Athletes take their numbers very seriously.
There are pretty numbers, ugly numbers, lucky numbers, unlucky numbers—every number has a history.
That’s why Klay Thompson was pumped when he learned he’d wear No. 11 for Team USA, the same number he rocks on the Golden State Warriors. “I just got lucky, I don’t know. They gave me it. That’s my lucky number. We don’t get to choose [our number],” Thompson said at a recent media availability session.
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Know who wasn’t so lucky? Thompson’s Golden State teammate Draymond Green. “I gave Draymond grief. He’s got No. 14, which is a nasty number. I got lucky with 11,” Thompson said. “Who wore No. 14 in their career? I can’t really think about it. I would’ve had to fight him if he had 11, though.”
For Golden State, Green wears number 23, arguably the most prestigious number in basketball. NBA players who’ve worn it include Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Marcus Camby. But is number 14 really as “nasty” as Thompson makes it out to be?
Here’s the deal: very few exceptional NBA players have worn 14 in recent years. Maybe the best player to wear 14 for an extended period of time in the modern era was Jameer Nelson, who had a solid career, but he’s certainly no Jordan.
But if you dig deep into NBA history, you’ll find two very notable players who wore number 14—Oscar Robertson and Bob Cousy. Robertson, a 12-time All-Star and the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for and entire season, wore No. 14 for the Cincinnati Royals from 1961 until 1970. Cousy, a 13-time All-Star and six-time NBA champion, wore No. 14 for the Boston Celtics from 1951 until 1963.
If Green wants to defend No. 14 from Thompson’s taunts, all he needs to do is point to one of those two legends.
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