NBA teams with the most retired jersey numbers

These are the NBA teams that have retired the most jersey numbers. Retiring jersey numbers is something some franchises do far more than others, and it is generally based more upon the longevity of players, rather than by how many championships a franchise has.

Michael Jordan's jersey and basketball shoes
Wikimedia Commons

My favorite NBA team, the New Jersey Nets, have retired six numbers, but three of the numbers belong to Julius Erving (#32), Bill Melchionni (#25) and Wendell Ladner (#4) from the New York Nets day. The only true Nets with retired numbers are Buck Williams (#52), John Williamson (#23) and Drazen Petrovic (#3). Petrovic died in a car accident at age 28 in 1993, while Ladner died in a plane crash at age 26 in 1975.

I'm only listing actual jersey numbers that each team has retired. Some teams have honored broadcasters, coaches and players with banners hanging in the rafters with just names on them. I'm not listing those.

NBA Teams With Most Retired Jersey Numbers

1. Boston Celtics - 21

With 21 retired jersey numbers, the Boston Celtics not only have the most retired numbers of any NBA team, but also the most retired numbers of any professional sports team in the United States. Even more than the New York Yankees, who have 16 retired numbers.

The Celtics have won 17 NBA Championships, and 33 players who have played for the Celtics are in the Basketball Hall of Fame. The most famous number retired by the Boston Celtics? I'd say Larry Bird's #33, though old timers would probably say Bill Russell's #6.

2. Portland Trail Blazers - 11

The Portland Trail Blazers are second in the NBA with 11 retired jersey numbers. That's a lot of retired numbers considering that the Trail Blazers have only won one NBA Championship. Notable Trail Blazers with retired numbers include Bill Walton (#32), Clyde Drexler (#22), Maurice Lucas (#20), and head coach Jack Ramsey (#77).

T-3. Sacramento Kings - 10

The Sacramento Kings franchise also has a lot of retired numbers considering the franchise won just on title in 1951 as the Rochester Royals. Notable players with retired numbers include Oscar Robertson (#14), Tiny Archibald (#1), Maurice Stokes (#12), and the number six for the fans.

T-3. Phoenix Suns - 10

The Phoenix Suns have never won a championship, but the franchise has 10 retired numbers. Suns players with retired numbers include Basketball Hall of Famers Charles Barkley (#34), Kevin Johnson (#7), and Connie Hawkins (#42). Other notable Suns with retired jersey numbers include Watler Davis (#6), Dan Majerle (#9), Alvin Adams (#33), Paul Westphal (#44), and head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons with honorary #832 to recognize his 832 wins as coach.

5. Utah Jazz - 9

The Utah Jazz have never won a championship, but the franchise has nine retired numbers. Notable Jazz players with retired numbers include Adrian Dantley (#4), Pistol Pete Maravich (#7), John Stockton (#12), and Karl Malone (#32).

T-6. New York Knicks - 8

The eight retired numbers for the New York Knicks are for Walt Frazier (#10), Dick Barnett (#12), Earl Monroe and Dick McGuire (#15 for both), Willis Reed (#19), Dave DeBusschere (#22), Bill Bradley (#24), Patrick Ewing (#33), and Red Holzman (#613 for his wins as coach).

T-6. Detroit Pistons - 8

The Detroit Pistons have retired eight numbers. They are for Chuck Daley (#2 for two championhsips), Joe Dumars (#4), Dennis Rodman (#10), Isiah Thomas (#11), Vinnie Johnson (#15), Bob Lanier (#16), Dave Bing (#21) and Bill Laimbeer (#40).

T-8. Philadelphia 76ers - 7

The seven retired jersey numbers for the Philadelphia 76ers are for Julius Erving (#6), Maurice Cheeks (#10), Wilt Chamberlain (#13), Hal Greer (#15), Bobby Jones (#24), Billy Cunningham (#32), and Charles Barkley (#34). In addition, the number two is not officially retired by the 76ers for Moses Malone, but the team has taken the number out of circulation.

T-8. Milwaukee Bucks - 7

The seven Milwaukee Bucks numbers are retired for Oscar Robertson (#1), Junior Bridgeman (#2), Sidney Moncrief (#4), Jon McGlocklin (#14), Bob Lanier (#16), Brian Winters (#32), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#33). Have you seen the commercials with Junior Bridgeman lately? He owns 163 Wendy's franchises in Wisconsin, Kentucky, Missouri and Florida.

T-8. Los Angeles Lakers - 7

The Lakers franchise has won the second most NBA Championships with 16, but the franchise has only retired seven numbers. All seven numbers have been retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. The seven retired numbers are for Wilt Chamberlain (#13), Elgin Baylor (#22), Gail Goodrich (#25), Magic Johnson (#32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#33), James Worth (#42), and Jerry West (#44).

In addition, the franchise recognizes Jim Pollard (#17), Vern Mikkelsen (#19), Slater Martin (#22), Clyde Lovellette (#34) and George Mikan (#99) as Honored Minneapolis Lakers.

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Updated Tuesday, Oct 11, 2011