Change is in the air in the world’s best league in the battle for fans’ hearts and minds.
LeBron James, arguably the best player in the NBA and the rest of the world, is now the most-liked in the league according to a new poll.
The ESPN Sports Poll has revealed that James is now more popular than Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant for the first time in four years.
James earned the ire of Cleveland fans, and many around the league, after his announcement that he would “take his talents to Long Beach” and play for the Miami Heat.
However, after winning back-to-back titles it seems fans have softened their stance towards the 2012-13 season MVP.
In his final years in a Cavs uniform James’ approval rating saw 15.9 per cent of fans say he was their favorite player with his defection to Florida seeing that rate drop to just 10.2 and 9.4 in his first two seasons with the Heat
But the latest results see James rated by 12.9 per cent of fans as their favorite player, a fraction higher than Bryant on 12.5.
It is the first time since James has beaten Bryant on the annual poll since the 2009-10 season.
His stellar play and bloodymindedness to propel himself and his team to the champions in the last two years has been recognised by avid NBA fans, 18.9 per cent whom say James is their favorite player in the latest poll.
Rounding out the top five were Kevin Durant (3.6 per cent), Derrick Rose (2.8) and Dwyane Wade (2.6).
fanatix wants to know if the poll has it right and if now who is your favorite player in the NBA and why?