NBA Athlete Number 13 - Wilt Chamberlain

Considered by some to be the best NBA player ever, and by many to be the best NBA center ever, Wilt Chamberlain is certainly the best to ever wear the number 13.

Chamberlain would begin his pro career with the Philadelphia Warriors, and would immediately dominate the league.  He scored 2,707 points and had 1,941 total rebounds as a rookie.  Both numbers would lead the NBA in their categories.

The Philadelphia Warriors would move to San Francisco, but Wilt would still dominate on the left coast.  During the 1962-63 NBA season, Chamberlain would amass 3,586 points on 1,463 field goals and 660 free throws.  This pattern of scoring would continue throughout the "Stilt's" career, also spent with the 76ers and the Lakers.  Here are his gaudy career numbers:

  • 31,419 career NBA points (4th all-time)
  • 7-time NBA season leader in points
  • 23,924 career rebounds (1st all-time)
  • 22.9 career rebounds per game (1st all-time)
  • 30.1 points-per-game (2nd all-time)
  • 2-time NBA champion
See more of Chamberlain's NBA stats here.

Did you know..................Wilt Chamberlain played with the Harlem Globetrotters?  (source:

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NBA Athlete Number 12 - John Stockton

One day, maybe, there could be a discussion as to who the best to ever wear number 12 was:  John Stockton or Dwight Howard.  Right now, it's gotta be John Stockton.

Stockton, taken by the Jazz in the 1st round of the 1984 NBA draft out of Gonzaga, is considered by many to be one of the best NBA point guards of all-time.  He led the NBA in assists an amazing 9 times.  All consecutive.  The guy could dish it.

In a career spanning 1984-85 to 2002-03, Stockton put up the following numbers:
  • 15,806 career assists (1st all-time)
  • 3,265 career steals (1st all-time)
  • 19.711 career points
  • .515 career field goal percentage
  • 4,788 free throws
Did you know...................that when Stockton retired, only Robert Parish and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had played in more NBA games?

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NBA Athlete Number 11 - Isiah Thomas

For me, the best NBA athlete to ever wear number 11 came down to two:  Elvin Hayes and Isiah Thomas.  Isiah Thomas wins the tie-breaker because he wore the number 11 for his entire NBA career.

Thomas, taken by the Pistons with the second overall pick in the 1981 NBA draft, began contributing immediately as a rookie by scoring 1,225 points.  Although he could certainly score, Thomas was known for dishing the rock, not necessarily shooting it.  He would lead the NBA in assists in two seasons, and would wind up with 9,061 assists for his NBA career.  Some more of Thomas' accolades:

  • Two-time NBA Champion
  • Seventh all-time in assists (9,061)
  • 1,861 career steals (15th all-time)
  • 19.2 career points-per-game

Did you know........that Thomas twice led the NBA Playoffs in steals?


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NBA Athlete Number 10 - Dennis Rodman

Could've chosen several different NBA players here including Walt FrazierTim Hardaway, Mookie Blaylock and Maurice Cheeks, just to name a few.   But when you own a facet of the game like Dennis Rodman owned rebounding, you need to be recognized.

Rodman wore number 10 with the Spurs and Pistons.  He was taken by Detroit with the 27th pick overall  in the 1986 NBA entry draft.  Although he was known largely for his rebounding skills, Rodman actually led the NBA in field goal percentage with a .595 mark in his third season.

Over his career, spanning the season 1986-87 through 1999-00, Rodman pulled down an amazing 11,954 rebounds.  He led the league in total rebounds in four NBA seasons and led the league in offensive rebounds in six different seasons.  Find more of Rodman's statistics here.

Did you know.........Rodman's jersey number 10 will not be worn by any future Detroit Piston?

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Win This Basketball Card

Be the first to tell me, by leaving a comment on this post, what jersey number was the first to be retired by the Miami Heat and you will win the Jason Kidd basketball card pictured below.

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Tigers Retire Number 11

1984 Topps #259 Sparky Anderson MG - Detroit Tigers (Manager)(Baseball Cards)2011 Sparky Anderson Commemorative Sleeve PatchSparky Anderson's jersey number 11 will be retired by the Detroit Tigers on June 26th.  His number was also retired by the Cincinnati Reds, and only he and Casey Stengel have the honor of being managers who have  their numbers retired by two teams.  Read more about this story here.

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NBA Athlete Number 9 - Bob Petit

Taken with the second overall pick in the 1954 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Hawks (yes, the hawks played in the City of Brews in the early fifties, before moving to St. Louis and then to Atlanta in 1968), Petit was considered by some, too slight to play in the NBA, coming out of LSU.  He would quickly prove his critics wrong.

Petit was an offensive threat immediately in the NBA.  He racked up a cool 1,466 points in his rookie season with the Hawks and won the NBA Rookie of the Year award.  Well, with such a prolific rookie season, what could he possibly do from there?  How about lead the NBA in scoring?!  Playing in St. Louis during the 1955-56 NBA season, Petit led all players in field goals, with 646, and points with 1,849.  He would follow that up in his third NBA season by once again leading the league in field goals with 613.

Petit's high-water mark offensively came in the 1958-59 season as he accumulated 719 field goals and 2,105 points!  For his career, Bob Petit had the following numbers:

  • 20,880 points
  • 7,349 field goals
  • .436 field goal percentage
  • 6,182 free-throws
  • 12,849 rebounds
  • 26.4 points per game (7th all-time)
  • 16.2 rebounds per game (3rd all-time)
Did you know............that Petit accomplished all of the above in only 11 NBA seasons?!


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NBA Athlete Number 8 - Kobe Bryant

Okay, number 8 was a real tough one. Walt Bellamy is fully deserving of recognition here. But I gotta slot Kobe Bryant in at either 8 or 24. And I'm picking 8. Kobe Bryant is one of the best NBA players of all-time, which is not really debatable. He is a phenomenal athlete and the closest thing to Michael Jordan, since, well, Michael Jordan. Here are Kobe's career accomplishments through the 2010-11 season.

  • 27,868 career points (8th all-time)
  • 25.3 points per game (10th all-time)
  • 4-time single season NBA leader in points
  • 5-time NBA champion (3 while wearing number 8)
  • 2-time NBA finals MVP
  • .454 career field-goal percentage
  • 1,418 career three-pointers (18th all-time)
  • 1,653 steals (20th all-time)
Did you know............that Kobe Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, but traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac?  

See more stats at

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NBA Athlete Number 7 - "Pistol" Pete Maravich

Okay, this one may be a bit controversial. Now, there are quite a few choices for the best to wear number 7 in the NBA. This is including famed dunker Dee Brown, longtime Sun setup man Kevin Johnson, Jermaine O'Neal and Lamar Odom to name a few. But.....Pistol Pete, even though he didn't wear number 7 for his entire NBA career was one of the best to ever pick up a basketball.

Maravich was first drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall pick in the 1970 NBA draft. Wearing number 44 for the Hawks, which was said to be worn for the number of points he averaged in college - a record which may never be broken, Maravich proved himself a professional offensive threat immediately, scoring 1,880 points and assisting on 355 more baskets as a rookie. He would be a Hawk through the 1973-74 season, when he was traded to the New Orleans Jazz.

Maravich stuck with number 44 for the then aptly named Jazz, but his first season with that franchise was not his most productive as a scorer, as he notched a still very respectable 1700 points. He did dish the rock to his teammates quite a bit in his first year in the purple and gold, racking up 488 assists.

It is said in the book Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel, that Maravich had been working out quite a bit after his first year in New Orleans and "with his new physique came a new look.  Finally, he had given up the floppy socks and the number 44, too.  He now wore number 7 and took the floor clean-shaven."  Pete was limited to 62 games that following season, but his field goal shooting percentage went up to .459, the highest mark of his pro career to that date.

That next, third, season in New Orleans would be a high-water mark for Pistol's production offensively.  He would lead the NBA in both free-throws, with 501, and points, with 2,273.  He would remain with the Jazz in New Orleans through the 1978-79 season, and would spend 17 games in Utah as a member of the Jazz, before being let go and picked up by the Celtics.

Pete would end his career, early it is said, due to injuries, as a member of the Celtics, playing in 26 regular season games for them as well as 9 in the playoffs, shooting .490 for Boston in the post-season.

Did you know..............Pete Maravich was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at the age of 39?

For more Pete Maravich pro statistics go to

sources: wikipedia and

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NBA Athlete Number 6 - Bill Russell

Today's younger NBA fans may say that the best to ever wear number 6 has to be LeBron.  Can't blame them.  The guy is good.  But.......there is another.   Bill Russell won 11 NBA Championships in 13 NBA seasons, and some consider him the best center to ever play the game.  Not only is he the best to ever wear the number 6 in the NBA, he's also the best professional athlete to ever wear the number 6.

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Newton's Number?

Cam Newton Signed Auburn Tigers JerseyAs a National Champion Auburn Tiger, Cam Newton wore the jersey number 2.  There is an occupant of that jersey number already for the Carolina Panthers however:  Jimmy Clausen.

Reebok Carolina Panthers Jimmy Clausen Youth Replica Jersey MediumWell, don't look for an offer of cash or other compensation to obtain a jersey number here.  Although it's happened elsewhere, Cam doesn't care what number he wears according to an report..  And Jimmy wasn't planning on giving the number up, according to reports.

So, what number will Cam be wearing?  And will we find out anytime soon with the players currently locked out?

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Number 34 to be Retired by the Lakers

Shaquille O'Neal Hand Signed Home Lakers JerseyIt's been reported by the L.A. Times that the Los Angeles Lakers will retire Shaq's number 34 at some yet to be determined time.  (This means 32, 33 and 34 will all be off-limits in L.A., not to mention a few other numbers which have been retired by the Lakers).

Shaq, who recently announced his retirement via twitter, was the most dominant big man in the game for quite a period of time. During his stint in L.A., he led the league in field goal percentage for six NBA seasons. He also led the league in points twice in the purple and gold, according to

Shaq of course, won 3 NBA Championships while a Laker (and one with the Miami Heat). If the Lakers retire Shaq's number, they'll also need to retire Kobe's number too, right?  The question is:  will it be number 8, number 24, or both?

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327 Steals

According to, Derek Jeter recently became the all-time stolen base leader in New York Yankee history with 327 total.  Who did he pass?   You guessed it, Rickey Henderson.  Now, Derek is quite adept at stealing bases.  But Rickey Henderson played in 1,700 fewer games as a Yankee to reach the 326 mark.  And Rickey has 1,406 career stolen bases.

Only 23% of Rickey Henderson's career stolen bases were as a Yankee, and he was the all-time leader for quite some time.  That is just ridiculous.  But for any athlete to achieve 23% of the swipes that Rickey had in his career is quite a feat in and of itself.  You're being compared to the King of Thievery on the basepath after all.

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NBA Athlete Number 5 - Jason Kidd

5 is a tough one for the NBA.  There are several great athletes who have worn this number including Kevin Garnett, Jalen Rose and Josh Smith just to name a few.  There are even some great athletes who've worn this number for their entire NBA career and one who had this number retired for him by the Phoenix Suns, Dick Van Arsdale.

But taking all this into account, my pick for the best to ever wear number 5 in the NBA is Jason Kidd.  I know he didn't wear the number for his entire career, but he did wear it for a large chunk of his Hall of Fame caliber NBA career (95-97 with the Mavs and 02-08 with the New Jersey Nets, ~ 10 NBA seasons).
Kidd was highly acclaimed as a premier point guard at Cal, and was selected with the number 2 overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft by Dallas.  He'd spend 2 2/3 years honing his skills as a Mav before being sent to Phoenix, where, with the retirement of Van Arsdale's number 5, Kidd chose to wear number 32.

4 1/3 seasons were spent in Phoenix, where Kidd would twice lead the league in assists, before he moved on to lead the New Jersey Nets.  Playing in East Rutherford, Kidd once again donned the familiar number 5.  And it suited him well.  As a Net, Kidd would immediately lead the league in steals with 175 during the 2001-02 season.  His leadership helped the Nets reach the NBA finals in his first season with the team, although they were beaten by the Lakers.

The following season, he would once again lead the league in assists with 711.  Again, Kidd led the Nets to the NBA finals.  This time it was against the Spurs, but unfortunately for the Nets, it had the same result as the previous years' trip to the finals.

He would play as a Net into the 2007-08 season, marking his time in New Jersey as one of the best, if not the best, eras in the history of that team.
During the 2007-08 season, it was back to the Dallas Mavericks, but no longer in the number 5.  Wearing number 2, Kidd continued to dish the rock and set up his teammates for mucho points, while also improving his own shooting ability.  Through the 2010-11 season, Kidd has once again led his team to the NBA finals, this time against the "dream team" Miami Heat.

  • 1994-95 NBA Rookie of the Year
  • 1,795 career 3-pointers (3rd all-time)
  • 2,477 career steals (3rd all-time)
  • 11,578 career steals (2nd all-time)
  • 2.0 career steals per game (14th all-time)
  • 16,772 career points (84th all-time)
Did you know.............................................................that Jason Kidd has led the NBA in assists per game in 5 separate seasons?

Get your own Jason Kidd number 5 jersey here.

for more stats about Jason Kidd go here

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Will 6 Be The New 23?

He created a following like no other in sports. Every kid wanted to wear his number. He was the best....of all-time many say. And every kid wanted to drink Gatorade.

So, the question now is, with LeBron James, who was considered the heir apparent (or is it AIR apparent?) to Jordan for some time, ready to wear his first NBA championship ring, will all the kids now be wearing number 6, instead of 23? Will number 6 be considered the number you have to wear if you're the team superstar?

Number 6 belonged to one of the all-time NBA greats, and some would say the best center of all-time, Bill Russell (also the best professional athlete to ever wear that number). But LeBron has something that Russell may not have had during his time. The power of media. A superstardom that didn't quite exist on the level it is seen now, until the advent of the internet and merchandising and Nike and all the rest.

Lebron James Miami Heat Signed Autographed Basketball NBA Jersey Coa & Tamper Proof Hologram Proof Photo

The question to be seen is: Will the LeBron James Miami Heat jersey make the number 6 the one you see all the McDonald's All-American shooting forwards, power forwards and swing guards wearing?  Time will tell.  But I don't think Mr. 23 will be forgotten any time soon.

Michael Jordan Autographed Chicago Bulls Home/White Jersey (Uda)

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