Poll: LeBron James' popularity drops

Updated: September 16, 2010, 1:40 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

LeBron James made two significant moves this NBA offseason -- from Cleveland to Miami in free agency, and way down the ladder in terms of being a well-liked pro athlete.

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.

-- Henry Schafer, executive vice president of The Q Scores Company

The Q Scores Co., which conducts popularity polls, has James rated as the sixth-most-disliked figure in American pro sports. The results, known as "Q Scores," were reported Tuesday by CNBC.

According to the report, James is viewed in what the company considers a negative light by 39 percent of the general population. In January, while still a Cleveland Cavalier, he was viewed positively by 24 percent of the population, negatively by 22 percent, according to the figures from The Q Scores Co.

"LeBron's positive score at that time [January] was the highest we had ever seen it," Henry Schafer, executive vice president of Q Scores, told CNBC.

The company's current tally puts James' drop in positive rating in the past seven months at 41.5 percent. Q Scores considers James to be viewed in a positive light by only 14 percent of the people polled.

James has faced relentless criticism since announcing in a one-hour ESPN special in July that he was leaving the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. Even Cavs owner Dan Gilbert got in on the act, calling James' decision "cowardly" and later saying he believes James quit during playoff games this year and in 2009.

"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," Schafer told CNBC.

The top five disliked sports personalities, according to The Q Scores Co. (the demographic among those polled was not mentioned): Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick; golfer Tiger Woods; Cincinnati Bengals receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco; and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.

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