When it comes to the most powerful people on the planet, American athletes—and notably NBA players—rule the roost.
The research looks at the largest sports stars in the world’s social media following, earnings, merchandise interest, and Google searches to determine who is the most influential.
Here, we go over each NBA player who made the top ten.
Damian Lillard 8.65/10
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers, a six-time NBA All-Star who has played his whole career in Oregon, is first on the list. The fact that he is the face of his franchise and that thousands of children want to be like him has helped to increase interest in him, which has increased his impact figures.
His influence on social media has skyrocketed thanks to his combined 12 million Instagram and Twitter followers. Lillard, who is currently 32, recently agreed to a massive two-year contract extension with the Blazers that would pay him an astounding $112 million over the next two years.
Kyrie Irving 9.02
The Brooklyn Nets‘ Kyrie Irving comes in second and continues the NBA’s dominance of the top 10 list. The 30-year-old great has had a hectic summer, and while it’s not yet known where he’ll play in the next campaign, his status is unaffected.
He is supposed to want out of Brooklyn, and the Lakers were a potential destination early in the summer, but the speculations have died down, and it is now overwhelmingly likely that he will remain where he is for the start of the 2022–23 regular season, according to several reports.
Irving has always been a popular figure in terms of impact, and he currently has more than 21 million followers on social media, which is a sizable number and far more than some other people on the top 10 list have.
Giannis Antetokounmpo 9.04
Another NBA legend, Antetokounmpo, the ‘Greek Freak’ of the Milwaukee Bucks, stands just in front of Irving. One of the biggest breakout stars in recent years, he is only 27 years old, and his stock price is increasing at the same rate as his social media following.
He will make $42 million with the Bucks in the upcoming season, and fans have searched for his jersey the third-most times in the past year, trailing only LeBron James and Stephen Curry.
Despite having significantly fewer social media followers than his opponents, it is those high search volumes that have helped him rise so high on our list.
Russell Westbrook and James Harden 9.18
While Harden makes a little more money and has more people looking for his jersey, his former teammate from the Oklahoma City Thunder has 8 million more Instagram followers, which equalizes the playing field.
These two, who are 33 and 32 years old respectively, have had long NBA careers and plenty of time to leave their mark on the league and in the hearts of fans everywhere. They have been there, done that, and literally got the jersey.
Kevin Durant 9.42
The Brooklyn Nets’ Durant is yet another NBA star, and he is at the very top of this list. He is another player who, at the age of 33, has spent years developing his reputation as one of the greatest in the sport. He currently occupies a spot in the top four.
The Washington native does well across the board, with a sizable social media following, excellent earnings, and 156,000 admirers looking for his jersey each year.
As Durant approaches a potential trade away from New York, speculation will continue to surround him this summer, but no matter what happens, his stock will remain very high.
Stephen Curry 9.72
Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors almost missed taking the top place. You can’t argue with his statistics, and his four NBA Championship rings have cemented his status as one of the greatest players to ever step foot on a court.
With a contract of $924k per week in Golden State ($48 million for the 2022–23 season), he makes more money than the No. 1 player, but he still has a long way to go in terms of social media exposure.
His only redeeming grace, though, is the staggering 476,100 people who search for his name and number on jerseys each year. That is by far the highest number of anyone on the list.
LeBron James – 9.82
At number one, who else but LeBron? Unquestionably the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball and one of the most known figures in popular culture worldwide.
Over the course of a brilliant career, the Lakers star has won in Cleveland, Miami, and Los Angeles, solidifying his reputation at each organization. He has four rings.
He has 122 million Instagram followers, 351,000 fans a year demand his jersey, and for all of his efforts, he receives a mind-blowing $855,288 per week. He is now the most significant sports figure on the planet when all of that is considered.
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