Not all the “titles” are going to be taken away from LeBron James this season, at least not the individual one. He isn’t going to win the league’s MVP, Kevin Durant is. But LeBron James is the NBA’s most popular jersey for a second straight season, helping making the Miami Heat the most popular team as well.
The numbers provided by the NBAStore.com figures make James, always in the eye of the storm for the last four years, the most popular player NBA fans like to be wearing on their jersey. The move to nickname nights and special names on the jerseys haven’t hurt his popularity as well, as one would assume. The “King James” nickname and the controversial sleeved jerseys addition to the NBA wardrobe were a popular item as well.
Kevin Durant came in second after James in jersey sales. He might be the better player at the moment, but still isn’t a name people want on their backs as much as they do when it comes to James. Playing for OKC and not the Heat or any other “big” team helped keep him well behind James this time as well. Kobe Bryant, thanks to foreign popularity, didn’t need to do much (played only six regular season games) to remain in the top 3.
The same goes for Derrick Rose, always one of the most popular players in the league even though he has barely played since April 2012, with a string of injuries keeping him off the court. He comes in fourth in sales, ahead of Stephen Curry of the Warriors and even Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks, despite playing in the biggest market an NBA city has to offer.
Two players who won’t be in the playoffs but have plenty of fans around the league are Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, who missed a big part of the season rehabbing from his ACL tear. He also helped make the Celtics the 6th most popular team in jersey sales, despite having an awful season. The San Antonio Spurs might be the best player in the league, but they have only one (Tim Duncan) name in the top 15 (14th) and are ninth in overall jersey sales.