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Kobe Bryant tops LeBron James, Lakers rule them all

May 3, 2009 |  8:32 pm

Is Kobe Bryant willing to give Lakers fans the jersey of his own back? Maybe not, but you can join everybody else and buy one. Kobe Bryant is arguably the most loved and most hated player in the NBA. This season, he regained his place as the most worn.

Last year Bryant slipped to second on the list of most popular NBA jerseys, despite winning his first MVP award. He was temporarily displaced by Kevin Garnett, who guided his Boston Celtics to a championship over Bryant's Lakers. Garnett fell to fourth this year as Bryant returned to the top of the list. LeBron James was second and Chris Paul was third.

As usual, Bryant helped carry the Lakers to a winning performance. The team's merchandise outsold all others in 2008-09. It's a familiar place for the Lakers, who have been the top seller for six of the past seven seasons. They were edged out last year by the Celtics.

The results are based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and NBAStore.com, measured from the start of the season through the end of April. The league periodically reveals regional statistics, and over the years Bryant has dominated in important markets such as Europe and China (even outselling local hero Yao Ming).

-- Adam Rose

Photo: Is Kobe Bryant willing to give Lakers fans the jersey off his own back? Maybe not, but you can join everybody else and buy one. All the cool kids are doing it. Credit: Richard Hartog/Los Angeles Times.

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