What Are The Most Retired Numbers in Sports | Remember The GOATS

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Across the four major sports, jersey numbers are hung in the rafters to honor those who have so convincingly outperformed the rest of the competition. A retired number is mythological. When scanning available jersey numbers and the list jumps from No. 41 to 43, the MLB rookie knows why he’ll never have “42” stitched onto his jersey.

We did an analysis to see which numbers are most frequently retired throughout all of professional sports. Check out the numbers with the most reverence and the players who earned those spots in the rafters.

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MLB Retired Jersey Numbers

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Jackie Robinson pioneered a national civil rights movement in America during 10 seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and ’50s. The first African-American player in Major League Baseball, Jack Roosevelt Robinson amassed Hall-of-Fame numbers during his playing career and earned a league wide retirement of his jersey number in 1997. No other MLB player will wear No. 42 (in fact, it’s the only MLB jersey to be retired league wide).

MLB’s next most popular retired jersey is No. 20. Ten individual players throughout the history of the league have had their No. 20 jersey retired. The most notable athletes to wear No. 20 include Mike Schmidt (18 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies), Luis Gonzalez (18 seasons in MLB – jersey retired with the Arizona Diamondbacks), and Jorge Posada (16 seasons with the New York Yankees).

With nine jerseys, No. 14 is second among the most retired numbers in Major League Baseball. Notable players to have worn No. 14 include Pete Rose (Cincinnati Reds), Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox), and Ernie Banks (Chicago Cubs).

No. 1 has been stitched beneath the name of some of baseball’s biggest legends. Eight No. 1 jerseys have been retired among certain MLB teams. Notable players to have worn No. 1 include Hall-of-Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith (St. Louis Cardinals), Bobby Doerr (Boston Red Sox), and Hall-of-Famer Pee Wee Reese (Los Angeles Dodgers).

NBA Retired Jersey Numbers

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The National Basketball Association has retired the No. 32 jersey a grand total of 11 times across the league. Among the legends to don No. 32 are five-time champion Ervin “Magic” Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers), basketball legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving (Philadelphia 76ers), and Utah Jazz big man Karl Malone.

Who would Magic be without Bird? Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird donned the No. 33 jersey for 13 seasons, winning three championships during that time. Two more No. 33 jerseys to be retired belong to six-time champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the Lakers and Patrick Ewing for the Knicks.

The No. 10 jersey has also been retired often. Outstanding No. 10 players in the NBA include the Knicks’ Walt Frazier, the Heat’s Tim Hardaway, and Detroit’s Dennis Rodman.

NFL Retired Jersey Numbers

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Before John Elway ran the Denver Broncos as a championship-winning general manager, he donned the No. 7 jersey in two championships as the team’s quarterback. Denver has since retired Elway’s No. 7. Other notable No. 7 jerseys to be retired include New York Giant Mel Hein and George Halas of the Chicago Bears.

Along with the No. 7 jersey, three others have also been retired a total of five times. No. 14, 40, and 70 are off-limits for a handful of teams across the country. Legendary No. 14 players include Y.A. Tittle (New York Giants), Dan Fouts (San Diego Chargers), and Otto Graham (Cleveland Browns). Notable No. 40 players include the late Pat Tillman (Arizona Cardinals) and Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears.

NHL Retired Jersey Numbers

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Up in the rafters throughout the NHL, the “Great One” is honored. Wayne Gretzky, No. 99, changed the game during his 21 seasons in the NHL. In homage to the dominance and skill level with which Gretzky played, No. 99 has been retired league wide (it’s the only number retired league wide to date). Gretzky holds 40 NHL regular season records, 15 playoff records, and four Stanley Cup wins.

If you can’t have two nines, one will have to do. The No. 9 jersey has been retired 12 times throughout the history of the NHL. Notable No. 9 players include legends Gordie Howe (Detroit Red Wings), Maurice Richard (Montreal Canadiens), and Bobby Hull (Chicago Blackhawks).

