The Los Angeles Lakers have endured a difficult 2016-2017 season, fading fast after a promising start. The injury bug has run rampant, robbing Los Angeles of the consistency and chemistry that was the source of their early-season success.
Despite their struggles, the Lakers brand appears to still be strong. According to NBA.com, they rank third in the league in terms of team merchandise sold:
The Warriors hold on as the top-selling team, followed by the Cavaliers at No. 2, the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 3, the Chicago Bulls at No. 4 and the New York Knicks at No. 5.
In terms of individual player merchandise no Laker ranks in the top 15, which isn’t a surprise given the fact that the team currently doesn’t have a superstar on their roster. If they either land a superstar or develop current players into one we can expect to see that person rise up the ranks very quickly given the massive size of the Lakers fan base.
In fact, it’s a testament to the dedication of Lakers fans that they are able to rank so highly in team sales. Los Angeles has missed the playoffs for the past three seasons and appears to be heading towards a fourth. Superstar guard Kobe Bryant retired last season, leaving veteran forward Metta World Peace as the sole remaining link to the team’s last championship in 2010.
Moreover, each season has included a nerve-wracking experience during the draft lottery due to the Lakers still owing protecting picks to the Philadelphia 76ers as a result of the disastrous Steve Nash trade. Thus far they have managed to hang onto their selections, but at some point the bill will come due, and fans won’t have an exciting young rookie to rally around.
Still, season after season, Lakers fans patiently return. We can only hope they don’t have to wait too much longer to finally cheer for a winner again.