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LeBron James sells a lot of shoes… but not as many as Jordan

May 23, 2013, 8:43 AM EDT


LeBron James’ detractors are still plentiful and are still vocal — just follow the conversation on twitter during any Heat game. People will tell you how much they loathe LeBron and everything he stands for.

But they are buying his shoes.

Forbes Magazine broke down the numbers on domestic signature shoe sales (from and found the two-time MVP is blowing by the field like he blew by Paul George for a game-winning layup.

LeBron is a Nike guy and, as it has for years, Nike dominates the shoe sale market. Here are the top five signature shoe sales, according to Forbes:

LeBron James (Nike): $300 million
Kobe Bryant (Nike): $50 million
Carmelo Anthony (Jordan): $40 million
Kevin Durant (Nike): $35 million
Derrick Rose (Adidas): $25 million

Looks like LeBron is on top… until you compare him to Michael Jordan.

Jordan accounted for $2 billion in sales. Yes, billion with a “B.” That a decade after Jordan retired (and 15 years after what we like to think of as his retirement… we ignore the Wizards years). The Jordan brand accounts for three out of every four basketball shoes sold. Still.

Once again, LeBron is chasing Jordan’s legacy. But in this case, it’s Nike that wins.

(Thanks to Lang at’s All Ball blog for finding this story.)

  1. mungman69 - May 23, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    That was a great game to watch. Period.

  2. daddyghi - May 23, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    “two-time MVP is blowing by the field like he blew by Paul George for a game-winning layup”

    i thought he had 4 mvp trophies? or are we talking about a different trophies here?

  3. bucrightoff - May 23, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Umm, he didn’t blow by Paul George. George just had a terrible overplay, which LeBron took advantage of. But for most of the night George did a great job on LeBron.

    • fanofthegame79 - May 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Dude, he blew by Paul George.

      • bucrightoff - May 23, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        Yeah, kind of easy to do when LeBron is at least a full foot past George before its even in bounds because he’s overplaying the jumpshot (why?????). Maybe if Hibbert is in the middle you force the drive, but that was just a bad defensive play by George, not some incredible effort by LeBron.

      • fanofthegame79 - May 23, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        I didn’t say it was an incredible play by LeBron – I simply said he blew by Paul George, which is a fact. You’re right, George did over play LeBron, but that’s a mistake he now has to live with. And we don’t know what would have happened if Hibbert was in the game – his replacement Tyler Hansborough ended up covering Ray Allen in the corner for a potential 3-point shot. Maybe Hibbert would have been on that same switch and would not have been in the lane. We’ll never know.

  4. jobotjones - May 23, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Everyone on the top 5 is sponsored by Nike with the exception of Rose who was in last.
    Talk about a stranglehold on the market.

  5. sdelmonte - May 23, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    I wonder why Jordan, after a rather sad end to his career in Washington and his really unsuccessful time as a rather difficult owner, hasn’t started to lose some of his golden touch with the public. The truth seems to be that he is as human and fallible as the rest of us, and not really that nice a guy. And yet, he is still Jordan,

  6. rodge1 - May 23, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    LeBron is not chasing anyone’s legacy but creating his own.

    • 1972sxwife - May 23, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      He’ll never catch Jordan in anything! Shoes, rings, class, etc…

  7. jbeagles23 - May 23, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Yea George did an awesome job letting him put up 30 and driving by him for dishes on the baseline on his way to 10 assists

  8. jbeagles23 - May 23, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    The bulls defence made it harder for James cause their bigs are athletic

  9. hpeters77 - May 23, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    I seconded that he blew by him

  10. mungman69 - May 23, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Left him in his dust.

  11. gmsalpha - May 23, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    The LeBron shoes are awfully nice looking, I’ll give you that! I happen to think the Roses are the next best looking of the signatures. And the Carmelo Anthonys are just butt-ugly! Obviously that opinion is not shared by a lot of basketball-playing folks out there, which is fine. And the low-tops that Kobe has going on right now don’t look good on a court. They remind me of running shoes more than anything.

    Nike will continue to dominate the basketball market for probably the next…forever. Lol.

    But I can see a tiny narrowing of the gap with Kobe retiring soon and the rising star of Damian Lillard, along with perhaps new life for John Wall. But Nike will probably always dominate this field, which is fine because quite frankly, their designers are better.

    • Kurt Helin - May 24, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      I wear Rose Adi-Zeros when I play, they’re my personal favorites.

  12. jtbsteeler - May 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Michael Josrdan started from the bottom and never left. Lebron started from the bottom and jumped to the Heat and Wade for “help”. No one was beating MJ in his prime. NO ONE and I’m a Knick fan.

  13. mannyfresh209 - May 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    That play call, albeit definitely wasn’t designed to get a layup, worked to perfection. Especially considering Indiana’s personnel on that last sequence.

    LeBron would’ve gotten a great shot no matter what. George certainly overplayed him which enabled the layup. But, even had Hibbert been there, as soon as Bron started crashing to the rim, Bosh did as well. Had Hibbert been there to try blocking LeBron, Bosh gets the easy pass from Bron and lays it in, WIDE OPEN.

    Great play call by Spo

    • mannyfresh209 - May 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Don’t believe, ask Birdman how many jumpers he hit last night.

  14. justaregulardoode - May 23, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    how can you compare a guy that sells one type of shoes(lebron 10)? to a guy that had multiple shoes come out in one year(jordan 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, 13 etc..)? You can’t chase anyone sellign that many different shoes.

    • justaregulardoode - May 23, 2013 at 5:24 PM


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