We are inside of two months 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 these final 55 days by arguing over who wore each jersey number best until we reach No. 00.
There are currently 38 days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 38 best?
Vitor Faverani, a Brazilian center who arrived at his first media day sporting a mohawk/mullet hybrid, declared, “I like dunks,” earned a starting position, grabbed 18 rebounds in his second game, and then steadily declined before suffering a late-season knee injury. By the time his second media day rolled around in 2014, Vitor denied an offseason DUI arrest by explaining, “There’s no truth. Somebody in Spain tried to kill me, but he can’t.” And he was waived before playing in the NBA again.
Anthony Cook, a first-round pick routinely plagued by injuries, wore No. 38 for all of 11 games with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1995 — his fourth and final NBA season. He played one more year of semi-pro ball the following year with a team named the Florida Beach Dogs, maybe the least intimidating sports mascot ever.
Jeff Cross wore No. 38 for his entire NBA career, which consisted of 21 games for the L.A. Clippers in 1986, and that seems about right for a guy who played his high school ball in Worcester, Mass., and his college ball at the University of Maine.
Dale Wilkinson, a 10th-round pick, was waived by three different teams before wearing No. 38 for a 10-game stint with the Clippers in 1985. He scored 14 points on 14 shots in his NBA career, and passed the Clips’ No. 38 to the aforementioned Cross in 1986. Nobody in L.A. ever dared to wear the jersey again after those two.
Mikki Moore, who incredibly played 13 NBA seasons, only wore No. 38 for five games with the Atlanta Hawks in 2003. I remember him best in No. 7 on the Boston Celtics in 2009, when Kevin Garnett repeatedly dunked on Moore in practice in an attempt to find out if the 7-footer was cut out for his squad. He was not.
Nobody! Reggie Hearn, a G League guard who had a cup of coffee with he Detroit Pistons in 2018, was the last to wear No. 38. We are rooting for Hearn, the 2018 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year for helping his country qualify for the FIBA World Cup, because No. 38 may be the easiest jersey championship to ever seize.
Victor Khryapa, a Russian defensive specialist, which sounds ominous but really just translates to poor shooting on a few lottery teams, wore No. 38 more than anyone else in league history — two mid-2000s seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers and a couple more with the Chicago Bulls before finally being waived.
Ron Knight was the first player ever to wear No. 38 in the NBA, sporting it for two seasons with the expansion Portland Trail Blazers from 1970-72. He averaged 4.7 points per game, and his greatest contribution was probably helping the Blazers play poorly enough to earn the first two of four straight top-two picks in the draft.
The Jersey Champion
Kwame Brown, the No. 1 overall pick in 2001, wore No. 5 with the Washington Wizards, where he was verbally abused by Michael Jordan, and No. 54 for every other season of his 12-year career, save for two seasons with the Detroit Pistons from 2008-10, when he sported No. 38. He averaged just 3.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in Detroit, where he played just two first-round playoff games for a Pistons team that had previously reached five straight Eastern Conference finals. Those two playoff games? The only in NBA history to ever see a No. 38. Brown, a legendary bust, at least has this jersey championship, even if he gets it by default.
Your thoughts, Stephen A.?
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