I imagine you could find any metric you choose to dispute it.
Theres only one metric that matters: TV ratings. Who cares about polls? If you are really a fan of the sport, you'd tune in on TV. Its really as simple as that. And when it comes to ratings, NFL/NCAAF are kings, and then NBA is number 2. This isnt my opinion, these are facts.
I would think NASCAR is easily at least as popular as the NBA.
I know you would. You, and most likely the people you associate with, are not a fair representation of this entire nation though.
Truth is, the NBA just isn't that popular and most people don't care about it.
Ratings disagree with you.
Harris poll numbers are pretty bad too. Hockey ranked about equally with NBA, and Auto Racing was above NBA as most popular sports.
Ratings disagree with all of this.