The star attacker has clearly made his imprint on the city of Los Angeles, however, as evidenced by survey conducted by Loyola Marymount University that asked participants to vote on the city's most popular athlete. The Los Angeles Times published the results of the survey on Friday, and while Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James took home a resounding victory, Vela managed to crack the top three, trailing only James and the LA Dodgers' Cody Bellinger in the final vote.
James got a whopping 46 percent of the vote, with Bellinger coming in at 10.7 percent and Vela garnering 8.3 percent, finishing ahead of Los Angeles' outfielder Mike Trout (6.7 percent).
There was clearly no way anyone was going to top James, who was one of the most iconic athletes in sports history before he even arrived in LA and has brought the Lakers back to relevance since signing with the team before the start of the 2018 season. Bellinger, meanwhile, is one of the best players in baseball, and is the reigning National League MVP (in other words, Vela had some stiff competition).
Vela is carving out quite the legacy in the city in his own right, coming off the best single season in MLS history that saw him rack up a record 34 goals and add 15 assists while leading LAFC to a Supporters' Shield title. It's good to see the city taking notice, even if King James still rules.