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LeBron James' Rating Takes A Major Hit, Mirroring Tiger Woods' Image Decline

August 3, 2010: Tiger Woods, move over. You have company on the list of formerly beloved sports figures who have experienced a fall from grace; LeBron James.

Not only has Cleveland disowned its once favorite son, taking down all posters and advertising relating to James, but sports fans nationwide also seem to be taking James down from the pedestal of NBA stars.

According to a new nationwide survey from E-Poll Market Research, the numbers regarding most of LeBron's positive attributes are down while most of his numbers regarding negative attributes are are. E-Poll said it saw similar swings prior to and after Woods' one-car accident last Thanksgiving Day.

And it is not just in Cleveland or Ohio where public sentiment toward LeBron James and fellow free agent Chris Bosh, who left the Toronto Raptors to sign with the Miami Heat,  "is down markedly." The E-Poll E-Score Celebrity is conducted weekly among a nationally representative sample of 1,100 respondents ages 13+ and evaluates each personality on measures of awareness, appeal and a list of 46 key attributes. The survey involving James, Bosh and Wade was conducted July 17 – 29, 2010. James revealed "The Decision" during a special telecast on ESPN on July 8.

Unlike Woods, though, whose conflicted personal life led such companies as Accenture, AT&T and PepsiCo's Gatorade to severe ties with him, costing him about $30 million in deals, James is not expected to lose endorsement deals. In fact, analysts say he may pick up some new deals before the season starts with businesses that have ties to Miami and Florida. James earns about $30 million from such deals as Nike, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and State Farm.

After James publicly revealed his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and sign with the Heat, billboards, wall posters and other marketing outlets that bore "Witness" to James in Cleveland began to be dismantled. Sentiment in the city and region regarding James also began to fall apart, with many outrightly and vehemently chastising the player who had been with the Cavaliers from 2003 through the 2009-2010 NBA season.

However, feelings toward Dwyane Wade, who re-signed with the Heat,  "are more favorable," according to Encino, Calif.-based E-Poll’s E-Score. The survey measured awareness, appeal and perceptions of the Miami Heat trio along numerous personality attributes.  In addition to a plunge in "Appeal" rating from 47 prior to his move to Miami to 29 points following the move, James’ ratings for such positive attributes as “Confident,” “Exciting,” “Good Energy,” and “Talented” were all down significantly. Concurrently, negative attributes such as “Cold,” “Insincere” and “Over-Exposed” showed big increases, according to E-Poll. (Full chart below.)

Bosh also experienced declines in "Appeal" as well as most of his positive attribute scores between his pre-Miami and post-Miami signing.  

Meanwhile, James' new teammate, D-Wade, saw his "Appeal" score rise from 51 to 55 points, and had increases in his attribute scores for “Confident,” “Exciting” and “Talented.”

ESPN Critic Slam Dunks ESPN's "The Decision"

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