Marisa Marcellino

Sister Jean: The Most Popular Nun and Bobblehead

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By now if you’re living and breathing, you’ve heard of Sister Jean. But, did you know the 98-year-old Loyola of Chicago basketball team chaplain is the best-selling bobblehead of all time?

That’s right, EVER.

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum started selling the Sister Jean bobblehead on Friday, April 23. One week later, on Good Friday, they had sold over 13,000.

It gets better…a Sister Jean bobblehead had been sold to people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada just 48 hours after hitting the market.

And, 65% of the sales have come from outside of Illinois, where the team is located.

The museum’s Co-Founder and CEO Phil Sklar said, “Most bobbleheads we’re happy to sell 500 or a 1000. This one’s really captured the imagination and the excitement of people across the country.”

Sister Jean knocked out the Clemson Tiger 2016 Football National Championship bobblehead for the top spot, selling four times it in just a week.

Unfortunately, the bobbleheads won’t be ready until June. That’s due to production time as well as “making sure the scarf and the little details are perfect,” according to Sklar.

So, if you’re looking for one for your Final Four watch party you’ll probably have to turn to eBay, as the Sister Jean bobblehead first originated as a promotional give-away at a Loyola Chicago basketball game by the athletic department in 2011 (Those are currently selling for upwards of $450!).

After the success of the Ramblers in this year’s NCAA tournament, people wanted a Sister Jean bobblehead (because, why wouldn’t they?) but couldn’t find them, so the Loyola Athletic Department told the Chicago Tribune they were looking to make a new version.

Sklar said, “We caught wind of that and the rest is history.”

The bobbleheads have sold at an average rate of 1.5 per minute over the first week and Sklar expects to see a spike this weekend with the Final Four.

A portion of the proceeds benefits the Loyola Athletic Fund and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The bobbleheads kicked off a Sister Jean merchandise explosion across the Internet that now includes, socks, scarves, “Air Jean” t-shirts and more.

The team that has never stopped believing embodies the perfect Cinderella story and could become the first no. 11 seed to ever win the National Championship.

The team not only has talent and grit but two players that have played together since third grade in Clayton Custer and Ben Richardson and Missouri Valley Coach of the Year, Porter Moser.

But, the Ramblers have the ultimate x factor in Sister Jean and she’s transcending the game of basketball of which she thinks God is probably a fan (NCAA over NBA to be exact).

She’s been the team chaplain since 1994 and leads the team in a pre-game prayer before each game, always making sure to pray for the other team as well.

Friday, she held a packed press conference prior to Loyola’s Final Four game. Sklar said he spoke to a member of the Loyola Athletic Department who mentioned the NCAA estimated that about 2x more people showed up than any other press conference in Final Four history.

As for Sister Jean’s thoughts on the bobblehead, she said in Friday’s press conference, “I think the company could retire when they’re finished making my bobbleheads.”

She added, “This is the most fun I’ve had in my life.”

And it’s looking like there’s a future for the Sister Jean bobblehead, Sklar thinks there’s a good chance she goes platinum, “similar to the record.”

He said they will most likely make a special one for her and for the museum that would be solid platinum and hinted it could also be available to the public. So, bobblehead fans stay tuned!