It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that LeBron James’s popularity had taken a hit in the wake of his move this summer and “The Decision.” The ability to read and log on to message boards could have told you that.
Now we have some numbers to back it up.
CNBC’s sports business reporter Darren Rovell got LeBron’s Q Score numbers, which show his popularity nationally. And things aren’t good.
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…
“LeBron’s positive score at that time was the highest we had ever seen it,” [Q Score Company executive vice president Henry] Schafer 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 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.
“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 said.
LeBron took less money to play with the other elite players and give himself the best chance to win a title. Those are things we generally laud in our sports stars (that “we expect stars to do it in one place” farce flies in the face of history). The fact this whole summer has become a LeBron negative had more to with how the announcement was handled — having the teams come to him in a very public pitch process followed by an hour long television special came off as incredibly egotistical. The backlash at that bled over into the choice itself.
But no need to tell you that. You clearly are already a hater. And it really doesn’t matter because in the fall you will all tune in to watch him.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.