NEW YORK: Unprecedented demand for Cleveland Cavaliers merchandise after the team’s first NBA title lifted them atop team sales, the league announced on Thursday (Friday in Manila), but Golden State’s Stephen Curry topped jersey sales.
The Cavaliers edged Golden State 4-3 in the best-of-seven championship series, bringing Cleveland its first champion in any major sport since 1964 and boosting the club on global online league store sales.
Not since January of last year, near the start of LeBron James’ first season back in Cleveland after four seasons in Miami, had the Cavaliers topped the team sales chart.
Golden State ranked second in sales, followed in order by the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
NBA scoring leader Curry, who won his second consecutive Most Valuable Player award, topped the jersey sales list, as he has since the end of last season.
James ranked second after leading Cleveland’s astonishing comeback from 3-1 down to win the final, the greatest finals fightback in NBA history, to claim his third career title in his sixth consecutive finals appearance and seventh overall.
Kobe Bryant, the five-time NBA champion who retired from the Lakers in April, was third followed by two other NBA Finals participants, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Golden State’s Klay Thompson, both of whom will also play for the US team in next month’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook was sixth, followed by Golden State’s Draymond Green at his highest spot ever in seventh.
Kevin Durant, who joins the Warriors next season after leaving Oklahoma City in a blockbuster free agency move, was eighth, although he’s likely to jump as Golden State supporters pick up his new Warriors jersey.
San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Derrick Rose, who joins the New York Knicks next season after eight years in Chicago, round out the top 10.
The league did not release sales figures or income amounts.