Last night, en route to a 2-0 series lead against the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, LeBron James surpassed Kareem Abdul Jabbar for second all-time in playoff points scored. He now trails only Michael Jordan who tops the list. Where signature sneakers are concerned, many consider James to trail Michael in that category too. Yet to James’ credit, he’s out in front with the exception of MJ.
His Nike LeBron signature series, now in its 14th edition, is currently the best-selling signature shoe in the NBA. Right alongside him in sales is his running mate, Kyrie Irving, who also has a best-selling signature shoe with his Nike Kyrie 3.
According to a new report from Forbes, Nike has sold more LeBron’s and Kyrie’s than any other signature shoe in the U.S. from an active player during the past 12 months ending March 2017. The report from Matt Powell goes on to say that Under Armour and Steph Curry have the third best-seller with the Curry 3, while his teammate Kevin Durant comes in at fourth with the Nike KD 9. This, in and of itself, is interesting, as these two comparatively small sports markets (Cleveland and Oakland) move the largest volume of signature shoe sales.
Adidas Basketball and James Harden crack the list at the fifth spot with Harden’s inaugural signature shoe — the adidas Harden Vol 1. Forbes, however, does report that the difference in sales between the Harden Vol. 1 and the KD 9 spans a great distance, meaning The Beard isn’t selling nearly as many shoes as Durant. Nonetheless, the story here is Nike’s market dominance in the basketball sector overall, and its newest top earner, Kyrie Irving.
Nike Brand President Trevor Edwards reports that since the Kyrie 3 launched in December 2016 for $120, it has been their top-selling performance basketball shoe. So while LeBron James’ signature line commands its own market share, and Jordan Brand owns more than 50% of the basketball shoe market, Kyrie is carving out a unique space of his own in a very short time span.
For more on this story visit the Kurt Badenhausen authored Forbes article here.