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Michael Jordan out, Shohei Ohtani in — meet America’s new most likable athlete

Shohei Ohtani edges Michael Jordan in the Q Score rankings released by Sportico.
Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan, Los Angeles Angels pinch hitter Shohei Ohtani

Michael Jordan and Shohei Ohtani

Michael Jordan was once America’s favorite athlete, but not anymore, as Shohei Ohtani beats the Chicago Bulls legend in terms of Q Score. Who's the baseball player who knocked MJ off the throne long after he stopped playing ball?

Who is Shohei Otani?

Shohei Ohtani is a generational 2-way superstar and a major force in baseball. He hailed from Ōshū, Iwate, Japan, and played for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters before eventually suiting for the Los Angeles Angels. As a pitcher, he set the record at Nippon Professional Baseball for a Japanese player’s fastest pitch ever at 165 kilometers per hour. In the MLB, he continued to break records.

Ohtani won the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year and 2021 AL Most Valuable Player Award. He’s also good at hitting too. Shohei has hit at least 30 home runs this season, and there are still a lot of games to be played. Off the field, the 28-year-old is seen as a humble star and often picks up pieces of the trash whenever possible.

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The records, star appeal, and likable personality of what others claimed to be baseball’s next Babe Ruth, Shohei Ohtani, recently eclipsed another major milestone: dislodging basketball GOAT Michael Jordan as the most favorite athlete of Americans.

Shohei Ohtani’s Q Score

A recent ranking released by Sportico listed Shohei Ohtani first in terms of Q Score with 33%. Michael Jordan came in second with 32 %. Simone Biles, Patrick Mahomes, and Alex Morgan rounded the top five. Meanwhile, Travis Kelce, Neymar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Shaquille O’Neal, and Sunisa Lee also made the list.

In the survey, only 13 % of Americans are familiar with the baseball star. But among those who know him, 33 % claimed he was their favorite. On the other hand, Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Albert Pujols, and Aaron Judge all received a Q Score of below 25 %.

Ohtani may not have breached the superstar status yet in the U.S., but his potential on the international stage is massive. If the record-breaking streak continues, expect more brands to collaborate with him. It’s not every day that someone beats Michael Jordan in the popularity game - for a Japanese 2-way baseball player to do it is even more impressive. 

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