Looking at sports history and reminiscing about legendary players from different eras is a fun pastime for most sports fans. These great players kindle fond memories. The attraction of the great ones to the fans may come in various avenues; their statistics, what they did in big moments, individual awards, or how they led their team to a title.
We connect to these players on so many levels, but a common thread is to remember them by jersey number. Babe Ruth’s number 3, Wayne Gretzky’s 99, Jordan’s 23, or a Walter Payton 34 jersey are all iconic and fun to remember.
SHN Project: Best Team By Jersey Number
Our Sports History Network team would like to solicit your help in putting a fun twist on your sports memories by kicking off an endeavor to field the best pro basketball teams by jersey number. That team should consist of a Point Guard (PG), Shooting Guard (SG), Center (C ), Small Forward (PF), and Strong Forward (SF).
If a player is listed as playing that position in their career, they become eligible to play it on our team. Additional criteria are that they had to play in the BAA, NBL, NBA, or ABA and wear the jersey number for at least a part of 5 different seasons. Our team of SHN experts will provide some information, personal preferences, and other tidbits about the players of each to help you make an informed decision in the poll we will provide. After the deadline is reached, we will post the results on JerseyDispatch.com.
In this segment, we will start with the players that wore 0 or 00. Okay, they are two different numbers; to reduce confusion, we will count them the same for this exercise. Let’s look at the candidates that meet our qualifying criteria for each position to aid you in making a decision. We will cover each position in the next five days for 0 and 00 and then ask you to vote. Up today will be the players that qualify at Point Guard.
Point Guard Candidates (Jersey # 0 and 00)
Damian Lillard: PG for the Portland Trail Blazers (13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22) for ten seasons. Chad Cain, the host of the Sports History Network podcast One Guy with a Mic Presents: History of Dingers and Dunks, places Lillard high on his selections for earning the Point guard spot.
Russell Westbrook: PG with the Oklahoma City Thunder (09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19), Houston Rockets (20), and Los Angeles Lakers (22), donned the digits for a fantastic eleven years. Chad Cain adds that Westbrook was known as ” Mr. Triple Double,” as he has reached this feat on more than one occasion thus far in his career.
A prolific scorer that also loves to dish the rock off to teammates and get down and dirty with the big guys in the paint. Russell was selected to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, and so far is a nine-time NBA All-Star that has also been awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for the 2016–17 season. Westbrook led the NBA in scoring for the 2014–15 and 2016–17 seasons and won back-to-back NBA All-Star Game MVP awards in 2015 and 2016. He is still going at it as a member of the Lakers.
Jeff Teague: PG for the Atlanta Hawks (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16), and the Minnesota Timberwolves (18, 19, 20) sported the jersey for nine years.
Gilbert Arenas: PG with the Golden State Warriors (02, 03) and Washington Wizards (04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10), held the player number for eight years. The Jersey Dispatch Number 0 Player ranking places this star guard in the 14th spot overall of the statistical ranking for the 0s. He scored 11402 career points. Dan Neumann, co-host of the Sports History Network podcast Hello Old Sports, adds this about Arenas:
“Agent Zero could be selfish at times, and his Wizards teams were notably dysfunctional, but he was a lot of fun to watch for a few years.”
Aaron Brooks: PG for the Houston Rockets (08, 09, 10, 11, 13, 14), Phoenix Suns (11), Denver Nuggets (14), and Chicago Bulls (15, 16), took this number with him for seven Association seasons.
Johnny Moore: PG for the San Antonio Spurs (81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 90), and the New Jersey Nets (88) found nine seasons in the books at this player number.
Avery Bradley: an SG, PG for the Boston Celtics (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17) and the Memphis Grizzlies (19), wearing the number for seven seasons. Dan Neumann reminds us that Bradley, “Bridged the gap in Boston between the “Big Three” years of Garnett/Pierce/Allen and the Brad Stevens era. Later moved on to the Lakers during their 2019-2020 championship year.” Dan suggests Avery for more credence at the Shooting Guard. (We will check that out in tomorrow’s post)
Tony Delk: a PG and SG for the Charlotte Hornets (97, 98), Golden State Warriors (98, 99), Sacramento Kings (00), Phoenix Suns (01, 02), Atlanta Hawks (05, 06), and the Detroit Pistons (06) wore the number proudly for five years.
C.J. Miles: played three positions; SF, SG, and PG wearing the jersey numbers with the Cleveland Cavaliers (13, 14), Indiana Pacers (15, 16, 17), and Toronto Raptors (18, 19) in five different seasons..