Mankind, I have to say that I was just about to give up on you. I'm a very patient person, but with every kid running around in a Ben Roethlisberger jersey or every nimrod that decides to turn right on Hamilton at the Texas Street intersection next to Minute Maid Park (hint: you're going the WRONG way!), I start to think that my kids are growing up in a world where eventually the idiots will win.
(Actually, to be fair, I hope the "right turners" at Hamilton and Texas don't ever go away. If we lose them, we lose one of the great underground gambling pools in the city -- "Color of the next car to turn the wrong way," played with much fist-pumping gusto on the B.U.S.'s front patio area.)
And then, Mankind, just when I've finished watching Hoarders, and you and I are in our darkest moments together, along comes this statistical beacon of light that restores my faith in you:
You hate LeBron James. Like a LOT. Like a 39 negative Q rating lot.
What does that mean?
For years, I'd heard about Q ratings or Q scores, whatever you want to call them, but didn't pay them much attention. I knew that, by and large, the athletes who had terrible Q scores were involved in some sort of sociopathic/criminal behavior that would logically lead law-abiding American citizens to rightfully turn on them -- Michael Vick, O.J. Simpson, Roger Clemens.
There was no suspense in any of the reactions to the heel turns of those guys. Vick killed dogs for sport after gambling on their killing each other. Simpson killed two people, and got away with it. Roger Clemens continues to assault our collective intelligence each day as if our brains are Mike Piazza and the Mitchell Report is the splintered remainder of Piazza's bat.
LeBron James was the first athlete to whom I was legitimately curious to see how disgustedly society would react. By the letter of the law, LeBron didn't engage in a crime, but in our little foo-foo sports fan world where we choose to take the one percent we actually know about most athletes and apply it to the other 99 percent as gospel, LeBron committed a wicked assault on our collective trust and plunged a dagger into the heart of his NBA hometown when he chose to "take his talents to South Beach," throwing a towel in the face of the entire city of Cleveland.
Just to get your blood boiling again, let's go back and take a look....
So how did we react? Well, according to a report by Darren Rovell of CNBC, the Q Scores Company says that the figurative pelting of LeBron's house with sacks of dogshit has begun.
In January 2010, The Q Scores Company took a poll of the general population and found that 24 percent of people thought of James in a positive light, compared to a 22 percent negative opinion.
Henry Schafer, executive vice president of the company, told CNBC that the average sports personality has a 15 percent positive score and a 24 percent negative score.
"LeBron's positive score at that time was the highest we had ever seen it," Schafer said.
But since "The Decision" show on July 8, things have gone seriously downhill for the NBA star.
LeBron's Q Score today?
Schafer says that now only 14 percent of the general population see him as a positive figure, a 41.6 percent drop, while 39 percent view him in a negative light, a 77 percent decline.
So far, so good. Society likes LeBron a lot less, and hates him a lot more. Validation. Good stuff. Wait, Rovell has more!
In fact, LeBron is now the sixth most disliked sports personality, according to The Q Score Company, behind Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco and Kobe Bryant.
So LeBron has gone from a sports figure nearly twice as popular as the national average to someone who society dislikes more than any other athlete except for (1) the aforementioned dog murderer, (2) an adulterous, robotic shell of a formerly great golfer, (3 & 4) two of the most narcissistic, locker-room-killing wide receivers in NFL history, and (5) a guy who, um, can probably never set foot in Eagle, CO again.
On the bright side, the low daytime temperature in Miami in January is probably around 70 degrees.
But we haven't even gotten to my favorite part of the story yet. Remember how people used to talk about Magic Johnson raising the level of his teammates play? Well, check out LeBron's anti-Magic magic on his new teammates' Q scores. First, Dwyane Wade --
Perhaps equally as interesting is the fact that James has apparently dragged down the general population's opinion of his new teammates.
Dwyane Wade's positive Q score went from 21 in January to 15 today.
His negative Q score rose from 18 in January to 25 today.
No big surprise there. It's hard to separate Wade from LeBron. But I think the biggest shred of statistical splendor from this exercise comes in the form of the Q rating fluctuation for
Turtle Spider Gleek the Monkey Chris Bosh. Check it out --
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Chris Bosh -- whose move to Miami was part of what sealed the deal for LeBron -- saw even a worse drop. His positive Q score only fell from a 13 in January to a 12 today, but his negative Q Score rose from 21 percent in January to 35 percent today.
America, I got to hand it to you. You looked at a primping, preening, douchetastic hanger-on for what he is -- a primping, preening, douchetastic hanger-on. Suck it, Bosh! At least LeBron and Wade both had higher positive than negative scores back in January -- statistically, people seemed to already think you were a jerk-off in January; they now just think you're much bigger jerk-off. And I agree with them.
So, Mankind, give yourself a hand. This was a good day for you! Now remember, you can only go LEFT onto Texas Street from Hamilton.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.