Who Will Be the Worst Player to Get Their Jersey Retired?

Jersey retirings are fickle. There isn’t a set of criteria that assure a player gets their jersey retired. It is a combination of several factors, and the task ahead is a bit murky.

Our question is simple: Who will be the worst player to have their jersey retired? (This was written above in huge letters, but I’m saying again here for those of you who are lazy skimmers.)

This begins is the outline of our criteria. Here’s what we’re looking for. 

  1. Player who doesn’t have their jersey retired right now. 
  2. Player that will likely have their jersey retired. 

Regarding number 2, how do we discern who will get their jersey retired? 

I’ve looked over every retired jersey in NBA history, and as far as I can ascertain, there are 3 major reasons someone’s jersey is retired: 

  • Player production. This one is plain and simple. Players who’s jerseys are retired for their performance put up big numbers for a long time with their team, but maybe didn’t “do” a lot for their franchise. They were superstars, but not pioneers or players who altered the course of their franchise forever. Think of players like Shaq, MJ, Kobe. Those players were bonafide NBA superstars, but didn’t put their team on the map or have extraordinarily long, or exclusive tenures with their team. They were an all-time great franchise player, straight up.
  • Historical significance. Players that get their jersey retired for historical significance typically have one or more of three things: 1) Exclusive and long tenures with a team, 2) a hand in revitalizing a franchise or putting it on the map or 3) a significant role in the franchise’s perception because of attitude, demeanor, or presence. These players, of course, are necessarily good players, or else they wouldn’t have been able to do either of the aforementioned items. Think of players like Tony Allen, Brad Davis, or Bruce Bowen. None are all time great players, but all had serious importance to their franchise for who they were as people and players.
  • Tragedy. There are a select few who’s jerseys are retired because of their untimely death. Players like Drazen Petrovic or Bob Phils are examples.

Players will often have their jersey retired for combinations of the first two, or just one of the two.

In addition to the generalities of why players are retired, each franchise has generalities. For example, the Lakers and Celtics have had no shortage of talent over the years, and are a bit retire-happy. Still, there are unretired jerseys that could be considered “better” or more important to their own franchise than some retired jerseys of either the Lakers or the Celtics. 

Other teams who have not had any shortage of talent, like the San Antonio Spurs, have retired significantly less jerseys than either of those teams. 

Some franchises, though they have plenty of historic talent, are extremely fickle with jersey retirement. The Orlando Magic don’t have a single jersey retired besides whoever the hell “sixth man” is. The Magic, at the minimum, have Dwight, Shaq, and Penny, that all had careers with Orlando that are worthy of retirement. 

The inverse is also true. There are some franchises that haven’t had a good player or a player that played a key role in a significant era of that franchise. The Hornet’s best player ever is probably Kemba Walker. As far as jersey retirement goes, that’s a lower bar than most franchises. Some franchises with less talent historically retire jerseys that are proportional to their historical talent levels. 

Alright. Let’s do it. 

Atlanta Hawks

Jerseys retired: Bob Pettit, Dominique Wilkins, Lou Hudson, Jason Collier, Dikembe Mutumbo

Potential: Al Horford

The Hawks were difficult to asses. When compared to other historic franchises, the Hawks have a glaring lack of all-time NBA talent. In a way, I’m glad that they’re first so they can serve as an example of relative jersey retirements. If all-time NBA talent had played in Atlanta, then players like Jason Collier and Lou Hudson probably wouldn’t have their jersey retired. If Lou Hudson played his entire career with the Celtics, would he have his jersey retired? Their bar for retirement is higher, simply because their talent level – historically – is higher. 

But, given the realm with which to operate, I think it’s clear Al Horford will need to get his jersey retired by the Hawks organization.

Most noticeably, Al Horford has 20 more WS than Dikembe Mutumbo. There’s a great reason.

But also, Al Horford was the central figure of arguably most successful era of the Hawks. Horford’s lack of super stardom may be used against him in this sense. Those who watch the game know the value of a player like Al Horford. He steps onto the court and his team is better. Just like that. Smart passes, excellent defense, and the ability to put up 20 points when he wants.

There is something to be said for constant and consistent excellence. Though that excellence may be void of 40 or 50 point games or iconic moments, few players have Horford’s ability to produce the same stat line every single night. That skill, though less exciting and easier to look over, is worthy of reward.

