Despite the excitement that tends to come with the NBA Playoffs, we can’t forget that, like all major professional sports, basketball is still a business. And one of the biggest moneymakers for the National Basketball Association are jersey sales.
According to NBA.com, the gear of some organizations tends to be more popular than others. By using NBAStore.com’s complete retail sales since the beginning of the 2014-2015 season, the league found that the Chicago Bulls have the best-selling team merchandise. Following the Bulls, in this order, are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
In the same respect, fans tend to also show support for their favorite players. And just as it was with the franchises, some athletes garner more love than others. These figures were determined in the same manner as the team numbers. With that, here are the seven top-selling jerseys in the NBA today.
7. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs players may have already anointed the next face of the franchise, but when the conversation turns to the defending champs, you can’t help but think about Tim Duncan. Now in his 18th season, the Big Fundamental is still continuing to defy Father Time and help San Antonio enter the postseason playing its best ball of the season. With 15 All-Star Game selections and five NBA titles on his résumé, Duncan is still one of the most iconic players in the league. It should come as no surprise that people still want to rock his jersey.
6. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
At just 22 years old, Kyrie Irving is already showing why he has the potential to become the best point guard in a league dominated by point guards. He’s averaging 21.9 points per contest and has had already dropped 55 points in a single game twice this year. If you’re looking for a standout performance, we suggest checking out the highlights from the Cavs’ March 12 game against the San Antonio Spurs. Irving put up 57 points on 20 made field goals. He was also a perfect 7-7 from three and connected on all 10 of his free throws. Throw in the fact that no player in the league has a sicker handle, and it’s no wonder that people are snatching up Cleveland No. 2 jerseys left and right.
5. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
NBA fans continue to believe in the star power of Chicago Bull Derrick Rose. When he exploded onto the scene as the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, folks were mesmerized by his ability to finish at the rim and seemingly jump out of the arena. Unfortunately, his 2010-2011 MVP season feels so long ago, and Rose hasn’t been able to consistently stay on the floor. And yet, that hasn’t stopped people from buying his tops. D-Rose: No. 1 in your programs, No.5 in your jersey purchases.
4. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook has stolen the spotlight in Oklahoma City this season, but Kevin Durant‘s jersey is still the top seller among the Thunder faithful. Are you surprised? In Durant, you have a 6-foot-9 scoring machine with a beautiful stroke and an underrated mean streak. On the one hand, he’s likable. On the other, he’s absolutely lethal. Durant puts the ball in the bucket at will and is sure to go down as one of the most naturally gifted scorers in NBA history. With four scoring titles and one MVP award under his belt, how could you not want to wear Durant’s name on your back?
3. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t been good in a long time, and Kobe Bryant has only played in 41 games in the past two seasons. So why is his No. 24 jersey still a top seller? Simple — because it’s Kobe Bryant. In fact, sales for this top have jumped one spot from the last time this list was posted. The Black Mamba’s time in the NBA may be winding down, but that will do nothing to minimize his popularity. Whether his career ends with five championships or he manages to reach that elusive sixth ring, Bryant’s jersey will remain a major seller for years to come.
2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
There may not be a more popular player in the NBA right now than Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. He’s unbelievably exciting to watch, and his shot is pure magic. When he’s connecting from long range, the opposing team might as well pack up its things and head home. Curry won this year’s three-point contest, broke his own single-season three-point record, and is one of the two favorites to win the league MVP award. It’s truly amazing to watch Curry create his own shot off the dribble. If the Golden State Warriors are the basketball equivalent of The Beatles, then No. 30 is John Lennon (or Paul McCartney) — whoever you feel ran the show. Simply put, Curry is the man.
1. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Long live the King.
For the sixth consecutive season, LeBron James has the highest-selling jersey in the NBA. It doesn’t matter if he’s a member of the Miami Heat or back playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers — the people have spoken. In the end, it’s all about King James. Interestingly enough, this is technically a down year for Bron-Bron. His 25.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game are, by all accounts, mere mortal numbers compared to the standard he’s set throughout his career. But that’s what makes the four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion rare: Most players would kill to put up James’s average numbers. Which is why is jersey is a top-seller and he will someday end up on the Mount Rushmore of basketball.
To see the rest of the NBA’s top-selling jerseys, check out the list here.
All statistics are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.