New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who didn’t have his name on a National Basketball Association jersey when the regular season began, ended the campaign with the league’s best seller.
Lin, the Harvard University graduate who twice was cut by other NBA teams, went from bench warmer to star after scoring 25 points in a Feb. 4 win over the New Jersey Nets. The Knicks, who had lost 11 of 13 games, reeled off seven straight wins under his direction, spawning an international craze known as “Linsanity.”
Lin, 23, hasn’t played since the end of March after undergoing knee surgery. He finished the regular season averaging 14.6 points and 6.2 assists per game.
Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls had the top-selling jersey from April 2011 until today, the league said, based on sales at the NBA Store in New York and on NBAStore.com. Lin, who was signed by the Knicks on Dec. 27 -- two days after the lockout-shortened season began-- was the regular season’s No. 1 seller.
Rose, whose jersey climbed to No. 1 from No. 5 last year, helped the Bulls earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference this season. Chicago is 49-16 with one contest remaining, and Rose has averaged 21.8 points and 7.9 assists per game.
He was followed by Lin, then Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, who has had the NBA’s top-selling jersey six different years, ranked third. The Miami Heat’s LeBron James was fourth, and the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony came in fifth.
The Heat’s Dwyane Wade was sixth; Dirk Nowitzki, who led the Dallas Mavericks to an NBA championship last season, was seventh; the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant was eighth; the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin was ninth; and Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo completed the top 10.
The Bulls had the league’s most popular merchandise, followed by the Knicks, Lakers, Heat and Mavericks.
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