NBA Athlete Number 4 - Adrian Dantley

NBA Number 4. A popular one for sure. Some of the NBA greats who have worn this jersey number include: Joe Dumars, Charles Barkley (not primary), Rick Barry (not primary), Michael Finley, Ron Harper, Steve Kerr, Sidney Moncrief, Moses Malone (not primary), Dolph Schayes, Byron Scott, Jerry Sloan and Spud Webb. The best to ever wear the number in the NBA though is Adrian Dantley.

Although Dantley also wore 45, 44 and 7 during his career, the majority of his time on the pro hardwood was spent with Lou Gehrig's signature number on his back.

Taken with the 6th overall pick in the 1976 NBA draft by the Buffalo Braves, Dantley would be named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1977.  Dantley would also play with Pacers, Lakers, Jazz, Pistons, Mavs and Bucks.  He would have some of his strongest on-court performances with the Utah Jazz, leading them to retire his jersey number 4.
  • 23,177 career points (26th all-time)
  • 2-time league leader in single season points (1980-81 and 1983-84)
  • 5-time league leader in free throws 
  • 6,832 career free throws (7th all-time)
  • .818 career free throw percentage
Did you know.................that Dantley was a two-time NCAA first team All-American at Notre Dame?

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The Pro Sports Record Which Won't Be Broken

56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in SportsThe Best By The Numbers readers have spoken.   394 of you have voted on the pro sports record which will not be broken.  It was somewhat of a runaway actually.  Personally, I voted for Rickey Henderson's 1,406 stolen bases record (that puts me in with 3 percent of my readers who voted).  I just don't see someone averaging over 100 stolen bases for more than 14 MLB seasons, but, you never know.

17 percent, 70 total voters went with the famous 56 game hit streak by DiMaggio.  Not a bad guess at all.

Wilt, 1962: The Night of 100 Points and the Dawn of a New EraThe majority, however, voted that Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain's 100 point game in the NBA would never be surpassed.  It certainly would be one of the most amazing feats in pro sports if someone could pass Chamberlain's 100 point game.  I guess the recency of Kobe Bryant's 81 point game in 2006 made me think that if someone can get that close, they might break the record someday.

I also think that Cy Young's 511 wins will be extremely difficult to surpass.  56 of you thought that record won't be broken also.

Who knows?  Well, I have to say the majority rules here and that the record which won't be broken is Wilt's 100 point game in the NBA.  See the full stats below.

DiMaggio's 56 Game Hit Streak
  70 (17%)
Gretzky's 215 Point Season
  39 (9%)
Rose's 4,256 Career Hits
  19 (4%)
Ryan's 7 No-Hitters
  15 (3%)
Russell's 11 NBA Titles
  35 (8%)
Chamberlain's 100 Point Game
  110 (27%)
Young's 511 Career Wins
  56 (14%)
Rice's 208 Career TDs
  13 (3%)
Henderson's 1,406 Stolen Bases
  15 (3%)
Cobb's .366 Career Batting Average
  22 (5%)

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NBA Athlete Number 3 - Allen Iverson

Dwayne Wade, the best to ever wear the jersey number 3?  Well, someday, most likely.  But for now, the answer to that question is Allen Iverson (pun intended).

After two spectacular years at Georgetown, Iverson was taken by the 76ers with the number 1 pick in the 1996 NBA draft.  He would make an immediate impact in Philadelphia.  The "Answer" scored 1,787 points as a rookie, while nailing a single season career high 155 treys.  These marks were good enough to earn him the honor of being named the NBA Rookie of the Year.

Iverson would become, like the Art Museum or boathouse row, a Philadelphia icon.  He remained in Philly into the 2006-7 season, scoring over 2,000 points in four separate seasons, while leading the league in scoring  for the 2004-05 NBA season.  As a Sixer, he would also lead the league in scoring average four separate times.

After being traded to Denver during the 2006-07 season, Iverson spent a few more fair years in the league playing with the Nuggets, Pistons, Grizzlies and ending up his NBA career back in Philly.  It was there, in the City of Brotherly Love, that Iverson made his greatest impact on the NBA.  Here are a few of his career highlights:

  • 24,368 career points
  • 2001 NBA MVP
  • 1997 NBA ROY
  • 11-time NBA All-Star
  • 8,467 career field goals (27th all-time)
  • 1,983 career steals (13th all-time)
  • 26.7 career points-per-game (6th all-time)

Did you know....................that Iverson has also played professionally in the Turkish Basketball League?

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NBA Athlete Number 2 - Alex English

Two athletes, two athletes who didn't wear their primary number for their entire NBA career.  Just like Tracy McGrady, Alex English didn't always wear his primary jersey number, 2 in English's case.  But, he did don that number for the majority of his career.  And he's the best NBA athlete to do so.

English was a second round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1976 NBA draft.  He would spend a few years up in Wisconsin as well as a few with the "Indy" Pacers before making his way to the team he would be most known for playing with, the Denver Nuggets.  

The seasons between 1980-81 and 1989-90 were spent playing in a Nuggets uniform for Alex, and they were offensively productive.  He would lead the league in field goals three times during his stint in Denver, while twice leading the league in points.  Here are a few more of his accomplishments:

  • 25,613 career points (16th all-time)
  • 10,659 career field goals (9th all-time)
  • 21.5 career points per game
  • 1,661 career playoff points
Did you know..................that Alex's jersey number 2 has been retired by the Denver Nuggets?

sources:  wikipedia.com, basketball-reference.com

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NBA Athlete Number 1 - Tracy McGrady

There have been many great NBA athletes who have worn the jersey number 1, including, but not limited to:  Rod Strickland, Muggsy Bogues, Chauncey Billups, Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, Stephen Jackson, Derrick Rose, Gus Williams and Tracy McGrady.  Very few of them have worn only the number 1 for their entire NBA career.  This includes T-Mac who also wore number 3 for part of his career.  Nevertheless, he's still the best NBA athlete to ever wear the jersey number 1

McGrady has had an NBA career that has spanned, as of this writing, the 1997-98 season through the 2010-11 season.  During that time span, he has done stints with the Raptors, Magic, Rockets, Knicks and Pistons.  And he has accomplished quite a bit during his playing career.  Here are just a few highlights (all stats through the 2010-11 regular season)

  • 18,108 career points
  • 1,066 career three pointers (54th all-time in NBA)
  • 5,122 rebounds
  • 4,051 assists
  • 1,120 steals
  • 6,608 career field goals (75th all-time in NBA)
  • 20.4 career points per game (47th all-time in NBA)
  • 7-time NBA All-Star
Did you know....................McGrady began his NBA career at age 18

source:  basketball-reference.com

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NHL Number 99 - Wayne "The Great One" Gretzky

Hmmmm, who could be the best to ever wear the jersey number 99 in the NHL?  Who could it be?  (Cue the Men At Work song:  "Who Could It Be Now?")  Well, when they retire your number across the entire league, I think that kind of automatically clinches you as the best to ever wear that number.

Gretzky is hands down the best to ever wear number 99 not only in the NHL, but in all of professional sports.

No more needs to be said here.

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NHL Number 98 - Brian Lawton

As far as I can tell, Brian Lawton is the only NHLer to have worn the jersey number 98, as of this post.  De Facto, he's the best to ever wear it.  Lawton played for the Stars, North Stars that is (remember them??), wearing number 98 in 1983-84 and 1984-85.   During that timeframe, he scored 42 points in 98 NHL regular season games.   For his NHL career, Lawton had 266 points in 483 regular season games.

Note to young hockey phenoms:  If you want to make yourself known for a jersey number, take a look at 98.

Did you know................................Lawton was the number 1 overall pick in the 1983 NHL entry draft?

source:  hockey-reference.com

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