NEW YORK – The battle for number one continues with a change on top. As many have asked the LeBron James versus Michael Jordan question, we may not know how they would compare on the basketball court, but this year, James overthrows Jordan and is America’s favorite sports star. Last year, the reverse was true and Michael Jordon was number one while LeBron James was number two.
As he makes his farewell tour around baseball fields this summer, New York Yankee Derek Jeter moves up three spots and is in the third position this year. Rounding out the top five is quarterback Peyton Manning, remaining at number four this year, and in a tie for the fifth spot on the list is another basketball star, Kobe Bryant, moving up from number seven, and NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, Jr., moving up from number ten last year.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,241 adults surveyed online between June 11 and 16, 2014. (To see the full results including data tables, click here)
Looking at the rest of the top ten favorite sports stars another quarterback, Tom Brady is at number seven, down from number five last year. The season has not been great for Tiger Woods and he drops from number three to number eight on the list this year. Then two returning quarterbacks to the list – Drew Brees at number nine, who was last on the list in 2010 at the same spot, and Aaron Rodgers at number ten, who was last on the list in 2011, also at number ten.
Since there are two sports stars returning, two stars dropped out of the top ten this year. Those stars are: quarterback Tim Tebow (was #8) and golfer Phil Mickelson (was #9).
Different groups have their different favorites. For men, LeBron James is number one, but for women it’s Michael Jordan. There are also generational differences. Millennials and Baby Boomers say LeBron James is their favorite sports star, while for Gen Xers it is Michael Jordan and for Matures it is Derek Jeter. Politically, there are differences on the issues of today as well as who is the favorite sports star. Republicans say it is Derek Jeter, Democrats say it is Michael Jordan, and Independents say their favorite sports star is LeBron James.
Favorite Female Sports Star
She may have had some health issues while playing at Wimbledon, but for the fifth year in a row, Serena Williams is the Favorite Female Sport Star. Race car driver Danica Patrick remains at number two, while Venus Williams remains number three. Another tennis star, Maria Sharapova, is at number four again this year, while soccer legend Mia Hamm remains at number five.
Skiing star Lindsey Vonn’s knee injury may have kept her out of the Olympic Games, but she moves up from number seven last year to a tie for number six this year. The next four are all either new or returning after an absence from the top ten list. In a tie for number six is tennis star Billie Jean King, who was last on the list in 2010 in a tie for number ten. In a tie for number eight is a newcomer to the list, soccer star Alex Morgan, and then another returning tennis champ, last on the list in 2008 at number eight, Chris Evert. In the number ten spot is returning volleyball champ Misty May, who was last on the list at a tie for number seven in 2010.
The four female sports starts who dropped off the top 10 list this year are boxer Layla Ali (was #6) soccer star Hope Solo (was #8), gymnast Shawn Johnson (was #9) and Soccer star Abby Wambach (was #10).
There are some demographic differences for favorite female sports star. Men say Danica Patrick is their favorite while women say it is Serena Williams. Regionally, Easterners and Westerners both say Danica Patrick is their favorite female sports star while Midwesterners and Southerners say Serena Williams is their favorite. Generationally, Serena Williams is the favorite for Millennials while Danica Patrick is the favorite for the other three generations.