We’ve all read about the BetOnline survey that the Nets are now the most hated team in the NBA based on geotagged Twitter data that found Brooklyn the most disliked franchise. We all enjoyed that distinction and the subsequent survey that showed that the Nets “Big Three” are also among the most hated players.
Even Joe Tsai took note of the phenomenon. “I saw a poll that says we’re the most hated team around the country,” deadpanned the Nets owner in an interview with the Post.
But there are issues with said polls, like the percentage of Americans who actually geotag their tweets is infinitesimal, like less than one percent. Small sample much? Twitter’s geotag feature, in fact, is off by default. Users need to opt in to use it. Not really a great indicator now, is it?
So, let’s try to find some more realistic numbers. Let’s say, how many fans are plopping down their hard-earned dollars to dress themselves in Nets gear. Now, there, the evidence presents a different picture. You could say that in the U.S. and worldwide, the Nets are among the most LOVED,
Here’s the most recent data released by the NBA in North America, Europe and Japan, three big markets for the league. All of it is from March of this year.
- In the United States, the Nets are second in merchandise sales, behind only the Lakers. The “Big Three” are all in the top 10 of player sales: Kevin Durant at No. 3 (behind LeBron James and Luka Doncic), Kyrie Irving at No. 6 and James Harden No. 9. Moreover, no other team had more than two players in the top 15.
- In Great Britain and Europe, the Nets are third behind the Lakers and Bulls while their players rank Nos. 2 (Kevin Durant); 4 (James Harden); and 5 (Kyrie Irving). LeBron James, called the most hated in the BetOnline Twitter poll, is No. 1 in Europe. Steph Curry is No. 4. (No one hates Seth.)
- In Japan, the Nets are also second behind the Raptors, home of Yuta Watanabe, the Japanese native (and former Nets Summer League player). None of the Big Three make the top 10, unfortunately.
As they have in the past, the sales figures are based on sales at the NBAStore.com, the North American site; the NBAStore.eu, the European site; and NBAStore.jp/ja/ in Japan. (There’s no equivalent data for the NBA store in China — NBAStore.cn — but Durant and Harden, in particular, are very popular in the PRC and Irving is on the site’s front page. Oh yeah, Joe Tsai is the Nets owner.)
The data is from March which is before 1) Blake Griffin, long one of the NBA’s top sellers, started dunking again in Brooklyn. 2) only weeks after Harden’s Nets jerseys went on sale and 3) just after the Nets debuted one of it most popular jerseys, the Jean-Michel Basquiat numbers, were hung on the racks.
Now, there are fans of another team who will try to tell you that while the Nets may be popular nationally and internationally, that popularity does not extend to New York City. Really? New York City as a retail outlier!?! Please. (And by the way, NO Knicks players appeared in the top ten lists of gear sales in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe or Japan.)
Sure, hate us if you want, but love is the more powerful (and lucrative) emotion.