LeBron's Q Score today?
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 decline.
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.
[Rewind: Did LeBron James really hurt his brand?]
It's close, and actually Kobe is more well-liked — according to Steven Levitt at Q Scores, Kobe's positive score of 16 and negative score of 40 are close to LeBron's scores of 14 and 39 — but people still dislike Kobe more than LeBron. All is right with the world and nothing has changed. Well, except that a whole lot of people dislike LeBron James right now. That part has changed, for sure.
Not to mention, the extent to which people dislike LeBron James is kind of amazing. They dislike him so much that it's affecting how much they like his new teammates. As Rovell notes, both Chris Bosh(notes) and Dwyane Wade(notes) have seen their positive scores fall and their negative scores rise. Makes sense, and it's good to see that LeBron is already changing the culture of basketball in Miami.
On the other hand, after a great two year run, this proves that there's really nothing Kobe Bryant can do that will make him well-liked to fans. It doesn't seem like he minds that, at all, but it's still interesting that changing teams like LeBron did kills his popularity while becoming one of the biggest winners in the NBA has had no effect on most people's view of Kobe. I don't think that's a problem for the Mamba, but I do think that's a problem for LeBron and it might be tough for him to realize that championships don't equal adulation.
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