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NBA or NFL: Which league has bigger stars? ESPN First Take Debate

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NBA or NFL: Which league has bigger stars? ESPN First Take Debate
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In the latest episode on ESPN’s First Take, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and Domonique Foxworth debate on which league has bigger stars between the NBA and NFL. To kick it off, Foxworth commented: “I’m a football player. I wish football players were as big of celebrities as basketball players. They aren’t.”

Then, Mad Dog asked Foxworth if there was a bigger star in America than Patrick Mahomes. “Yeah, LeBron James,” replied Mad Dog. Before Foxworth could finish mentioning a scenario of LeBron and Patrick Mahomes meeting in a mall together, the host mentioned commercials. Then, Foxworth started thinking.

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Does the NBA have bigger stars than the NFL? ESPN First Take

Additionally, Foxworth said, “Commercials is a good metric. Basketball players are all over television. We saw Jimmy Butler in national t.v. ads.” Of course, Mad Dog interrupted him to say, “Give me a 25-year-old basketball player who’s as big in this country as Patrick Mahomes is. You can’t give me one.”

“I mean, just about all of them,” explained Foxworth. “I don’t know their ages.” Then he went on to mention Giannis Antetokounmpo. Soon after that, Mad Dog stated, “Giannis is not as big of a star as Mahomes. No way. Nobody’s bigger than Mahomes. He’s the starting quarterback of a big-time team, and 100 million people watched the super bowl.”

Seconds later, Fox Worth said, “But that is not the end-all-be-all. The stars are bigger in basketball. That’s the way it is, it’s a fact. Their names are more recognizable, their faces are more recognizable, they’re enormous. They’re in major cities. LeBron is in L.A. and Patrick Mahomes is in Kansas City.”

Fox Worth also reminded Mad Dog of top NBA stars throughout the 1990s. Michael Jordan won six championships and NBA Finals MVPs with the Bulls in the nineties. He revolutionized the sport of basketball. In addition to Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James attracted younger fans in the early 2000s.

Think how people feel outside of America. While Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are famous across the 50 U.S. states, Europeans care more about soccer than they ever will about American football. But this conversation pertains to NBA vs. NFL. We all know basketball is an Olympic sport.

Though, American football is not. For that logical reason, billions of people across the world have heard of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and other NBA superstars. The U.S. men’s national basketball team has won 16 gold medals at the Olympics. Therefore, all things considered, NBA or NFL is an easy question to answer.

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The NFL is not far off in popularity | ESPN First Take

Quarterback Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led the NFL in jersey sales for the 2021 NFL season. He won six super bowls with the New England Patriots, and the three-time MVP won his seventh super bowl with the Bucs in the 2020 season. If not Mahomes, Brady is the most popular player in the league. The guy turns 45 in August, and he’s the greatest quarterback of all time.

Moreover, the NFL generated $11 billion in national revenue in 2021. On the other hand, the NBA earned over $10 billion in this past 2021-22 season. The league’s revenue also dropped from $16 billion in 2019 to $12 billion in 2020.

So, the professional football league is slowly getting back on track. Not to mention, in 2010, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell set a $25 billion total revenue goal by 2027. Considering the NFL is expanding internationally to European countries, this target goal could be reached in the upcoming future.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic caused financial losses in both professional sports leagues, so this factor cannot be used as an excuse for either the NFL or NBA. According to Bleacher Report, an estimated $112 million viewers watched Super Bowl LVI.

Since the super bowl is one four-hour event held on Sunday each year, it makes sense why so many people tune in to watch it. The NBA Finals is a seven-game series. Not everyone has the time to watch individual basketball games over the course of a couple of weeks. Other articles similar to “NBA or NFL: Which league has bigger stars? ESPN First Take Debate” are on the main page.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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