Kobe Bryant the king of global jersey sales, internet fans
NEW YORK—Kobe Bryant is the NBA’s top international star according to global jersey sales figures released on Thursday by the league and internet interest as seen in the NBA’s first social media awards.
The Los Angeles Lakers guard, a five-time NBA champion, had the most jersey sales beyond US borders during the 2011-2012 season in the first release of international jersey sales figures.
Bryant, Chicago’s Derrick Rose and Miami’s LeBron James topped the global sales list and those of China and Europe with James surpassing Rose for the second-best jersey sales figures in Latin America.
Bryant, who helped the 2008 US team win Olympic gold at Beijing, topped the Chinese sales chart for the sixth year in a row and proved a hit in the NBA’s new Social Media Awards.
The Lakers star won the Trendsetter award as the NBA player with the most mentions on Twitter this season and the Thumbs-Up award whose Facebook page or posts received the most “likes”.
Awards for the biggest increase in Twitter and Facebook popularity went to Asian-American star Jeremy Lin, whose 38 points for New York in a February victory over the Lakers helped make that game the most popular in a social media fan vote.
Lin, whose parents are from Taiwan, was a hit with US jersey buyers but did not figure on the global lists. Rose led the US jersey sales totals released earlier this season.
Boston’s Kevin Garnett was fourth in international jersey sales, followed in order by Orlando’s Dwight Howard, Miami’s Dwyane Wade, Boston’s Rajon Rondo, New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City.
Non-US players were led by Spain’s Pau Gasol of the Lakers in 11th and German forward Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas in 12th. New York’s Amare Stoudemire was 13th followed by two other non-US players, Frenchman Tony Parker of San Antonio and Spaniard Ricky Rubio of Minnesota.
In China, Howard was fourth and Rondo fifth. In Europe, Garnett was fourth with Howard fifth.
In Latin America, Garnett was fourth and Wade fifth.
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