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September 2021 for mikekuhn.com Blog

Gophers women s basketball coach Lindsay Whalen happy to give No. 13 jersey to Gadiva Hubbard

The sixth year senior will be the first Gophers player to wear No. 13 since Whalen led Minnesota to the 2004 Final Four
Lindsay Whalen put her No. 13 jersey into circulation last November, but it won t get a workout until Gadiva Hubbard wears it this season.

Hubbard, a sixth year senior who joined the Minnesota Golden Gophers women s basketball team before Whalen became the team s head coach in 2018, will be the first Gophers player to wear No. 13 since Whalen wore it while leading Minnesota to the Final Four in 2004, most likely when the Gophers begin their season Oct. 31 against Minnesota Crookston at Williams Arena.

Hubbard is one of 12 players on the 2021 22 roster returning from a team that went 8 13 overall, 7 11 in the Big Ten during a COVID shortened season in 2020 21. She averaged 11.1 points and 3.5 rebounds as a redshirt junior before taking the extra season allowed by the NCAA because of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic last year.

 I remember overhearing  Diva say that was her number, and she was told that she couldn t wear it. So, I said,  We re going to change that,    Whalen said Tuesday after the Gophers  first practice of the season.  She stuck with me all four years, and it s a number she wanted to wear. 

Whalen was a three time All America player at Minnesota and led the Gophers to Sweet 16 and Final Four appearances. She won four WNBA titles with the Lynx, who officially retired her No. 13 jersey in June 2019. Her No. 13 is one of six  honored  jerseys hanging in the rafters at Williams Arena. The others belong to her former teammate Janel McCarville (4), Rachel Banham (1), Linda Roberts (21), Carol Ann Shudlick (42) and Laura Coenen (44).
Junior point guard Jasmine Powell wears No. 4, sophomore point guard Alexi Smith wears No. 1 and sophomore guard Caroline Strande wears No. 21.

 I like to give (Hubbard) a hard time, like when she ll make a good pass and I ll say,  There used to be a 13 here   who could make that pass,  Whalen said.  I can t remember her name. It was too long ago.   

Hubbard, an off guard, missed all of her junior season with a foot injury, and missed five games last season with an ankle injury. She is taking graduate courses this season.

 We ve been here four years together,  Whalen said.  We ve been through thick and thin, so I couldn t think of anybody better to wear it. 
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Wisconsin men s basketball: Michael Finley to have jersey retired

The Badgers legend joins Frank Kaminsky and Ab Nicholas in the rafters of the Kohl Center.
An NBA All Star and NBA Champion, there are few basketball honors that Michael Finley hasn t won. As of this coming basketball season, however, he will add one more to his career scrapbook. The Wisconsin Badgers announced on Friday that Finley s No. 24 jersey will hang from the rafters in the Kohl Center forever.
Finley s No. 24 will become the third men s basketball jersey to hang in the Kohl Center rafters alongside Ab Nicholas  No. 8 and Frank Kaminsky s No. 44. It is important to remember that the No. 24 will remain in circulation at Wisconsin, but Finley s name and number will be forever celebrated.

 It s a great honor,  Finley said.  It represents a lot, not just to me but to all the teammates I had. We have a bond. It represents those guys and the students that were there when I was. They can say, I went to school with that guy, and he represented the university in a great way. 
Here are Finley s other career highlights, as compiled by the UW Athletic Department:

The first Badger to score 2,000 points, Finley s collegiate career (1991 95) coincided with the rebirth of Wisconsin men s basketball. He helped lead the Badgers to the 1994 NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin s first appearance in 47 years.

The Maywood, Illinois native was a two time All Big Ten selection and a three time Associated Press honorable mention All American, rising to 12th on the Big Ten s all time scoring list by the end of his career. The only Badger to score 500 points in three different seasons and average better than 20 points per game in three different years, Finley was inducted into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.

A first round NBA draft pick by the Phoenix Suns in 1995, Finley was named to the NBA s All Rookie Team in 1996. He earned All Star selections in 2000 and 2001 as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. That was during a stretch of five straight seasons where Finley averaged at least 20.0 points per game.

Finley helped the San Antonio Spurs win an NBA championship in 2007, starting all 20 playoff games and averaging 11.3 points per game during the championship run. During his 15 year NBA career, Finley played for the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics, making the playoffs 10 times. He finished his NBA career with 17,306 points (15.7 per game) and ranks among the top 20 in NBA history in career 3 pointers made.
 Michael Finley s impact on Wisconsin basketball is as profound as any athlete we ve had and I m thrilled that we are able to honor him by retiring his jersey,  athletic director Chris McIntosh said.  Finley s fingerprints are all over the revival of our program in the 1990s, and his legacy is alive in the incredible success we ve enjoyed over the past 30 years. Finley has spent his life serving as an incredible ambassador for not only Badger basketball, but also for our university in general. We can t wait to welcome him back to the Kohl Center later this season. 

