With new number, Bryant back on top of jersey sales

Thursday, January 11, 2007

NEW YORK -- A change in uniform number put Kobe Bryant back on top of the NBA's most popular jersey list.

Bryant returned to the spot he held during the 2002-03 season, replacing Dwyane Wade, the league announced Wednesday.

The Lakers star changed from No. 8 to No. 24 this season, and the new jersey had the highest sales at the NBA Store in New York and on nbastore.com from the start of the season through Dec. 31.

Wade, who had been on top since May 2005, fell to No. 2, one spot above LeBron James. Allen Iverson, helped by his trade to Denver, jumped from seventh to fourth, and Nuggets teammate Carmelo Anthony rounded out the top five. Bryant moved up three spots from the end of last season.

Bryant helped the Lakers remain No. 1 in the team merchandise category for the fifth consecutive season. The NBA champion Heat moved up one spot to second.

Mutombo No. 2 in blocks

Dikembe Mutombo stuffed two shots by the Los Angeles Lakers in 3-minute span Wednesday night in Houston later to move past former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and into second place on the all-time blocked shots list.

The 40-year-old Mutombo had five blocks in all and matched a season high with 19 rebounds in the Houston Rockets' 102-77 win over the Lakers.

He now has 3,191 blocks, two more than Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time list.

"When I came into the league 16 years ago, I told myself that I just want to be remembered for one thing," Mutombo said, "just to be one of the great defensive players to ever play this game."

Mutombo is still 639 blocks from all-time leader, former Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon.

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