If jersey sales are any indication, NBA fans are a forgiving bunch. According to the L.A. Times:
Kobe Bryant's surgically repaired right knee is apparently not the only thing in his life undergoing successful rehabilitation.
It seems Bryant's once-damaged image is also on the mend.
The jersey of the Lakers guard is once again the most popular in the NBA, the league announced today, moving it up three spots from the end of last season to bump the jersey of the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade from the top spot.
"It's exciting," Bryant said. "It's fun. It just shows that I have a lot of support out there. My fans have come to terms with embracing 24."
The Lakers are the most popular team in terms of merchandise for the fifth straight season.
I was going to mock Kobe's quote about "embracing 24," but realized it's not as clueless as it seems. NBA jerseys cost $44.99 to $199.99—hardly an impulse purchase. Buying one makes a statement of sorts.
In other Laker news, Phil Jackson raised circumspection to new heights in addressing whether the Lakers would be interested in the recently waived Chris Webber. According to the L.A. Times:
Coach Phil Jackson did not publicly acknowledge interest in the 14-year veteran, but you could almost see him nodding his head as he spoke in a series of theoreticals.
"In a hypothetical case like this, I'll tell you that we would have to do our research on a player, look at the games that he had played in, analyze the tapes to see what it looks like physically, all that type of stuff before we would even consider a player," he said. "Sometimes when we are in the course of looking at individuals around the league, two or three of our assistant coaches and one of the scouting staff will take a couple tapes home, and I'll look at them, and we'll confer with each other."
Jackson went on to assert that ozone in the atmosphere causes the sky to appear blue and the earth's rotation results in the sun rising from an eastward direction.