NBA Countdown: Which player wore No. 27 best in league history?

Which NBA player wore No. 27 best?
Which NBA player wore No. 27 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 27 days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 27 best?



Jordan Crawford, whose 2009 dunk as a collegian over then-MVP LeBron James at the LeBron James Skills Academy was nearly wiped from history by Nike, wore No. 27 with the Boston Celtics when he won his sole Player of the Week award.

Zaza Pachulia, two-time champion and forever goon.

Kevin Stacom, a 1976 NBA champion and longtime pub owner.


Marvin Barnes, the 1975 ABA Rookie of the Year and a two-time ABA All-Star, wore No. 27 for two NBA seasons. Nicknamed “Bad News” after commandeering a city bus in his high school letter jacket and hitting a Providence College teammate with a tire iron, he vanished after signing a $2.5 million contract and refused to get on a plane that changed time zones because he did not want to travel to the past. There are many stories, and his unfortunately ends sadly. His drug addiction led him to homelessness and ultimately cost him his life. Barnes’ death was confirmed by the aforementioned Stacom, his Providence teammate and fellow No. 27 on the Celtics.

K.C. Jones, a Hall of Famer with 12 NBA championship rings (eight as a player, two as an assistant and two more as head coach of the 1980s Celtics), wore No. 27 as a rookie in Boston before switching to 25 for the remainder of his nine-year career.

Kenny Sailors, the inventor of the jump shot and the 1943 NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, only wore No. 27 for one season with the Denver Nuggets — a year after capturing an All-Basketball Association of America selection.

Bob Verga, a 1970 ABA All-Star and Duke University’s single-season leader in points per game, wore No. 27 for 24 games with the New York Nets in 1968-69 — a year in which he changed jerseys three different times.


Rudy Gobert, the two-time All-NBA selection, two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year and one-time destroyer of Team USA, has worn No. 27 for his whole six-year career with the Utah Jazz, choosing the number as motivation after being selected 27th overall in the 2013 NBA draft. He is now well on his way to potentially cementing his legacy as the greatest No. 27 ever, edging out a couple solid competitors (Jamal Murray and Jusuf Nurkic) for the current jersey championship.


Joe Caldwell, a four-time All-Star, two-time All-Defensive selection and 1964 Olympic gold medalist, wore No. 27 for all but the first two of his 11 professional seasons. He donned the number for each of his peak seasons, including a 1970-71 All-ABA campaign in which he averaged a 23-6-4. A trailblazer in the fight for player pensions, he is believed to have been blackballed for allegedly convincing a St. Louis Spirits teammate to abandon the team — a claim he forever denies. That player? Marvin “Bad News” Barnes. Oh, and if this wasn’t enough of a contribution, Caldwell is the grandfather of Sacramento Kings big man Marvin Bagley III.

John Johnson, a two-time All-Star and prototypical point forward, wore No. 27 for eight of his final nine NBA seasons, including a 1979 title campaign in Seattle.

Caldwell Jones, a two-time All-Defensive selection, 1975 ABA All-Star and our No. 39 jersey champion, wore 27 for much of the latter half of a career that lasted 17 seasons. His greatest contribution, again, was his work as Michael Jordan’s mentor.

The Jersey Champion

Jack Twyman, a Hall of Famer, wore No. 27 for half his time with the Cincinnati Royals, including three of his six All-Star bids and his personal peak — a 1959-60 campaign in which he posted a 31-9-4 line and placed sixth for MVP behind Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Bob Pettit, Bob Cousy and Elgin Baylor. He and Wilt became the first two players to average 30-plus points over a season that year.

As we discussed when Twyman challenged for the No. 31 title, his contributions went well beyond the court, including a broadcasting career that featured The Willis Reed Game and decades spent caring for Maurice Stokes, a Royals teammate who was paralyzed during a game. The NBA’s Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award is named in their honor. Twyman’s jersey is the only No. 27 retired in the NBA, and his number will also never be worn again at the University of Cincinnati.

Kudos, Jack.

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

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