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 18 days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 18 best?
Bison Dele, who wore No. 19 for a single championship season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997, was a true NBA original, walking away from the $36 million remaining on his contract with the Detroit Pistons to travel the Earth, of which he believed to be king. He is believed to have been murdered aboard his catamaran, the Hukuna Matata, by his brother somewhere in the South Pacific.
Terry Dischinger, who captured 1963 Rookie of the Year honors by night while obtaining a chemical engineering degree by day, donned No. 18 for the last of three straight All-Star seasons to open his career. He then took a two-year hiatus to fulfill his U.S. Army service and never returned to stardom (or No. 18), ultimately becoming an orthodontist after a nine-year playing career.
Dike Eddleman, a two-time NBA All-star, Olympic high jumper and NFL draft pick, sported No. 18 for the majority of his All-Star seasons with the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and Milwaukee Hawks in the early 1950s.
Arnie Ferrin, the NCAA’s 1944 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, wore No. 18 for a three-year run with the Minneapolis Lakers, winning the last Basketball Association of America championship and first NBA title in back-to-back seasons.
Phil Jackson, a.k.a the Zen Master, a Hall of Fame coach with 13 championship rings to his name, sported No. 18 for his 10 seasons as a player for the New York Knicks, including the 1973 title campaign.
Ed Mikan, the younger brother of Hall of Famer George Mikan, sported No. 18 in five of his six NBA seasons, paving the way for such lesser-known bros as Albert King, Brent Price, Gerald Wilkins, Taylor Griffin and Mychel Thompson.
Curtis Rowe, a three-time NCAA champion at UCLA alongside Lew Alcindor, donned No. 18 for six seasons with the Detroit Pistons, including his 1976 All-Star campaign.
Pep Saul, who wore No. 18 with the Minneapolis Lakers for the last three of his four straight championships.
Don Sunderlage, an All-Star wearing No. 11 as a rookie on the Milwaukee Bucks who was traded posthaste to the Lakers for Pep Saul. He adopted Pep’s No. 18, averaged 2.5 points per game and got released in his second season. Quite a career.
Hot Rod Williams, who sported No. 18 more than anyone else, wearing the jersey for three different teams in a 13-year career.
Larry Costello, a six-time All-Star, only wore No. 18 for a single season with the Philadelphia Warriors, before adopting different numbers during his rise to stardom with the Syracuse Nationals.
Richie Guerin, a Hall of Famer, only turned to No. 18 as a 36-year-old reserve on an Atlanta Hawks team he also coached after his run of six straight All-Star seasons in his prime on the New York Knicks.
Alex Hannum, a Hall of Fame coach and the first to lead two different teams to titles, wore No. 18 on the Fort Wayne Pistons for a portion of his eighth and final season as a player.
John Thompson, the Hall of Fame coach for his work at Georgetown, played two NBA seasons as Bill Russell’s backup in Boston, won championships in both and only donned No. 18 for one of them.
Marco Belinelli, who won a title wearing No. 3 for the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, now sports No. 18 for the Spurs, which makes him the best of a bunch wearing the number that includes fellow bit-part champ Matthew Dellavedova. Keep an eye on Philadelphia 76ers sophomore Shake Milton, though, because he could take the mantle of best active No. 18 soon.
Bailey Howell, a Hall of Famer who retired in the top 10 of nine statistical categories, donned No. 18 for all but three of his 12 NBA seasons, including five of his six All-Star campaigns and both of his championship runs with the Celtics.
Jim Loscutoff, a.k.a. Loscy, a seven-time champion, asked the Boston Celtics not to retire his number, if only because he wanted someone else to be able to where it, so the organization retired his nicknamed in the TD Garden rafters instead. A couple guys did wear that No. 18 before it was ultimately retired: Howell and ...
The Jersey Champion
Dave Cowens, a full-time hustling undersized big man and part-time cab driver, wore No. 18 for his 10-year run with the Celtics, which included the 1971 Rookie of the Year award, 1973 Most Valuable Player honor, two championships, three All-Defensive selections and eight All-Star appearances. He was the first player to lead his team in all five major statistical categories, later joined by Scottie Pippen, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. His jerseys hangs in the TD Garden rafters.
You’re my boy, Big Red.
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