Kobe Falls As Favorite Male Athlete; Serena Is Still #1

The Lakers star bounces to #3 in fan poll while tennis's Williams sisters maintain

Posted: 07/17/2011 05:40 PM EDT

In Japan, Kobe Bryant will always be their biggest star, just for sharing the namesake of the country's sixth largest city in Hyogo Prefecture. Yet when it comes to his appeal here in the U.S., the baller has slipped three notches from the #1 spot among fans, according to a Harris Interactive Poll, which measures the popularity of an athlete outside of the hard core sports fan arena. It seems staying on top is as difficult as trying to win the NBA Finals or crucial Playoffs games.

Nonetheless, number three is where Bryant sits, where he is tied with basketball great Michael Jordan. Being in such amazing company also means he’s in the top 10 tier, which is more than LeBron James, who he didn’t make the list’s upper echelon this year. So who are #1 and #2? Yankees captain Derek Jeter and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, respectively. Jeter also just hit his 3,000 home run earlier this month.

For the ladies, the poll shows Serena Williams claiming the top spot for the third year in a row. Her sister Venus is right behind her in the second position.

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