The tidal wave of love for Derek Jeter keeps on coming. A week after getting his 3,000th hit and the ensuing publicity, news stories and memorabilia deals stemming from it, the Yankees shortstop has been named as America's favorite male athlete according to a poll by Harris Interactive. On the lady's side, Serena Williams was named favorite female athlete for the third straight year.
Finishing second for the men was Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. Kobe Bryant, who tied with Tiger Woods for a first-place poll finish in 2010, dropped to a third-place tie with Michael Jordan. Woods fell to fifth place
For the ladies, Serena's sister, Venus, came in second for the third year in a row. Danica Patrick, Maria Sharapova and Mia Hamm rounded out the top-five. It would be interesting to see how the poll might be different if the poll were conducted today, given the success and attention given to the silver finish of the American soccer team at the Women's World Cup.
The poll results are a fairly accurate indicator of the popular athletes in the hobby today. However, there are some notable exceptions. LeBron James stands out, in particular. Before bolting for Miami, James landed in the sixth spot of the poll last year. This year, vilified by the media and fans, James fell from the top-ten. However, his cards and autographs still command high prices.
It's also interesting to see Michael Jordan finish so high, despite having not played an NBA game since 2003. It demonstrates both Jordan's spot as a basketball icon and shows that the NBA is still having troubles connecting with fans. How else can someone explain how a retired star remains a sport's most popular player over those that are still playing and getting the daily press coverage?
Harris Interactive conducted the online poll between June 13 and 20, 2011. The results are based on responses from more than 2,000 adults.
2011's Top-Ten Male Athletes
2011's Top-Ten Female Athletes
1. Serea Williams
2. Venus Williams
3. Danica Patrick
4. Maria Sharapova
5. Mia Hamm
6. Anna Kournikova
7. Martina Navratilova/Sue Bird (tie)
9. Kerry Walsh/Michele Wie