By Barry Janoff
December 19, 2013: If you can't be healthy, at least stay in the public eye if you want to sell merchandise.
That seems to be part of the message being conveyed via the NBA's just-released list of top selling jerseys.
LeBron James of the Miami Heat is listed at No. 1. But he is followed by Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.
Bryant missed the end of the 2012-13 playoffs and the first 19 games of the 2013-14 season after tearing his Achilles tendon, played in six games, then fractured his left knee during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 17 and is expected to be out another six weeks.
Nike is scheduled to release a special-edition Kobe Bryant shoe around Dec. 25. That is also the day a Lakers-Heat game is part of a five-game national TV schedule being touted by ESPN and ABC with spots that prominently include Bryant. Bryant is also in a current campaign for Turkish Airlines along with international soccer star Lionel Messi.
Both the NBA and Kobe himself ran spots earlier this month heralding his return to action.
Rose missed all of the 2012-13 season and played in just ten games this season, suffering injuries to his left and right knees, respectively. Rose was the focus of an adidas campaign that touted his return to the NBA this season, which turned out to be short-lived.
The NBA said the list of the top-selling NBA jerseys is "based on overall sales from official league outfitter adidas and the NBAStore.com from October-December 2013."
According to the league, the NBAStore.com had its largest Black Friday (Nov. 29) and Cyber Monday (Dec. 2) in history, with sales up double digits from 2012. Sales figures themselves were not disclosed.
James, who had the most popular jersey worldwide this year, has held the No. 1 position five times on the league’s lists of domestic jersey sales, per the NBA.
James' teammate, Dwyane Wade, had the No. 7 best-selling jersey with the two-time defending NBA champion Heat.
Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers was the only rookie on the list, at No. 15.
The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (No. 6), James Harden of the Houston Rockets (No. 12) and the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George (No. 14) made the Top 15 for the first time.
In addition to the Heat, teams with multiple players among the Top 15 were the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers.
Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:
1. LeBron James, Miami Heat
2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
3. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
4. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
5. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
6. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
7. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
8. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
9. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
10. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
11. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
12. James Harden, Houston Rockets
13. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
14. Paul George, Indiana Pacers
15. Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
Lebron James, New York Knicks Top NBA Jersey, Merchandise Sales
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