Sports Direct has revealed the top 10 most loved sportspeople in a new ranking.

The UK sports retailer looked at lists of sportspeople that have been shortlisted for awards over the last year 2020/21 to give a list of 37.

The lists the retailer used are this BBC article along with this BBC article.

Also used was UK Sport’s PLx 2021 award winners announced article and Laureus’ World Sports Awards 2021 Winners and Nominees page.

Data on search volume and brand sentiment was also gathered to find out who is ‘most loved’.

Daily Echo: Simone Biles (PA)Simone Biles (PA)

Sports Direct used tools (Buzzsumo, Mangools Keyword Finder and Google) to help with the research and the retailer looked at global search interest and love reactions online to create the top 10 list.

Top 10 most loved sportspeople

Here’s the top 10 most loved sportspeople list, according to Sports Direct.

In first place is Basketball star LeBron James and he is followed by Simone Biles, the American gymnast, who sits in second place.

James has a worldwide search volume of 5,100,000 and 59,682 love reactions while Biles has 2,910,000 worldwide search volume and 19,880 love reactions.

Daily Echo: LeBron James (PA)LeBron James (PA)

The list shows the rank of each athlete followed by their name, sport, worldwide search volume (WSV) and love reactions (LR).

  1. LeBron James – Basketball, WSV: 5,100,000, LR: 59,682
  2. Simon Biles – Gymnastics, WSV: 2,910,000, LR: 19,880
  3. Lewis Hamilton – Formula 1 Racing, WSV: 2,830,000, LR: 629,000
  4. Tyson Fury – Boxing, WSV: 1,990,000, LR: 364,000
  5. Patrick Mahomes – American Football, WSV: 1,680,000, LR: 1,404
  6. Robert Lewandowski – Football, WSV: 1,240,000, LR: 123,954
  7. Naomi Osaka – Tennis, WSV: 185,000, LR: 1,064,000
  8. Raheem Stirling – Football, WSV: 591,000, LR: 96,492
  9. Alex Morgan – Football, WSV: 533,000, LR: 528
  10. Rafael Nadal – Tennis, WSV: 133,000, LR: 249,068

Sports Direct worked with Clinical Psychotherapist Dr Jo Gee, an expert in personality and behaviour, as part of the study.

Dr Jo Gee said: “Our favoured sports personalities are those who can connect well with others, as the Likeability Factor tells us. In order for sports stars to build trust, they need to come across as relevant, friendly, empathic and real, something which our top 10 have in abundance.

“The Myers Briggs personality profiles of the top ten, show an emphasis on feeling over thinking, whereby these athletes put real importance on their emotions and the emotions of others. These sports stars have high empathy scores, with the ability to connect to what others feel, and to use these cues to be responsive in interviews and in their respective sports. 

“But, what sets the top three apart from the rest, is authenticity. What Biles, Hamilton and James have shown us is an aspect of their emotional struggle, whether that be through mental health, past trauma, or current battles. Their display of ‘real’ emotion throughout their plight, with authentic body language, allows people to relate to tangible examples of real life, something which audiences value very highly.”