Sports

The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired  

Ranker Sports
1.9k votes 87 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.

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.

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.
 

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

Number: 8, 24

Years With Franchise: 1996–2016

5
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 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.

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.
 

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

Number: 4

Years With Franchise: 1985–1999

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

8
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 8 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.
 

9
Avery Johnson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Number: 6

Years With Franchise: 1991, 1992–1993, 1994–2001
 

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

Number: 16

Years With Franchise: 1960–1971
 

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

Number: 32

Years With Franchise: 1975–1983
 

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

Number: 31

Years With Franchise: 1977–1985

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

Number: 23

Years With Franchise: 1954–1964

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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

Number: 32

Years With Franchise: 1971–1984
 

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

Number: 53

Years With Franchise: 1982–1993
 

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

Number: 12

Years With Franchise: 1955–1958

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

17
Magic Johnson is listed (or ranked) 17 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.
 

18
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 18 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.
 

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

Number: 27

Years With Franchise: 1955–1966

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

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

Number: 13

Years With Franchise: 1973–1981
 

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

Number: 2

Years With Franchise: 1997–2000

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

Number: 34

Years With Franchise: 1967–1974

Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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

Number: 21

Years With Franchise: 1999–2004
 

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

Number: 33

Years With Franchise: 1975–1988
 

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

Number: 40

Years With Franchise: 1982–1993