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Gil is No. 8

As noted in Gil's embargo-busting blog yesterday, his jersey is now the NBA's eighth-best seller, approximately. Takeover, baby. Hard to argue with the top six being ahead of him. Very easy to argue against No. 7. But as noted by the NBA in its release, "The rankings are based on jersey sales at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City and since the start of the 2006-07 NBA season through Dec. 31, 2006." So I'll chalk that one up to NYC bias. Here's the Top 15:

1. Kobe Bryant
2. Dwyane Wade
3. LeBron James
4. Allen Iverson
5. Carmelo Anthony
6. Steve Nash
7. Vince Carter
8. Gilbert Arenas
9. Shaquille O'Neal
10. Stephon Marbury
11. Dirk Nowitzki
12. Tracy McGrady
13. Paul Pierce
14. Chris Paul
15. Tim Duncan

At the least, this would appear to render moot my extreme anguish over that line in last week's WashTimes profile:

Moreover, according to Neil Schwartz , director of business development for SportsScan, Arenas jerseys do not rank in the top 50 in sales nationally.

"Gilbert Arenas doesn't have a large national following," Schwartz said. "It's really all about players and visibility, getting to the playoffs, winning the championship. Right now he doesn't have that."

Ted Leonsis take note: the bloggers were way ahead of the press release writers and sports marketing experts on this one. At the time of my anguish, I received a comforting e-mail from Bethlehem Shoals of FreeDarko and FanHouse:

btw that quote about arenas's lack of national popularity. i used to think he was just some cult hero that the blogosphere created, but i'm beginning to see that madison avenue and the network guys are the only ones who don't get it. he's really a hero of the people, man of the streets, etc. . . he gets respect from all sorts of disparate quarters because he embodies so many things. underdog, bad-ass, weirdo, professional, black man, latino, high roller, video game dork. . that's like the defintion of complex.

It would appear that's sales figures now more closely match this reality. Take that, Neil Schwartz.

Notes: The Wiz failed to crack the Top 10 in team sales (led by the uncreative quintet of Lakers-Heat-Knicks-Bulls-Cavs). Gil and Chris Paul were the only new additions to the Top 15. Sales figures do not include original t-shirt creations by Howie the Hype, Howie the Hype2 (Hibachi shirts!), FreeDarko, FreeDarko2 (Swag shirts!), The Wizznutzz or Unsilent Majority.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 10, 2007; 11:57 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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I went to see the Clips v. Celtics when I was in LA over the holiday break and the very vocal Clippers fan sitting beside me, a woman probably in her early 50's, practically started jumping up and down when I told her I lived in D.C. She went on and on about how Gilbert was her favorite non-Clipper, how he "was the man!" and how much fun the Wiz are to watch. And everyone else in the section was nodding along in agreement the whole time. And then they all went back to yelling at Mike Olowakandi. But yeah, I'd agree with Shoals.

Posted by: leafblower | January 10, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

First let me say I personally am a Michael Wilbon fan and I am totally impressed with how he leads his life and for those who constantly hate on Michael, why not try and contact him and get some pointers on how to live a life in which you speak and write the truth regardless of who the words are intended to. God bless you Michael and by the way you and your wife make an outstanding couple and as long as the bad trees keep growing you just keep cutting their behinds down also for the past 7 years your columns have been a great part of each breakfast. The last thing I have to say is thank you Michael for keeping it real we the people need the truth.

Posted by: Kelvin D. Mercer Sr. | January 18, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

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