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Who wore it best?: Jayhawks make list of all-time greats, by jersey number

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The folks behind Mitchell & Ness specialize in sports, nostalgia and jerseys. So when the company put together a list of the all-time greatest NBA players — by jersey number — you knew it would be something to behold.

The accompanying graphic began making its way around social media platforms Monday afternoon.

None by SLAM Magazine

As one might expect, the comprehensive list included some former Kansas basketball standouts who made their way to the league. In fact, five different Jayhawks showed up on Mitchell & Ness’s historic jersey directory. One KU product actually appears twice.

So which Jayhawks made the cut?

How about Jo Jo White?

Chet Walker of the Chicago Bulls is guarded by Jo Jo White of the Boston Celtics (10), as he tried to lay up a shot in their game in Boston at night on Jan. 13, 1972. Tom Sanders of Celtics Comes in at right. Boston won the game 113-112. (AP Photo)

Chet Walker of the Chicago Bulls is guarded by Jo Jo White of the Boston Celtics (10), as he tried to lay up a shot in their game in Boston at night on Jan. 13, 1972. Tom Sanders of Celtics Comes in at right. Boston won the game 113-112. (AP Photo)

Nope. The No. 10 slot belongs to Knicks legend Walt Frazier?

Surely Paul Pierce’s No. 34 is represented?

Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce celebrates during the second half of Boston's 91-89 win over the New York Knicks in an NBA basketball game in Boston Friday, Feb. 3, 2012.

Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce celebrates during the second half of Boston's 91-89 win over the New York Knicks in an NBA basketball game in Boston Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. by Nick Gerik

Wrong again. A few greats have donned the same number combo, including two-time Rockets champion Hakeem Olajuwon.

Actually, in terms of all-time stature, most of the KU names on the list might surprise you.

Except for the first one, which was a no-brainer.

13 — Wilt Chamberlain

In this file photo from March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors holds a sign reading “100” in the dressing room in Hershey, Pa., after he scored 100 points as the Warriors defeated the New York Knickerbockers, 169-147.

In this file photo from March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors holds a sign reading “100” in the dressing room in Hershey, Pa., after he scored 100 points as the Warriors defeated the New York Knickerbockers, 169-147. by Associated Press

Mitchell & Ness description: “Wilt wore No. 13 over 16 seasons with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978, elected into the NBA’s 35th Anniversary Team of 1980 and chosen as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996. Over his career, Chamberlain was a two-time NBA champion, NBA Finals MVP, 4-time NBA MVP and 13-time NBA All-Star.”

39 — Greg Ostertag

Utah center Greg Ostertag, right, posts up Sixers center Dikembe
Mutombo. Ostertag was 0-for-4 on field goals in 16 foul-plagued
minutes on Thursday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Utah center Greg Ostertag, right, posts up Sixers center Dikembe Mutombo. Ostertag was 0-for-4 on field goals in 16 foul-plagued minutes on Thursday at Allen Fieldhouse. by Scott McClurg/Journal-World Photo

Mitchell & Ness description: “Only four players have ever worn No. 39 in the NBA, the best of whom is Greg Ostertag. Greg enjoyed a successful 11-year career in which he made back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998.”

62 — Scot Pollard

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan drives to the basket as Indiana Pacers forward Scot Pollard defends. The Spurs beat the Pacers, 99-86, Tuesday in San Antonio.

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan drives to the basket as Indiana Pacers forward Scot Pollard defends. The Spurs beat the Pacers, 99-86, Tuesday in San Antonio. by Eric Gay/AP Photo

Mitchell & Ness description: “Only two players have ever worn No. 62 in the NBA: Bob Dille, who only played one season in 1947, and Scot Pollard, who wore it for two seasons in Indianapolis.”

66 — Scot Pollard

Boston's Scot Pollard (66), Kevin Garnett (5), James Posey (41) and Eddie House complain to a referee in this December 2007 file photo. Pollard, a free agent, isn't ready for his NBA career to be over.

Boston's Scot Pollard (66), Kevin Garnett (5), James Posey (41) and Eddie House complain to a referee in this December 2007 file photo. Pollard, a free agent, isn't ready for his NBA career to be over.

Mitchell & Ness description: “Scot wore No. 66 in 2008 with the Boston Celtics when they won the NBA Championship.”

89 — Clyde Lovellette

Mitchell & Ness description: "Clyde wore No. 89 in his first season with the Minneapolis Lakers. Over his 11-year career, Lovellette was a 3-time NBA Champ, 4-time NBA All-Star and All-NBA Second Team. Lovellette was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

90 — Drew Gooden

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) celebrates after a play with Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) nearby in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, March 28, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 91-78. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) celebrates after a play with Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) nearby in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, March 28, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 91-78. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Mitchell & Ness description: “Drew has worn No. 90 (and is the only one to do so) with a number of different teams throughout his still active career. He’s enjoyed a successful career, averaging 11.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.”


In the case of this particular catalog of jerseys, it pays to be have an atypical number — less competition — to match your offbeat basketball personality (see: Pollard, Ostertag and Gooden).

Some advice for Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander: choose from the numbers 58, 59, 63, 64, 69, 74, 75, 78-82, 87, 95 and 97 for your first NBA jersey. No player ever has worn any of those numbers. Go with something crazy. You might end up in the same graphic as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Bill Russell one day.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.


Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter.

Comments

Jeff Braun 7 years, 2 months ago

89 – CLYDE LOVELLETTE

Clyde wore #89 in his first season with the Minneapolis Lakers. Over his 11 year career, Lovellette was a 3x NBA Champ, 4x NBA All-Star, and All-NBA Second Team. Lovellette was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

Benton Smith 7 years, 2 months ago

Thanks! Overlooked that one. Will add it on there.

Benton Smith 7 years, 2 months ago

Couldn't find a photo in our system of Lovelette in a Lakers uni. Nor in AP files.

Benton Smith 7 years, 2 months ago

Nice! I knew a google search would come up with something but as a newspaper website, we don't want to lift photos for our own benefit.

Totally cool to have a user post one in the comments, though.

Zach Mitts 7 years, 2 months ago

I figured as much. Looked it up out of curiosity, and this was actually the only picture I could find of him in 89 at all.

Eric TheCapn 7 years, 2 months ago

Finally, proof that Scot Pollard was twice as good as Michael Jordan.

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