NBA Countdown: Which player wore No. 25 best in league history?

Which NBA player wore No. 25 best?
Which NBA player wore No. 25 best?

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 25 days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 25 best?

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Shoutouts

Bill Cartwright, a 1980 All-Star as a rookie wearing No. 25 on the New York Knicks and a three-time champion sporting No. 24 on Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.

Dionte Christmas and Rakeem Christmas, who both wore No. 25, which leads me to believe that you absolutely must wear No. 25 if your last name is Christmas.

“Jumbo” Jim Eakins, a 1974 ABA All-Star and two-time ABA champion.

Ray Felix, who wore No. 25 for a season with the Baltimore Bullets, who drafted him first overall in 1953. He captured Rookie of the Year and All-Star honors that season before being traded to the New York Knicks, with whom he wore No. 19 and was knocked unconscious by Bill Russell. Maybe he should have stuck with No. 25.

Gerald Govan, a 1970 ABA All-Star, wore No. 25 and some sweet specs for his entire nine-year career.

Robert Horry, a.k.a. Big Shot Rob (or Bob), whose career arc is as fortunate as anyone in NBA history, sported No. 25 for the first two of his seven championships.

Tony Jackson, among those banned for life from the NBA as a result of the 1962 NCAA point-shaving scandal, wore No. 25 for his ABA All-Star bid as a rookie.

Al Jefferson, famously traded by the Boston Celtics for Kevin Garnett in 2007, wore No. 25 for 10 of his last 11 seasons, including his 2013-14 All-NBA campaign.

Steve Kerr, a five-time champion as a player and three-time champ as a coach, wore No. 25 for four of those titles — three with the Bulls and one in San Antonio.

Billy Knight, who wore No. 25 for both of his All-Star campaigns — one in the ABA, one in the NBA, both on the Indiana Pacers — well before amassing an unenviable draft record as general manager of the Atlanta Hawks in the mid-2000s.

Bill Melchionni, who wore No. 28 en route to his only NBA championship on Wilt Chamberlain’s Philadelphia 76ers in 1967 and No. 25 for all three of his ABA All-Star campaigns and both ABA titles on Julius Erving’s New York Nets in the 1970s. His jersey remains retired by the Nets.

Paul Pressey, a three-time All-Defensive pick wearing No. 25 for the Milwaukee Bucks. He is the father of Phil Pressey, who wore No. 25 on the Phoenix Suns.

Mark Price, a four-time All-Star, two-time 3-Point Shootout champion and a member of the 50-40-90 club, has his No. 25 retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Doc Rivers donned No. 25 throughout his 13-year playing career, including a 1988 All-Star appearance, before a coaching career that has spanned his 2000 Coach of the Year award, a 2008 NBA championship and the best odds to in the 2020 title.

Corny Thompson, quite a name.

George Thompson, a three-time ABA All-Star with the Pittsburgh Condors and Memphis Tams, a pair of franchises that folded before the 1976 NBA merger.

Caveats

Vince Carter, a future Hall of Famer, only wore No. 25 for one season with the Phoenix Suns and two-plus with the Dallas Mavericks. His Rookie of the Year campaign and all eight of his All-Star Game appearances came in No. 15 jerseys.

Tom Chambers, a four-time All-Star, only sported No. 25 for the last of his 16 NBA seasons — and not for his dunk over Mark Jackson that was immortalized by Sega.

Dan Issel, a Hall of Famer nicknamed “Horse” for missing only 24 games in a 15-year career, only wore No. 25 in the last two of his seven All-Star appearances.

Maurice Lucas, a five-time All-Star, two-time All-Defensive selection and 1977 NBA champion, wore No. 25 for half a season with the Kentucky Colonels. His number is retired by the Portland Trail Blazers, except that number is 20, not 25.

Jeff Malone, author of arguably the greatest buzzer-beater in NBA history, turned to No. 25 late in a 13-year career, after two All-Star bids for the Washington Bullets.

Danny Manning, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1988 NBA draft, wore No. 25 for his rookie campaign with the Los Angeles Clippers, when an ACL derailed a potential Hall of Fame career instead plagued by chronic knee injuries. He switched to No. 5 for his two All-Star seasons as well as his 1988 Sixth Man of the Year campaign.

Guy Rodgers, a Hall of Famer and playmaking pioneer, sported No. 25 for his first two seasons, switched to No. 5 and rattled off a string of four All-Star appearances, including a pair of seasons in which he led the league in assists.

Paul Seymour, a three-time All-Star and 1955 NBA champion, wore No. 25 for a season with the Syracuse Nationals. He changed numbers twice before his ascent.

Currently

Ben Simmons, the 2018 Rookie of the Year and 2019 All-Star, is easily the active jersey champion over the likes of Derrick Rose and Austin Rivers, despite the absence of a successful 3-point attempt on his résumé. Simmons has come darn close to averaging a triple-double in his first two seasons, and he may be a serviceable jump shot away from transforming into the greatest No. 25 in history.

Challengers

Gus Johnson, a Hall of Famer with a gold star in his tooth, donned No. 25 for all but 21 games of a 10-year career that saw five All-Star bids, two All-Defensive nods and a 1973 ABA title. Also a dunk connoisseur who broke backboards and had his leaping ability marked by a nail in an Idaho bar, his No. 25 is retired in Washington.

K.C. Jones, a Hall of Famer and zero-time All-Star, won eight championships in nine seasons on the Celtics, seven of which came in a No. 25 jersey. He averaged 7.4 points in his career, but eight is the only number that matters, even if he was a role player on a team stacked with legends. His No. 25 is retired in Boston.

Chet Walker, a Hall of Famer, wore No. 25 for his entire 13-year career, including seven All-Star campaigns split between the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls. A workhorse of a power forward, he was the fourth option behind Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham on a Sixers team that won 68 games and the 1967 championship, ending Boston’s streak of eight straight titles. Also a player empowerment pioneer, his playing career was cut short by a contract dispute with the Chicago Bulls, so he became an Emmy-winning Hollywood producer instead.

The Jersey Champion

Gail Goodrich, a star on both UCLA’s first 30-0 squad en route to two NCAA titles and on the Los Angeles Lakers who won a record 33 straight games on their way to the 1972 NBA title, has his No. 25 retired by both legendary entities. Pretty much all you need to know about Goodrich, a five-time All-Star nicknamed “Stumpy” and often branded as too small at 6-foot-1 and too thin at 170 pounds: He led a Lakers team with Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West in scoring in that 69-win 1972 season.

May the winds always be at your back, Gail.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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