Basketball numbers range from 0 to well the highest I can think of is Rodman’s 91, anything higher I apologise and please let me know.
A number to some basketball players is as important as the footwear that they have. Many numbers used by the pros are given to them by there clubs, some are a personal choice but have a story behind them. Some of my favourite stories are from quite famous players but none the less they are different to the story of “I just picked it”.
Michael Jordan went to the University of North Carolina, now this in its self is not news. His brother also played basketball and wore the number 45, Michael believed that his brother had quite an array of skills and looked up to him. Michael however only believed he had half the skills his brother had, so when picking a number he halved his brother’s number 45 to 22.5. This obviously has to be rounded up to 23 and the legend that is Michael Jordan and the number 23 was born.
Following on from that is the straight forward story of Lebron. As purely a homage to Jordan he picked 23 because it was the number of his hero, in fairness he’s done quite alright out of it and feels so passionately about the number that he has requested that all teams retire the number 23 as a mark of respect to the genius that is Michael Jordan.
Possibly less imaginatively or maybe more so depending on the person you are are the maths based gems of Kobe and Rodman. Rodman upon moving to the Bulls wanted number 10, unfortunately for him the Bulls had retired the 10 jersey of Bob Love the season before. So 9+1 became 10 and 91 became his number. Kobe’s is a similar story in equal parts respect and maths based. He picked 8 because at the Adidas Basketball camp he attended he was number 143 so 1+4+3 became 8, this all before he changed to 24 as he was a big fan of Mike D’Antoni who wore 24. So part homage, part simple maths.
Easily the best story is Wilt Chamberlain’s. Wilt wore 13, supposedly an unlucky number, well Wilt thought this too but believed it was unlucky for the opponents who faced him not for Wilt. Bearing in mind the honours Wilt achieved and the 100 points in one game, which is unlikely to be beaten who are we to argue with him.
These are some different cases where there is a story behind it but a lot of players follow the players they grew up watching hence the following:
Players who wore 32:
Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Jason Kidd, Karl Malone, Kevin McHale and Bill Walton
Players who wore 33:
Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Grant Hill, Alonzo Mourning, Scottie Pippen
Players who wore 34:
Ray Allen, Charles Barkley, Charles Oakley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Paul Pierce
3 numbers, many many great players. Countless awards, MVPs, championship rings, coincidence? Maybe or do those numbers inspire the player to be great. Who knows?
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