NBA Jersey Olympics
Jerseys 00 - 5
Trying to take a different angle on an old game we love to play. Who are the best players to wear each jersey number? These articles are always met with some sort of anger over controversy and snubs, so we wanted to take an approach that's a tad bit more inclusive. 3 players for each jersey number. A gold medalist, a silver medalist, and a bronze medalist.
Must be an NBA team number. No college numbers, all-star numbers, or Olympic numbers.
The player must have worn that number for 3 NBA seasons or more (Michael Jordan has been deemed ineligible for 12 and 45).
The medal is based on the total career of the player, not just the years he wore that number.
Players may compete in multiple events (spoiler alert: we will have the same player medal for numbers 8 and 24).
With the Rules in place, let the ceremonies begin.
Gold - Robert Parish: The Chief. A Hall of Famer and four-time NBA champion. He was a 9X all-star, and the man in the middle for the Boston Celtics of the 1980s. Career averages of 14.5ppg and 9 rebounds.
Silver - Aaron Gordon: A short time in the NBA, and probably would not medal under any other number, but with very few participants in the 00 categories, a man whose only career achievement is slam dunk champion gets a silver medal. Career averages of 12.7ppg and 6.4 rebounds.
Bronze - Benoit Benjamin: Another not so honorable mention. Benjamin had a complete NBA career and in his heyday averaged 15 and 7 every night, but his prime was short-lived if he even had a prime. Career averages of 11.4ppg and 7.5 rebounds.
Gold - Russell Westbrook: Some good candidates for #0, but only one of them has an MVP award and averaged a triple-double for 3 straight seasons. Westbrook plays with unbridled passion, and in a league where players clamor for “load management”, the effort he brings every night is breath of fresh air. He is a 9X all-star and 8X all-NBA. He’s won 2 assist titles and 2 scoring titles. Career averages 23.2ppg, 7.1 rebounds, and 8.3 assists.
Silver - Damian Lillard: Just lights out shooter, and clutch player, Dame Dolla is the star of the northwest. A small school product, he has become a bonafide superstar in the NBA and is already a 5X all-star and 4X All-NBA player. Career averages 24ppg, 4 rebounds, and 6.5 assists.
Bronze - Kevin Love: KLove is a perennial all-star (5x to be exact), a two-time all-NBA player, and an NBA champion. He always seems to be riddled by injury, but when he is right, there may not be a better scorer/rebounder combo in the NBA. One of only 5 players in NBA history to ever record a 30/30 game. Career averages 17.6ppg and 11.1 rebounds.
Honorable: Gilbert Arenas, Jayson Tatum, Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins, Shawn Marion.
Gold - Oscar Robertson: The original player to average a triple-double for a season, he was within a rebound or assist a game of doing it 5 times. He is a Hall of Famer, league MVP, and was featured at guard for 12 all-star games, and appeared on 11 All-NBA teams. There was no question of competition for this one, as he ran away with #1. Career averages 25.7ppg, 7.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists.
Silver - Tracy McGrady: TMac was a late bloomer. One of the faces of the “straight from high school” that overpopulated the late 90’s and early 2000’s, he would go on to be a two-time scoring champion after leaving Canada. In his prime, he was good for 25-27ppg and was a 7x all-star and 7x all-NBA. After retiring, he would be enshrined in the basketball hall of fame. Career averages 19.6ppg, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists.
Bronze - Chris Bosh: Bosh’s career was unfortunately shortened by blood clots, but he will go into Springfield as a first-ballot hall of famer. A member of 2 championship teams with the Miami Heat, he made 11 all-star teams and was all-NBA once. Career averages 19.2ppg, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists.
Honorable: Derrick Rose, Anfernee Hardaway, Devin Booker, Baron Davis
Gold - Moses Malone: Moses Malone dominated like few big men in league history. He is unfortunately forgotten for playing in the least popular ra of the league, and many younger fans sadly don’t even know who he was. He is a Hall of Famer, 13x All-star, and 8x all-NBA. He also made the NBA’s all-defensive team twice and won Most Valuable Player three times. Career averages 20.3ppg and 12.3 rebounds.
Silver - Kawhi Leonard: For a guy who is just hitting his prime, Leonard already has a slew of career accomplishments. 2x NBA champion and 2x finals MVP in those championships. He is a 4x all-star and 3x All-NBA while anchoring the NBA’s all-defensive team for 5 seasons. He is a lockdown defender, nicknamed “The Claw”, and his offensive game has gotten to where you can expect more than 25 points per night out of him. Career averages 18.6pg, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists.
