Almost from the moment James exploded onto the NBA scene as the
number one overall pick in the 2003 draft a debate has raged over
who was the better of the two basketball superstars.
Jordan had held the top honor from 1993-2005 and again in 2013
before being supplanted this year by James, who was ranked number
two in 2013.
It is likely that James is even more popular after the four-time NBA
most valuable player decided last week to return to the Cleveland
Cavaliers following a successful four year run with the Miami Heat
that brought the team two NBA titles.
The poll was conducted between June 11 and 16 before James, a
10-time All-Star, made his decision.
New York Yankee Derek Jeter, who is retiring at the end of the Major
League Baseball season, moves up three spots to third.
Rounding out the top five are Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton
Manning at four with the Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and NASCAR
driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. tied for fifth.
Tiger Woods, who had been number one for five straight years from
2006, dropped from third last year to eighth.
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There was no change at the top among America's most favorite female
athletes with tennis player Serena Williams for a fifth straight
year while NASCAR driver Danica Patrick remained number two.
Tennis players dominated the top with Venus Williams remaining third
followed by Maria Sharapova and soccer player Mia Hamm at five.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Gene Cherry)
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