They call him “King James,” not “President James.”
But a new map of the nation shows LeBron James winning the popularity contest in states representing a bare majority of the United States. LBJ–see, he already has the familiar presidential initialism going for him–generates the most interest among fans, followed by Kobe Bryant, and then Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The map comes courtesy of Andrew Powell-Morse of BestTickets.com. He tracked Google searches over the course of the last year to determine the athlete generating the most curiosity in each of the 50 states. While Kobe Bryant and Floyd Mayweather combine for more searches than LeBron James, the Miami Heat forward enjoys the most interest in more states than the two together. In fact, the reigning NBA MVP almost wins more states than the rest of the list. Whereas Kobe and Money inspired the most Google searches in California and Nevada respectively, James reigned as the human king of sports search terms in 24 states.
The Solid South lived up to its billing for James, with New York, Michigan, and his home state of Ohio also looking him up on Google more than any other athlete. If this were a presidential election, James would have won 271 votes. That’s a bare majority of the 538 total votes in the Electoral College, and the exact number George W. Bush grabbed in his squeaker victory over Al Gore in 2000.
The feat further impresses because of the number of candidates competing for search queries. Unlike the duality of most presidential elections, the Best Tickets map shows Johny Manziel winning Texas, Tom Brady capturing most of New England, Adrien Peterson winning four states in the northern tier of the country, and other also-rans carving out parts of the country.
Though a basketball player piques the curiosity of Americans most, football’s popularity dwarfs interest all other sports. According to analysis of Google searches basketball triumphs as the undisputed champion of fan interest in exactly one state: New York. Three states–Oklahoma, Florida, and Oregon–issue a split verdict, searching for basketball and football in equal numbers. The remaining forty-six states prefer football.
The Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers attract the most online interest in their respect sports. The least? The Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Padres, Calgary Flames, and Milwaukee Bucks. As in real estate, location matters–on the continent and in the standings.