Sports

The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired  

Ranker Sports
2.4k votes 115 voters 172 items

List Rules Vote up the best NBA players to have their legendary number retired for all time.

These are the best NBA players to have their numbers retired by the team where they made the biggest impact. Not every player in the NBA gets their number retired, it is an honor bestowed upon the best players of a franchise. The Boston Celtics have the most retired jerseys, with 24 numbers never to be worn again by a Celtics player. Does that mean that Larry Bird will make it to the top of the list? While all of these basketball players are great at the game, having your number retired does not automatically get you into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Players on this list of NBA retired numbers that have been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame are noted. There are also no numbers in the NBA that have been retired league-wide, unlike the MLB and NHL. That being said, this list does have the greatest basketball players of all time.

Look below to see all the numbers retired in the NBA and if your favorite player has had their number retired. Then vote up the players that you think played the game the best. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant obviously come to mind but did you know that Kobe Bryant had both his numbers, 8 and 24, retired by the Los Angeles Lakers in his honor? This list does not have current players because they are still using their numbers and it does not have numbers that were retired for coaches, managers, or owners. This list is for players only and will determine the best NBA players to have had their number retired.

 

list ordered by
1
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 23 (Bulls and Heat)

Years With Franchise: 1984–1993 (Bulls), 1995–1998 (Bulls), never played for Heat

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Michael Jordan

#2 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Timefeaturing 16 Crazy Stories and Rumors About Michael Jordan

2
Larry Bird is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 33

Years With Franchise: 1979–1992

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Larry Bird

#56 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #13 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Timelisted on Famous Left Handed People

3
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 13

Years With Franchise: 1959–1965 (Warriors), 1968–1973 (Lakers), 1965–1968 (76ers)

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Wilt Chamberlain

#19 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Timefeaturing 18 Unbelievable But True Stories from the Buckwild Life of Wilt Chamberlainlisted on Famous Black Conservatives List

4
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 6

Years With Franchise: 1956–1969

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Bill Russell

#26 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #8 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Timelisted on Famous Left Handed People

5
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 8, 24

Years With Franchise: 1996–2016

More Kobe Bryant

#373 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #224 of 244 The Hottest Men Of 2019, Rankedfeaturing The Best Kobe Bryant Dunks

6
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 33

Years With Franchise: 1975–1989 (Lakers), 1969–1975 (Bucks)

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

#23 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #3 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #1,454 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time

7
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 34

Years With Franchise: 1984–2001

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Hakeem Olajuwon

#1,172 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #10 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #6 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames

8
Magic Johnson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 32

Years With Franchise: 1979–1991, 1996

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Magic Johnson

#24 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #4 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #2 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames

9
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 34 (Lakers), 32(Heat)

Years With Franchise: 1996–2004 (Lakers), 2004–2008 (Heat)

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Shaquille O'Neal

#735 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #11 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #1,455 of 2,831 The Most Influential People of All Time

10
Julius Erving is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 32 (Nets), 6 (76ers)

Years With Franchise: 1973–1976 (Nets), 1976–1987 (76ers)

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Julius Erving

#4 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #2 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #789 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time

11
Allen Iverson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 3

Years With Franchise: 1996–2006, 2009–2010

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Allen Iverson

#1,341 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #24 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #46 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

12
Reggie Miller is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 31

Years With Franchise: 1987–2005

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Reggie Miller

#53 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #229 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #7 of 149 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings

13
Jerry West is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 44

Years With Franchise: 1960–1974

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Jerry West

#1,296 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #27 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #39 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames

14
Oscar Robertson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 1

Years With Franchise: 1970–1974 (Bucks), 1960–1970 (Kings)

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Oscar Robertson

#62 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #6 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #24 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames

15
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 21

Years With Franchise: 1997–2016
 

More Tim Duncan

#1,325 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #14 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #31 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames

16
Steve Nash is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 13

Years With Franchise: 1996–1998, 2004–2012

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Steve Nash

#469 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #38 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #53 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames

17
Scottie Pippen is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 33

Years With Franchise: 1987–1998, 2003–2004

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Scottie Pippen

#1,609 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #35 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #1 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s

18
John Havlicek is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 17

Years With Franchise: 1962–1978

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

 

More John Havlicek

#1,815 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #41 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Timelisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

19
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 32

Years With Franchise: 1985–2003

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Karl Malone

#29 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #51 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athleteslisted on Famous Black Conservatives List

20
Pete Maravich is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 44 (Hawks), 7 (Jazz)

Years with franchise: 1970–1974 (Hawks), 1974–1979 (Jazz)

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Pete Maravich

#34 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #23 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #3 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames

21
Walt Frazier is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 10

Years With Franchise: 1967–1977

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

More Walt Frazier

#45 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #20 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #34 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames

22
Isiah Thomas is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 11

Years With Franchise: 1981–1994

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Isiah Thomas

#800 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #15 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #127 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

23
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 34

Years With Franchises: 1984–1992 (76ers), 1992–1996 (Suns)

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Charles Barkley

#1,937 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Timefeaturing 22 Times Charles Barkley Made Everyone LOLlisted on Guests of the Jay Leno Show

24
Bob Cousy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 14

Years With Franchise: 1950–1963

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Bob Cousy

#56 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #87 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknameslisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

25
Chris Mullin is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 17

Years With Franchise: 1985–1997, 2000–2001

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

More Chris Mullin

#124 of 847 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #13 of 239 The Best White Players in NBA History #25 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History