LeBron James’ move to Los Angeles paid off in merchandise sales as his jersey was the No. 1 seller during the regular season, the NBA announced Thursday.
While James overtook Stephen Curry with the top-selling jersey, the Lakers overtook the Golden State Warriors as the top-selling team in the NBA. Curry and the Warriors had been the most popular player and team for the last three seasons.
Rounding out the top five in jersey sales were Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving and Joel Embiid. Antetokounmpo and Embiid both reached their highest rankings. Dwyane Wade, who retired at the end of the season, was No. 11.
The Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic had the top-selling jersey for rookies, coming in at No. 13 overall. The Philadelphia 76ers had three players in the top 10: Embiid, Ben Simmons at No. 9 and Jimmy Butler at No. 10.
Completing the top five teams in merchandise sales were the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks.
Westbrook remains defiant
After a drama-filled and disappointing season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook remains as defiant as ever.
The All-Star point guard averaged a triple-double for the third straight season and nearly averaged one in the playoffs. But Portland bounced the Thunder in five games, and Westbrook’s poor shooting played a significant role in another first-round exit. He shot 36 percent from the floor during the series and made just 11 of 31 field goals in the deciding Game 5 loss.
Don’t expect the 30-year-old to change his approach when teams back off, daring him to take a shot.
“There’s no process,” Westbrook said. “Shoot it. That’s it.”
The emotional Westbrook has been at the center of the good — and the bad — this season.
He got into a verbal altercation with fans in Utah, led the league with 16 technical fouls and was suspended a game for them, engaged in trash talking with Portland’s Damian Lillard during the playoffs and responded during postgame news conferences with, “Next question.”
Westbrook’s actions have been magnified by the team’s disappointing early playoff exit and the fact that since Kevin Durant left for Golden State after the 2015-16 season, the Thunder have not won a playoff series.
It also has led to backlash within the league. Injured Portland center Jusuf Nurkic wore a T- shirt after Game 5 that read: “Got Bricks? Next Question.”
Westbrook clearly hears and sees it all, but said he does not care about it.
“When you do so much at a high level, a lot of haters come,” he said. “That’s how life is, man. That’s life, man. When you do so much, people going to try to pull and take away and try to take that away from you. But nobody can take away from me.”
Associated Press and NBA.com contributed to this report.