In keeping with the single-digit trend in the NHL, No. 7, 3, and 5 have all been retired at least eight times in the history of the league. All-Stars to retire No. 7 include Edmonton Oilers player Paul Coffey, Boston Bruin Phil Esposito, and Toronto Maple Leaf Tim Horton. Famous No. 3 jerseys hanging in the rafters include those belonging to Keith Magnuson (Chicago Blackhawks) and Bob Gassoff (St. Louis Blues).

Historical Digits

Records will be broken, and athletic feats will be topped, but for those who did it first, the achievements resound throughout generations. So if you’re looking for a piece of history, check out Fanatics.com for Robinson’s No. 42 or Gretzky’s No. 99 to sport on game day.

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What does retiring a jersey mean

Retiring the number of an athlete is an honor a team bestows upon a player, usually after the player has left the team, retires from the sport or dies. Once a number is retired, no future player from the team may wear that number on their uniform, unless the player so-honored permits it; however, in many cases the number cannot be used at all.

NBA Trade Deadline Analysis

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The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, along with the need to speculate the meaning of cryptic player tweets – looking at you Isaiah Thomas. Each of the league’s 32 teams now has a finalized roster. Some squads have even upgraded, hoping to win the NBA championship, while others aren’t thinking about a postseason challenge just yet; it’s clear the next date penciled into their calendar is the NBA draft lottery.

How did the week unfold? What were the blockbuster trades? Did any team get fleeced? And most importantly, how did your favorite team do? We examined the final days leading up to the trade deadline to look at some of the moves that may define the 2016-17 NBA season.

Day Trading

Here’s how the final days leading up to the trade deadline played out across the NBA.

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Monday

New Orleans Pelicans acquire center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi from the Sacramento Kings for shooting guard Tyreke Evans, point guard Langston Galloway, shooting guard Buddy Hield, a 2017 top-three protected first-round pick, and a 2017 second-round pick.

Talk about a blockbuster trade! New Orleans knew they needed a playmaker to play with their star, Anthony Davis, so they went and got one in Boogie Cousins. As the official Pelicans Twitter account claimed, this is the pairing of fire and ice. It definitely elevates the talent level of the Pelicans, even if they had to give up promising rookie Buddy Hield. Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated both awarded New Orleans an “A+” for executing this trade. As for the Kings, Bleacher Report awarded this trade an “F.” Ouch!

Outside @smoothiekingcenter! #pelicans

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Tuesday

Los Angeles Lakers acquire shooting guard Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round pick from the Houston Rockets for point guard Lou Williams.

Houston has clearly scrapped the idea of playing defense by adding another strong shooter to their roster. Coach D’Antoni may be adopting the philosophy that the best defense is a ridiculously potent offense by adding Williams. On his first night, Williams scored 27 points, had two assists and rebounds, and made seven 3-pointers. Talk about an immediate impact. The Rockets received “B” and “B+” grades for this trade, while the Lakers received a “B-.” Sports writers have questioned if they could have received more from Williams, who was only scheduled to be paid a $7 million salary next season.

Wednesday

Washington Wizards acquired small forward Bojan Bogdanovic and power forward Chris McCullough from the Brooklyn Nets for power forward Andrew Nicholson, shooting guard Marcus Thornton, and a 2017 lottery-protected first-round pick.

The Washington Wizards needed to get out of Andrew Nicholson’s contact – he was due $20 million a year for the next three seasons – and they paid a heavy price for it: their lottery-protected first-round draft pick. Given the Nets first-round pick belonged to the Boston Celtics, most felt this was a wise move to get the Empire State team back into the draft mix. They were given a grade of “A-,” whereas the Wizards received “B-” grades for their move. Most felt the Wizards didn’t significantly upgrade to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Eastern Conference’s presumptive favorite.

