LeBron James retains popularity title

LeBron downplays Finals rematch (0:21)

Cavaliers forward LeBron James says the Finals rematch on Christmas Day is one of 82 and he isn't going to put everything into this game since it won't be the end of their season. (0:21)

For the 10th straight quarter, LeBron James is the most popular player among avid NBA fans, according to the latest data from ESPN Sports Poll.

The ESPN Sports Poll takes a survey four times a year, and James, for the third quarter of 2015, was the favorite player of 22.4 percent of those who say they regularly follow the NBA.

Kobe Bryant, who last held the most popular player crown in the beginning of 2013, according to the poll's findings, finished second in the most recent three-month period with 13.9 percent of the avid fan population saying the Los Angeles Lakers guard was their favorite. Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry was third at 12.5 percent.

The rise for Curry, whose MVP season in 2014-15 resulted in a championship, is astounding. In the third quarter of last year, just 2.1 percent of avid fans considered him their favorite player, according to the poll. His surge has knocked Kevin Durant out of the top three.

James, who has maintained his lead since winning his second title with the Miami Heat in 2013, finished at the top among every demographic except Hispanics, where he was edged by Bryant.

Curry leads the league in jersey sales, as he is now the top seller in 46 states, according to online retailer Fanatics. James is second, followed by Bryant, who is retiring at the end of the season.

The ESPN Sports Poll is a nationally representative, random telephone survey of 1,500 U.S. residents each month, which includes both landline and cellphone interviews and is offered in both English and Spanish.