As the NBA currently celebrates its 75th anniversary, here at Hoops Habit we wanted to find a fun way to join in the celebration and pay tribute to all of the great players who have helped shape basketball into what it is. is today. We’re going to do this by highlighting the greatest NBA player to wear every jersey number.
According to stathead, almost 4,600 different athletes have adapted for at least one NBA game and thanks to a basketball benchmark I was able to find all the jersey numbers to wear in league history and by who each number was worn.
While researching for this article, I discovered that even though the number of players far exceeds the number of jersey numbers, there are still a lot of numbers that have never been used. Not a single player has ever chosen to wear 97, 87, 82, 80, 79, 78, 75, 74, 69, 64, 59 or 58. Yet there are a lot of numbers that have been worn but literally hundreds of players and there are a handful of numbers that have only been worn by one player.
Without further ado, let’s take a trip down memory lane and celebrate the greatest NBA player to wear every jersey number.
Best NBA player to wear every jersey number: 99, George Mikan
Few players have worn the number 99, only seven to be exact, but even if there were more, it would be difficult to rank them above George Mikan. The way he dominated at both ends of the field during his playing days led to many rule changes in the NBA, such as the goalie and the expansion of the paint zone. Teams would play “on the sidelines” when playing against Mikan in an attempt to limit his impact, which led to the invention of the shot clock.
Mikan has been an inspiration to many great men who have followed him and, together with his varsity coach Ray Meyer, developed an exercise designed to help basketball centers and forwards develop rhythm, good timing for bounce and mark in the paint. Virtually every great forwards and crosses since Mikan have practiced what is called the Mikan Drill.
Long considered a pioneer of professional basketball, Mikan appeared in the first four NBA All-Star games and was a member of the first six All-BAA and All-NBA teams. In nine seasons and three professional basketball leagues (BAA, NBL, NBA), Mikan won seven championships, made four All-Star appearances (won All-Star MVP in 1953), won four titles, one bouncing title and has been named All-League eight times.
Honorable mention: Jae Crowder