Two straight MVP wins (with a legitimate shot at a three-peat) is apparently not enough to translate into widespread marketability for one NBA star.
The NBA announced the best-selling jerseys leaguewide to this point of the season. Stephen Curry earned the No. 1 spot, while LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and Kevin Durant rounded out the top five. Here is the full list.
The NBA and NBPA today jointly announced that the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and the Los Angeles Lakers secured the top spots on the NBA’s Most Popular Jersey and Team Merchandise lists, respectively.
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— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) January 20, 2023
While there were not too many big surprises since virtually all the top spots went to the league’s cream of the crop stars, there was one notable absence — Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who failed to even crack the top 15.
Jokic is the back-to-back reigning MVP, is on the cusp of averaging a 25-11-10 triple-double (on a career-high 62.6 percent from the floor) and has led the Nuggets to the best record in the West this year at a sizzling 32-13. None of that is getting The Joker any love in jersey sales.
There are probably a couple of factors in play here. For all of Jokic’s many attributes (wicked passing ability, picturesque post-ups and stratospheric efficiency), he is likely better appreciated by basketball nerds than by the average fan. Jokic plays below the rim, is not especially fast or athletic and falls in the category of a player who is more awkward than graceful (though his Sombor Shuffle does qualify as a higher art form).
This feels like more of a Jokic-specific thing too since fellow international players Antetokounmpo (No. 3), Doncic (No. 4) and Joel Embiid (No. 9) featured prominently on the list of best-sellers. But for a simple guy who enjoys tending to his horse farm back home during the offseason, Jokic probably cares far more about winning than about being marketable.
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