After this Friday, which will be July the 13th, we will have had three Friday the 13ths in one year for the first time in 28 years, with the others having occurred in January and April. And with the number 13 having been worn by some of the greatest athletes in the history of sports, like Dan Marino in football and Alex Rodriguez in baseball, I decided to incorporate those digits into an article. As a result, I ended up choosing the NBA, which has had its share of famous number 13s as well. Listed below are the players I believe are the five greatest number 13s in NBA history.
#5: Kendall Gill
I have to admit that it was not easy choosing between this guy and the player I chose for the number four spot, but I really think this is where Gill belongs. After being the fifth overall selection of the Charlotte Hornets in the 1990 draft, Gill went on to have a solid career with seven different teams (the Hornets, the Seattle SuperSonics, the New Jersey Nets, the Miami Heat, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Chicago Bulls, and the Milwaukee Bucks). During his 15 years in the league, he averaged 13.4 points, three assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game. Add to that his reputation as one of the best dunkers in NBA history and it's safe to say that Gill made quite a name for himself in the pro ranks.
#4: Mark Jackson
While he has made a name for himself in other avenues since retiring, including as the current coach of the Golden State Warriors and a former commentator for ESPN, Jackson was initially known for his prowess as a basketball player, first at St. John's and then in the NBA, primarily for the New York Knicks - who drafted him in 1987 - and the Indiana Pacers. After winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1988, Jackson ended up making the All-Star team in 1989. In addition, he went on to establish himself as one of the most prolific passers in NBA history, dishing out 10,334 assists during a career that spanned 17 seasons, good enough for third all-time behind only John Stockton and Jason Kidd and just ahead of Magic Johnson and a guy who will appear later on this list.
#3: Glenn Robinson
Speaking of all-time greats, Robinson is one of the top three-point shooters in league history, particularly among forwards, having made 34% of his treys during his 11 years in the NBA, totaling 620 of them in all. Unfortunately, his career was cut short at the age of 32 because of nagging injuries. Despite that fact, Robinson went out on top, finishing his career as a champion - albeit as a role player - for the 2005 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. Still, Robinson finished with career averages of 20.7 points, 2.7 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per game, leaving his mark on the game forever.
#2: Steve Nash
Speaking of spectacular assist men, this two-time Most Valuable Player (having won the award in 2005 and 2006) has averaged 8.6 assists per game in his 16 seasons in the NBA, which currently has him at number five all-time with 9,916 assists in his career. After being drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 1996 draft, Nash spent two seasons as primarily a backup before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he joined with future NBA Champion Dirk Nowitzki and veteran Michael Finley to create an impressive trio. Of course, he went on to become an even better player when he returned to the Suns via free agency in 2004. He's still trying to win a ring, but after signing with the Los Angeles Lakers last week, a title may not be far away.
#1: Wilt Chamberlain
Who else would be number one but one of the greatest players of all-time, a guy who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in in 1979 and had his number retired by both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Lakers? Just look at these eye-popping numbers: two-time NBA Champion, four-time MVP, 13-time All-Star, seven-time scoring champion, and 11-time rebounding champion. "Wilt the Stilt" is undoubtedly best known, however, for his 100-point game on March 2, 1962, in what was a 169-147 win over the Knicks.
Other articles by Josh McKinney:The King and His Court: LeBron James Wins First NBA Championship -- A Fan's Take Is There a Double Standard in Sports? Orlando Magic Mother's Day Gift Guide
- Sports & Recreation
- Kendall Gill
- NBA history
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