Maybe it’s the public backlash over “The Decision.” Or maybe it’s LeBron James’ disappearing act in the fourth quarter of last season’s playoff games. Or maybe it’s Dwyane Wade’s insistence on always doing press conferences right alongside James, looking part lackey and part look-out. Or maybe it’s all those reasons and more that the public image and marketability of James and Wade, respectively, have plummeted over the last year, according to Nielsen Sports, whose 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.
Over the last year James’ N-score dropped from 131 to 26, while Wade’s went down from 117 to 34. Both fell out of the top 10 NBA list, which was led by Dirk Nowitski of the Mavericks at 132.
“From endorsement superstars to being knocked off the top 10 list, they’ve learned the hard way the importance of public perception and appeal,” said Stephen Master, vice president at Nielsen Sports. “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.”
Following Nowitski in the top 5 of NBA players are Kobe Bryant (83); Steve Nash (68); Kevin Garnett (65) and Tim Duncan (51).