SBD/July 29, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

LeBron James' Popularity Returning To Pre-"Decision" Level Upon Cavaliers Return

The appeal of Cavaliers F LeBron James has returned to the same level it was at before he decided to part with the club in free agency in ’10, according to a recent survey conducted by California-based E-Poll Market Research. The research firm’s E-Score, which ranges from 0-100 and formulates a celebrity’s appeal and awareness based on positive and negative measures, shows James at a score of 80. Just prior to “The Decision” in ’10, his score was 84. Three months after his decision to join the Heat, the score had dropped to 47. It bounced back to 67 by July ’13 after James secured the second of his NBA titles. E-Score is based on a U.S. survey looking at over 8,000 celebrities among 1,100 respondents ages 13+ (E-Poll). E-Poll President & CEO Gerry Philpott thinks James “can top” his highest E-Score of 87 from January ’10 (ESPN.com, 7/28).

FUN WITH NUMBERS: James on Sunday announced he plans to return to No. 23 this season with the Cavaliers. That is the same number he wore during his first stint with the team before switching to No. 6 when he joined the Heat in '10. ESPN's Dan Le Batard noted James "went out of his way to say he's was going to No. 6 when he came to Miami because he didn't anyone in the league should ever wear Michael Jordan's number." But ESPN's Bomani Jones choosing No. 23 "just colors in some of the narrative of his free agent decision" four years ago. Jones: "He didn’t make the decision to stop wearing 23 when he got to Miami. He made it in Miami after a Cavs-Heat game" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 7/28). ESPN's Michael Wilbon noted for Cavs fans who "already have No. 23 James' jerseys, they don’t have to run out and get new ones." Wilbon: "It doesn't appear to just be a money grab." ESPN's Tony Kornheiser noted this is James "saying, 'I'm coming home, please forgive me'" ("PTI," ESPN, 7/28).

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