In case you’ve ever wondered who the best player was to wear each jersey number in NBA history, the fine folks at Mitchell & Ness have got you covered.
This interesting graphic shows exactly that, although there are plenty of decisions that fans will surely feel the need to debate.
First, there are 14 numbers that have never been worn in the NBA. Second, we decided that any player who ever wore the number was eligible to be the best at that number. For example, Karl Malone wore #32 in Utah for 18 seasons before he moved to Los Angeles to wear #11, so when picking #11 we considered The Mailman and his amazing career.
LeBron James didn’t make the cut, and neither did Larry Bird — but, then again, with Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sharing those same uniform numbers, it didn’t seem possible.
While some tough decisions caused the unfortunate omission of some all-time greats, others — like Dennis Rodman, thanks to his unique number choices — made the list more than once.