Royalty will grace Barclays Center Monday night, both on and off the court. In the middle of their three-day visit to New York, the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and her husband Prince William will watch the NBA’s king, LeBron James, and his Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Brooklyn Nets.
It figures to be the couple’s first taste of NBA action and Nets fans will certainly benefit from catching a glimpse of Middleton and the NBA’s best all-around player in James.
But just which of the two, James or Middleton, figures to draw the most attention?
For basketball fans, their main attraction will be watching James stalk the court with the kind of athleticism and power rarely seen on the professional stage. The 29-year-old owns four MVP awards and two NBA championships, and overnight went from league villain to hero after he announced his return to the Cavs in July.
James leads the Cavs with 24.6 points and 7.9 assists per game, and his signature tomahawk dunks alone are arguably worth the price of admission to many NBA lovers.
Nets fans will undoubtedly gasp at James’s skill on the court, but they’ll also feel a little more confident in their team’s chances of making the playoffs if they can beat the high-octane Cavs. Brooklyn is currently 8-10, six games back of Toronto in the Atlantic division and barely clinging to the final postseason seed in the Eastern Conference.
James’s fame might have a further reach than Middleton’s through social media as well. More than 16 million Twitter users follow James on his official account, and upwards of 22 million have “liked” his Facebook page.
He also has the backing of endorsement deals from such major companies as Nike, McDonald’s and Coca Cola, which earned him $53 million in 2013, according to Forbes.
But if seeing wealth in person is what spectators want, Middleton might have James topped. The British Royal Family is worth an estimated combined fortune of roughly $1 billion. Queen Elizabeth II herself is worth about $500 million, and the monarchy has another $10 billion in real estate assets alone, according to Forbes, much of which would technically fall to William and Middleton’s ownership when he ascends to the throne.
And while NBA fans await James’s every move on and off the court, Middleton’s adorers feverishly await the latest news regarding her new child. The Duchess and William are expecting a second child in April, and the birth of their first-born, Prince George, was one of the most anticipated events around the globe back in 2013.
On the fashion front, Middleton likely beats James out as well. James does make millions for Nike, but he hasn’t exactly been credited for creating a new style that fans wish to emulate. Middleton’s revered for her understated beauty, and what she wears is always a hot topic around the world.
Television ratings could serve as an excellent tiebreaker, but the numbers are much too close. When James and his former team the Miami Heat lost to San Antonio in the NBA Finals, 22.4 million viewers tuned in to watch last game of the series. And in 2011, Middleton and William’s wedding drew 22.7 million Americans in the early morning hours.
For now we can call it a tie, but come Monday night either James or Middleton could pull ahead.