The December poll of 1,502 U.S. residents ages 12 and up found Tebow was the favorite pro athlete of 3 percent of respondents, followed by Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant with 2 percent, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers with 1.9 percent, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning with 1.8 percent and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with 1.5 percent, ESPN.com reported.
"To put this in perspective, Tim Tebow rose to the top before the end of his second pro season. It took Tiger Woods three years, LeBron James eight years and Kobe Bryant 11 years," said Rich Luker, founder and director of the ESPN Sports Poll. "I think we may be at the front end of a new era in sports stars."
The previous No. 1 athletes on the poll included Brett Favre, Manning, Woods, Bryant and LeBron James.