Bronze: Mitch Richmond: Though he wore 23 as a member of Run TMC, he played a large portion of his career with the Kings, wearing #2. He was an NBA sharpshooter before it was cool. A model of consistency, he was a 6x all-star, and 5x all-NBA. He made the NBA Hall of Fame after his career was over. Career averages 21ppg, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.
Honorable: Larry Johnson, Joe Johnson, Alex English, Kyrie Irving, Joe Barry Carroll
Gold - Chris Paul: Nicknamed CP3, Paul certainly deserves to be the gold medalist in the event with the most robust competition so far. He is a 10x all-star, 8x all-NBA, and has been a staple of the NBA’s all-defensive team 9 times. He led the league in steals 6 times and in assists 4 times. He will be a first-ballot hall of fame inductee when he retires. Carer averages 18.5ppg, 4.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists.
Silver - Allen Iverson: Iverson was the subject of debate recently on Infinity Sports between two of the three hosts. He is currently enshrined in Springfield, and carried a really bad franchise to the NBA finals, only to lose to the best tandem in history. He is an 11x all-star, 7x all-NBA, and won 4 scoring titles, 3 steals titles, and league MVP. Career averages 26.7ppg, 3.7 rebounds, and 6.2 assists.
Bronze - Dwyane Wade: Some consider him the third-best SG all time, ahead of Iverson, but not in this Olympics. Wade is an all-time great, and he will go into the hall of fame the first time he is on the ballot, but he gets bronze for #3. He is a 3x NBA champion, 13x all-star, 8x all-NBA, and made the all-defensive team three times. He won the scoring title once. Career averages 22ppg, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.4 assists.
Honorable: Dennis Johnson, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury
Gold - Charles Barkley: The round mound of rebound did not have his best seasons in #4, but of all the players to wear #4 for three seasons or more, he had the best career by far. He stole an MVP from Michael Jordan before losing in the 1993 finals. He was an NBA all-star and all-NBA player 11 times. He is in the Hall of Fame and finished his career averaging 22.1ppg, 11.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists.
Silver - Dolph Schayes: First kind of “old-timer” to get a medal. He is in the Hall of Fame, after a career that saw 12 all-star appearances, and made the all-NBA team 12 times. In his prime, he gave you 22 and 9 every game. Career averages 18.5ppg, 12.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists.
Bronze - Chris Webber: Barely edges out Adrian Dantley for the bronze medal, he was just more consistent, as Dantley burned like a shooting star. Bright, but quickly. Webber was a 5x all-star and 5x all-NBA. He pretty much averaged 20 and 10 for 8 seasons and finished his career averaging 20.7ppg and 9.8 rebounds. He will end up in Springfield.
Honorable: Adrian Dantley, Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Joe Dumars, Sidney Moncrief, Antawn Jamison
Gold - Kevin Garnett: The Big Ticket was the first player drafted out of high school since Moses Malone, and he did not disappoint. He is going into the Hall of Fame this season, and racked up 15 all-star appearances in his career, along with 9 all-NBA teams, and was on the NBA’s all-defensive team 12 times. He won DPOY and MVP in the same season he led Boston to an NBA title. Career averages 17.8ppg, 10 rebounds, 3.7 assists.
Silver - Jason Kidd: From winning co-Rookie of the year to becoming a head coach straight out of the league, Kidd has always made his presence felt. He was a triple-double machine, and while many dubbed him “ason Kidd” for not having a J, he did develop a serviceable deep ball late in his career. Inducted into the hall of fame, he was a 10x all-star and 6x all NBA. Many may not realize, he was on the NBA’s all-defensive team 9 times. Career averages 12.6ppg, 6.3 rebounds, and 8.7 assists.
Bronze - Jermaine O’Neal: His career numbers are not very impressive, but he finished his career rough and started it averaging 2ppg straight out of high school. He exploded after leaving Portland for Indiana, making 6 all-star games, and being named all-NBA 3 times. Plus, maybe the best haymaker we have seen in NBA history. Career averages 13.2ppg, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists.
Honorable: Carlos Boozer, Baron Davis, Guy Rodgers, Danny Manning
COMING SOON: Jerseys 6 - 10