We are inside of one month until the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, when the league’s many new superstar pairings will finally be unveiled. What better way to pass the time than to count down the final 55 days by arguing over who wore each jersey number best until we reach No. 00.
There are currently seven days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 7 best?
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Kenny Anderson, who I was surprised to be reminded only made one All-Star appearance, if only because he was such a prominent figure in the game since his days as a New York prep point god. He wore No. 7 in 13 of his 14 NBA seasons.
Frankie Brian, a.k.a. Flash, a two-time All-Star who played in the first seven seasons of the NBA’s existence.
Bill Gabor, a.k.a. Billy the Bullet, a 1953 All-Star, 1955 NBA champion and World War II veteran.
Ben Gordon, the 2005 Sixth Man of the Year as a rookie. Here’s hoping he’s doing better.
Bob Harrison, a 1956 All-Star who once scored every point in a 139-8 victory as a 13-year-old.
Bobby Hurley, I wish we could have seen how your NBA career would have played out without the car accident.
Al Jefferson, the bait who caught Kevin Garnett for the Boston Celtics.
Kevin Johnson, a three-time All-Star and wildly underrated player who, as it turned out, is allegedly overrated as a person.
Toni Kukoc, a.k.a. the Croatian Sensation, a three-time champion, the 1996 Sixth Man of the Year and a whipping boy for Chicago Bulls teammates Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen during the Dream Team’s run at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Rashard Lewis, a two-time All-Star, 2013 NBA champion and maybe the only NBA star to be suspended for PEDs.
John Logan, a three-time All-Basketball Association of America selection with a rather chilling unsourced Wikipedia bio.
Jermaine O’Neal, a six-time All-Star and Malice at the Palace participant.
Lamar Odom, the 2011 Sixth Man of the Year, two-time champion and survivor.
Brandon Roy, a three-time All-Star whose knees kept him from a Hall of Fame career.
Bingo Smith, a zero-time All-Star with a rainbow jump shot whose No. 7 is retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kelly Tripucka, a mustachioed two-time All-Star with a glorious head of lettuce.
Chauncey Billups, the five-time All-Star and 2004 Finals MVP only wore No. 7 for a single season with the Denver Nuggets before switching back to No. 1.
Adrian Dantley, a Hall of Famer, did not turn to No. 7 until his 15th and final season.
Anfernee Hardaway, a.k.a. Penny, a four-time All-Star whose Hall of Fame candidacy was already derailed by knee injuries, sported No. 7 for 16 games with the Miami Heat in a comeback attempt at age 36.
Shawn Marion, a.k.a. The Matrix, a four-time All-Star and 2011 champion, wore No. 7 for two seasons in Miami between his more memorable runs as a No. 31 on the Phoenix Suns and No. 0 on the Dallas Mavericks.
Slater Martin, a Hall of Famer and five-time champion, sported No. 7 for a cup of coffee with the New York Knicks amidst a string of seven straight All-Star campaigns wearing No. 22 for the Minneapolis Lakers and St. Louis Hawks.
Kyle Lowry, the 2019 NBA champion (boy does that still sound strange), is easily the best active player wearing No. 7 today, with all due respect to Goran Dragic. Jaylen Brown may get there one day, but Lowry is a five-time All-Star whose contributions to the Toronto Raptors’ title run have been overshadowed by the attention paid to Kawhi Leonard’s transitional summer.
Tiny Archibald, a Hall of Famer and the only player to lead the league in both points and assists per game in the same season. After wearing Nos. 1 and 10 to three All-Star appearances with the Kansas City-Omaha Kings, Archibald adopted No. 7 on the Celtics, submitting three more All-Star bids and winning the 1981 championship as the starting point guard alongside Larry Bird.
Pete Maravich, a.k.a. Pistol Pete, a Hall of Famer, wizard of handles and yet another No. 7 whose NBA career was plagued by knee injuries, sported the number for four-plus years with the Jazz, making three of his five All-Star appearances and winning the 1977 scoring title in that jersey. His No. 7 is retired in both Utah and New Orleans, and his No. 44 is retired by the Atlanta Hawks.
Andy Phillip, a Hall of Famer and champion at every level, sported No. 7 with the Philadelphia Warriors in three of his five All-Star appearances. He wore No. 17 with the Celtics en route to his lone NBA championship in 1957.
The Jersey Champion
Carmelo Anthony, a future Hall of Famer currently in the NBA’s unemployment line, will go down as one of the league’s most underrated superstars. His unwillingness to embrace the changing game derailed what could have been a glorious late-career turn, but Melo was undoubtedly among his generation’s best. He wore No. 15 while winning an NCAA title and three Olympic gold medals, and as he went toe to toe with Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers as a 24-year-old on the Denver Nuggets. But that number was retired for Earl Monroe in New York, so Anthony took No. 7 on the Knicks, proceeding to make six of his 10 All-Star appearances and win his lone scoring title — during a third-place MVP campaign — in a No. 7 jersey that may not be retired.
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