Best NBA Players to Wear Numbers 00-5
NBA jersey numbers go with sports in general just like peanut butter goes with jelly. The NBA has had a ton of talented players grace their league ever since its introduction. We have seen great players wear numbers ranging from 00 all the way to 99. With that in mind, which players are the best to ever rock a certain number? Is Gilbert Arenas the best to ever wear the #0? Is Kevin Garnett the best to ever wear the #5? You get the point. Without further adieu, let’s dive into part one of this lengthy series.
The Best NBA Players to Wear Each Number
00- Robert Parish
Robert Parish is often the overlooked part of the Boston Celtics’ legendary big three of the 1980s. He provided a deadly presence down low making arguably the greatest frontcourt in NBA history consisting of him, Larry Bird, and Kevin McHale. Parish played a total of 21 seasons, but he made his mark as a Hall of Famer as a Boston Celtic. Throughout his career, he would tally 14.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while notching four titles and nine All-Star appearances along the way. To top it off, Parish would also make the All-NBA Team two times helping cement his legacy as one of the greatest Celtics ever and the best to ever rock 00.
0- Russell Westbrook
Say what you will about Westbrook, his accomplishments and numbers speak for themselves. He is a triple-double monster as he is the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for three straight seasons. That is simply unheard of, no matter what you think of Westbrook. Not to mention, he also broke the single-season triple-double record a few years back when he won the MVP. He has not quite won a title yet, but he has come close while in Oklahoma City when he, James Harden, and Kevin Durant made the NBA Finals back in the 2011-12 season. To date, Westbrook boasts nine All-Star appearances, two scoring titles, eight All-NBA Team appearances, two assists titles, two All-Star Game MVPs, an appearance on the 2008-09 All-Rookie Team, and of course the MVP as alluded to already.
1- Tracy McGrady
Oscar Robertson would have been the winner here if he wore #1 for his entire career. However, he only wore it towards the end, which is why he does not quite make the cut in this scenario. As a result, the verdict goes to Tracy McGrady, the man who scored 13 points in 35 seconds. Before the injuries caught up with him, McGrady had Kobe Bryant like potential. Bryant himself has even admitted that McGrady was one of the few players who gave him the most fits. The man was an absolute monster for the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, and Houston Rockets.
For his career, McGrady would make the All-Star Game seven times, win the scoring title two times, make the All-NBA Team seven times, and even win Most Improved Player of the Year in the 2000-01 season. The Hall of Famer averaged a healthy 19.6 points, 4.4 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game throughout his career. Despite his playoff struggles, one cannot deny how feared a prime Tracy McGrady was while he wore the #1.
2- Moses Malone
Many forget just how dominant Moses Malone was in his prime. The Philadelphia 76ers legend would help lead the team to a title in the 1982-83 season which was rare in an era dominated by the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. This fact along with a stacked, Hall of Fame resume makes him a no-brainer for the best player to wear #2 ever. Not only did Malone average 20.2 points per game to couple with 12.3 rebounds per match, but he also was a Finals MVP and a three-time league MVP. Not to mention, he also made the All-Defensive Team twice and racked up multiple rebounding titles and All-NBA appearances throughout his prime. Malone wore a plethora of numbers but it is the #2 that we remember the legend by to this day.
3- Allen Iverson
“We talkin’ about practice?!” Iverson takes the title of the best to wear #3 and for a specific reason. Dwyane Wade does have a case, however, if you give Iverson the team Wade had in Miami with Shaquille O’Neal, then Iverson is for sure coming away with his elusive championship. Plus, one has to give credit for taking a relatively pedestrian Philadelphia 76ers squad in 2001 and dragging them to the Finals on his back. Of course, they ran into a buzz saw that was the Los Angeles Lakers, but still impressive nonetheless. If you have been around basketball, then you have heard of A.I. What else is there to say? He changed the culture of the game, had the best crossover in NBA history, and has one of the most impressive NBA resumes. Iverson is certainly the best to ever wear #3.
4- Dolph Schayes
Not much is known by many people about Dolph Schayes anymore. He played from 1949 to 1964. In other words, he was there at the very beginning. Going off of what little stats and information that is available about him, he certainly wore the #4 extremely well. Schayes was a 12-time All-Star, one-time champion, one-time rebounding champion, and made the All-NBA squad 12 times. The Hall of Famer would play most of his career with the Syracuse Nationals until the last year of his career when the team became the Philadelphia 76ers. Throughout his career, Schayes tallied 18.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.
5- Kevin Garnett
“ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!” Garnett yelled this infamous line after winning the first and only title of his career as a member of the Boston Celtics. While he is extremely revered in Minnesota for what he did for the Timberwolves during both stints, it was as a member of the “Big 3,” Boston Celtics he found the most success. After being traded to Boston, he opted to wear the #5 instead of his usual #21.
This #5 would go on to steal the hearts of many Celtics fans as he would provide great value for years to come. During his Boston tenure, he would average 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and a block per game. Garnett would also strike it from the field at a rate of 52.0 percent during this time. From 2008-13, KG made the #5 popular, and as a result, he is the best player in NBA history to ever wear it.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images