As a professional athlete right now, you don’t really want to end up on a list with Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o — the public has turned on them.
But two Lakers joined them on Forbes Magazine’s list of the least popular athletes — Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant. Well, it’s not Forbes list, was put together by the Nielsen Sports and market research firm E-Poll based on national polls.
Nonetheless, World Peace comes in fifth on the list with just 21 percent favorability. Lower than Alex Rodriguez and Michael Vick. Even though for the last few years World Peace been on his best behavior… well, he is suspended Tuesday for punching Brandon Knight but in general he’s been a pretty good citizen in recent years.
Kobe came in 10th with 27 percent favorability. He remains one of the most polarizing figures in the NBA — he’s respected more for his game now than he was five years ago, but the general public has never warmed to him.
Those were the only two in the top 10, which goes to show how much a title and a gold medal has changed the perceptions of LeBron James. Also on the list last year was Kris Humphries after his marriage to Kim Kardashian, but thankfully most people have moved on from that freak show.