Basketball fans—particularly those in Los Angeles—love them some Kobe Bryant. It’s the man’s unmatched will. His icy demeanor in clutch moments. His patented turnaround. His trash talk. His unforgettable quips off the court. His commercial with Kanye. It’d be hard to deny that Kobe is an American icon.
Accordingly, it should have been expected that AEG, the company that owns the Staples Center, would cash out when the Lakers retired Kobe’s jersey on Monday night. And cash out it did: AEG sold $824,000 in Kobe merchandise at four locations that day, according to AEG’s VP of merchandise, Sean Ryan, as reported by ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell.
The Lakers retired both of Bryant’s numbers: 8 and 24. The sales number, therefore, was perfectly ironic.
"You couldn’t make that number up," Ryan said.
The number comes from sales at four locations—the Staples Center ($616,000), a New Era hat store ($39,000), the Lakers store in El Segundo ($22,000), and the World Wide Web ($147,000).
At the time of Rovell’s report, nobody had bought one of the limited-edition hats with an ostrich brim that were offered for a completely reasonable price of…$5,824.08.
The day’s sales total sounds like an astronomical figure, but AEG sold even more—way more, as a matter of fact—on the day of Bryant’s last game. It sold $1.9 million in Kobe gear that day in April 2016.