Thursday

Chicago Bulls acquired center Joffrey Lauvergne, shooting guard Anthony Morrow, and point guard Cameron Payne from the Oklahoma City Thunder for center Taj Gibson, power forward Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick.

McDermott adds firepower to the Thunder’s lineup. OKC ranked last in the league in a wide-open 3-point percentage, just over 32 percent, whereas the former Bull has been nailing over 40 percent of his uncontested shots from a distance. The Thunder received “A’s” for giving up handshake expert extraordinaire Cameron Payne to make this happen. Chicago earned criticism for downgrading their offense, even if they’ll be in a more enviable financial position at the end of the season.

Number 25 for your OKC Thunder, Doug McDermott. #McBuckets

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Pass or Fail?

Whether your team made the grade or should potentially be asking for a redo, root them on for the rest of the season by wearing the best officially licensed NBA merchandise and apparel, available at Fanatics.com.

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The Evolution of the Los Angeles Lakers Jersey

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From Minneapolis to Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Lakers are a big part of NBA history; however, their start began in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1947 – before the NBA even existed. Back then, the Lakers were a part of the National Basketball League but made the jump to the Basketball Association of America after their first season. When the NBA was established in 1949 after the BAA merged with the NBL, the Lakers joined it after their second season ended.

The Minnesota team was named the Lakers in direct reference to the state’s motto: “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” While California does not have the same distinction, the team kept the name when it moved to Los Angeles in 1960. They then became the L.A. Lakers.  

The Lakers are regular participants in the NBA’s postseason, marking 60 appearances in the playoffs out of a possible 69. They won their first NBA Finals game, as the Minneapolis Lakers, by beating out the Syracuse Nationals in the 1949-50 season.

Since then, the Lakers have strung together an impressive 15 additional championships, most recently during the 2009-10 season, and have paved the way for a multitude of the game’s biggest stars. Kobe Bryant, who recently retired, played for the Lakers for the entirety of his 20-year NBA career. Other notable players include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played in L.A. for 14 seasons; Elgin Baylor, a former Minneapolis Laker who made the move east with the team; the late great Wilt Chamberlain, who spent his last five NBA seasons with the Lakers; Magic Johnson, whose entire career also took place with the Lakers; Shaquille O’Neal, who played for many teams but spent the biggest bulk of his career with L.A.; and Jerry West, a 14-time All-Star who played back in the Lakers’ early days when they first came to L.A.

Since the move to L.A., the Lakers jersey has undergone just a few evolutions. Let’s check them out.

The Lakers Jersey Over the Years

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1960–1966: The white inaugural L.A. Lakers jersey is quite different from what we’re familiar with today. The overall bright white design is accented by two shades of blue. The player numbers are a dark blue and are highlighted by a lighter blue drop shadow. A blue double line trims the U-shaped neck and arms, and “Los Angeles” appears on the front in a cursive font.

1966–1972: In 1966, the iconic Lakers gold makes its first appearance in L.A., as the home jersey changes from white to gold. The gold color is familiar to older fans, as it is a facet of their first uniform in Minneapolis. The gold Lakers jersey – paired with purple – is trimmed in white, while the player numbers are trimmed in purple. “Lakers” appears above the numbers in a flowing block script, which trends up toward the left shoulder at an angle.

1978–1999: This uniform is familiar to many basketball fans, as it appears during what’s known as the “Showtime Era.” The gold jersey remains trimmed with purple and white, which is reflected in the player numbers – purple paired with white trim. The script for the team name remains virtually unchanged, although it’s no longer at an angle.

1999–2017: The modern-day Lakers home jersey continues the purple-and-gold scheme, but it now features a V-neck and a solid purple stripe flanked by thin white stripes on the sides from the armpit to the waist. The player numbers are white and outlined in purple, but the drop shadow of years past has been removed.

If you’re ready to head to Staples Center to watch your Lakers take on their next opponent, or the court you’re presiding over in your living room, check out the sweet Lakers gear you can get at Fanatics.com.

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