Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has retained the No. 1 spot on the NBA's most popular jerseys list, a ranking he has held since the start of the '08-09 season. The rankings are based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and NBAStore.com since the start of the '09-10 season.

Kobe is on top (don't say it!), LeBron James'(notes) Cavs' thread is second, Magic man Dwight Howard(notes) is third, and checking in at number four, ahead of superstar Dwyane Wade(notes), is Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose(notes).

The biggest surprise, of course, is Rose, who climbed seven spots from his No. 11 ranking last year.

Matt Watson of NBA FanHouse wonders if Rose's jump can be credited to his virgin playoff performance; "the Bulls aren't even as good as they were last year, but fans likely remember how Rose helped force the Celtics to an epic seven-game, seven-overtime series."

I'm sure there's some truth to that, but I have a much simpler explanation: the Bulls' jerseys just look good. In fact, I'd argue that if Hornets guard Chris Paul(notes) played in Chicago's stylin' red-and-black — instead of this nightmare — he'd probably be top five material, too. The actual design of the jersey must play some small part. This is fashion, after all.

Here's a look at the Top 15:

1. Kobe Bryant(notes), Lakers
2. LeBron James, Cavaliers
3. Dwight Howard, Magic
4. Derrick Rose, Bulls
5. Dwyane Wade, Heat
6. Kevin Garnett(notes), Celtics
7. Chris Paul, Hornets
8. Paul Pierce(notes), Celtics
9. Shaquille O'Neal(notes), Cavaliers
10. Pau Gasol(notes), Lakers
11. Carmelo Anthony(notes), Nuggets
12. Steve Nash(notes), Suns
13. David Lee(notes), Knicks
14. Allen Iverson(notes), 76ers
15. Kevin Durant(notes), Thunder

In related NBA cash news, the Lakers once again top the list of most popular NBA team merchandise. The Celtics hold on to the No. 2 spot for the second year in a row and the Cavaliers move up from No. 4 last season to No. 3.

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