Active Or Retired, He’s Hard To Beat

Americans are fickle when it comes to celebrities, many of whom seem eminently disposable. But sports brings out their sense of loyalty. Or maybe it’s just Michael Jordan who does so. Despite having retired as an NBA player, Jordan once again led the voting when a Harris Poll asked adults to name their favorite sports star. Jordan has topped the list since 1993, when the polling firm first posed this question. Harris does say that other athletes “are perhaps knocking on the door to replace Jordan as America’s favorite.” While Jordan held sole possession of first place among people age 18-29, he fell into a statistical tie with Peyton Manning among the 30-39s and the 40-49s. Tiger Woods was tops with the 50-plus cohort. Jordan benefited from his name recognition among women. Among men, Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning tied for the top spot. Perusing the top 10, one is struck by the fact that it includes just one baseball player, Derek Jeter. (No, Jordan doesn’t count.) Female athletes are absent from the list. In a separate question, people were asked to name their favorite female athlete. Mia Hamm ranked first, followed by Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Michelle Kwan and Anna Kournikova. Just two of the top-10 women—soccer player Hamm and basketball player Lisa Leslie—are involved in team sports. This might have something to do with the lack of women on the overall top-10 list.