Bottom line: Horford served as the fulcrum to the Hawks’ most succesful era, and that is worth his inclusion, especially in light of the franchise’s low barrier of entry. 

Boston Celtics

Jerseys retired: Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, Bill Russell, Jo Jo White, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsom, Tom Sanders, John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Don Nelson, Bill Sharman, Ed Macauley, Frank Ramsey, Sam Jones, K.C Jones, Cedric Maxwell, Kevin McHale, Larry Bird, Reggie Lewis

Potential: None

At the time of writing, the Celtics have recently retired the jersey of Paul Pierce. I honestly don’t see anyone else who deserves it from them. Way to go, guys. 

Brooklyn Nets

Jerseys retired: Drazen Petrovic, Jason Kidd, John Williamson, Bill Melchioni, Julius Erving, Buck Williams

Potential: None

The Brooklyn Nets have done a good job with retiring jerseys. They have players retired for all 3 major reasons: tragedy, significance, and performance. Jason Kidd and Julius Erving were both historically significant for their franchise as the two best players in Nets history. Bill Melchioni and John Williamson were both central figures for the Nets when the Nets were in the ABA. I get it.

I struggled for a long time wondering if Richard Jefferson would have his jersey retired by the Nets. Initially it sounds like a bit of a stretch. But then I looked at the aforementioned Nets boys, Bill Melchioni and John Williamson. Richard Jefferson is, by almost every measurable way, better than them. 

Though Jefferson was an essential piece of the great early 2000’s Nets teams, he never made an all-star team. He was a 3rd option on a great team. So, I was right about being wrong, which makes me right. No RJ. 

Charlotte Hornets

Jerseys retired: Bobby Phills

Potential: Larry Johnson, not Muggsy Bogues, Kemba Walker

It doesn’t matter that they’re one of the youngest franchises in the league, the Hornets are surely the most devoid of talent, historically speaking.

And since I’m writing this post, I would like to say something. Muggsy Bogues was not a good basketball player. He is often thrown into this group of players that were quintessential 90’s hoopers, and though that group isn’t necessarily all talent based, it inflates how good he was at basketball. Muggsy Bogues was a novelty basketball player who couldn’t score. He could dish out the ball and get steals. He couldn’t score or defend. Muggsy Bogues wasn’t a good basketball player. Additionally, not only is his name not real, he doesn’t even spell it right. Sorry.

Larry Johnson was a two-time All-Star and one time All-NBA player with the Hornets. He was only with the team for 5 years, and I just don’t think that’s enough to retire his jersey.

Gerald Wallace was a really good player for the Hornets for the 6.5 seasons with them. I still don’t think that’s quite long enough to have a jersey retired without an uptick in performance.

Right now, I think Kemba Walker has the best chance of any Hornet in history to have his jersey retired. He’s the best Hornet ever. Certainly the most complete. For franchise totals, Kemba is, at the time of writing, 3rd in games played, 2nd in points, 2nd in assists, 4th in steals, 5th in defensive rebounds, 2nd in field goals made, 2nd in field goals attempted, 1st in three pointers made, 1st in 3 pointers attempted, 2nd in free throws made, and 2nd in free throws attempted.

The players above Walker in almost every category are the players mentioned above, Wallace, Bogues, and sometimes Dell Curry. It is very likely that by the end of his contract, Kemba will be the franchise leader in half of those categories. If he resigns with Charlotte, he will most certainly move into the top 3 of all those he won’t become the franchise leader in.

On NBA.com's franchise leader section, there are 19 leaderboards.

Walker is on 14 of them. Dell Curry is on 15 of them. Gerald Wallace is on 13 of them. Larry Johnson is on 14 of them. What’s the difference?

For one, Kemba is higher than many of them on those leaderboards.

Most importantly, all of those players except Walker are on the Hornet’s leaderboard for personal fouls. You don’t want those.

Chicago Bulls

Jerseys retired: Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen

Potential: None

I really want Rodman’s jersey retired, but he only played with the Bulls for 3 seasons. :( 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Jerseys retired: Bingo Smith, Zyndrunas Ilgauskus, Larry Nance, Mark Price, Austin Carr, Nate Thurmond, Brad Daugherty

Potential: LeBron James

Do I need to talk about this? 

