NBA Greats Who Wore Number 24

These are all the NBA greats who wore the number 24 for at least parts of their NBA careers. I've included all Basketball Hall of Fame players, all NBA players who averaged over 20.0 points per game, and all players who have had the number 24 retired in their honor.

Kobe Bryant wearing number 24
Wikimedia Commons

The best known player today who wears the number 24 is Kobe Bryant(notes). My favorite NBA team, the New Jersey Nets, should have drafted Kobe with our first pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, but John Calipari talked GM John Nash into taking Kerry Kittles instead. We've had plenty of players wear number 24 over the years, including Richard Jefferson(notes), who was a pretty good player, but he wasn't Kobe.

In typical Nets fashion, we had a player named Gervin wear the number 24. It was during the 1990 season, and he did average 12.0 points per game for us that season, but that's 14.2 points per game less than his Basketball Hall of Fame brother George Gervin averaged during his NBA career.

The number 24 can be considered lucky, as nine out of the 11 players listed below have won a total of 25 NBA Championships. Not all the championships were won while the player was wearing number 24, but most were. Players are ranked by their career scoring averages in the NBA.

Basketball Hall of Fame Players Who Wore Number 24

1. Rick Barry - 23.2

Rick Barry wore the number 24 throughout his six year career in the ABA, and for six of his eight NBA years. Barry averaged 30.5 points per game in the ABA, and 23.2 points per game in the NBA. Barry was a great scorer, he scored 64 points in a game in 1974, and 55 points in the third game of NBA Finals in 1967, but is best remembered for his free throw shooting.

Barry shot his free throws underhanded, and he was great at it. He has the highest all-time free throw shooting percentage at .880, and the third highest in NBA history at .900. Rick Barry was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.

2. Sam Jones - 22.8

Sam Jones wore the number 24 for his entire career, all with the Boston Celtics from 1958 to 1969. Jones averaged 22.8 points per game in his career, and won 10 NBA Championships. That is the second most championships by a player in NBA history, trailing only Bill Russell's 11. Sam Jones was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.

3. Moses Malone - 20.6

Moses Malone wore the number 24 during his five years with the Houston Rockets from 1978 to 1982. Malone wore the number two for most of the rest of his career. For his career, Moses Malone averaged 20.6 points and 12.2 rebounds per game in the NBA. Malone won three MVP Awards, and one NBA Championship, and he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.

4. Dennis Johnson - 14.1

Dennis Johnson wore the number 24 during his four years with the Seattle SuperSonics (1977-1980), and his three years with the Phoenix Suns (1981-1983). DJ then wore the number three during his seven seasons with the Boston Celtics (1984-1990).

For his career, Dennis Johnson averaged 14.1 points and 5.0 assists per game. He won championships in 1979, 1984 and 1986, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

5. Bill Bradley - 12.4

Bill Bradley wore the number 24 for his entire 10 year NBA career, all with the New York Knicks from 1968 to 1977. Bradley averaged 12.4 points per game in his career, and he won two NBA Championships with the Knicks in 1970 and 1973. After his NBA career, Bill Bradley served as a United States Senator from New Jersey for three terms.

The entire starting five from the 1973 Knicks championship team is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Bradley, Willis Reed, Clyde Frazier, Earl the Pearl Monroe and Dave DeBusschere are all in, as are Phil Jackson and Jerry Lucas from that team.

NBA Players Who Wore #24 and Averaged Over 20.0 Points Per Game

1. Kobe Bryant - 25.3

Kobe Bryant wore the number 8 with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1997 to 2006. He then switched to the number 24, and has worn 24 since. Kobe currently has a career scoring average of 25.2 points per game, 11th best in NBA history. He is 10,520 points away from passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most points scored in NBA history.

2. World B. Free - 20.3

World B. Free wore the number 24 during his two seasons with the San Diego Clippers in 1979 and 1980. He wore the number 21 for most of the rest of his career, and the number 12 for one season. World B. Free played for 13 years in the NBA, and averaged 20.3 points per game.

3. Mark Aguirre - 20.0

Mark Aguirre wore the number 24 while he was with the Dallas Mavericks from 1982 until he was traded to the Detroit Pistons in February of 1989 for Adrian Dantley. Aguirre then wore 23 with the Pistons until 1993. He wore the number seven his last season in 1994 with the Los Angeles Clippers.

For his career, Mark Aguirre played 13 seasons, and averaged 20.0 points per game. He averaged a career best 29.5 points per game in 1984. Aguirre, who won two championships with the Pistons, might get into the Basketball Hall of Fame someday.

The Phoenix Suns have retired the number 24 for Tom Chambers, who averaged 18.1 points per game and scored 20,049 points, over 16 years in the NBA.

The Philadelphia 76ers retired the number 24 for Bobby Jones, who averaged 11.5 points per game in the NBA.

The Seattle SuperSonics retired the number 24 for Spencer Haywood, who averaged 19.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in the NBA.

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Updated Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011