In team sports, players always wear sports uniform with their number on it so that spectators and statisticians alike can identify them right away. If the player is popular and talented, there is a greater chance that the jersey number would be attributed to him. In fact, retired and hall-of-fame players in the National Basketball Association have their jersey numbers retired and hung up in the rafters of their home arena. Here are the ten most popular jersey numbers in the NBA:
1. Jersey number 23
We always think of His Airness Michael Jordan when we see his red Chicago Bulls jersey. While it is the most popular jersey number of all time, it is not the most worn jersey number in the NBA right now. In fact, only ten players wore number 23 last season alone and with LeBron James going for jersey number 6 (ironically, another Jordan number). James said that players should not wear number 23 anymore as an homage to MJ.
2. Jersey number 24
Though Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant may have one-upped Jordan with the jersey number, he still has to win two more championships to overtake the Hall of Famer. It’s a debate on whether which is popular: the athletic Bryant that once wore jersey number 8 or the veteran Bryant who’s trying to break into basketball immortality.
3. Jersey number 3
Great and talented guards wore this jersey number. Among the finest players who ever donned their sports uniforms with this number are New Orleans Hornets top guard Chris Paul, Miami Heat spitfire Dwayne Wade, and former MVP and scoring champion Allen Iverson.
4. Jersey Number 32
If you flip Jordan’s jersey number then you are talking about the likes of Lakers showtime maestro Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Utah Jazz legend Karl “The Mailman” Malone, and then-Orlando Magic poster boy Shaquille O’Neal.
5. Jersey Number 33
When you go one-up higher then you are in company with all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Boston Celtics talisman Larry Bird, former New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing, Phoenix Suns ironman Grant Hill, and Jordan teammate Scottie Pippen.
6. Jersey Number 34
On the way up, Celtics captain Paul Pierce, former MVP Charles Barkley, and two-time champion Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon take the famous number 34 basketball jerseys. Shaq also won his championships with the Lakers on the same jersey number.
7. Jersey Number 6
James and legendary Philadelphia Sixers high-flyer Julius “Dr. J” Erving had their famous jersey number changes of all time. Also included in the illustrious players who wore their sports uniform with the number 6 is 11-time Celtic champion Bill Russell.
8. Jersey Number 1
Who wants to be number 1? There is a long line of players who wore this jersey number and this includes former Magic playmakers Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and Tracy McGrady, Knicks prized acquisition Amar’e Stoudermire, Bulls super point guard Derrick Rose, and legendary Milwaukee Bucks virtuoso Oscar Robertson.
9. Jersey Number 15
Flashy forwards wear this jersey number with Denver Nuggets franchise player Carmelo Anthony and ex-Toronto Raptor Vince Carter. They are accompanied with Hall-of-Famers Hal Greer and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe. Even Lakers defensive specialist Metta World Peace formerly known as Ron Artest joined the list of players who wore the jersey number 15.
10. Jersey Number 13
This is not a bad-luck number especially if you are Wilt "The Big Dipper" Chamberlain. How many guys who wear jersey number 13 who scored 100 points in a single game?