Jason Collins No. 98 top-seller Tuesday

NBA

Don't be surprised when the NBA lists its best-selling jerseys that a uniform number yet to be worn is at or near the top of the list.

On Tuesday, the NBA Store began selling Jason Collins No. 98 jerseys online. Based on inquiries from fans on Monday, the online demand was expected to be high, perhaps, writes the New York Times, "unprecedented."

Vicky Picca, the N.B.A.’s senior vice president for licensing and business affairs, used the word "unprecedented" Monday to describe the inquiries from people interested in buying something with Collins’s name on it. On Tuesday, they can start making purchases, including T-shirts with Collins’s name that will be available only online.

Indeed by day's end, Darren Rovell tweeted that  Collins' jersey was the No. 1 selling jersey on NBA.com ... in its first day.  More than LeBron, more than KD or Kobe.

The Nets, however, will NOT offer the No. 98 jerseys at the Nets Store at Barclays Center until Collins is signed for the remainder of the year.  Barry Baum, the Nets chief communication officer, told the Times that historically, player-specific merchandise was not made available when a player was on a 10-day contract.

By choosing not to sell the jerseys at their store inside Barclays Center, the Nets are giving up profits. The Nets get 50 percent of sales at the store; only 3 percent --the same as every other NBA team-- if their gear is purchased through the NBA online site.  It's a conscious decision, said a league source: that the Nets don't want to appear to make money off Collins. "It's about basketball," said the source.  The source added that Nets CEO Brett Yormark decided against marketing the jerseys at the NetsStore.

Collins wore No. 46 on Sunday in Los Angeles because his signing was so sudden that the team didn't have time to put together No. 98.  Collins wears the high number to honor the memory of Matthew Shepard, the young gay student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered in 1998.

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