Dallas Mavericks

Jerseys retired: Derek Harper, Brad Davis, Rolando Blackman

Potential: Dirk

Another monumental figure in his franchise’s narrative, Dirk Nowitzki IS the Dallas Mavericks. He is the greatest Mav in history by a long shot. It’s not even close. He will 100% get his jersey retired if he ever stops playing basketball. 

Denver Nuggets

Jerseys retired: Alex English, David Thompson, Byron Beck, Dan Issel, Dikembe Mutumbo

Potential: Carmelo Anthony

Okay. *Deep breath*

I’m not a Nuggets fan. I know they hate Carmelo. I know they still hate Carmelo. I hate Carmelo Anthony. 

Being liked by a franchise, a team, a group of fans–that’s really important. I think it would take a severe betraying of the team (this will be defined in exact terms in the Oklahoma City section). I don’t think what Melo did, though it sucks, is lousy enough to erase his status as the greatest Nugget ever. And he is.

Andrew Feinstein at Denver Stiffs wrote this immediately after the Melo trade

“The retiring of Melo's jersey number is a different matter altogether. It's easy in the aftermath of a trade like this - especially one where the star player forced the trade - to say "good riddance!" and never welcome the player back. But that would be ignoring the seven-plus great seasons that we got out of Melo during his tenure in Denver, a span that produced the most regular season wins for any seven-and-a-half year stretch of the Nuggets' NBA history and saw Melo finish as the Nuggets' third all-time leading scorer, eighth all-time leading rebounder, sixth all-time steals leader and third all-time free throws made leader.”

Melo took a Nuggets team to the Western Conference Finals. No, he didn’t take them to the finish line, but he gave them their best season in franchise history. Bury the hatchet. Retire the jersey. 

Detroit Pistons

Players retired: Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodaman, Isiah Thomas, Vinnie Johnson, Bob Lanier, Dave Bing, Rip Hamilton, Bill Laimbeer

Potential: None

The Pistons have done a great job and covered all their bases. Really proud of them. 

Golden State Warriors

Players retired: Wilt Chamberlain, Tom Meschery, Al Attles, Chris Mullin, Rick Barry, Nate Thurmond

Potentials: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond.

Steph, Klay, and Draymond are a given. Their jersey’s will be retired unquestionably. Likely, Kevin Durant’s will be too if he stays with the team for the rest of his career. If he’s there, they’ll win titles, barring some sort of freak injury to their core or a departure.

Here’s something I’d like to bring up. As the epitome of hipster cult-icon NBA teams, the “Run TMC” era Warriors should be commemorated. They were short lived, yes. Chris Mullin is an NBA Hall of Famer, and he wants Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond to get the same honor.

From Slam Magazine:

“Mullin suggests retiring all three jersey numbers at the same time — Run TMC lifted into the rafters at Oracle Arena in one unifying, thunderous moment? ‘I would like that,’ Mullin said this week. ‘I think the fans would like it, too. … To me, it doesn’t always have to be about one person. I know I’d feel more comfortable. That would feel natural to me.”

Let’s put the boys in. It’s not going to hurt anything. 

Houston Rockets

Jerseys retired: Yao Ming, Clyde Drexler, Calvin Murphy, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwan, Rudy Tomjanovich

Potentials: James Harden, Tracy McGrady

It’s not to early to say that James Harden is currently the 2nd greatest Rocket ever, and has a shot at being the greatest Rocket ever. He needs no defense (he also has no defense).

Tracy McGrady does. Unfortunately, T-Mac spent his career with major stints at 3 teams. He played well for everyone, but who’s responsibility is it to retire his jersey? Is it where he played his best? That’s on Orlando. Is it where he played the longest? That’s the Rockets.

McGrady is an NBA Hall of Famer. He spent 6 seasons with the Rockets. Houston, retire the jersey. 

Indiana Pacers

Jerseys retired: George McGinnis, Reggie Miller, Mel Daniels, Roger Brown

Potentials: None 


Los Angeles Clippers

Jerseys retired: None

Potentials: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan

Well, obviously this franchise doesn’t have a problem with retiring jerseys, as they famously showed Blake Griffin his jersey hanging in the rafters as a free agency pitch. 

The Lob City Clippers teams from 2011ish to 2017ish were known for high-flying, athletic play and choking in the playoffs. I don’t think that’s entirely fair. They were also riddled with injuries.

