The NBA’s most-popular, best-selling jerseys by year (2005-2019)

most popular NBA jerseys for 2004-05 and 2005-06

A few times a season, the NBA releases a ranking of their top-selling jerseys for the season. If the last few seasons are any indication, we’ll usually get best-selling jersey rankings in December. The second time they release jersey numbers are in April as the NBA Playoffs begin. Then once more in June at the an end of the season.

Basketball jersey sales don’t just represent the NBA’s most-popular players for that particular season, but gives us a sense of the zeitgeist of the league from that season. Kind of like “oh yeah, Derrick Rose was a superstar and MVP that season” and “Was ‘Linsanity’ that long ago?”

Before we dive too deep into the importance of popular jersey sales lists, here is the NBA’s best selling jerseys from the last 14 NBA seasons.

The NBA's Most Popular Jerseys since 2004-05
Season Player Team Championship
2017-18 Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors Yes
2016-17 Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors Yes
2015-16 Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors No
2014-15 LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers Yes
2013-14 LeBron James Miami Heat No
2012-13 Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks No
2011-12 Derrick Rose Chicago Bulls No
2010-11 LeBron James Miami Heat No
2009-10 Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Yes
2008-09 Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Yes
2007-08 Kevin Garnett Boston Celtics Yes
2006-07 Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers No
2005-06 Dwyane Wade Miami Heat Yes
2004-05 Shaquille O'Neal Miami Heat No

NBA Jerseys: Popular NBA Players and Championship Contenders

There’s no surprises here on the list. We have Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James each with three appearances on the list. More often than not, the best selling jersey comes from a team that either won the championship, or was the in the Finals. Except for the unsexy-yet-successful Tim Duncan-led San Antonio Spurs. In this list, the Spurs won titles in 2004-05, 2006-07, and 2013-14 and still couldn’t overcome the popularity of Shaq, Kobe and LeBron.

The last several years has seen Curry and LeBron at the top of jersey sales. And it will be likely be between the two again this year with LeBron’s move out West. Despite some of the reception the King has received in Los Angeles, no doubt his Purple and Gold #23 jersey sales will be bolstered by playing with the Los Angeles Lakers, which is the second largest city in the United States by population, and the most profitable NBA franchise.

On the surface, this list doesn’t seem as they mean much of anything, but it does give us a sense of how NBA fans’ opinions on players may differ to those of sports writers, announcers and media folks. Case in point, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a sports writer singing the praises of Carmelo Anthony, but Melo has the most jersey sales in 2013.

Looking at the full list shows how quickly things can change for some players and gives us more appreciation for those that have remained on top over the years.

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