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The Best NBA Players To Have Their Numbers Retired

Updated July 25, 2019 7.0k votes 516 voters 1.5k views172 items

List RulesVote 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.

 

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  • Dražen Petrović1

    Number: 3

    Years With Franchise: 1991–1993

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • Larry Bird2

    Number: 33

    Years With Franchise: 1979–1992

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar3

    Number: 33

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

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

  • Wilt Chamberlain4

    Number: 13

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

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

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  • Magic Johnson5

    Number: 32

    Years With Franchise: 1979–1991, 1996

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

  • Hakeem Olajuwon6

    Number: 34

    Years With Franchise: 1984–2001

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

  • Bill Russell7

    Number: 6

    Years With Franchise: 1956–1969

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • Julius Erving8

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

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

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • Tim Duncan9

    Number: 21

    Years With Franchise: 1997–2016
     

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  • Oscar Robertson10

    Number: 1

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

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

  • Jerry West11

    Number: 44

    Years With Franchise: 1960–1974

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

  • Michael Jordan12

    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.

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  • Karl Malone13

    Number: 32

    Years With Franchise: 1985–2003

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

  • Patrick Ewing14

    Number: 33

    Years With Franchise: 1985–2000

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • Reggie Miller15

    Number: 31

    Years With Franchise: 1987–2005

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

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  • Shaquille O'Neal16

    Number: 34 (Lakers), 32(Heat)

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

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

  • Allen Iverson17

    Number: 3

    Years With Franchise: 1996–2006, 2009–2010

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

  • Charles Barkley18

    Number: 34

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

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • John Havlicek19

    Number: 17

    Years With Franchise: 1962–1978

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

     

  • David Robinson20

    Number: 50

    Years With Franchise: 1989–2003

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
     

  • Scottie Pippen21

    Number: 33

    Years With Franchise: 1987–1998, 2003–2004

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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  • Steve Nash22

    Number: 13

    Years With Franchise: 1996–1998, 2004–2012

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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  • Isiah Thomas23

    Number: 11

    Years With Franchise: 1981–1994

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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  • Kobe Bryant24

    Number: 8, 24

    Years With Franchise: 1996–2016

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  • Pete Maravich25

    Number: 44 (Hawks), 7 (Jazz)

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

    Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.