US presidential election: Who do American sports stars support?

(From left) Tom Brady, Dennis Rodman, Hope Solo and LeBron James.
(From left) Tom Brady, Dennis Rodman, Hope Solo and LeBron James. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - As the US presidential candidates sprint the final leg of the race for the White House, sports luminaries are lining up behind their preferred candidates.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Martina Navratilova have said they will vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton on Nov 8, while Republican candidate Donald Trump has the support of Mike Tyson, Jack Nicklaus and Dennis Rodman.

Here is a rundown of some famous US sports figures who have entered the campaign fray:

LeBron James

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on in the first quarter against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena on Oct 25, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. PHOTO: AFP

The NBA superstar, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the key swing state of Ohio, voiced support for Mrs Clinton in early October in a piece that ran in the Akron Beacon Journal, his hometown newspaper.

"Only one person running truly understands the struggles of an Akron child born into poverty," James wrote.

"And when I think about the kinds of policies and the ideas the kids in my foundation need from our government, the choice is clear. That candidate is Hillary Clinton."

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors reacts after a turnover during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Oct 30, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Asked in an interview whom he would support in the 2016 election, the two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player replied: "Hillary."

Lakers legends Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also back Mrs Clinton's bid to become the first female US president, as does the owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban.

Martina Navratilova

Tennis player Martina Navratilova of Europe looks on during the 2016 Ryder Cup Celebrity Matches at Hazeltine National Golf Club on Sept 27, 2016, in Chaska, Minnesota. PHOTO: AFP

Once one of the world's top tennis players and a gay rights activist, Navratilova has made no secret of her support for Mrs Clinton. She regularly praises her and disparages Mr Trump on her Twitter account.

Another female tennis legend, Billie Jean King, also supports the Democratic candidate.

Hope Solo

Hope Solo of United States of America smiles after the match in Rio 2016 Olympics. PHOTO: REUTERS

The US women's football goalie considers Mrs Clinton "the best candidate, the best leader, the best diplomat". Solo especially has high praise for Mrs Clinton's agenda to close the gender pay gap. The football star is one of several members of the US women's team to file a complaint against US Soccer in March 2016 alleging wage discrimination.

Mike Tyson

Former boxer Mike Tyson attends the welterweight bout between Tim Means and Sabah Homasi at the UFC 202 event at T-Mobile Arena on Aug 20, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. PHOTO: AFP

The heavyweight boxing champion has thrown his heft behind Mr Trump, saying he and the billionaire are "really good friends". Boxing promoter Don King has also stepped out in favour of the tycoon.

Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus speaks during a Celebration of Arnold Palmer at Saint Vincent College on Oct 4, 2016, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. PHOTO: AFP

The former top golfer, who has 18 career major championships to his name, voiced admiration for Mr Trump in May.

"I like what Donald has done," he said in a network television interview. "I like that he's turning America upside down.

John Daly, winner of two major titles in the 1990s, also praised Mr Trump's candidacy on Twitter: "That's y I luv my friend @realDonaldTrump he's not politics he's business! It's what our country needs." .

Tom Brady

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots warms up prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Oct 23, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PHOTO: AFP

Brady, the star quarterback of the New England Patriots, has called Mr Trump a friend but has not publicly endorsed him for president.

Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson have offered their support to the real estate mogul.

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner poses on arrival for the special screening of the film Hacksaw Ridge at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, on Oct 24, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Jenner, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion once known as Bruce, is an avowed Republican who defended transgender rights on the sidelines of the Republican convention that nominated Mr Trump to run for president.

"Our best hope to get back to a constitutional government... is in the Republican Party," said Jenner.

Dennis Rodman

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman gives a basketball clinic at Nueva Chicago sports club in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 28, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

The former Chicago Bulls teammate of basketball legend Michael Jordan is hoping for a Trump victory.

"@realDonaldTrump has been a great friend for many years," the eccentric former NBA player tweeted. "We don't need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump! Trump 2016."

Besides his basketball talents, Rodman is also known for his many piercings and tattoos, as well as his controversial travels to North Korea.