Marcus Henry

It’s official. Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA, at least according to the latest tally of jersey sales. Bryant’s No.24 sold the most in 2008. LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Garnett and Allen Iverson rounded out the top five.

This brings us to an interesting topic. Who is the best player in the NBA? If you believe in jersey sales, which in many people’s opinion has a direct correlation to “street cred”, Bryant has the edge. As far as pure talent, that’s up for debate.

But one thing is clear. Bryant, despite the Colorado fiasco, his trade demands a couple of years ago and his feud with Shaquille ‘Neal, has made his way back into the hearts of NBA fans. His core fans never left. But there were a lot of fair weather fans who jumped off the bandwagon after he was charged with sexual assault in Colorado.

As for LeBron coming in second in jersey sales, I’m not sure what the explanation is. James has worldwide appeal and could end up transcending the game like Michael Jordan did. You’d think that would vault James up the jersey list. But maybe people like the “bad-boy” attitude Kobe brings to the table. Maybe LeBron is just a little too perfect for some people to stomach.

Just ask Derek Jeter. As great as he has been, there are many fans and media members who just don’t buy the golden boy persona. It’s a shame really, because the one thing the young generation needs more than anything is a positive role model and strong leadership from its athletes.

The following is a list of the top 15 jerseys released by the NBA yesterday.

1. Kobe Bryant, 2. LeBron James, 3. Chris Paul, 4. Kevin Garnett, 5. Allen Iverson, 6. Dwayne Wade, 7. Paul Pierce, 8. Nate Robinson, 9. Pau Gasol, 10. Dwight Howard, 11. Derrick Rose, 12. Ray Allen, 13. Steve Nash, 14. Shaquille O’Neal, 15. Carmelo Anthony.

Top 10 team jersey sales

1. Lakers, 2. Celtics, 3. Knicks, 4. Cavaliers, 5. Bulls, 6. Hornets, 7. Suns, 8. Heat, 9. Pistons, 10. Spurs.