Given the extremely boring and unhistoric nature of the franchise, I really believe that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan should have their jerseys retired. They brought the franchise into a new level of importance. They weren’t placeholders in the West, they were contenders. 

Every year, we asked if the Clippers would get over the hump. Of course, they never did. But those 3 players formed the nucleus of the franchises best years, and the first time the team was important. They need to be retired. 

Los Angeles Lakers

Jerseys retired: Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, Jerry West, Jamaal Wilkes, George Mikan, Vern Mikkelsen, Slater Martin, Jim Pollard, Clyde Lovellette

Potentials: None

The Lakers are on top of who’s jersey get’s retired. I have nothing to add. 

Memphis Grizzlies

Jerseys retired: Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, 

Potentials: Mike Conley, Marc Gasol

With the two players retired and the two named as potentials, what do you see? You see the core of one of the NBA’s most beloved team era’s ever, the Grit N’ Grind Memphis Grizzlies. That’s right. They’re up there with the greatest: Showtime Lakers, Jailblazers, Run TMC, 7 Seconds or Less Suns, Bad Boys.

The Grint N’ Grind Grizzlies were the heart and soul of the city of Memphis, and no player took sole ownership of the culture. Though Tony Allen was designated the “Grindfather”, I believe that’s because he is the eldest member.

Look at this article from the Commercial Appeal. Geoff Calkins writes of Allen:

“Allen once drew a technical for throwing a shirt on the court during a playoff game. He then won that game by harassing Durant into a missed shot, grabbing the rebound and hitting two free throws.

So Memphis loved him, the way no other city had ever loved him, the way no other city ever will. He was as gleefully unpolished as the place itself. He was as frustrating, and as hard to figure, and as easy to forgive and embrace.

Is there any other city in which Allen could have become the official spokesman for the airport?

Is there any other city in which Allen could have been enlisted by the school system to record a telephone message reminding parents to send their kids to school?

Is there any other city that would have taken Allen’s postgame musings and made them a civic rallying cry?

Grit, grind. That’s how Memphians will remember Allen. But let's not leave out the other part of the quote. All heart. The furious play was mesmerizing. The first-team defense was something to see. But it was Allen’s heart — the transparent and emotional way he both played and lived  — that really sealed the deal.”

That same franchise-cornerstone status can be given to Randolph. Though he played for several NBA teams, Memphis was his home. Speaking of Z-Bo, Tom Ziller of SBNation writes:

“Culturally speaking, Z-Bo is integral to Grit ’N Grind, associated with the identity more closely than anyone but T.A., the Grindfather himself. The Grindhouse will remain, but without Randolph in the building the identity will be slightly diminished.”

The men together birthed Grit n’ Grind. In a totally non-sexual way. 

Here’s Joe Mullinax writing for Grizzly Bear Blues:

“Without TA and Z-Bo, there likely would never have been a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Without #Feed50, there would be hundreds upon hundreds of people whose power may have been cut off, or kids who wouldn’t have had supplies for school. Without the Grindfather, there would be far less karaoke events benefiting juveniles as they try to break away from criminal behavior. Without these two men, there would not be large groups of young people lining the streets of Beale Street before playoff games chanting, wearing Beale Street Blue.

I know that because I was, and am, one of them.

I am of the Grit and Grind Generation, who came to know this team thanks in part to the efforts of Tony Allen and Zach Randolph. Both players are flawed, but so what? So is Memphis. Both players are real and genuine, and so is Memphis. Both players are driven by doubters, and so is Memphis. That resonates, and that identity and the success that came with it brought in a group of fans who are passionate and love this team.

That exists because of Zach Randolph and Tony Allen.”

These Grizzlies teams are such a beautiful demonstration of city-team synergy. The two, during this period especially, were linked at the hip and fed from each other. Games in the Grindhouse were electric no matter the opponent. 

Despite getting almost always bounced in the first round of the playoffs, almost no team in the NBA had more personality, heart, willpower, or blue-collar lovability like those Grizzlies teams. They will most assuredly retire both Mike Conley and Marc Gasol’s jerseys. They’re locks to me.

For all the reasons said of TA and Z-Bo, Conley and Gasol are surefire. 

