Yeah, I agree football is king but there's nothing as big as Nadal now. He's all over the place, He's the image of at least 3 different companies with running advertising campaigns now; Pantene, Mapfre, Banesto...there's every day segments in the news about him, articles in the newspapers...Nadal now is big, bigger than Gasol, Alonso or even Football.
Even if the lakers make it to the finals again, that won't be as big as Nadal. Last year when LA reached the finals, there was a fuzz on Digital + and the news but I don't thing it was as big as the fuzz around Nadal now. TV here also shows how big Nadal is wherever he goes and how many people are around him all the time... I don't think Pau's got all the NBA fans trying to get his autograph (yet).
But the question isn't who's more popular in the world, but in Spain, right?
When Nadal is winning and in great form like now, he's all over the place, but it takes a couple of months with no meaningful successes for TV news to suddenly forget about him. Gasol is
on the news every day he plays though too, and there's lots of people who play basketball and follow him. In the end it's really a question of whether tennis or basketball are the second sport.
Anyway, I believe this is the right place for this: