The best NBA players to wear each number

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Mitchell and Ness is known for making throwback jerseys of some of the NBA’s greatest players, so we know that they know their NBA history. Mitchell and Ness put together a list of the best NBA players to wear every jersey number, from 0 to 00 to 99. from Parish to Mikan. There are some numbers that have never been worn, some worn by only one player, and then there are a lot of numbers worn by dozens of players, which makes selecting the best player to wear that jersey a tougher call. You can see the graphic below or go here to read their rationale for who made the cut…

MNN-Best-Players-By-Number

202 Comments

  1. RJ says:

    Have they ever heard of someone named Isaiah Thomas from the Pistons? The last time I checked he had two championships and Malone zero!

  2. AR says:

    Ever heard of this guy named STEVE NASH? I heard he won 2 MVP awards.

    • Andrew says:

      Agree. That number 13 belong to him for eternity.

    • Bro says:

      Lol over wilt chamberland? No way

    • Bon Futuro says:

      Pretty sure the red white and blue is for the Philadelphia team that Wilt played on. In terms of legendary statuses, Wilt casts a very tall shadow over Nash, even despite Nash’s MVP career.

  3. zag says:

    DR J????????

  4. Kobe should be both 8 and 24

  5. Hal Skinner says:

    Number 14 belongs to Oscar Robinson. He wore that numbers for years as a Cincinnati Royal

    Number 13 belongs to Wilt Chamberlin. He mad that number famous.

  6. Um says:

    Bron wore #6 in Miami.. he’s pretty good.

    This list needs a lot of work.

  7. fahim says:

    where is lebron james’s name?????????

    • E says:

      Jordan 23 better, #6 bill Russell better then james

    • AceofHearts says:

      This list is for the best players of all time. Why would Queen James be on here?

    • Name (required) says:

      This list is reserved for those who didn’t join their All-Star buddies, and who didn’t buy themselves a couple of championships.

  8. No Name says:

    Damn Nique gets snubbed again. What did he do ?

    • Name (required) says:

      Nothing. That’s why he’s not on the list. Honestly, the only thing he’s known for is losing to Jordan in the dunk contest.

  9. Stefan says:

    T-Mac #1??? No?

    • jkrich says:

      I agree that Mcgrady was a great player and he very well could be on the list but my man D Rose should own that #1. How many MVPs do you come across that were just 22 years old?

      • emmitt says:

        d-rose does not deserve it more than t-mac, the only reason why d-rose won the mvp award is because people were still upset at LeBron for leaving Cleveland, plus they won 60 games because the east was awful that year. t-mac did not win mvp because there were people like shaq, prime kobe, loved LeBron, prime steve nash, and do not forget vince carter was litterely a highlight machine who always wanted the spot light. t-mac accomplished more with his injuries than d-rose will ever do. Bulls fans I am sorry but mvp d-rose is gone forever. :):):):):):):): just a fact:)

      • emmitt says:

        I mean๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚ just a fact๐Ÿ™‚

  10. JMC says:

    oh jeez number 38 is pretty bad… Kwame Brown’s Pistons jersey up there. yikes! I dont remember if he averaged a full point per game while he was a Piston lol

  11. Dropp'n'knowledge says:

    The red on blue #13 is WILT CHAMBERLAIN! Steve Nash can sit his a$$ down.

  12. seannemetz says:

    Artest wins with 4, Rodman with 3. huh.

    • dd def says:

      yeah, well those guys picked several numbers that are highly uncommon for players to wear. that’s all it is. how many #91’s have we seen play?

  13. Gilbert says:

    Have they ever heard of a guy called Dwyane Wade, 3 time NBA championship, NBA finals MVP, league scoring title, all star mvp, 12 time all star, NBA first team selection god knows how many times and said to be one of the top 3 shooting guards of all time only trailing Jordan and Kobe lol

    • NLVXXI says:

      Yes, Wade was great, but better than Iverson? Hell no. Iverson gets #3.

      • jkrich says:

        Iverson never won the big one. And only made it to the finals once and was a total ball hog. Wade lead the heat to a championship in just his third year. Hate to break it to you but Wade owns #3

      • Lovins says:

        Lmao, you have very little NBA knowledge/logic if you think Iverson > Wade

  14. Uhhhh, what? says:

    You got Artest/World Peace up there 3 times, and LeBron James 0 times.
    Makes sense.

    • Ben says:

      So, is his two championships in only four years wearing number 6 better than Russell leading the Celtics to 11? Or is it that you think his no championships with number 23 are better than Jordan’s 6. Which number is he supposed to be there with?

      • Thelonious says:

        C’ mon, this is a Team Sport. Put Bill Russell in Utah Jazz and let’see how many rings he wins…. Doctor J was the most electrifying and innovative player in NBA history.

    • JC2435 says:

      I bet you if Lebron would’ve worn the same jersey numbers as Artest he would’ve had those 3 numbers listed up there instead.

    • BonfiRe says:

      4 times actually.

  15. Jad says:

    Where is stephen curry????

  16. jakeoneill says:

    Ummmm where is Melo at number 15 and lebron at number 6 and kobe at number 24 and wilt chamberlain?

  17. Doole031 says:

    I LAUGHED SO HARD WHEN I REALISED THER’S NO 69 HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    PS: LeBron : 6
    McGrady : 1

  18. Anwar says:

    Where’s D WADE, he won three championship

  19. ??? says:

    WTF is authors problem with HEAT? Chris Bosh – 1, Dwyane Wade – 3, LeBron James – 6 (if they donโ€™t give 23 since Jordan already has 45 and also wore 9 during olympiad)

  20. dd def says:

    couple things: i think there’s a valid argument as to who should have that #33 showing. Bird makes a case, Pippen makes a case. i’m not saying i disagree with their choice, but that number has some worthy wearers. also, am i really seeing people here say LeBron should get the 6 jersey over Bill Russel and that T-Mac should get the #1 over Big-O? because, ya’ll can sit down now.

  21. dd def says:

    they should have karl’s utah jersey and payton’s super sonics jerseys. the teams they spent the bulk of their time and their best years playing for.

  22. P says:

    You guys talking about LeBron ever heard of Michael Jordan and Bill Russell?

  23. GOAT says:

    Lebron chose the wrong numbers 6 belong to BILL RUSSEL and we all know who 23 is so he messed himself up

  24. HG says:

    #15 Latrell Sprewell Golden State

  25. Mariano says:

    #20 Manu over Payton. Period.

  26. eivoc27 says:

    AGENT ZERO……Gilbert Arenas!

  27. Ji says:

    Moment I see Kwame’s name for #38.

    Next article thanks.

  28. Frio says:

    List seems about right…Lebron just picked the wrong numbers, sorry kids.

  29. Your Choice says:

    22 Clyde Drexler all the way…

  30. Denny says:

    33 Scottie Pippen ?

  31. ish says:

    Where manu and tony they each have 4 championships.

  32. nietzsche_18 says:

    Kobe Bryant should have both 8 & 24.
    Rick Barry’s career is nowhere near Kobe’s; the #24 belongs to Kobe “Bean” Bryant

  33. john says:

    6 lebron!

  34. Stu says:

    Gary Payton over Manu Ginobili?
    One of them was an all time great, the other one was an all time great that changed the game!

  35. The Truth says:

    The list includes a Kevin Durant 35, but fails to include Lebron’s number 6 from Miami.

  36. The Truth says:

    They include Durant’s 35, but not Lebron’s old number 6 . They also dont include Curry. This list need improvement.

  37. MrSkerg says:

    #1 – Penny Hardaway!!! … What about Mugsy!!

  38. wardell30 says:

    yo why isn’t my number up there?

  39. Keith John says:

    Dumars over Schayes for number 4.

  40. GuapGotEm says:

    The hardest number to choose a player from had ti be no#33

  41. JO says:

    If Karl Malone gets number 11 (should be Isiah Thomas) for the one season he played on the lakers, then Jordan should get 12 for the one game he wore 12

  42. AndresGuazzelli says:

    And quietly, Dennis Rodman scores three jerseys๐Ÿ˜‰

  43. 2kallday says:

    Some of these comments are probably made by the younger generation of fans that don’t know their NBA history and furthermore don’t know who else wore the same jersey number who trumps their current NBA star who wears or have worn the same number. Also any player can lay claim as the best player who has donned that jersey number. So yes Jordan gets 23 and 45. Some numbers haven’t even been used and others not enough to have any significance to remember, so there goes the case for Kwame Brown who most view as a bust but he was the best NBA player to wear the number 38 that is noted. In any case you younger fans should know who else wore the jersey number but not only the younger but the older fans as well. Lets face it some good players happen to wear the same number and in this case they get trumped. I am a big Stephen Curry fan but at the present moment I will not put him over Bernard King for being the best to where that number and keep in mind this a list mostly of players from the past hence throwback who worn the number or players who either worn the number and has moved to a different number and players who are currently active but will retire soon. By any means Mitchell and Ness has a strong argument and make a very valid point. They know there history!

  44. Broy7 says:

    Brandon Roy should definitly have gotten number 7… he did almost the same in terms of all star appearces and first team all nba appearces in just 6 seasons

    • jkrich says:

      Yes but did he change the style of the game of basketball as we know it? Nope, not even close. Pete is the master of #7

    • Anthony geraci says:

      All I am going to say PISTOL PETE nothing more anybody needs to say period!!!!!!

  45. Pat says:

    Lebron #6 over bill Russell Have a seat

  46. OJ says:

    I guess Ron Artest is the greatest. (4 including his worldpeace phase)

  47. Billy says:

    Is number 48 Nazr Mohammed?!?

  48. CarolinaFan says:

    Lebron ?? Best player in this era.

  49. KC says:

    Like,wear is Lebron’s #6

    • Lovins says:

      Bill Russell > Lebron

      Not surprised at your comment considering you can’t even spell “where”

  50. AL says:

    Is that Scot Pollard… Twice?

  51. rp says:

    He should have picked a different number.

  52. Calvin ferguson says:

    D wade 3

  53. Max Kunz says:

    Why isn’t Lebron’s old #6 up there?

  54. JRad says:

    Down the line, these will change for the current players to make their mark…ie Steph will eclipse Bernard King and tough luck Lebron… should wear #5 since he hates KG lol

  55. Ice Cold Facts says:

    A lot of you are saying some young guys. Got to do the history walk. Most of these are right, but there are some that deserve an honorable mention like Bird, Pippen, Pistol Pete, and Lebron, but don’t say TMac when you got the Big O, Steve Nash (as good a career he had) over Wilt Chamberlain, or LeBron over MJ or Bill Russell.

    • Anthony geraci says:

      Pistol pete is on the list he don’t need a honorable mention do your history walk

  56. E says:

    Lebron #6…. not better than bill Russell, and not better than Jordan 23

    Plus they didn’t have to jumps squads to win championships…….

    I think 24 is rick barry, but idk better than kobe?

  57. Sergio says:

    Nash 13
    Kobe 24
    Artest there 4 times!

  58. Clif says:

    Kinda mean that they gave Jordan 23 and 45 instead of letting lebron have a jersey.

  59. H. Thomas says:

    Denis Rodman Numbers 70, 73 and 91, and Ron Artest Really…???
    Where is Lebron 6 (Miami Heat), Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Shaq Oยดneil, Patrick Ewing, Oscar Robertson, Dr. J, Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Uffff, the list is incomplete…!!!!

  60. MP says:

    6 to Lebron??? remember Russell & Dr J?!!!

  61. VivaLaSpurs says:

    Isiah Thomas for 11, LeBron for 6, Tony Parker for 9, Curry for 30, Charles Barkley(Dream Team anyone?!), Bill Russell(most rings?!). Yup this list is missing A LOT of things, and some of those numbers are ties too.

  62. Antonio says:

    56 – 98 numbers / t – shirts are ugly as hell.

  63. Antonio says:

    66

  64. Que says:

    Its best player by number not just best player right now. A lot of these players are just the best in the number they wore for a long period of time and it does have to do with the history behind it. Don’t be blind by the celebrity of it all there are a lot of good no great players that also deserve to be on the list but some just make a more compelling fit based on the number they wore and what they did.

  65. geo nowitzki says:

    Dirk of course will always be known as 41 and andrr kirelinko should be 47 ak 47 duh

  66. Josh says:

    What was the author smoking when he wrote this

  67. BOIIIIIIIIIIIII says:

    U know this list is terrible when the best player wearing 98 is Jason Collins and when there are like 10 numbers missing….

    • Lovins says:

      Do you not know anything about NBA jersey numbers? Several numbers were never even used. And Collins was probably the only 98 ever.

  68. jack says:

    All Swaggy P needs to do is wear number 69. That’s all it will take.๐Ÿ˜€

  69. Speros says:

    #3 belongs to Dwyane Wade over Iverson.

    #11 also belongs to Isiah Thomas over Malone.

  70. phee-o-wheet says:

    #6 bill Russell over LeBron all day long. the man has more rings than he has fingers…

  71. KAP'N says:

    Okay. The list needs work we all get that. But lebron over russell and jordan is ubsurd… kobe should also have 24… 33 should be bird… how dare anyone put kwame brown on a list with greats SMH (leave it blank like the so many you did leave blank)… obviously LANG couldn’t put too much thought into everything and its apparent he didn’t and got the result he wanted, which was people being critical of the post and commenting. And I think some of the horrid posts are due to that desire for coverage but hey

  72. Thisisweird says:

    Lebron isn’t even on there. Or shaq. Or Rondo/Parker. And there’s some trash people up there.

  73. Deadly serious says:

    Um… what about Andrew Bogut at 12

  74. BoogieCousins says:

    DEMARCUS COUSINS SHOULD BE 15

  75. James says:

    Accurate list. Kapono #72 solidifies it.

  76. PH-Jai says:

    Why there is no one wearing # 69?. is it a bad #?. HAHAHAHA.:D

  77. PH-Jai says:

    I Think no one notice it before me.HAHAHA.:D

  78. WWSIU says:

    Artest got 4 best player jersey? (37, 51 , 93, 96) , 1 is enough for him……….

  79. MJ Workman says:

    42 Big Game James Worthy!

  80. JB Nutz says:

    Some of these comments are way off.Most not valid.I would suggest getting a complete sense of history before making some of these proclamations.

  81. THINK BEFORE YOU COMMENT says:

    LOL..stop arguing about James not being on the list..though he wore #6 and #23 we know for a fact that Russell and Jordan will always be remembered with those numbers..I agree that he chose the wrong numbers..he should’ve picked something else..and btw read the entire article (on the link provided by the author) before you give comments..Kwame is there because there was no other choice..

  82. DA CHOSEN 1 says:

    KARL MALONE AHEAD OF EARL ‘G.O.A.T’ BOYKINS???

  83. Tsubasa19 says:

    Kevin Garnett fan but i think Jason Kidd should be the #5…

  84. JB says:

    Isn’t Gheorghe Mureศ™an better than Vlad Radmanovic at 77?

  85. Toska says:

    lot of boston jerseys.nice piece, i enjoy a lot,

  86. Hawo says:

    The moment you realize that 58 59 63 64 69 71 75 78 79 80 81 82 87 95 97 are missing! better go back to Grade 1 Math

  87. Haha says:

    Pointless arguing!!

  88. Rob says:

    @ dom1tian – Larry Bird wore number 33 and should be on there above Kareem – yet more Lakers bias. Hakeem is better than every other number 34.

    I feel Isiah Thomas should have been number 11.

    It’s good to see Rick Barry getting respect with the number 24.

    It’s interesting to note that there’s fourteen different numbers that apparently have never been worn. Maybe current and future players should make a note and be the first.

  89. emmitt says:

    wilt should get #13, harden looking like he might get there in about a thousand years !!!!!:)๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  90. emmitt says:

    Tracy Mcgrady should get # 1 :+

  91. Elgin says:

    Best n. 6 is Julius Erving, no doubt

  92. Rhino77 says:

    Doctor J was the best n. 6 and definitively the n. 1 ever

  93. Nick says:

    Shaq should have 34 ahead of Olajuwon. If rings decides it for everyone else then Shaq has TWICE as many as the Dream..

    Lebron is better than Dr J but not Russell. Iverson’s best ever teammate was Mutumbo, Wade played with Shaq and Lebron, quite possibly the two most dominant players since MJ.

    Kobe should have 24.

    If anyone thinks Nash should be ahead of the Big Dipper then they need to red some history books…

    • mOonman_V says:

      Yep, I agree. I kept wondering why Shaq wasn’t on there. Lots of bias with this list. They should let us fans make one in sure we will get it right.

  94. Geo says:

    Is this a joke? You put Evan Fournier on number 94, and forgot Tony Parker on number 9 ! Are you really serious ????

  95. Jordan says:

    LeBron?

  96. William says:

    Artest and Rodman each both on there three times.

  97. Tim says:

    where’s T-Mac #1

  98. Tom says:

    It’s a really nice idea – but why did they leave it unfinished? Either put a name to each of the jersey numbers up there (especially where there are obvious omissions i.e. No. 1) or at least put all the jersey numbers up there from 00-99, as opposed to leaving some out. That would make a more interesting graphic as you could see the numbers no players have ever occupied. Can someone re-do it?

  99. Yovanny says:

    Wade makes a better #3 being that he actually has championships to his name, but o-k

  100. Yovanny says:

    Wade at #3

  101. Pete says:

    @ Emmitt – Claiming Shaq is better than Larry Bird now that’s a laugh!!

  102. Pete says:

    @ Nick – They are nominating the best players to wear a particular number and Hakeem was a better all-round player than Shaq they aren’t judging this on rings.

  103. JULIO says:

    WADE should be 3 Iverson has no rings and wade has three and a finals mvp

  104. SIF says:

    Y NO CURRY??

  105. Richard says:

    Please, please please, do everyone a huge favour and read the link about each player before commenting. Most of these comments are clearly from either 12 years olds who have only ever heard of Lebron James or people who are so ignorant about the history of the NBA that their opinions are completely pointless and best kept to themselves. Anyone thinking that T-Mac is better than the Big O needs their head read and the Lebron lovers need to shut up, he is not better than either Russell or Jordan.
    Personally, I love the idea of this, it is great to debate some of the actual close calls (ie not those mentioned above). One of my only arguments would be Mark Price (#25) over Vince Carter. Price did way more in a #25 than Carter has done in his #25 Jersey, though I guess Carter is getting credit for what he did in a #15 Jersey while in Toronto. Same must clearly be the case for Karl Malone over Zeke for #11. Malone wore #11 for just 1 season, but obviously must be getting credit for all that he did in a #32 Jersey.
    #33 easily has the best players to miss out (Bird, Ewing, Mourning and Pippen) and some all time greats must feel slightly ripped off that they didn’t get a mention, but I guess that there can be only 1. Great concept

  106. Carlos says:

    #5 is a close one Kidd or Garnett… I think Kidd deserve the spot here.

  107. Jonas says:

    24 should be Tom Chambers.

  108. KJJ808 says:

    People,

    The story is “A list of the best NBA players to wear every jersey number.” So if Karl Malone happened to wear a different # with the Lakers, he would be the best player to ever wear that #. This is not the greatest of all time list, just who wore the #.
    That’s why Shaq isn’t on this list. Magic Johnson was better than Shaq. There’s no denying that…

  109. Nick says:

    Shaq was a more dominant player than Olajuwon. No doubt Olajuwon had the more polished skill set but all the skills in the world can’t change the fact that Shaq won three straight rings, three straight finals MVP’s and for a 5/6 year period was playing at a level Hakeem (and frankly pretty much nobody else other than 2/3 players ever) never got toโ€ฆ.

  110. Jeremy says:

    Dwyane Wade #3 PERIOD.

  111. Nick says:

    To clarify – wearing number 34.

    Regular season:
    Shaq 27PPG, 11.8RPG, 2.9APG, 2.5BPG
    Hakeem 21.8PPG, 11.1RPG, 2.5APG, 3.1BPG

    Playoffs:
    Shaq 27.7PPG, 13.7RPG, 3.0APG, 2.5BPG
    Hakeem 25.9PPG, 11.2RPG, 3.1APG, 3.3BPG

    Shaq played 8 seasons in 34. Won 3 championships and 3 finals MVP’s.
    Dream played 18 seasons in 34. Won 2 championships and 2 finals MVP’s.

    Shaq has the better individual stats, and won moreโ€ฆโ€ฆ Hakeem was truly amazing, and apparently one of the nicest guys ever to play in the NBA but it’s not a popularity contest.

    It’s Shaqโ€ฆ.

  112. Zach says:

    Last time I checked, Gary Payton wasn’t the all time steals leader.. Who wrote this list?

  113. mOonman_V says:

    Yeah they got a lot of them wrong, but they got a lot right. One number that they got wrong is 30. It should be Curry for both Dale and his son Stephen.

  114. Dan says:

    Last time I checked Joe Dumars was #4 and a hall of famer, and Schayes makes the list. What a joke

  115. Steevn says:

    Gheorghe Muresan, #77 on the Washington Bullets who won the Most Valuable Player Award during the 1995-96 NBA Season.

  116. Buffalo Biff says:

    Yes, we can argue about players and numbers. But i’ll give you a puzzle. Pick your top five players (from this list) whose numbers are in a strait line to form your team, horizontal or vertical. I’d win a couple of games with my first team 32-33-34-35-36.

  117. JM says:

    #20 is Manu. 4 Champs

  118. King_Mohamed_23 says:

    LBJ is the best player on the planet right now and he is better than half of the players on that list why is he not their also he is going to win a championship this year.

  119. Ajaz Safdar says:

    Very very cool

  120. Cavan says:

    #47 for Andrei Kirilenko, AK47…

  121. Rich says:

    Curry is an up and coming great……but better than Bernard King…..some people need to wake up

  122. squala96 says:

    Jordan gets 23 and 45, but Kobe has 8 and not 24?

    LeBron James should also take 6.

  123. Mark says:

    3, Wade over Iverson! Also, 6 has to be Dr. J.

  124. Bball fan says:

    Where the hell is Steve Nash’s 13? last time I checked he is the only two time MVP ever wearing #13.

  125. Andre Boyd says:

    Huge slap in the face to hall of famer Isaiah Thomas. He held down the number #11 his entire nba career then u put up karl malone? What a joke! Smh!

  126. abra says:

    How about Marketing genius Shawn Bradley?

  127. Webster my man says:

    Shaq is number 36 so he is in the list

  128. Darren says:

    Woah! So they made World Peace/Artest the MVP here.

  129. Thelonious says:

    JULIUS ERVING N. 6####

  130. pistolpat says:

    Jerry Lucas shouldv’e been number 16. 15 rebounds per game for a career, only forward to average 20 rebounds per game in two seasons, and the only non-center to grab at least 40 rebounds in 1 game. Plus 1 championship. and this writer chooses Lanier?!!! Please rationalize!

  131. BEst ever says:

    I love Iverson and i hate practice but Dwade is the greatest number 3

  132. Hungry Sloth says:

    Lebron (6 or 23) has been overshadowed by two greats here…
    While Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) has 37 and 96?!

  133. MattJW says:

    I realize this is by jersey number but LeBron, Bird, Thomas, & Dr. J are left off a list of all-time greats where Ron F*cking Artest/Metta World Peace is on it 4 freakin’ times! There’s just something wrong with that.

  134. Ed says:

    This is a joke, right?, Iverson over Wade, this should be a joke….

  135. Carlos says:

    I dont know why people use championships instead of individual stats for recognize the best athlete (Championship is for teams not for an individual-this isn’t golf). It doesn’t matter if the athlete used the number for one game, but is the best athlete wear that number (whole carreer stats) he will get the spot.

  136. Kal says:

    Iverson-Wade is a tough call but… all i know is… i feel sad every time i see an Iverson jersey… and i think that’s why they went with him, more iconic.

  137. george says:

    what about Julius Erving for number 6

  138. kurt says:

    wow minimal effort was made to produce this. smh