Miami Heat

Jerseys retired: Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Dan Marino

Potentials: Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem,  

Okay. Let’s talk about the Miami Heat’s retiring procedure. They have 5 jerseys retired. 2 of them actually played basketball for the Miami Heat. I was shocked. One of them is a player who never wore a Heat uniform - Michael Jeffrey Jordan. This sort of move is one of the most blatant shows of brown-nosing I have ever seen. No other team has done this, so this is the equivalent of that annoying kid in class raising their hand to tell the teacher they LOVED the homework last night. I don’t understand what they’re hoping to get out of this. I don’t get it.

But wait, there’s more. They retired the jersey of SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER PLAYED PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL. As a matter of fact, Dan Marino played an entirely different sport professionally.  How bored are the Miami Heat?

Oh wait, like the other Florida team, the Orlando Magic, the Miami Heat have retired the jersey of an entity referred to as “Sixth Man.” I don’t know who this person or persons is/are, but I want to know what is going on. Is this supposed to be every first man off the bench, or is this some PR stunt to “retire the jersey” of the fans? I wish I was never born.

It’s clear by retiring the jerseys of a player who never played for them, the jersey of a person who played in a different league doing something totally unrelated to basketball, and the jersey of someone who doesn’t exist, the Heat are desperately clawing at the potential for attention.

Anyway. I think the least they could do is retire Chris Bosh’s jersey. They did him so dirty, and he was so good for them. He’s one of the big 3 in Miami that brought them 2 championships and the best era of Heat basketball. I think LeBron should get his retired for the same reason. Additionally, if the Heat are willing to retire a jersey just based on greatness, regardless of whether or not that player actually played for them, surely they’re willing to retire the jersey of an all-time great that did play for them. Come on.

Dwyane Wade is a shoe-in here. He’s the greatest Heat player ever besides Dan Marino.

Here’s what is going to happen. The Heat are, for sure, going to retire the jersey of Udonis Haslem. He is Mr. Heat. He is the embodiment of Miami Heat basketball, and he’s also been with the team since the Cold War. He is respected so highly across that organization. It has to happen. He’s been with the team for 15 years and he’s from Miami. Udonis Haslem has been on basketball life support for about 5 years now, and even though he’s starting to look a lot more like Greg Oden with every day that passes, the team keeps him because he is immeasurable value to the organization.

The Heat are one of the most organized and defined franchises in the league. They have a culture. Fitness is paramount, working hard is paramount. The value of new team member or a rookie walking into the weight room at 8 am and seeing Udonis Haslem finishing his workout for the day can’t be quantified. Attitude, culture, and work ethic are all contagious. Udonis is the pillar of fire for the Heat way.

Of course Haslem will not be retired for his on-court doings. But I would say that no player in the NBA has the respect and off-court importance to their organization the way that Haslem does. The Heat could’ve dropped Haslem years ago for basketball reasons. But they kept him around for non-basketball reasons. And that is good enough. That takes some serious trust and respect. His jersey will 100% be retired. 

Milwaukee Bucks

Jerseys retired: Oscar Robertson, Junior Bridgeman, Sidney Moncrief, Bob Dandridge, Jon McGlocklin, Bob Lanier, Brian Winters, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Potentials: Ray Allen

People forget that when Ray Allen was in Milwaukee, he wasn’t a spot up shooter. This dude was driving into the lane and cramming on people. So much so that he was a dunk contest participant.

Allen’s game evolved as his athleticism left, and he faded into retirement so gracefully. We remember 2008 Ray Allen and the shot he made in 2014–that to say, we remember him as (before Steph Curry) the greatest shooter ever.

Sadly, Ray Allen suffers from the same ailment as Tracy McGrady: He was really good in different, significant ways for multiple teams.

With the Bucks, Ray Allen was a young, dynamic scoring star. With the Sonics, he put up his best scoring numbers. In Boston, he was a key part of a famous championship team. With Miami, he was an essential member of another championship ream, and speaking in wildly irresponsible and simplistic terms, made a shot that gave them a title.

Still, his time with the Bucks should merit his jersey being retired. 

Justin Lagler from Behind the Buck Pass notes

“Without a doubt, Allen is one of the greatest to ever lace ‘em up for Milwaukee. The last time the Bucks were truly relevant and in the championship conversation was during Sugar Ray’s stay. He helped lead Milwaukee to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bucks went seven games against the Allen Iverson-led Philadelphia 76ers in 2001.

