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LeBron, D-Wade fall out of top 10 most marketable NBA players; Dirk tops Nielsen list


The nationwide disdain directed toward the Miami Heat as they lost the NBA Finals led to a steep decline in the endorsement potential of their biggest stars.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have fallen out of the top 10 most marketable NBA players since the Finals, according to a Nieslen/E-Poll. Dirk Nowitzki, who led the Dallas Mavericks to the championship to the delight of most fans outside of South Florida, ascended to the title of most marketable man in basketball with an N-Score of 132.

The N-Score measures name and image awareness, appeal and personality attributes such as sincerity, approachability, experience and influence, both at the national and local levels.

James’ N-Score plummeted from 131 to 26, while Wade’s dropped from 117 to 34.

“The extreme N-Score declines of LeBron and Dwyane Wade demonstrate that endorsement potential is about much more than consumer awareness,” said Stephen Master, vice president at Nielsen Sports. “From endorsement superstars to being knocked off the top 10 list, they’ve learned the hard way the importance of public perception and appeal.

“After that whole Game 6 press conference, do you think companies are going to be lining up to do business with LeBron James? Probably not.”

That is not to say consumer sentiment is irrevocably cast. Kobe Bryant has regained some of the key endorsements he lost while facing allegations of sexual assault since charges were dismissed, and now ranks second to Nowitzki with an N-Score of 83.

Top 10 Most Marketable NBA Players
RANK Player Team Current N-Score
1 Dirk Nowitzki Dallas Mavericks 132
2 Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers 83
3 Steve Nash Phoenix Suns 68
4 Kevin Garnett Boston Celtics 65
5 Tim Duncan San Antonio Spurs 51
6 Jason Kidd Dallas Mavericks 47
7 Grant Hill Phoenix Suns 41
8 Derrick Rose Chicago Bulls 41
9 Pau Gasol Los Angeles Lakers 40
10 Vince Carter Phoenix Suns 38
Source: Nielsen / E-Poll N-Score

Dolphins off the charts

Nielsen announced its top 10 most marketable NFL players this spring with Peyton Manning topping the list by a wide margin with an N-Score of 262 over Drew Brees’ 166.

Not surprisingly, current Miami Dolphins ranked low in recognition and appeal. Mather said players such as Ricky Williams, Jake Long and Brandon Marshall registered little recognition even in South Florida.

New Dolphin Reggie Bush carries much higher awareness, but his marketability has taken a hit through several years of tabloid headlines and the scandal regarding improper benefits during his college career at Southern California.

“His latest score had a lot more negative. His negative appeal went from 10 to 12 percent [early in his career] to 25 percent,” Mather said of Bush. But, “Reggie Bush’s national score was higher than just about any [Dolphin’s] local score, which is hard to do.”

Nielsen sells information about marketability ratings to companies considering signing athletes and celebrities to endorsement deals, Mather said.

E-Poll maintains a national online panel of 250,000 people age 13 and up. Each individual N-score National survey is administered to 1,100 people within that panel via the Internet. The sample is representative of the general population based on gender, income, age, and education.

Categories: Miami Heat (174)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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