The marketing rise of Giannis Antetokounmpo hit another milestone on Tuesday, as the Milwaukee Bucks power forward finished fourth in the league in jersey sales for the first three months of the season.
The “Greek Freak” made his debut among the league’s best-selling jerseys at No. 14 last January. By season’s end, he was at No. 9 and, on Tuesday, when the league published rankings of the best-sellers on the NBA’s website from October through December, Antetokounmpo had passed Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis, who finished fourth and sixth in the past two seasons, into the top five.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who’s finished first the past two seasons, is still in the lead, followed by Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Warriors forward Kevin Durant. Porzingis is now fifth.
Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons make their debut on the list at No. 6 and No. 8, respectively. The two helped the 76ers land at the No. 3 spot among teams, behind the Warriors and the Cavaliers, for the first time since the 2003-04 season. The Lakers and the Knicks round out the top five.
Irving finished last regular season fifth in the league. His Celtics jersey is the 12th most sold in the league over the past three months.
It’s not just Giannis jerseys that are flying off the shelves. A Bucks representative told ESPN that, from July 1 through Monday, the number of Antetokounmpo items bought is up 89 percent as compared to the same period last year, while sales are up 130 percent.
The 23-year-old Antetokounmpo is averaging 28.3 points a game, behind only Houston’s James Harden (32.3). On Monday he had his first 20-point, 20-rebound performance (27 points, 20 rebounds) in a 104-95 win over Washington.
Antetokounmpo is also second in All-Star voting in the Eastern Conference behind James.