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 43 days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 43 best?
Frank Brickowski, just a great name for a bruising big man, especially one who was fined thrice for fighting, reveled in riling up Dennis Rodman and pleaded guilty to marijuana possession at his Montana ranch midway through a 12-year career.
“Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison, the No. 1 overall pick in 1989 over two future Hall of Famers and eight All-Stars, was the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 1992.
Kris Humphries, an underrated good dude at the time he was made out to be the bad guy after his 2011 marriage to Kim Kardashian ended in divorce 72 days later.
Clyde Lee, a 1968 All-Star with the San Francisco Warriors.
Kendrick Perkins, a 2008 NBA champion and the ultimate enforcer.
Mychal Thompson, a two-time NBA champion and father of Klay.
Skip Thoren, a 1969 ABA All-Star with the Miami Floridians.
Art Becker wore Nos. 34 and 14 in his All-Star seasons with the Houston Mavericks and Denver Rockets, but his production significantly slipped when he wore No. 43 in almost every other season. He was also on the receiving end of a wild ABA tale. John Brisker viciously elbowed Becker, and then went after him three more times after his ejection — and before the police had to intervene. Bad times.
Johnny “Red” Kerr, a three-time All-Star and 1955 NBA champion wearing No. 10, did not turn to 43 until the final season of a 12-year career. He went on to become a legendary broadcaster with the Chicago Bulls, ending up on the receiving end of many a pregame talcum toss while calling the entirety of Michael Jordan’s career.
Calvin Natt, a 1985 All-Star who only wore No. 43 for a half his rookie season with the New Jersey Nets, before being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in 1980.
Kevin Willis, a 1992 All-Star and 2003 NBA champion, did not turn to No. 43 until his 15th season, well after his prime, when he was a double-double machine.
Pascal Siakam, the reigning champion and Most Improved Player, appears bound for stardom and is already well on his way to climbing the list of great No. 43s.
Brad Daugherty, the No. 1 overall pick in 1986, made five All-Star appearances in his first eight NBA seasons, including a 1992 All-NBA campaign, before back problems cut his career short at 28. His No. 43 is retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Terry Dischinger, the 1963 Rookie of the Year, made All-Star appearances in each of his first three seasons before fulfilling his active-duty military service requirement in Hawaii. When he returned to the NBA two years later at age 27, he never reached the same heights as a player, although he did play another six productive seasons.
Jeff Ruland, a two-time All-Star, was forced into early retirement by knee injuries at age 28. His comeback attempt five years later was halted after 13 games when a Boston Garden employee rammed a luggage cart into his ankle, tearing his Achilles.
The Jersey Champion
Jack Sikma, a longtime Hall of Fame snub who was finally inducted this past weekend, was the prototypical stretch center, making seven All-Star appearances and winning the 1979 NBA title with the Seattle SuperSonics on the strength of his signature shot. His No. 43 was retired in Seattle more than a quarter-century ago.
Go Sikma, Jack.
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