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The 5 top-selling NFL jerseys: Hint, they re all QBs. But are Trevor and Tua on the list?

These are the five top-selling NFL jerseys so far this season, according to Fantatics.com, the NFL s e-commerce partner.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen
Kind of a surprise considering the Buffalo metro area has only about 1.1 million people, but anyone who has been to Buffalo can smell the fans  desperation for a winner, and it s as aromatic as a chunky Buffalo chicken wing from the Anchor Bar. Appearing in four Super Bowls with no wins just amplifies that desperation. And Allen has given reason for Upstate New York folks to be optimistic: as a starter, he s led the Bills to its first 10-win season since 1999, then followed that up by leading Buffalo to its first division title and playoff win since 1995.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones
Tom who? Cam who? Janet Jackson said it best: "What have you done for me lately?" In the case of Tom Brady and the recently released Cam Newton, not much. So Patriot Nation is all-in on moving on. When Tom led the Pats to six Super Bowls, his jersey was always among the top sellers. When Cam Ied a very mediocre Pats team last season, his jersey was among the top sellers. What s all this tell us about jersey sales? Who knows. Maybe New Englanders just need a lot of layers in the winter months.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
I guess the only surprise here is that "old" Tom is No. 3. What else can you do to make No. 1 if winning seven Super Bowls (including last year) isn t enough? Then again, the 44-year-old Tom s most fervent fan base likely are members of  AARP and no matter what the occasion, a 55-year-old wearing an NFL jersey is a bit, eh, ... we ll leave it at that.

BTW, for fun s sake, what was the Billboard No.1 song in 1977, the year Tom was born? Hint, there s a South Florida connection ...
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields
Another crazy, devoted fan base that gets further and further away from its way-old glory days and its only Super Bowl win in 1986. Those Walter Payton and Dick Butkus jerseys do wear out after a while. And Chi-town fans see a winning future with the exciting Fields, whose last name works well at their home stadium (Soldier Field).
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes
Mmmm. Is the magic starting to slide already for Mahomes, the Super Bowl-winning MVP from two years ago? Doubtful. Chances are more likely that too many people already have Mahomes  jersey, since it s been the top-selling jersey for much of the past two years. 
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawerence
The Hair is all the rage in Duval County and the No. 1 pick in the draft likely will make an impact this year in some way. But it usually all depends on the Ws so if they start adding up, so will his jersey sales.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa
Rumors swirled in the off-season around the Dolphins possibly looking at Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, which tells you pretty much why Tua s not on the list.

But see above (re: Trevor). If Tua starts wracking up some victories, it won t be long before the sales of his jersey reach the actual number on his jersey,

Posted in news

Hurts jersey sales skyrocket to No. 2 in NFL after win

Jalen Hurts is expected to get the 2021 season to convince the Eagles' front office he can be their franchise quarterback, and while we don't know what the organization's leadership is thinking after one game, it's pretty clear how fans are feeling.
Look no further than the absolutely insane increase in Hurts jersey sales after the Birds marched down to Atlanta and stomped the Falcons, 32 6, to open the season behind an extremely impressive performance from Hurts.

Fanatics, the sports apparel company whose CEO is Sixers managing partner Michael Rubin, told ESPN on Tuesday that Hurts jersey sales saw a 500% increase after the Week 1 win, the largest increase of any player in the NFL.

And Hurts now sits No. 2 overall in the entire league in jersey sales, behind only Patriots quarterback and fellow former Alabama gunslinger Mac Jones.

Unsurprisingly, Eagles rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith also had a big bump in sales over the weekend, shooting up 166% after his excellent debut, ESPN reports.

Hurts completed 27 of 35 pass attempts against Atlanta, throwing for 264 yards and three touchdowns while also running seven times for 62 yards. Smith caught six passes for a team high 71 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles face the 49ers on Sunday in Week 2, a team with another one of the best selling jerseys in the NFL: rookie quarterback (and current backup) Trey Lance.

If you're headed to the Linc this weekend, get ready to see a lot of No. 1 and No. 6 jerseys in the tailgate lots and on the concourses. It's a new era.
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Jersey Assurance. Now Jerseys Are Trade Resistant.