The US’s most competitive athletes draw on inspiration from a variety of sources. Not only do they borrow drive from musicians and business people alike, but they aren’t afraid to match the drive of athletes in other major leagues.
In the US, at least 45% of the population considers themselves casual sports fans. Between the NBA and the NFL, millions of supporters each year view major events on TV and pack into stadiums. While the basketball league can’t touch the NFL in terms of attendance and viewership, both leagues host some of the most successful and competitive athletes in the world.
However, sports fans aren’t the only ones staying updated on the latest rumors and predictions in the NBA and NFL. In the realm of die hard fandom, top players from both leagues aren’t afraid to show their loyalty.
Most Popular NFL Teams
Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, & Chicago Bears
Unsurprisingly, when it comes to crossover NFL fans from other leagues, the biggest names are already in circulation. For example, the Dallas Cowboys do more than feature on sports betting websites and fill stadium seats with season ticket holders. They’re also the favorite team of NBA superstars Russell Westbrook and LeBron James (when he isn’t rooting for the Browns).
Outside the NBA, the Cowboys do well, too. From Jay-Z to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to Eva Longoria, the team dominates the world of celebrity NFL fanbases. However, having two of the NBA’s top competitors behind the team, Westbrook and LeBron, moves the Cowboys to the top of the NBA’s NFL fan list.
Much like the Cowboys, beyond the NBA, the Miami Dolphins have fans in celebs like Jennifer Lopez, Warren Buffett, and Johnny Depp. They also have support from the sports world via David Beckham, Alex Rodriguez, and Venus and Serena Williams.
From the NBA, the Dolphins count players like Udonis Haslem among their fanbase. The Miami native plays for the Miami Heat. Though Haslem may be the lone NBA supporter of the Dolphins, he’s vocal enough to make up for the rest—which is good, considering the NFL team’s record in recent years.
Lastly, the Chicago Bears have the strong support of leading NBA stars like Dwyane Wade and Tim Duncan. Though neither player is active in the NBA, both represent the top tier of talent in their generation in the league. In addition to Wade and Duncan, the Chicago Bears have another major name on their side: former President Barack Obama.
Most Popular NBA Teams
LA Lakers & Boston Celtics
The Lakers, much like the Cowboys, enjoy a long list of reputable fans. There’s Jack Nicholson, Anthony Kiedis, and Denzel Washington, to name a few. Other celebrity athletes, like Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan and, once again, David Beckham, back the West Coast franchise.
From the NFL alone, players like JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Steelers, Richard Sherman of the 49ers, Derek Carr of the Raiders, and Darius Slay of the Eagles—though the list goes on and on.
Though the Boston Celtics haven’t performed with the same vigor as the Lakers since the franchise’s heyday in the 1960s-80s, the bandwagon of celebrity fans hasn’t lessened over time. To this day, celebrities like locals Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Donny Wahlberg rep the Celts whenever possible.
In addition to love from local legends, the Celtics have support from the sports industry. In fact, one of the most heavy-hitting athletes in the past century reps the shamrock logo: boxer Manny Pacquiao. The nearby New England Patriots franchise has also lent a few top NFL players as fans to the NBA team.
Julian Edelman, Kyle Van Noy, and Tom Brady all showed support for the Boston franchise while they played with the Patriots. Currently, only Edelman continues to play for the Patriots. It’s unclear whether or not Van Noy and Brady still rep the Boston basketball team now that they’re in Miami and Tampa Bay, respectively.