NBA Countdown: Which player wore No. 52 best in league history?

Which NBA player wore No. 52 best?
Which NBA player wore No. 52 best?

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 00.

There are currently 52 days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 52 best?



Orbie Bowling, just a fantastic name for a guy who wore No. 52 while playing only a single season for the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels.

Larry Bunce, an ABA All-Star as a rookie and out of the league a year later.

Eddy Curry, a man who came to be defined by his oversized contract, wore No. 52 when last we saw him, playing just two games for the Dallas Mavericks in 2012.

J.R. Henderson, who wore 52 in his lone NBA season on the Vancouver Grizzlies, became a Japanese basketball legend under a different number and name.

Jonathan Kerner, who played five minutes of NBA basketball for the Orlando Magic in 1999, did not record a single statistic except for two personal fouls, but he did sport No. 52. He just may be the Moonlight Graham of basketball.

Greg Oden, the former No. 1 overall pick who wore No. 52 with the Portland Trail Blazers, may have had a real shot to become the jersey champion if not for injuries.


Julius Keye, Sam Lacey, Otis Thorpe and Mo Williams, all of whom wore 52 at one time, each made a single All-Star team, but did so wearing a different number.


Jordan McRae, currently working on a non-guaranteed deal with the Washington Wizards, was the only player to wear No. 52 last season and therefore reigns supreme, if only because James Johnson abandoned the number long ago.


Brad Miller, who has a Scrappy Doo tattoo and once sported cornrows, became an All-Star in both conferences — with the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings — almost immediately after switching numbers from 40 to 52. Coincidence? Nope.

Buck Williams wore No. 52 for the entirety of a career that spanned 17 seasons and four teams, collecting 1982 Rookie of the Year honors, three All-Star selections, a 1983 All-NBA nod and four All-Defensive bids. The Nets retired his No. 52.

The Jersey Champion

Jamaal Wilkes, the only No. 52 in the Hall of Fame, wore the number for two of his three All-Star selections and championships, but he was good enough to have two legendary teams — the Los Angeles Lakers and UCLA — retire the number for him.

Cheers, Silk.

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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