During the epic series against the 76ers, Allen played nearly every minute of every game. He put up more than 27 points per contest and made 28 of 55 three-pointers over the seven games. With Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell completing the power trio, the Bucks had a real chance.” 

And this: 

“I still maintain the Bucks should retire No. 34 for Allen, who is the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers, a 10-time All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist. No jump shot has ever looked purer, and in addition to virtually every Milwaukee three-point shooting record, Allen owns the franchise record for consecutive games played with 400.”

He was a complete, all-star level scorer for the Bucks. Was he there long enough? I’m not sure. Maybe? Tough one. Let’s just say yes for now (it makes the article more fun). 

Minnesota Timberwolves

Jerseys retired: Malik Sealy

Potentials: Kevin Garnett

In the same vein as Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James, Kevin Garnett is a shoe-in for a jersey retirement with the Timberwolves. 

New Orleans Pelicans

Jerseys retired: Pete Maravich

Potentials: Anthony Davis, Chris Paul

Before I started this article, I had no idea that Chris Paul’s jersey retirement in New Orleans was a hotly debated issue.

Let’s also assume that Anthony Davis isn’t lying and actually does want to stay in New Orleans until he dies. Great. That’s most assuredly a retired jersey and title as the franchise’s best player ever.

But Chris Paul. I ran into some major, major debate with this. I looked for help.

Joe Gerrity from Bourbon Street Shots wrote:

“What Chris Paul did in the year after Katrina was single handedly electrify the hearts and souls of thousands of what are now Pelicans fans, and in the process make an average team good enough to win a playoff series and nearly a second.

CP3 was a special player his first two years in the league, and he remains a special player today, but what he did in 2007-2008 and again in 2008-2009 will go down as two of the best seasons by a point guard in history. Knee problems won’t keep him from being one of the best of his time, but they likely kept him from entering the conversation of all time greats.

He’ll never be that player again, and he never has to be. His greatest contribution to the NBA and the city of New Orleans already took place.

In those two years he showed thousands of New Orleanians what they would be missing if they didn’t fight to keep their team. He proved that post-Katrina New Orleans could support a basketball team, and as a result they have.

You don’t have to like Chris Paul, or root for Chris Paul, or even respect Chris Paul, but it’s hard to argue that there would be a professional basketball team in New Orleans if not for him.”

Our friend Joe boldly asserts that there wouldn’t even be a franchise in New Orleans if Chris Paul hadn’t have played there. As a true connoisseur of hot takes, I love this.

To counter him, his colleague Jason Calmes wrote:

“For a franchise that has not retired any jersey on the basis of greatness of play for the franchise to retire a jersey on the basis of 6 seasons with the franchise, 4 seasons in the city, and 0 seasons under current ownership seems like a reach or an act of desperation.”

I’m going to give that counter at 0/10. That’s awful, Jason. Why in the world would the current owner and city of play have anything to do with a jersey getting retired? Does that mean that every time a teach changes owners, every player before that change is unable to have their jersey retired? Good lord, Jason. That’s so bad. [The rest of the article is so much worse. Go read that thing. Shame on you, Jason] 

Chris Paul should absolutely have his jersey retired by New Orleans. I agree with Joe. 

New York Knicks

Jerseys retired: Walt Frazier, Dick Barnett, Earl Monroe, Dick McGuire, Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, Bill Bradley, Patrick Ewing

Potentials: lol  

Oklahoma City Thunder

Jerseys retired: None

Potentials: Idk? 

This organization doesn’t retire jerseys. They’ve said it. Still, I don’t see a situation that doesn’t end with the retiring of Russell Westbrook’s jersey. He has meant more to the Thunder than any player in their history, and holds significant NBA records. He will, by all measures, be a Hall of Fame player. Polarizing may he be, what he means to the organization cannot be quantified. His jersey will be the first the Thunder/Sonics retire.

And what about Kevin Durant? I don’t know. The rational side of me knows that 10-20 years after Durant retires, OKC will retire his jersey, since they will likely break their own rules and retire Russell Westbrook’s jersey. That will likely be what happens.

Still, immediately after he left OKC, they gave his number 35 to P.J Dozier, a player who spendt most of his time in the G-League. 

For the same reasons that Udonis Haslem will get his jersey retired in Miami, Nick Collison will likely get his retired by the Thunder.

The big question here is wether or not the Thunder will break with their tradition and retire Russell Westbrook’s jersey. If they do that, then it’s a floodgate. They’ll have to explain why Russ gets his retired, and then defend why Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Kevin Durant (though I would understand why they wouldn’t retire Durant’s jersey), and Collison don’t get their jersey’s retired.

In all honesty, I don’t think they’ll retire anyone’s jersey because of who Russ is. Russ doesn’t care about accolades. He allows them to hold to their preferences. If he’s not getting his retired, no one is. 

Orlando Magic

Jerseys retired: “Sixth man” lol

Potentials: Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, Dwight Howard

Dwight is the greatest Magic player ever. He’s getting his retired.

Shaq and Penny. 

Shaq only played for Orlando 4 seasons. He took them to the Finals, lost, then bolted to LA. That last bit is his greatest reason for not having his jersey retired. Shaq left the team at the height of their powers to chase rings. Still some salt in that wound. 

Conversely, he was magnificent. A statistical freak.

In franchise history: 

  • Fifth in points: 8,019
  • Third in field goals made: 3,208
  • Third in total rebounds: 3,691
  • Second in blocks: 824
  • Second in field goal percentage: 58.1 percent
  • Second in points per game: 28.1
  • Second in rebounds per game: 12.5
  • First in blocks per game: 2.8
  • First in PER: 26.6

His time in Orlando was short and he left on bad terms. The aforementioned wound must be healed to some extent, as the Magic inducted Shaq into their Magic Hall of Fame. Hold that thought. 


Like Shaq, he was electric on the court. He, too, left the franchise with a sour taste. Depending on who you ask, Penny was either the leader of, or a participant in a coup to fire head coach Brian Hill. Not a good look.

Like Shaq, Penny was elected into the Magic Hall of Fame. 

Hot Take Alert: The Magic don’t want to retire Shaq or Penny’s jersey’s, so they gave them Magic Hall of Fame honors as a consolation prize. If they haven’t done it 20 years after the fact, they may not. 

Philadelphia 76ers

Jerseys retired: Dolph Schayes, Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, Bobby Jones, Billy Cunningham, Charles Barkley

Potentials: None

Great job, crew. 

Phoenix Suns

Jerseys retired: Dick Van Arsdale, Walter Davis, Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle, Steve Nash, Tom Chambers, Alvan Adams, Charles Barkley, Connie Hawkings

Potentials: Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire

I forgot how good Shawn Marion was.

Check out this snippet from this Bleacher Report piece:

“Did you know that Marion is the Suns' all-time leader in win shares? And VORP? And defensive rebounds? Did you know he averaged 18.6 points, 10.0(!) rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.4 blocks in his eight full seasons with the Suns? And that no one else in the league replicated that output?”

That’s real life. That man did that on a team with 2x MVP Steve Nash. More Win Shares than Steve Nash. Wow. 

As for Stoudemire, in Sun’s rankings, he’s #4 PPG, #3 REB, #5 BLK, #3 FTM, #7 FG%. 

Paul Coro wrote:

“Stoudemire was a running mate for two of (Steve) Nash's three conference-finals teams and finished fifth in the NBA for scoring twice while with the Suns. He even made the All-NBA team more often (one first-team honor and three second-team honors) than he gave himself nicknames (STAT, Sun Tzu, Punisher)."

I love Shawn Marion and I love Amare Stoudemire. They need those jerseys retired. 

Portland Trail Blazers

Jerseys retired: Dave Twardzik, Lionel Hollins, Larry Steele, Maurice Lucas, Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Bob Gross, Bill Walton, Lloyd Neal, Geoff Petrie

Potentials: Damian Lillard, Arvydas Sabonis, C.J McCollum

The Trail Blazers will retire the jersey of anyone who moves, so I think it’s fine to assume that Damian Lillard and C.J McCollum will get their jerseys retired by the franchise. It’s a foregone conclusion.

Some argue Arvydas Sabonis.

Outside of Bill Walton and Clyde Drexler, Sabonis is the only Blazer to be in the Hall of Fame. Okay that’s great. He also played his whole career with the Blazers. Okay, good. And get this: Sabonis played for the Blazers when he was between 31 and 38 years old. He averaged a 21.2 PER in that time. His first year, he posted a 24.7 PER.

