We are inside of one month until the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, when the league’s many new superstar pairings will finally be unveiled. What better way to pass the time than to count down the final 55 days by arguing over who wore each jersey number best until we reach No. 00.
There are currently 10 days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 10 best?
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Michael Adams, one of the great players under 6 feet, made his lone All-Star appearance in a No. 10 Washington Bullets jersey.
B.J. Armstrong, a 1994 All-Star and three-time champion on Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
Otis Birdsong, a four-time All-Star and basketball’s first $1 million guard.
Mookie Blaylock, a 1994 All-Star, the namesake for Pearl Jam’s original moniker and for whom their breakout album is named.
Manute Bol, the 7-foot-7 subject of some incredible NBA stories.
Don Buse, an All-Star for the Indiana Pacers in both the ABA and NBA.
Sam Cassell, the interpretive dancer who wore No. 10 for the first two of his three championships.
Jack Coleman, a 1955 All-Star and the unwitting victim of Bill Russell’s greatest block.
Glen Combs, a.k.a. The Kentucky Rifle, a three-time ABA All-Star who refused to watch “Semi-Pro” poke fun at the league during an interview in which he also detailed how the Miami Floridians featured ball girls in bikinis.
Bob Dandridge, a four-time All-Star who scored more points than anyone in the 1970s, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, wore No. 10 throughout a 13-year career that included titles with both the Bucks and Bullets. His jersey is retired in Milwaukee.
Bob Feerick, a three-time All-Basketball Association of America selection who played for Red Auerbach’s Washington Capitols.
Tim Hardaway, a five-time All-Star and crossover killer, sported No. 10 for all but his first and last seasons of a 13-year career. His jersey is retired by the Miami Heat.
Mervin Jackson, a.k.a. The Magician, a 1969 ABA All-Star and 1971 ABA champion.
Red Kerr, a three-time All-Star and the television voice of Jordan’s Bulls.
David Lee, the two-time All-Star and husband to Carolina Wozniacki, wore No. 10 on the 2015 champion Warriors.
Bob Love, an ambidextrous three-time All-Star and three-time All-Defensive selection with an inspirational post-playing career arc, finally had his No. 10 retired by the Bulls in 1994, just after Armstrong wore it to another All-Star campaign.
Nate McMillan, a.k.a. Mr. Sonic, wore No. 10 in Seattle for the entirety of his 12-year career. His number was retired in Seattle.
Earl Monroe, a.k.a. the Pearl, a.k.a. Black Jesus, a Hall of Famer and the inspiration for Jesus Shuttlesworth, wore No. 10 for three-plus seasons with the Washington Bullets, including two of his four All-Star appearances. He switched to Nos. 33 and 15 when he joined another guy we will get to on this list in a New York Knicks backcourt that led the way to the 1973 title.
Norm Nixon, a two-time All-Star and two-time champion with the Showtime Lakers, wore No. 10 throughout a 10-year career interrupted by two years of knee and Achilles rehab. The 1983 trade that sent Nixon from the Lakers to the Clippers for Byron Scott, meant to free up touches for Magic Johnson, was met with criticism that now seems ridiculous retrospect.
Don Ohl, a five-time All-Star and early long-distance threat, wore No. 10 for all but one of his 10 NBA seasons.
Adrian Smith, a 1966 All-Star who learned to play basketball with his father’s rolled-up socks.
Wally Szczerbiak, a 2002 All-Star and consonant god.
Chico Vaughn, a 1968 ABA All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pipers, which is not as cool a name as the Steelers.
Max Zaslofsky, a 1952 All-Star and the youngest First Team All-NBA selection until LeBron James passed him 59 years later.
Tiny Archibald, a Hall of Famer, only wore No. 10 for one of his six All-Star appearances, even if it was the year in which he became the only player ever to lead the league in scoring and assists in the same season.
Harry Gallatin, a Hall of Famer who once said “competition has always been my cup of tea,” only turned to No. 10 for the last of his 10 seasons, after appearing in the NBA’s first seven All-Star Games.
Bob Houbregs, the most puzzling Hall of Famer, wore five different numbers in five NBA seasons. No. 10 was one of them.
Steve Nash, the Hall of Famer and floppy-haired two-time MVP, only adopted No. 10 for his swan song with the Lakers.
Bill Sharman, a Hall of Famer, wore No. 10 for a season with the Washington Capitols before ascending to stardom in Boston.
Jack Twyman, a Hall of Famer and the NBA’s greatest teammate, only wore No. 10 for the first of his six All-Star appearances.
DeMar DeRozan, the four-time All-Star who watched from San Antonio as the Toronto Raptors won a historic title without him, is the best active player to wear No. 10, and I don’t want to hear your argument about Eric Gordon’s efficiency.
Maurice Cheeks, a Hall of Famer and one of the game’s great thieves, wore No. 10 for all but two of his 15 NBA seasons, including all four All-Star appearances, his five All-Defensive selections and the 1983 championship run with the Philadelphia 76ers. His jersey is retired in Philadelphia.
Louie Dampier, a Hall of Famer who somehow managed to play all nine of his ABA seasons on the same team, sported No. 10 throughout a career that saw seven ABA All-Star appearances and the 1975 ABA title with the Kentucky Colonels.
Joe Fulks, a Hall of Famer and one of the game’s early scoring forwards, wore No. 10 for his eight-year tenure with the Philadelphia Warriors, spanning a Basketball Association of America title and two NBA All-Star appearances — all after serving in World War II with the U.S. Marines.
Dennis Rodman, a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest rebounders and defenders in NBA history, sported No. 10 for his first nine seasons, including four of his seven rebounding crowns, both his All-Star appearances and his first two titles with the Detroit Pistons. Rodman, a true original, wore No. 91 en route to three more championships with Jordan’s Bulls.
Jo Jo White, a Hall of Fame basketball player, U.S. Marine and Dallas Cowboys draft pick, donned No. 10 for nine-plus seasons with the Celtics, making seven All-Star appearances and winning a pair of championships. He was named the 1976 Finals MVP honor after submitting a star performance in the greatest game ever played. His jersey is retired in Boston.
The Jersey Champion
Walt Frazier, the Hall of Fame player and dresser, wore No. 10 for his decade with the New York Knicks, collecting seven All-Star appearances, seven All-Defensive selections and two championships. He authored arguably the greatest Game 7 performance in NBA history, amassing 36 points, 19 assists, seven rebounds and six steals in the 1970 Finals-clinching victory. His number is retired in Madison Square Garden, where he remains the color commentary for the team’s television broadcasts.
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