An incredible EIGHT NBA stars feature in the top 10 most influential sports stars… but who’s No 1?
American sports stars — and NBA players in particular — dominate the landscape when it comes to being the most influential in the world.
From LeBron James and Steph Curry to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, basketball nearly has a monopoly on the top 10 in an incredible new study.
Carried out by Ticket sourcethe findings look at social media popularity, wages, merchandise interest and Google searches of the world’s biggest sports stars to reveal who are the most influential.
Here we take you through the top 10 and find out who is number 1…
Steph Curry, pictured after winning the 2021-22 NBA Championship, is in the top 10
10) Damian Lillard – 8.65/10
First on the countdown is Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard, a six-time NBA All-Star who has spent his entire career in Oregon. His figures of influence are bolstered by a huge interest in his merchandise, aided by the fact that he is the face of his franchise – with thousands of kids eager to follow in his footsteps.
On social media, he has a combined 12 million followers on Twitter and Instagram, further increasing his influence figures.
Lillard is now 32, but his stock is only set to rise in the coming years after signing a stellar two-year contract extension with the Blazers earlier this month, worth a staggering $112 million. Not bad if you can get it.
Damian Lillard (right) sneaks into the top 10 and reportedly just signed a massive $112 million deal
9) Kyrie Irving – 9.02
Next up, and sticking with the NBA on a basketball-heavy top 10 list, is Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving. It’s been a whirlwind summer for the 30-year-old superstar and it’s not yet clear where he will play next season, but his status is secure either way.
He’s rumored to want to leave Brooklyn, and the Lakers were a potential destination earlier in the summer, but those rumors have subsided and it’s now “overwhelmingly likely” that he’ll stay where he is for the start of the 2022-23 regular season. , according to multiple reports.
In terms of his influence, Irving has always been the talk of the town and has over 21 million followers on his social media accounts – a huge number, much higher than some of the others in the top 10 list. Shirt sales are also huge for the point guard.
Kyrie Irving (right) is another name on a basketball-heavy list after dominating in Brooklyn
WHO JUST MISSED?
20) Paul George
19) Devin Booker
18) Trae Young
17) Anthony Davis
16) Chris Paul
15) Luka Doncic
14) Kylian Mbappe
13) Aaron Rodgers
12) Klay Thompson
11) Tom Brady
8) Giannis Antetokounmpo – 9.04
Just ahead of Irving is yet another NBA superstar in Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ “Greek Freak.” At 27, he is one of the biggest breakout stars of recent years and his stock continues to rise at the same rate as his social media following.
He will make $42 million next season with the Bucks and has the third-largest number of jersey searches by fans in the past year, beaten only by LeBron James and Steph Curry.
It’s those massive search numbers that propelled him so high on this list, despite his relatively small social media following compared to his rivals.
6) Russell Westbrook and James Harden – 9.18
We are tied for sixth place, with LA Lakers star Westbrook and Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard Harden, both at 9.18 on the influence scale.
While Harden makes a little more money and has more fans looking for his jersey, his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate has 8 million more Instagram followers to get him right on the scale.
At 33 and 32 years old, these two have been there, done it and got the jersey over lengthy NBA careers, with plenty of time to stamp their name in the league and in the minds of fans around the world. .
Giannis Antetokounmpo – also known as the Greek Freak – is number 8 on the list
James Harden (right) is in the midst of a hectic off-season, but his numbers off the pitch are staggering
5) Cristiano Ronaldo – 9.26
Now we come to the first footballer in the top 10 list, and it’s Ronaldo – who drops lower than he would have been before after his move to Manchester United.
Now 37, the Portuguese star doesn’t have the same pay as before, with his (still huge) $644ka week dwarfed by other big names on the list around him.
However, what he lacks in earning he more than makes up for with social media followings, with the vast majority of anyone in the sport. Just the 468 million Instagram fans for CR7.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of only two football stars to be in the top 10 most influential list
When it comes to Instagram followers, the Man United man is above and beyond his peers
4) Kevin Durant – 9.42
As we move to the top of this list, we come upon yet another NBA star in Durant of the Brooklyn Nets. At 33, he’s another who has taken years to build his status as one of the best in the game, and he’s pretty much in the top four.
Across the board, the Washington native is posting good numbers, with high social media followings, high wages and 156,000 fans searching for his jersey every year.
It’s been another summer of speculation for Durant as he approaches a potential trade away from New York, but come what may, his stock will still be very high.
Kevin Durant (left) is another star name with the Nets and he makes the top four of the list
3) Neymar – 9.46
Back to football, and by some distance the highest earner on the list… Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar makes a ridiculous $1.14 million a week in France.
His jersey search numbers are meager compared to his peers, but with 176 million Instagram followers, he’s not doing too badly for himself.
The Brazilian is gearing up for another big season for PSG and was recently with the team in Japan during their pre-season preparation, where they have attracted a lot of attention from thousands of raucous fans.
Neymar, of Paris Saint-Germain in France, is easily the highest paid sports star of the top 10
2) Stephen Curry – 9.72
Golden State Warriors genius Steph Curry only misses the #1 spot. His four NBA Championship rings have brought him into the conversation as one of the greatest players ever on the field, and you certainly can’t go against his numbers.
He makes more than the No. 1 man on a salary of $924ka a week in Golden State ($48 million for the 2022-2023 season), but he still has a long way to go in terms of social media reach.
His saving grace, however, comes in terms of sweater-hunting, with a remarkable 476,100 people willing to wear his name and number each year. That’s by far the most of anyone on the list.
Steph Curry is a legendary figure on the pitch, but he just misses first place here
When it comes to sweater hunting, Curry’s numbers are staggering at nearly half a million in the past year
1) LeBron James – 9.82
Who else but LeBron? Undoubtedly the GOAT of basketball and one of the most recognizable names not only in sports but in popular culture around the world.
The Lakers star has four rings and has won in Cleveland, Miami and Los Angeles during a stellar career, building his reputation with every franchise.
He has 122 million Instagram followers, 351,000 people want his sweater every year, and he makes a whopping $855,288 a week for his troubles. All this together makes him the most influential sports star in the world. Not bad!
LeBron James is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the number 1 most influential sports star in the world