Who’s Number Should Each NBA Team Retire Next?
As Kobe Bryant is set to get both of his numbers retired tonight when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, we decided to take a look at who will see their numbers retired next.
Not only by the Lakers, but by every other NBA team.
Now, of course, being one of the best players during a given era is grounds for being immortalized by an NBA franchise, but loyalty and tenure is another factor to consider when teams pick players to honour. So as Bryant gets honoured, we will look into the future and see who will be next!
Atlanta Hawks – Al Horford
Fifth in franchise history in win shares, Al Horford averaged 14.3-points and 8.9-rebounds per game in his nine years with the Atlanta Hawks franchise. Over that span, he cracked four All-Star rosters as well as an All-NBA team in 2010-11.
Boston Celtics – Paul Pierce
This one is simply too easy. 15 seasons in the green and white, Paul Pierce averaged 21.8-points per contest, bringing Boston an NBA championship, making 10-All Star teams and 4 All-NBA teams in the process.
Brooklyn Nets – Richard Jefferson
Before becoming the snap chat sensation that is Richard Jefferson, he was an integral part of the New Jersey Nets for years. In seven years with the franchise, Jefferson averaged 17.4-points and 5.4-rebounds, helping lead the Nets to the NBA Finals.
Charlotte Hornets – Muggsy Bogues
The franchise leader in win shares, Muggsy Bogues spent 10 seasons with the unimpressive franchise, nearly averaging a double-double over that span. There hasn’t been many impressive players in Hornets history, but if anyone deserves the first honour, it’s Bogues!
Chicago Bulls – Artis Gilmore
How this man has not yet had his jersey retired is bizarre.
In seven seasons with the Bulls, Artis Gilmore four All-Star teams, while 19.3-points, 11.1-rebounds, and 2.1-blocks per game. A Hall of Famer with a loaded resume, this accolade should be the one to come next for Gilmore.
Cleveland Cleveland – Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Expecting someone else? Someone who might be on the current Cleveland Cavaliers roster?
Well, Zydrunas Ilgauskas has been a part of the Cavaliers for a 12-year span, which included a Finals berth, two All-Star appearances. The European big man averaged 13.0-points and 7.3-rebounds per game in his tenure with the Cavs.
Dallas Mavericks – Dirk Nowitzki
Similar to Pierce, this one is easy. Dirk Nowitzki is a legend in the game and one of the greatest to ever step onto the floor. A Mavericks Lifer, the former MVP, NBA champion, and 13-time All-Star will see his number retired when all is said and done.
Denver Nuggets – Carmelo Anthony
It is bound to happen, no matter how Melo’s tenure ended with the Nuggets.
Averaging 24.8-points and 6.3-rebounds per game in his eight seasons with the Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony became one of the greatest pure scorers the game has ever seen, while helping lead the Nuggets to consistent playoff berths.
Detroit Piston – Tayshaun Piston
An integral part of the mighty Detroit Pistons of the start of the century, Tayshaun Prince helped guide the Pistons to the NBA championship win over the Lakers. Spending 12-seasons with the Pistons, Prince averaged 12.6-points per game, while being a constant threat on both ends of the floor.
Golden State Warriors – Stephen Curry
A two-time league MVP and two-time champion, Stephen Curry will be the next Warrior to see his jersey retired. Quite possibly the greatest shooter to ever live, Curry’s skillset has changed the entire game of basketball, turning the Golden State Warriors into perennial championship contenders.
Houston Rockets – Elvin Hayes
20.6-points and 12.2-rebounds per game is what Elvin Hayes averaged through seven seasons with the Houston Rockets. One of the greatest NBA players ever, it is only a matter of time before the Hall of Famer’s jersey is retired by the Rockets organization.
Indiana Pacers – Jermaine O’Neal
After an uneventful start to his career as a member of the Portland Trailblazers, Jermaine O’Neal turned into a perennial All-Star as a member of the Indiana Pacers. Helping lead the Pacers to the NBA Finals, O’Neal was a six-time All-Star in Indiana, averaging 18.9-points and 7.9-rebounds per game in his eight seasons with the team.
Los Angeles Clippers – Elton Brand
A dominant force in the NBA, Elton Brand averaged a double-double (20.3-points and 10.3-rebounds) over his seven seasons with the Clippers. While there wasn’t much winning or playoff success over his tenure with the team, Brand made two All-Star teams and was one of the better power forwards in the game in his prime.
Los Angeles Lakers – Pau Gasol
Helping return the Lakers to prominence, alongside Bryant, Pau Gasol brought two championships to Los Angeles in his seven seasons with the team. Making the All-Star team three times, the Spaniard averaged 17.7-points and 9.9-rebounds per contest, while remaining one of the best passing big men in the game.
