Oct 1, 2010
Kobe Bryant is the NBA’s most popular basketball player in China. Well… according to official* (not those hand stitched fakes seen all over China’s playgrounds) jersey sales. For the fourth year in a row the Lakers no. 24 jersey is the top seller in the Middle Kingdom. LeBron James finishes the season (pre-trade) in second place, the same spot he had in the 2008/09 season. New arrivals in China’s top ten sellers include Derrick Rose, Paul Pierce (back again after a slow 2008/09 sales season), Deron Williams, Ray Allen and Kevin Durant.
Post season sales will see big jumps for LeBron James as fans snatch up the new Miami Heat jersey. But the biggest increase will be seen from Kevin Durant, who put team USA on his back and took them to a FIBA World Championship gold medal. While international basketball is not important to the average sport fan in America the Chinese sport fan will soak up any international competition. During just the few weeks of the FIBA World Champion Kevin Durant’s international stock went through the roof. Expect next years jersey sales to be evidence.
Maybe the biggest shocker of these numbers is the absence of Yao Ming. In 2007/08 Yao Ming teetered to fall out of the top ten with a tenth place finish. Then he bounded back to 6th place the following season. This year… he finished the season with an injury, while both he and his Rocket teammate, Tracy McGrady, fell from the top ten in jersey sales in China.
In October the NBA will introduce the Adidas Revolution 30 Jersey to the Chinese market during the New Jersey Nets and Houston Rockets exhibition games in Beijing and Guangzhou. Will the Chinese market spring $350 (or more) for the jersey? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean some old lady won’t be making knock-offs in a warehouse along the Yangtze River soon enough.
30% of all NBA jersey sales come from outside the United States while 20% of NBA players are foreign born.
During the 2009/10 season the NBA experienced jersey sale increases of over 20%.
* Jersey sales statistics are taken from NBA online and retail store sales in China.
Top NBA jersey sales by location by season.
|1||Kobe Bryant||Kobe Bryant||Kobe Bryant||1||Kobe Bryant||Kobe Bryant||Kobe Bryant|
|2||LeBron James||LeBron James||LeBron James||2||LeBron James||LeBron James||LeBron James|
|3||Dwight Howard||Kevin Garnett||Dwyane Wade||3||Kevin Garnett||Chris Paul||Dwyane Wade|
|4||Kevin Garnett||Derrick Rose||Pau Gasol||4||Tracy McGrady||Kevin Garnett||Pau Gasol|
|5||Derrick Rose||Dwight Howard||Kevin Garnett||5||Dwayne Wade||Allen Iverson||N/A|
|6||Chris Paul||Dwyane Wade||Andrea Bargnani||6||Yao Ming||Dwyane Wade||Andrea Bargnani|
|7||Paul Pierce||Chris Paul||Jose Calderon||7||Chris Paul||Paul Pierce||Jose Calderon|
|8||Deron Williams||Paul Pierce||Dwight Howard||8||Allen Iverson||Nate Robinson||N/A|
|9||Ray Allen||Kevin Durant||Dirk Nowitzki||9||Dwight Howard||Pau Gasol||Dirk Nowitzki|
|10||Kevin Durant||Carmelo Anthony||Tony Parker||10||Carmelo Anthony||Dwight Howard||Tony Parker|
|1||Kobe Bryan||Kevin Garnett||N/A||1||Kobe Bryant||Kobe Bryant||Dwyane Wade|
|2||Kevin Garnett||Kobe Bryant||N/A||2||Allen Iverson||Dwyane Wade||Allen Iverson|
|3||Tracy McGrady||LeBron James||N/A||3||Tracy McGrady||LeBron James||Tony Parker|
|4||Paul Pierce||Allen Iverson||N/A||4||Dwayne Wade||Allen Iverson||Kobe Bryant|
|5||Allen Iverson||Chris Paul||N/A||5||LeBron James||Steve Nash||LeBron James|
|6||Gilbert Arenas||Steve Nash||N/A||6||Yao Ming||Carmelo Anthony||Boris Diaw|
|7||LeBron James||Dwayne Wade||N/A||7||Kevin Garnett||Stephon Marbury||Pau Gasol|
|8||Dwayne Wade||Shaquille O’neal||N/A||8||Tim Duncan||Dirk Nowitzki||Andrea Bargnani|
|9||Dwight Howard||Carmelo Anthony||N/A||9||Carmelo Anthony||Gilbert Arenas||Carmelo Anthony|
|10||Yao Ming||Gilbert Arenas||N/A||10||Gilbert Arenas||Vince Carter||Tracy Mcgrady|