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Bloomberg Names LeBron James the Most Powerful Athlete

LeBron James tops Bloomberg's Power 100 poll for the first time, Dwyane Wade is 25th

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    LeBron James has been sitting on top of the world for nearly a year since he won his first NBA championship with the Miami Heat last June. This week, he took home another accolade: the top spot in Bloomberg's annual Power 100 list.

    The list, a joint production between Bloomberg Sports and Horrow Sports Ventures, quantifies active athletes' brand power using on-field statistics as well as endorsements and social media pull.

    "With a first NBA title under his belt and in the hunt for a second, the sky is the limit for James," Bloomberg said. "He's in the midst of arguably the best season of his basketball career, and is backed by a blue-chip endorsement portfolio that includes Nike, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Samsung, and State Farm."

    In the four years Bloomberg has produced the list, this is James' first appearance in the top spot. He was second in the 2009 Power 100, but fell to number 11 the next year after the fallout from his televised special announcing his move to the Heat badly hurt his Nielsen/E-Poll N-Score (a marketability statistic used for the study).

    James' teammate Dwyane Wade was the only other athlete from a Miami team to make the list, at number 25. His spot in the Power 100 has declined steadily since he came in 6th in 2009. Former Marlin slugger Miguel Cabrera is 16th on the list, former Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall is in the 69th spot.

    James' power does not appear to be waning. He is a heavy favorite to win the NBA MVP award this season, having won the Eastern Conference Player of the Month Award in November, December, January, and February.

    James leads the NBA in player efficiency rating (a measure of a player's overall contribution) with 30.9. If that statistic holds through the rest of the season, it would give James one of the ten best seasons in NBA history (only Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, and James have put up PERs above 30.9 in a single season).