He was sensational and a unique talent, the original NBA unicorn. I don’t think he’d normally get his number retired, but since the Trail Blazers are especially lenient, maybe he get’s it. For the sake of this article, let’s say he does. 

Sacramento Kings

Jerseys retired: Nate Archibald, Mitch Richmond, Chris Webber, “Sixth man”, Bob Davies, Maurice Stokes, Oscar Robertson, Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac, Jack Twyman, Sam Lacey

Potentials: None

A job well done by a franchise who does nothing well. 

San Antonio Spurs

Jerseys retired: Johnny Moore, Avery Johnson, Bruce Bowen, James Silas, Tim Duncan, Sean Elliot, George Gervin, David Robinson

Potentials: Manu, Tony

Manu and Tony (provided he stays with the team) will have their jerseys retired. No discussion. 

Toronto Raptos

Jerseys retired: None

Potentials: Chris Bosh

A great one! 

Bosh spent 7 years with the Raptors. 5 of those, he was an All-Star. At the time of writing, Bosh  is second in franchise points, first in rebounds, and first in blocks. He’s still number one in franchise win shares as well. I don’t want to lay this case out because I honestly think it speaks for itself.

Folks will say that his teams never won games. I think that’s a horrible argument because the next best player on those teams was Jose Calderon. 

Utah Jazz

Jerseys retired: Adrian Dantley, Pete Maravich, John Stockton, Jeff Hornacek, Karl Malone, Darrell Griffith, Mark Eaton

Potentials: Andrei Kirilienko

Retire Andrei Kirilenko’s jersey immediately.

What? Why? Why would they do that?

You brainwashed ignoramus, listen to the truth. Say goodbye to your false conceptions of NBA History. This website is a AK-Truther site and it’s time to end a generation of next to no recognition for greatness.

There wasn’t a single thing Andrei Kirilenko couldn’t do. He was clinically well-rounded, and in ways that don’t receive enough glory, incredibly gifted.

The uninitiated will point to his mundane career numbers: 11.8 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, and 2.7 assists a game. Hardly numbers to be sported by someone who was, at one point, the sixth highest paid player in the league. AK was a 1 time all star, and a 3 time all-defensive player.

Did you know this dude led the league in blocks (220) in 05-06 and blocks per game (3.3) in 04-05? In 03-04, he was second in the league in VORP, just behind Kevin Garnett. MVP Kevin Garnett.

AK’s versatility and swiss-army-knife-ness spread out the focus of his career in retrospect. Only the self-actualized know AK is one of 2 players to have multiple 5x5 games. Who’s the other? Hakeem Olajuwan. Both players did it twice in one season.

I have said nothing yet to remind the shameless dolts who disagree that his nickname was “Wild Horse.” Good lord, the waterfall of greatness never ends and my cup runneth over.

For AK’s 10 year stint in Utah, look at this snippet from Bleacher Report:

“Only one player across that decade-long span matched Kirilenko's point (8,411), rebound (3,836), assists (1,919) and block (1,380) totals: Some dude named Tim Duncan. And these counting stats were no mirage. He has the second-highest BPM and third-highest VORP in Jazz history.”

Wild Horse is one of the greatest help defenders in history. His elite, elite, elite defensive nature and his ability to put up 15 points every night is valuable.

No, he wasn’t flashy. It’s not a sexy jersey retirement. But they better show some respect. Retire the jersey.

Additionally check out this ancient write-up on NBA.com campaigning for AK as DPOY:

“Kirilenko is a predator on defense, treating opponents like chum, gliding through the paint looking for shots to swat and passes to pilfer. He's quick, agile and above all smart, playing the angles like another type of shark: a pool shark.

Washington Wizards

Jerseys retired: Earl Monroe, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson, Wes Unseld, Phil Chenier

Potential: probably John Wall

Right? I don't know. 

Who’s gonna get their jersey retired that hasn’t already?

Udonis Haslem, Kemba Walker, Al Horford, LeBron James, Dirk, Carmelo Anthony, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Ray Allen, Chris Paul, Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Arvydas Sabonis, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, Kahwi Leonard, Chris Bosh, Andrei Kirilenko.

Who’s the worst of those?

Udonis Johneal Haslem

Reid Belew