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Blog Entry

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

Posted on: April 13, 2011 11:10 am
Edited on: April 13, 2011 12:33 pm
 
LeBron James takes over top jersey sales spot from Kobe Bryant for the first time in seven years. Despite all the bad publicity, have things actually worked out for James' quest to pursue global icon status?
Posted by Matt Moore




Hail to the King, baby. 

In a stunning development, the NBA today announced a change at the top of the NBA jersey-sales leaderboard. From the NBA: 
LeBron James of the Miami Heat has grabbed the No. 1 spot on the NBA’s Most Popular Jerseys list, regaining the top ranking for the first time since April 2004. Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant, who has owned the position since the start of the 2008-09 season, finished second overall for the 2010-11 season, while Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics rounds out the top three for the first time in his career.


Wait, the most hated man in America is now the most popular jersey-seller? He passed Kobe Bryant in the middle of a three-peat? Is this life? 

The development comes as a continuation of James' recovering popularity, as evidenced by his improvement in Q Rating recently . It's strange that James would be having this resurgence, even if the evidence is based on that of the casual fan. The biggest storylines of this season surrounding James are of the whole crying thing, the Heat's struggles, his mother getting arrested, and him generally making comments which make him look bad. Those are the stories that reach casual fans. It's almost as if the rampant media criticism of James that has existed outside and occasionally within the halls of networks affiliated with the NBA has backfired. 

Have we, the public, forgive James? Or is this more indicative of a disturbing concept: that "The Decision," as poorly conceived and even more poorly executed as it was, actually achieved its intended impact, of getting James on the market as a global commodity?  James angered fans in two major markets by passing them up, and stands as the top of the Most Wanted list by contrast in L.A. where Kobe fans balk at his ringless hands laying claim to the title of Best Player Alive. He is the player Boston fans most love to defeat, rivaling even L.A. at times, it seems. And yet there is, at the top of the sales chart. 

An alternative theory would be that James took over the top spot simply as a result of a team switch. All of the diehard LBJ fans who didn't turn on him after "The Decision" went out and bought new Miami gear. But I have a hard time believing James got big pickups from the biggest contingent of Cavs James jersey owners, those in the great state of Ohio, don't you? And given the perceived outcry and boo birds in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere, you'd have to think there's something more going on here than just collectors switching over. 

James delivered P.R. nightmare after P.R. nightmare this season. He's been blackballed from the MVP vote on account of his perceived popularity. His team is third in the Eastern Conference, he has no championships, and his marketing agency does a poor job in representing him, bosom buddies though they may be. James' personality and game have spoken for themselves, and whether we like it or not, it's working.

Hail to the King. Not the champ, but the King. 

Here's the run down of the numbers. 

Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:
1. LeBron James, Miami Heat

2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
3. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
4. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
5. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
6. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
7. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
8. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
9. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
10. John Wall, Washington Wizards
11. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
12. Shaquille O’Neal, Boston Celtics
13. Ray Allen, Boston Celtics
14. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
15. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
Comments

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: April 17, 2011 2:03 am
 

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

HE IS STILL THE kING... and laughing at all the haters all the way to the bank



Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: April 16, 2011 10:13 pm
 

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

The change atop the jersey leaderboard should not really come as a surprise. LeBron is one of the games two most marketed players, along with Kobe, and unlike Kobe, he has a new jersey that fans just had to buy. I don't really think LeBron is the "Most Hated Man in America," nor that these the jersey sales have anything to do with an improving "Q Rating." True LeBron fans are probably the ones buying the jerseys, don't you think? People who sway back and forth on LeBron probably don't want a jersey of him. Yeah, sure, LeBron takes a lot of heat, but he is still one of the most talented players in the game and is still producing at a level that few players ever had, and regardless of what CBS sports writers believe LeBron is still the favorite player of many kids and adults who follow the NBA. I think that it is only surprising for a CBS writer to see this because this summer when LeBron was a free agent, he was supposed to go to New York because apparently that is the only place other than LA and Chicago that you can get the type of exposure that will make you a international hero. Well, CBS lobbyists, I guess you were wrong again! The NBA chooses which teams to market and they don't have to be in a major city. The Heat brand will have 10x the value of the Knicks brand in 3 years thanks to the aftermath of the Decision. LeBron, likely, will still be hated by many and still might not have a title, but I gaurantee that he will still be selling jerseys and other apparel and will remain one of the top 3 players in both jersey sales and endorsement money. Really, John Wall is the only suprise on this and its not even the fact that he made the top 15, but more the fact that he was in the top 10 above fellow-rookie Blake Griffin.



Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: April 16, 2011 10:13 pm
 

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

The change atop the jersey leaderboard should not really come as a surprise. LeBron is one of the games two most marketed players, along with Kobe, and unlike Kobe, he has a new jersey that fans just had to buy. I don't really think LeBron is the "Most Hated Man in America," nor that these the jersey sales have anything to do with an improving "Q Rating." True LeBron fans are probably the ones buying the jerseys, don't you think? People who sway back and forth on LeBron probably don't want a jersey of him. Yeah, sure, LeBron takes a lot of heat, but he is still one of the most talented players in the game and is still producing at a level that few players ever had, and regardless of what CBS sports writers believe LeBron is still the favorite player of many kids and adults who follow the NBA. I think that it is only surprising for a CBS writer to see this because this summer when LeBron was a free agent, he was supposed to go to New York because apparently that is the only place other than LA and Chicago that you can get the type of exposure that will make you a international hero. Well, CBS lobbyists, I guess you were wrong again! The NBA chooses which teams to market and they don't have to be in a major city. The Heat brand will have 10x the value of the Knicks brand in 3 years thanks to the aftermath of the Decision. LeBron, likely, will still be hated by many and still might not have a title, but I gaurantee that he will still be selling jerseys and other apparel and will remain one of the top 3 players in both jersey sales and endorsement money. Really, John Wall is the only suprise on this and its not even the fact that he made the top 15, but more the fact that he was in the top 10 above fellow-rookie Blake Griffin.



Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:20 pm
 

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

1. I wouldn't say Lebron is the most hated man in America. More like (one of) the most polarizing. You either love him or hate him.
2. It's just logical that a popular player's jersey will sell a lot when he changes teams. Kobe's jersey has been basically the same for years.



Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:19 pm
 

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

Apparently, Durant has sold a lot of jerseys.....



Since: Nov 12, 2009
Posted on: April 14, 2011 11:15 am
 

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

What has Kevin Durant done?




Since: Jan 28, 2009
Posted on: April 14, 2011 8:26 am
 

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide




Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: April 14, 2011 2:42 am
 

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

I opted for quality in the jerseys I purchased. 76ers # 25 Carney (road black 1997-2009) & 76ers # 9 Iguodala (away red 2009-2011). All Tackle & Twill sewn Adidas. No screen printed name, number & logos. I'm pleased with the value & quality rather than the specific players jersey. Support for the team over an individual. Basically purchased Swingman jerseys normally valued at $ 79.99, I have roughly $ 50 invested in both, paid about what WalMart would sell the lowest quality screen printed jersey for any/the most expensive of them.



Since: Sep 15, 2007
Posted on: April 14, 2011 1:22 am
 

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

I laugh at all the hatred posted here.

Say what you want haters, you wish Lebron was on your team and Im sure you dont want for your team to play against him in the playoffs.



Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:41 pm
 

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

The big 3 are all at the very beginning of their max contracts.  The way those contracts work is they gradually grow larger as the years pass.  As do the rest of the member signed to the Heat.  Two are Three years from now Each of the big three will be making at least 4-5 million more EACH.  Just that alone puts them in the top 6 of the payroll not to mention them having to pay Mario Chalmers more money to stay as well as the expanding contracts of other players they want to bring in
 I understand how max contracts work. it's not like the teams in front of Miami don't have contracts that aren't going to balloon next season. Take the Lakers for example. This season they are paying $56.4 million for Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum (only $9 million less than the entire Heat roster) versus Miami spending $43 million for Wade, James ,and Bosh. Will Miami's big 3 contracts balloon? Sure....but so will the Lakers, except the Lakers will soon be approaching a $100 million dollar payroll while Miami is currently at a more managable $65 million....and there are dummies out there who think that the Heat are the ones trying to "buy" a championship?


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com