With the calendar year coming to an end, it has been a rollercoaster 12 months for Kansas sports fans and Kansas sportsbooks.
For NFL supporters, the year started with heartbreak, as the Chiefs narrowly missed out on a Super Bowl appearance (though they’re in a strong position to go all the way this season), and the less we say about the Royals’ MLB season the better.
However, it has been a strong year for individual performances, with many Kansas-born stars across each major league making a name for themselves. So, we wanted to compare the popularity of each to reveal the most popular athletes from the Sunflower State.
By collecting online and social media performance data for each NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB star (who was actively playing at some point during 2022), we’re able to reveal the most hyped players from Kansas over the last 12 months.
To do this, we created an index that considered five key factors with individual weightings adding up to 100.
These factors were: Average monthly Google searches, Wikipedia page views, social media growth, social media mentions, and the percentage of online comments deemed positive. All of the information was recorded over the past 12 months.
So, read on to find out who makes the top five and where your favorites rank. And remember to stay close to this site for everything related to Kansas betting apps.
1. Christian Braun
Taking top spot as Kansas’ most popular major league sports star, we have NBA rookie and Denver Nuggets shooting guard Christian Braun. The 21-year-old basketball star has all the makings of a local icon and scores an almost perfect 96.4 out of 100 on our popularity index.
Braun was a sharp shooter on the Jayhawks championship team in March, when KU overcame a 16 point deficit at the half against North Carolina. His Jayhawks teammate, Ochai Agbaji, is also having a strong NBA rookie campaign, though he is a longshot at BetMGM Sportsbook Kansas to win Rookie of the Year at +50000.
By numbers, Braun, the former Mr. Kansas Basketball winner, is the most Google-searched sports star from the Sunflower State, with an astonishing 121,000 searches per month in 2022, as well as recording more Wikipedia page views than any other player (163,000).
Bursting onto the scene this season, he’s also the Kansas major league sports star with the greatest social media growth, earning over 58,000 followers in 2022.
Finally, Braun is the most talked about Kansas-born player on social media, with 19,000 mentions this year and a remarkable 19.2% of those considered positive.
2. Dean Wade
Ranking as the second-most loved sports star from Kansas, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Dean Wade records an index score of 37.1.
A true Kansas hero, Wade enjoyed both a successful high school and college basketball career (Kansas State) in his home state, before joining the Cavs in 2019.
Just like Braun, Wade is a former Mr. Kansas Basketball and the subject of a serious rate of Google searches per month (45,000), as well as recording strong numbers when it comes to Wikipedia page views (65,000) and social media mentions (15,000) – though he only ranks seventh for positive sentiment, with just over 1 in 10 posts about him (11.7%) considered favorable.
3. Jabari Walker
The son of former NBA champ Samaki Walker, 20-year-old Jabari Walker places third among the best-loved, Kansas-born sports stars, with an index score of 29.3.
Despite only playing professionally for a matter of months, the rate at which Walker’s stock is quickly accelerating with the Portland Trail Blazers means the Wichita native is certainly one to keep an eye on.
This is reflected in the NBA rookie recording greater social media growth than all other players except Christian Braun, picking up 12,400 extra fans this year, and generating the third-highest number of social media mentions (9,900) – 17.7% of which are considered positive.
4. Blake Bell
Super Bowl LIV champion Blake Bell is Kansas’ next-best loved athlete, with an index score of 23.2, despite the Chiefs tight end's currently inactive status as he battles injury.
Bell’s high rating is largely thanks to the impressive rate of positive posts about him on social media, with 1 in 4 considered favorable, placing him above star performer Christian Braun.
Across other factors, though, Bell also performs adequately, with a not-insignificant 22,000 monthly Google searches for his name and 49,000 Wikipedia page views in 2022.
It helps that the Wichita native landed with his hometown Chiefs after bouncing around to several teams to start his NFL career.
5. Ben Powers
Rounding out the five most popular major league sports stars from Kansas, we have Baltimore Ravens offensive guard Ben Powers, who records an index score of 14.7. Powers’ career to date might not be particularly glittering, but he has become a reliable enforcer on the Ravens’ offensive line.
Powers performs particularly well when comparing the number of times players’ names are Googled, with 44,000 searches per month in 2022.
However, he’s the only player in our top five to have lost social media followers this year, with his count dropping by 49.
And there you have it – the greatest, most famous active athletes that represent the brilliance of Kansas! After discovering all about Kansas’ top athletes, you’ll probably want to find out what other sports knowledge we have under our belt.
So, find more expert insights into the sports and players you love by heading to BetKansas.com, where you can also check out all the latest Kansas sportsbook promos.
To determine Kansas’ most popular athletes of 2022, we created an index that considered five key factors with individual weightings adding up to 100.
1. Average monthly Google search volumes = 30
o Average volumes during 2022.
2. Wikipedia page views = 20
o Page views during 2022.
3. Follower growth = 20
o Growth of followers on Instagram during 2022.
4. Social media mentions = 20
o The number of mentions on Twitter, Reddit and Instagram during 2022.
5. Percentage of positive conversations online = 10
o All Percentage of Reddit and Twitter posts deemed positive during 2022.
To create the ranking, BetKansas.com combined the score of each factor to get a final index score out of 100. And the higher the score, the more popular the athlete!