Even as LeBron James stands just four wins away from his third NBA championship, his popularity among the American sports populace has still not returned to what it was when he was a ringless superstar toiling away in Cleveland.
ESPN tracks scientific poll numbers each year for which NBA players fans consider their singular favorite. LeBron's popularity plummeted after "the Decision." It wasn't until after last season when once again became the favorite of the plurality of NBA fans, overtaking Kobe Bryant. His popularity still isn't quite what it was during his 2009-10 season with Cleveland, though. Here's the odd thing: James is more popular among black and Hispanic fans than he ever was in Cleveland. It's only white fans who still haven't fully re-embraced him.