Who wore it best?: Jayhawks make list of all-time greats, by jersey number
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.
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?
Nope. The No. 10 slot belongs to Knicks legend Walt Frazier?
Surely Paul Pierce’s No. 34 is represented?
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
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
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
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
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
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.