The public soured on LeBron James after he bolted Cleveland for South Beach, but that hasn't stopped people from buying his jersey in droves. In fact, according to a USA Today report, the two-time MVP has now surpassed Kobe Bryant for the best-selling jersey in the NBA.
It's the first time in seven years James has grabbed the top spot. Bryant's No. 24 jersey has had a stranglehold on the No. 1 spot since the the beginning of the 2008-2009 season. The list of most popular jerseys is based off sales at NBAStore.com since the tipoff of the 2010-2011 season.
Here's the Top 15 player jerseys list for the 2010/2011 season:
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
At Heat home games, I've noticed a pretty even split between James and Wade threads, despite Wade's being the incumbent fan favorite and face of the franchise for years. Wade's ranking remains unchanged from last season at the No. 6 spot. As a team, Heat jersey sales soared from No. 8 to No. 3 in the rankings behind the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
The fact that James dethroned Kobe probably has more to do with novelty than anything. James has a new team and a new number. New is cool. Or maybe people just have a weird satisfaction with being booed randomly on the street.