By Jeff Labrecque
July 22, 2010 at 03:59 PM EDT

If you ever doubted the cynical maxim that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, look no further than the new Harris Interactive survey that asked Americans, “Who is your favorite sports star?” For the fifth straight year, Tiger Woods ranked No. 1 (tied with NBA star Kobe Bryant). This, despite the ugly sex scandal that sullied the golfer’s previously bulletproof image, cost him $22 million in lost endorsements, and led to the breakup of his marriage. Though he hasn’t won a tournament since last November, he’s still the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, and America clearly loves a winner. Ask Bryant, who just claimed his fifth NBA title as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. His popularity seems fully recovered from the 2003 sexual assault allegations that resulted in an out-of-court settlement. These popularity findings can only be good news for Lebron James, who fell to  sixth in the Harris poll. Though he’s recently been vilified for the way that he abandoned the city of Cleveland, he can take comfort in the knowledge that people will forgive (or forget)…as long as he wins.