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 eight days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 8 best?
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Michael Beasley, a.k.a. SuperCoolBeas, “your favorite player’s favorite player.”
Bison Dele, the nomad who is believed to have been murdered by his brother aboard a catamaran in the South Pacific.
Monta Ellis, an antonym for The No-Stats All-Star.
Eddie Johnson, the 1989 Sixth Man of the Year who trails only Jamal Crawford in most points without an All-Star appearance.
Roger Mason, how u.
Aaron McKie, the 2001 Sixth Man of the Year.
Fred Schaus, a 1951 All-Star and the architect of the 1972 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Lonnie Shelton, a 1982 All-Star and 1979 NBA champion who twice led the NBA in personal fouls.
Steve Smith, a 1998 All-Star and ultimate heat-check guy.
Latrell Sprewell, a four-time All-Star and literal choke artist.
Antoine Walker, a 2006 NBA champion, three-time All-Star and four-point specialist.
Deron Williams, a three-time All-Star and mixed martial artist.
George Gervin, a Hall of Famer and finger-roll god, only donned No. 8 with the Chicago Bulls in his 14th and final season.
Bob Houbregs, the most mysterious Hall of Famer, wore No. 8 for an indeterminate number of games in 1955.
Earl Lloyd, the first black player ever to appear in an NBA game, wore No. 8 for a single season with the Syracuse Nationals.
Moses Malone, a legend of many numbers, turned to No. 8 for a couple of late-career seasons on the Milwaukee Bucks.
Šarūnas Marčiulionis, a Hall of Fame international player and humanitarian who inspired the Grateful Dead-themed Team Lithuana jerseys, only sported No. 8 for the Denver Nuggets in his seventh and final NBA season.
Kemba Walker, whose decision to wear Antoine’s No. 8 Walker jersey meant a whole lot of Boston Celtics fans could dust off their old jerseys, is the only current All-Star donning a number surprisingly underused. As good as fellow Nos. 8 Danilo Gallinari, Zach LaVine and Spencer Dinwiddie have been in recent years, none of them can match Walker’s résumé as an All-NBA performer.
Walt Bellamy, a Hall of Famer, donned No. 8 for the entirety of his 14-year career, including a 1962 Rookie of the Year campaign in which he averaged 31.6 points and 19 rebounds per game. He owns one of the NBA’s more unbreakable records.
Nat Clifton, a.ka. Sweetwater, a Hall of Famer and World War II veteran, is the first black player to sign an NBA contract. He sported No. 8 for a six-year stretch with the New York Knicks in the 1950s, including his lone All-Star appearance at age 34.
Marques Johnson, a five-time All-Star, wore No. 8 for the entirety of his 11-year career, coining the term “point forward.” A neck injury suffered during a game in 1986 all but ended a potential Hall of Fame career. Naturally, then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling refused to pay him following the injury. Johnson’s No. 8 is retired by the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Jersey Champion
Kobe Bryant, the soon-to-be Hall of Famer, wore No. 8 for the first 10 of his 20 NBA seasons, before switching to No. 24 in an attempt to wipe the slate clean after Shaquille O’Neal left the Los Angeles Lakers via trade in 2004. While Bryant won his lone MVP award in a No. 24 jersey, he won three of his five titles wearing No. 8. He also won a scoring title and dunk contest in No. 8.
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