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Poll: A Ring Didn’t Make LeBron James More Marketable

NBA Finals MVP LeBron James of the Miami Heat looks to move against the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game 5 of the NBA Finals on June 21, 2012.
Don Emmert | AFP | Getty Images
NBA Finals MVP LeBron James of the Miami Heat looks to move against the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game 5 of the NBA Finals on June 21, 2012.

Winning a title finally got the monkey off LeBron James’ back, but that doesn’t mean he will be seen as more marketable in the eyes of Madison Avenue.

Results of a poll taken by the Davie-Brown Index after the Heat’s Game 5 title-clinching victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and exclusively released to CNBC, reveal that the general population did not find James to be a different man from an endorsement perspective.

About 67 percent of people said that they considered James to be a good endorser after his much criticized television show where he announced he would leave Cleveland for Miami. After the loss to the Mavericks in last year’s Finals, a DBI poll showed that his endorsement influence had dropped to 63 percent. That number dropped to 62 percent in a poll taken after James and crew won the championship.

“This shows that ‘The Decision’ continues to be a blemish on his overall marketability,” said Bill Glenn, senior vice president of The Marketing Arm, the parent company of the Davie-Brown Index. “The consumer looks at him differently because of that and the reputation built by that action is still in people’s minds.”

Glenn said that James did make some progress as compared to how people thought of him in each of the last two years at this time. About 56 percent of the general population now trusts LeBron, up from 49 percent at the end of the last season and 53 percent after “The Decision.”

“People are starting to trust him more and if they feel that way over an extended period of time, the feeling about his endorsement credibility will rise,” Glenn said.

Approximately 64 percent of people find James to be appealing, which puts him on par with the DBI scores of Steve Spurrier, Lamar Odom and John Daly. Although his influence hasn’t changed since “The Decision,” the DBI Index says his influential power is comparable to Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

In a poll of more than 400 of my Twitter followerslast week, 82 percent of people who said they disliked LeBron said that they didn’t believe that they’d look at him different if he won a title. Less than 5 percent said that it would, while about 14 percent said it depends on how he celebrates. James was universally praised for the way he handled finally getting the pinnacle of the sport.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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