Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade will top the league's best-selling jersey list when it is released Thursday. The list includes sales from the NBA store in Manhattan and on NBA.com from the last three months. Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson ranks second and James ranks third.
Dubbed "Flash" for his quick moves on the court, Wade's charisma off the hardwood has made him one of the league's most marketable superstars. He has endorsement deals with Converse, Sean John and Topps, and he will appear in a Gatorade commercial in February. The 23-year-old has been featured on the cover of "NBA Live '06" as well as in countless magazines, including People, which named him to its "50 Most Beautiful" list in April.
Wade's shoe, the "Wade," is the fifth most popular signature basketball shoe behind shoes bearing the names of Anthony, Tracy McGrady, James and Michael Jordan, according to SportsScanINFO, a market retail tracking firm. The shoes, retailing at $90, were the second best-selling shoe on Amazon.com from Nov. 1-Nov. 22, according to the Web site.
Wade currently ranks fifth in the league in scoring, with 26.7 points per game. Wade also ranks third in the league in steals and 12th in assists.
Led by strong jersey sales of Wade and Shaquille O'Neal, who placed sixth on the list, the Miami Heat lead the team jersey sales rankings for the first time since the NBA started compiling the list five years ago.
Despite some marketers saying that Kobe Bryant's appeal has waned, Bryant came in at number five on the list. Despite his troubles, embattled Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest, who has demanded a trade, appeared for the first time on the list, coming in at No. 22.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.firstname.lastname@example.org.