10 Most Successful Jersey Numbers in NBA History

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10 Most Successful Jersey Numbers in NBA History
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Numbers aren't just numbers in the NBA

Sure, some players might pick their uniform number out of a hat or show no care whatsoever, taking whatever's available.

That's what Kyrie Irving did, for example, in picking No. 2 as he told Justin Tejada of SIKids.com back in 2012: "That was just a random number I picked when I got drafted. It has no significance."

But for others, the numbers they wear night in and night out might hold a great deal of meaning. 

So, what's in a number? Potentially a lot, as Dwyane Wade—who you might quickly associate with No. 3—explained to NBA.com back in 2011: 

I've heard of people who wouldn't sign with a team because they didn't have a particular jersey number. It could be a deal breaker, and I totally understand why. A number is a big thing for athletes. At the end of the day, a lot of people won't know your name because people associate you with a number. You associate yourself with a number and a lot of things in your life may go around that.

The reasons behind numbers are purely anecdotal, but they've still led to some digits and combination of digits that have emerged as the most successful jersey numbers in NBA history. There are some numbers that have experienced far more success than others, thanks to the decisions of legends to put them on night after night. 

There is no metric behind these rankings; it's purely subjective, based not only on the names who put the uniforms in question on, but also when they did so and for how long. It's not enough for a Hall of Famer to wear a certain number in the twilight of his career, unless he also did the same in his prime. 

So, even without using numbers, let's move on to...the numbers. 


Note: All uniform information comes from the Basketball-Reference.com uniform archives, which are wonderful rabbit holes if you need to waste time.

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