Memphis Grizzlies – Zach Randolph
A key fixture of the grit and grind era in Memphis, Zach Randolph made two All-Star teams as a member of the Grizzlies. Averaging 16.8-points and 10.2-rebounds, Randolph became one of the faces of the franchise, spearheading them to the playoffs each season.
Miami Heat – Dwyane Wade
Three-time NBA champion, 12-time All-Star in his 13-years with the Miami Heat, do we really have to add to Dwyane Wade’s resume?
Milwaukee Bucks – Michael Redd
A career halted early due to injury, Michael Redd was one of the premier scorers in the NBA for over a decade. Spending 11-seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, Redd averaged 20.0-points per game with the team.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Kevin Garnett
Before taking the Celtics to the promised land, Kevin Garnett became a superstar in Minnesota. Through 14-seasons, he averaged 19.8-points and 11.4-rebounds, making 10 All-Star rosters, while winning an MVP award in the process. A resume which cements him as one of the greatest of all time, Garnett will one day have his number retired by two NBA franchises.
New Orleans Pelicans – Chris Paul
Turning into one of the best point guards of all time, Chris Paul should most definitely see his jersey retired by the Pelicans. Spending six seasons with the franchise, Paul averaged 18.7-points and 9.9-assiss with the Pelicans, taking the Pelicans to the playoffs in three of his six seasons with the franchise.
New York Knicks – John Starks
The heart of the New York Knicks at the turn of the century, John Starks emulated the passion and the personality of New York City, allowing him to be embraced by the fans at Madison Square Garden. Spending eight seasons with the Knicks, the gritty guard averaged 14.1-points per game in his time with the Knicks.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Rashard Lewis
A star in Ice Cube’s Big3 league, Rashard Lewis was once a star player as a member of the Seattle Supersonics. Spending nine seasons with the franchise, Lewis was a sharpshooting forward who averaged 16.6-points and 5.8-rebounds a game as a member of the Sonics, making the All-Star team in 2004-05.
Orlando Magic – Shaquille O’Neal
The jersey retirement tour may not be complete for Shaquille O’Neal as one more team should give him a call relatively soon. Despite only playing four seasons with the Magic, O’Neal was absolutely dominant and has since become one of the greatest players to ever step foot on the hardwood. All things considered, O’Neal averaged 27.2-points and 12.5-rebounds in his time with the Magic and should most definitely be honoured by the team.
Philadelphia 76ers – Joel Embiid
Sparking the start of a culture in Philadelphia, ‘The Process’ began with Joel Embiid. Despite injuries plaguing the majority of his young career, Embiid has continued to dominate in his time on the floor and it seems like the Sixers are poised for a very bright future.
Phoenix Suns – Steve Nash
A two-time MVP Steve Nash took the Phoenix Suns to new heights – on the cusp of a championship berth. One of the best point guards of all time, Nash averaged 14.4-points and 9.4-assists per game as a member of the Suns in his 10-seasons with the team.
Portland Trailblazers – Damian Lillard
Loyalty and stardom is what Damian Lillard brings to the table. Averaging 22.7-points and 6.2-assists per game through his six seasons in Portland, Lillard has made two All-Star teams while being snubbed in three other seasons. Hitting some of the most clutch shots in team history, Lillard will be honoured when all is said and done.
Sacramento Kings – Mike Bibby
Quite possibly a member of the best NBA team to never win an NBA championship, Mike Bibby spent seven seasons with the Sacramento Kings, averaging 17.6-points and 5.4-assists over that span. With Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, and Peja Stojakovic all seeing their jerseys retired by the team, it’s only logical that Bibby is next to go!
San Antonio Spurs – Manu Ginobili
The year after Manu Ginobili retires, his number will be retired. There is no question!
A San Antonio lifer, Ginobili has spent his entire 15-year career with the Spurs, winning four championships, cracking two All-Star and All-NBA teams, while also winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. He is an integral part of San Antonio Spurs history and will be honoured soon-after his eventual retirement.
Toronto Raptors – Chris Bosh
Depending on your views on a certain other dude who played for many years with the Toronto Raptors, the answer to the question at hand may be different no matter who you ask.
But one thing that cannot be questioned is how big a star Chris Bosh became in Toronto and how important he was to the basketball culture of the city. Seven seasons with the Raptors in which he averaged 20.2-points and 9.4-rebounds, Bosh willed the Raptors out of mediocrity into the playoffs and will one day be immortalized by the club.
Utah Jazz – Andre Kirilenko
One of the most underrated two-way players in the game, Andre Kirilenko spent ten seasons with the Jazz, playing the role of the Swiss army knife. He did a little bit of everything en route to one All-Star selection and three All-Defensive team honours.
Washington Wizards – Walt Bellamy
The late, great Walt Bellamy spent five seasons with the Washington Bullets organization, averaging 15.6-points and 12.2-rebounds per contest. An NBA Hall of Famer, retiring Bellamy’s jersey would not only honour his career with the organization, but his life.