LeBron James is the most popular male athlete in America for the first time in his career.

So says a new Harris Poll, which surveyed what it says is a representative sample of 2,241 people in the U.S. last month.

James, whose highest ranking was No. 2 last season, topped retired Chicago Bulls star and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who had the distinction of being No. 1 from 1993 through 2005.

It was a long road for James to get to the top. In 2011, the year after his "Decision" to go to Miami, James fell completely out of the top 10.

James was most popular among the 18-36 and 49-67 age demographics, while the poll reflected that Generatrion Xers (37-48) preferred Jordan.

Rounding out the top 5 is retiring New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and in a tie for fifth is Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.