American sports stars – especially NBA players – dominate the scene when it comes to the most influential people on the planet.
From LeBron James and Steph Curry to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, basketball has almost monopolized the top ten in an astonishing new study.
doing it TechSourceThe results look at social media popularity, wages, interest in merchandise, and Google searches for the world’s biggest sports stars in order to reveal who are the most influential worldwide.
Here, we take you through the top ten, and see who’s in the top…
Steph Curry, pictured after winning the 2021-22 NBA Championship, is in the top ten
10) Damien Lillard – 8.65/10
The first to start the countdown was Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers guard, a six-time NBA All-Star who spent his entire career in Oregon. His figures of influence were bolstered by a keen interest in his goods, helped by the fact that he was the face of his privilege – thousands of children aspiring to follow in his footsteps.
On social media, he has 12 million followers on Twitter and Instagram, which has increased his influence numbers.
Lillard is now 32, but his stock will only soar over the next two years after he signed a two-year contract extension with the Blazers earlier this month, worth a whopping $112 million. Not bad if you can get it.
Damien Lillard (right) is creeping into the top ten and is said to have just signed a massive $112 million deal
9) Kyrie Irving – 9.02
Next up, and sticking to the NBA’s Top 10 Basketball Players list, is Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets. It’s been a tumultuous summer for the 30-year-old, and it’s not yet clear where he will play next season, but his situation is safe regardless.
Rumored he wants to get out of Brooklyn, and the Lakers were a potential destination earlier in the summer, but that rumor has quieted down and now it’s ‘highly likely’ that he will stay in place at the start of the 2022-23 regular season, according to multiple reports.
In terms of his influence, Irving has always been the talk of the town and has over 21 million followers on his social media accounts – a huge number, far above some of the others in the top ten list. T-shirt sales are also huge for the primary goalkeeper.
Kyrie Irving (right) is another name on the basketball heavyweight list after his dominance over Brooklyn
Who just missed?
20) Paul George
19) Devin Booker
18) Tra Young
17) Anthony Davis
16) Chris Paul
15) Luka Doncic
14) Kylian Mbappe
13) Aaron Rodgers
12) Clay Thompson
11) Tom Brady
8) Giannis Antitokonmo – 9.04
Before Irving, there is another NBA star in Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks “Greek Freak.” At 27, he is one of the biggest stars of the past few years, and his stock continues to rise at the same rate as his social media following.
He’ll earn $42 million with the Bucks next season, have the third-highest number of T-shirt searches by fans over the past year, defeated only by LeBron James and Steve Curry.
It is the huge search numbers that have propelled him to the top of this list, despite the relatively small number of his followers on social media when compared to his competitors.
6) Russell Westbrook and James Harden – 9.18
We have a tie for sixth, with Los Angeles Lakers star Westbrook and Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard Harden at 9.18 on the impact scale.
While Harden is making more money and having more fans searching for his shirt, his former teammate of the Oklahoma City Thunder has an additional 8 million followers on Instagram to draw him widely.
At 33 and 32 years old respectively, these two have been there, done and earned the jersey over the course of two long careers in the NBA, with plenty of time to imprint his name on the league and in the minds of fans around the world.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – also known as Greek Freak – comes in at number eight on the list
James Harden (right) is in the middle of a frenetic season but his numbers off the field are huge
5) Cristiano Ronaldo – 9.26
Now we come to the first footballer in the top ten, Ronaldo – who has fallen to a lower level than he once was after his move to Manchester United.
Now that he’s 37, the Portuguese superstar isn’t quite the same pay as he once did, his (still huge) week dwarfing $644,000 ahead of the other big names on the roster around him.
What he lacks in earning, however, he more than makes up for in his social media followers, with as many of anyone in the sport as possible far and away. Only 468m Instagram fan for CR7.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of only two female soccer stars in the top ten most influential list
When it comes to Instagram followers, the Manchester United man outperforms his peers
4) Kevin Durant – 9.42
As we head straight to the top of this list, we come across another NBA star Durant on the Brooklyn Nets. At 33, he’s yet another person who took years to build his standing as one of the best players in the game, and sits well in the top four.
Across the board, the Washington native delivers good numbers, with a large following on social media, big pay, and 156,000 fans looking for his shirt each year.
It’s another summer of speculation for Durant as he approaches a potential deal away from New York, but no matter what happens, his stock will still be very high.
Kevin Durant (left) is another Nets star name, and he’s in the top four on the list
3) Neymar – 9.46
Coming back to football, and the most lucrative on the list… Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar is making ridiculous $1.14 million a week in France.
His shirt search numbers are paltry compared to his peers, but with 176 million followers on Instagram, he’s not doing it too badly for himself.
The Brazilian is preparing for another big season with PSG and was most recently with the team in Japan in pre-season, where he garnered a lot of attention from thousands of raucous fans.
Neymar, the Paris Saint-Germain player in France, is easily the highest paid sports star among the top ten
2) Stephen Curry – 9.72
Just missing out on first place is Golden State Warriors genius Steve Curry. His four NBA Championship rings have made him into the conversation as one of the best players ever to grace the field, and you certainly can’t argue with his numbers.
He earns more than the number one salaryman of $924,000 a week in Golden State ($48 million for the 2022-23 season), but he has a long way to go in terms of social media.
However, its saving grace comes in terms of T-shirt searches, with 476,100 people wanting to wear his name and number each year. This is a long way from anyone on the list.
Steve Curry is a legendary figure on the court but he’s missing the lead here
In terms of T-shirt searches, Curry’s numbers are huge with nearly half a million last year
1) LeBron James – 9.82
Who is not LeBron? GOAT is arguably one of the most recognizable names not only in sports, but in popular culture all over the world.
The Lakers star has four episodes, and has won Cleveland, Miami and Los Angeles via a stellar career, building his reputation in every franchise.
He has 122 million followers on Instagram, 351,000 people want his shirt every year, and he earns $855,288 a week for his troubles. All added up makes him the most influential sports star on the planet. not bad!
Perhaps not surprisingly, LeBron James is the #1 most influential sports star on the planet