Over the past decade or so, Kobe Bryant has been arguably the most popular player in the NBA without much competition. LeBron James has been inching closer and closer to Kobe in terms of popularity over the years, but the two-time NBA champion has continues to take a backseat to the future Hall of Famer.
Interestingly enough, Kobe’s popularity has taken a slight hit over the last two years with Kevin Durant surpassing the five-time NBA champion in the popularity category among NBA rookies this year.
According to a poll conducted by NBA.com, Durant is quite popular among the 2014 rookie class:
1: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City –25.0 percent
2: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers — 19.4 percent
3: LeBron James, Cleveland — 12.5 percent
4: Carmelo Anthony, New York — 8.3 percent
T-5: Paul George, Indiana — 5.6 percent
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland — 5.6 percent
Others receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Jamal Crawford, L.A. Clippers; Monta Ellis, Dallas; Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers; James Harden, Houston; Dwight Howard, Houston; Lamar Odom; Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
Last year, Kobe was atop this poll with 21.2 percent of rookies calling the Lakers star their favorite player.
If Kobe is able to have a bounce back year in the 2014-15 season, rookies coming out of school next summer may have the perennial All-Star back on top in this poll. Until then, the reigning NBA MVP leads the way with many more years of dominance potentially on the horizon in Oklahoma City.
Kobe Bryant’s message to Jeremy Lin