Founded more than a century ago in Philadelphia, the Mitchell & Ness company today offers authentic vintage jerseys and apparel collections for the MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAA and MLS. In promotion of their products, they produced a chart of the best basketball players to wear each number from 0 to 99.
BEST NBA PLAYERS BY NUMBER
Metta World Peace and Dennis Rodman dominate Mitchell & Ness’ chart of the best NBA players by number. This is primarily by virtue of the two free spirits haven chosen multiple and out-of-the-ordinary jersey numbers throughout their respective careers.
METTA WORLD PEACE
Metta World Peace (aka The Panda’s Friend) appears on the chart four times: #37 for the Los Angeles Lakers, #51 for the New York Knicks, #93 for the Sacramento Kings, and #96 for the Houston Rockets.
The #23, #15 and #91 World Peace (then known as Ron Artest) wore for the Indiana Pacers were blocked, in order, by Michael Jordan, Hal Greer and none other than Dennis Rodman.
Dennis “The Worm” Rodman appears three times on the chart: #70 for the Dallas Mavericks, #73 for the Los Angeles Lakers, and #91 for the Chicago Bulls.
The #10 Rodman wore for the Pistons is blocked on the chart by the New York Knicks’ Walt Frazier.
LONG LIVE THE KING
Noticeably absent from Mitchell & Ness’ jersey wall of fame is LeBron James. His #6 for the Miami Heat is blocked by Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, and his #23 for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers is blocked by Michael “His Airness” Jordan.
Wait another five seasons or so, and people may be asking of the updated chart how it is possible for Russell and Jordan to not be included. A surer path to inclusion for King James (and for any other player for that matter) would be to simply switch to any of the fifteen numbers that have never been worn in the NBA: #58, #59, #63, #64, #69, #74, #75, #78, #79, #80, #81, #82, #87, #95 and #97.