MIAMI (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Knicks’ hot start on the court is paying dividends for the franchise’s merchandise sector.
The league released its latest sales-rankings list on Wednesday, with the Knicks leading the team-sales category for the first time since December 2004.
On the players’ list, LeBron James is atop the NBA’s jersey-sales list once again.
The Miami Heat star has the league’s hottest-selling jersey, marking the third time the NBA’s reigning MVP and Finals MVP has held that distinction. James was No. 4 in the most recent rankings, released in April.
Since then, all he’s done is win his third MVP award, a second Olympic gold medal and help the Heat win the NBA championship — the franchise’s second and his first.
“It’s an honor to be No. 1,” said James, who last had the league’s best-selling jersey in April 2011.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant checked in at No. 2, six spots higher than where he was in April. He was likely buoyed by the Thunder reaching the NBA Finals. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers has the league’s No. 3-selling jersey, followed by New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Chicago’s Derrick Rose, Boston’s Rajon Rondo, Miami’s Dwyane Wade, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, the Lakers’ Dwight Howard and the Clippers’ Chris Paul at No. 10.
Brooklyn’s Deron Williams is No. 11, followed by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, the Lakers’ Steve Nash, Boston’s Paul Pierce and Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
The list is based on sales at the NBA Store in New York and NBAStore.com, from April through Nov. 26.
“I give all of the credit to the fans,” said James, whose Cleveland jersey topped the league sales charts in 2004. “I would also like to thank all of my supporters and the Miami Heat organization. Let’s keep it going.”
In the team sales rankings, the Knicks were one spot ahead of the Heat. New York was No. 2 in the April rankings, with Miami then at No. 4.
The Lakers are No. 3 on the new list, followed by Chicago (which was No. 1 in April), Boston, Oklahoma City, Brooklyn, the Clippers, San Antonio and Dallas.
The NBA said it had record-breaking sales over Thanksgiving weekend, saying sales on the so-called Cyber Monday were up more than 10 percent over last year. Cyber Monday last year fell two days after the league and its players announced a tentative end to the NBA lockout.
It was Westbrook’s first time on the list. Rondo and Paul each moved up four spots, and the Lakers were the only team with three players among the top 15 bestsellers.
Rose was No. 1 on the most recent list, released on April 26. Houston guard Jeremy Lin, whose now-former Knicks jersey was No. 2 in the April rankings, fell out of the top 15.
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