Number Retirements: Who’s Next? Central Division


Welcome to the last installment of the number retirement series. I started this series back when the Atlanta Hawks announced that they will retire Dikembe Mutombo’s no. 55 jersey on November 24th. Having your jersey number retired is one of the higher honors in the league as it shows your dedication and impact a player had on any team. Since then I had the idea going of whose number would be retired next for their respective teams. I divided it by six parts (for each of the six divisions). Here are the links below for the first five parts below.

  1. Part 1: Southeast Division
  2. Part 2: Northwest Division
  3. Part 3: Atlantic Division
  4. Part 4: Southwest Division
  5. Part 5: Pacific Division

Without further a due, here are the teams in the Central Division and who could possibly be next in having their jerseys hanging in their respective arenas.


Chicago Bulls


Retired numbers:

  • 4, Jerry Sloan
  • 10, Bob Love
  • 23, Michael Jordan
  • 33, Scottie Pippen

You are more likely to know Jerry Sloan as the former legendary head coach for the Utah Jazz, but earlier he was one of the original members of the Chicago Bulls first NBA season back in 1966. Sloan had a pretty good NBA playing career, becoming a two-time All-Star and an All-Defensive team member six times. Bob Love had a great career with the Bulls also averaging well over 20 points per game during his tenure. We all know what Michael Jordan did as he dominated in the ’90s winning six titles and expanding the game of basketball world-wide. Scottie Pippen also goes without explanation as he also had a great career in Chicago winning titles, and earning All-Star game nods and All-NBA team selections.

The next man up in my opinion is unique. Dennis Rodman (no. 91) was a little nutty, but was a fantastic rebounder. During his three seasons with the Bulls, he led the league in rebounds all three seasons averaging 15.3 during that span. He was definitely an X-factor for the Bulls second championship three peat. Other names I can see being mentioned is Tony Kukoc (no. 7), the team’s sixth man during their second three peat, and Horace Grant (no. 54), the team’s starting power forward during the Bulls first three peat.

Cleveland CavaliersRetired numbers:

  • 7, Bobby Smith
  • 11, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
  • 22, Larry Nance
  • 25, Mark Price
  • 34, Austin Carr
  • 42, Nate Thurmond
  • 43, Brad Daughtry
  • Microphone, Joe Tait

Bobby Smith, otherwise known as “Bingo,” was Cleveland’s first ever draft pick in their 1970 expansion draft. Big Z spent all but one season with the Cavs during his 13 year career, earning two All-Star appearances and becoming a fan favorite with the city of Cleveland. Larry Nance, Mark Price and Brad Daughtry made Cleveland a constant threat in the Eastern Conference during the late ’80s and early ’90s.

For the next guy, it is LeBron James (no. 23). While so far he has never accomplished his goal of bringing a title to Cleveland, he has still known as one of the best players in the NBA depending on opinion. LeBron was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, and eventually got drafted #1 overall by his hometown Cavaliers. It is because of him that the Cavaliers have been able to stay at the top of the Eastern Conference during his tenure, and everyone saw how much of an impact he had on them when he left for Miami. When he was not there, the Cavaliers were nothing. Now that he has returned, the Cavaliers are relevant again. That right there shows how much he means to the city. Another name to throw out there is Anderson Varejao (no. 17). Although in recent years he has been injury prone, he has always been a great role player for the 12 years he has been in Cleveland. I can definitely see him getting the nod here sometime in the future when his playing career is done.

Detroit Pistonsstarting5_800_140616Retired numbers:

  • 1, Chauncey Billups* (will be retired during the 2015-2016 season)
  • 2, Chuck Daly
  • 3, Ben Wallace* (will be retired during the 2015-2016 season)
  • 4, Joe Dumars
  • 10, Dennis Rodman
  • 11, Isiah Thomas
  • 15, Vinnie Johnson
  • 16, Bob Lanier
  • 21, Dave Bing
  • 40, Bill Laimbeer

The Motor City has had their fair share of success. The number 2 represents the back-to-back titles the team won in 1989 and 1990 with Chuck Daly as the head coach. During that time, the Pistons were known as the “Bad Boys,” and they were led by Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Vinnie Johnson, Dennis Rodman and Bill Laimbeer as they brought a new era of attitude to the game. Dave Bing and Bob Lanier are two hall of famers that have had success while playing for Detroit.

I was very happy to see both Chauncey Billups and Ben Wallace will have their jersey numbers retired sometime this season. If you don’t know by now, I am a Knicks fan, but Ben Wallace is my all-time favorite NBA player, and the 2004 Detroit Pistons are my favorite NBA team of all time. They were very underrated coming into the season not having a so-called “superstar” player, but went on to win the Finals against a star-studded Los Angeles Lakers team 4-1. I can see the rest of that 2004 lineup eventually getting recognized. Richard Hamilton (no. 32) was a nightly scoring machine. Tayshaun Prince (no. 22) was a defensive stopper, most notable for holding Kobe Bryant to only 11 points in Game 3 of the 2004 NBA Finals. Rasheed Wallace (no. 36) brought over a different attitude that made the team very unique.

Indiana PacersJermaineO_Neal2820782Retired numbers:

  • 30, George McGinnis
  • 31, Reggie Miller
  • 34, Mel Daniels
  • 35, Roger Brown
  • 529, Bobby Leonard

During their days in the ABA, George McGinnis, Mel Daniels and Roger Brown dominated guiding Indiana to three ABA championships. This then led to the Pacers becoming an NBA expansion team. For their NBA history, Reggie Miller is the franchise’s best player. During his 18 years with the team, he was a multiple time All-Star and is the franchises all time leading scorer, not to mention that he had a run where he was the all time leader in three-point shots made (eventually broken by Ray Allen). 529 represents the number of victories Bobby Leonard had as a coach of the Pacers.

As far as who’s next, no one to me is eye-popping right now. That being said, there is a couple of names I would throw around here like Jermaine O’Neal (no. 7). During his eight seasons, O’Neal was dominate making the All-Star team six times and being selected as an All-NBA team member three times. Another name I’ll throw out there is Danny Granger (no. 33) who at times looked like he could bring the team to new heights, but unfortunately the injury bug has caught up to him in recent years. The Pacers are one of those teams that do not have someone who should immediately have his jersey number retired, but who knows, maybe in a couple of years will see Paul George (no. 13) hear his name called in the future.

Milwaukee Buckshi-res-92755118-michael-redd-of-the-milwaukee-bucks-takes-a-jump-shot_crop_north

Retired numbers:

  • 1, Oscar Robertson
  • 2, Junior Bridgeman
  • 4, Sidney Moncrief
  • 10, Bob Dandridge
  • 14, Jon McGlocklin
  • 16, Bob Lanier
  • 32, Brian Winters
  • 33, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Robertson, Dandridge, McGlocklin and Abdul-Jabbar were all key members of the franchises only NBA title back in 1971. Sidney Moncrief started a trend with perimeter defensive guards and won Defensive Player of the Year twice, something you do not see now with guards winning the award.

For who could be next I can only think of Michael Redd (no. 22). Redd is a great example of a player who had so much potential, but injuries kept slowing him down. When healthy, Redd was fun to watch having a career scoring average of 19.0 points per game while shooting 44%, including 38% from three. He was a fan favorite in Milwaukee, and I could see his legacy live on with his jersey being hung up in the future.

That does it for this series of number retirements. I hope you had fun reading these and having some debates about each time. As always make sure you follow @BBallSociety_ and @FonzyDeFalco for updates regarding anything in the basketball world.


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