The National Basketball Association (NBA) has seen a plethora of players donning various jersey numbers throughout its history. However, the number 99 holds a unique place in the annals of the sport. Not many players have chosen to wear this number, but those who did have left an indelible mark on the game. Let's delve into the stories of these exceptional athletes.
The Legacy of Number 99
The NBA allows players to choose any number from 0-99, including 00. Despite this wide range, only a handful of players have opted for the number 99. This number is not just a digit on a jersey; it carries with it a legacy of greatness and innovation, primarily due to one man - George Mikan.
George Mikan: The Pioneer of 99
George Mikan, often referred to as the NBA's first leading big man, revolutionized the center position with his hook shot. He was the NBA's first dominant post player, and his performance on the court reflected that. Mikan's choice to wear the number 99 set a precedent, making him the greatest player to ever wear this number. His dominance led to numerous rule changes in the NBA, such as goaltending and the widening of the paint area.
Other Notable Players
While Mikan may be the most famous player to wear 99, he is not the only one. Other notable players include Jae Crowder, who wore the number for multiple teams including the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, and Darko Miličić, who wore it during his stint with the Boston Celtics. Ariel Maughan, Roy Rogers, Tacko Fall, and George Glamack are other players who have donned the number 99 jersey.
The Rarity of Number 99
Despite the legacy of Mikan and the performances of other players, the number 99 remains a rarity in the NBA. As of January 1, 2023, only eight players have worn this number during NBA games. This scarcity adds to the allure and mystique of the number 99.