Crawford’s No. 17 has been the best-selling referee jersey since the late 1990s when the high-profile official really began making his presence known late in big games.
“Joey is one of the biggest names in our game, and this shows it again,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “Lots of kids want to get Joey Crawford jerseys.”
In fact, measured against NBA player jerseys, Crawford this year trailed only LeBron James and Kevin Durant — and only by a small margin. If the current trend continues, he will likely have the No. 1 jersey, player or referee, next year.
“Kids are smart. They know they have almost zero shot of ever playing in the NBA,” said Wall Street Journal sports business writer Matt Polanco. “So why buy a LeBron or Durant jersey if you’re some short, unathletic, unpopular white kid with a bad personality? And if you are that, who better to look up to than Joey Crawford? So many kids today dream of growing up, becoming a referee and impacting the outcome of important games with whatever whim or call they feel like making in the final seconds.”
An NBAShop spokesman also admitted that a “portion” of Crawford’s jersey sales are due to NBA fans buying them to burn them or use for effigies.
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(photo via Getty/SportsRant)