The last time a lot of people wanted to wear a Bulls jersey was… oh, yea, back when the Bobcats owner played for them.
Derrick Rose has a long way to go before he is mentioned in the same breath with Michael Jordan, but he is filling in that gap in some ways. For example, he led the NBA in jersey sales, the league reported. These are sales at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue and on NBAStore.com from last April to now.
Rose was fifth last year but his win as MVP and the Bulls playoff run last year vaulted his popularity and status among fans.
Second place went to Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who sold more jerseys during the regular season than anyone. Like the couple weeks of Linsanity itself it was a perfect storm of Lin being in New York and also reaching deeply into the Asian American demographic.
Rounding out your top five are Kobe Bryant (who had been No. 1), LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
In terms of team merchandise, it was the Bulls in first followed by the Knicks, Lakers, Heat and Mavericks.
Both the Knicks and Celtics had three players in the top 15 in player jersey sales. For New York, Amare Stoudemire joined Lin and ‘Melo. For Boston it was Rajon Rondo (No. 10), Ray Allen (No. 12) and Paul Pierce (No. 13).
One other interesting note: the Clippers had two players in the top 15 with Blake Griffin (No. 9) and Chris Paul (No. 15). The last time the Clippers featured two players was in April 2002 with Darius Miles and Lamar Odom.
NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.
The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.
Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.
Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.
Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.
Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.
Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.
The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.
Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.
But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.
Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.
The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.
He might get back far sooner than that.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.