Welcome to another installment of “Number Retirements: Who’s Next?” For past posts on previous division click on the links below.
Let’s take a look at teams in the Southwest Division.
- 15, Brad Davis
- 22, Rolando Blackman
Brad Davis was one of the first players on the Mavericks first team and spent his entire NBA career in Dallas. Rolando Blackman was a multiple time All-Star and was always a reliable player for the team in his 11 seasons with the Mavericks.
The top guy that should be next in an obvious choice, Dirk Nowitzki (no. 41). He has done just about everything for this franchise from All-Star selections, All-NBA team selections, MVP award, and of course, bringing a title to the city of Dallas. In my opinion, he is the best player ever for the Mavericks and I think he falls under the lines of Dwayne Wade with the Heat as a guy who could have his number immediately retired.
Other names that I could see in the conversation are Jason Kidd (no. 2), Jason Terry (no. 31), Derek Harper (no. 12) & Mark Aquirre (no. 24). Kidd was a three time All-Star and won the title in 2011. Jason Terry was a sixth man of the year award winner with the team and early in his career was a fan favorite coming off the bench. Derek Harper spent a huge chunk of his career with Mavericks and was never an All-Star, but was in the starting backcourt with Rolando Blackman. Mark Aquirre was a multiple time All-Star with the team averaging over 20 points per game during his time with the team. Two other names that could have their number retired is Steve Nash (no. 13) and Michael Finley (no. 4). Both had successful careers with the Mavericks when they had a young Nowitzki.
- 22, Clyde Drexler
- 23, Calvin Murphy
- 24, Moses Malone
- 34, Hakeem Olajuwon
- 45, Rudy Tomjanvich
- CD, Carroll Dawson
Clyde Drexler is well known for his accomplishments in Portland but also made an impact with the Rockets at the tail end of his career. The hometown guy won a title with Houston in 1995 and also made a couple of All-Star appearances. Calvin Murphy played his entire career with the Rockets dating back to their days as the San Diego Rockets. The 5′ 9″ guard had a career scoring average of 17.9 points per game. Moses Malone was a two time MVP and multiple time All-Star. Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon brought the city of Houston both titles in 1994 & 1995, and was named MVP for both series. Olajuwon is also the franchise leader in points, rebounds, blocks & steals making him the best Rockets player ever. Rudy Tomjanvich played his whole career with the San Diego/Houston Rockets being named an All-Star fives times and is the third leading scorer in franchise history. He also was the head coach for championship teams. Carroll Dawson was an assistant coach with both championship and eventually was the general manager that drafted Yao Ming and brought in Tracy McGrady. That led to him having his initials “CD” hanging in the rafters.
My prediction for the next player to have his number retired is Yao Ming (no. 11). Ming was the first overall pick in 2002 NBA Draft. He immediately made an impact in the NBA, bringing a sea of fans from his home country China. He is one of the reasons that the NBA was able to branch with China as the NBA is trying to expand the game globally. On the court, Yao was dominate when healthy. Unfortunately, Ming had to retire early due to constant foot/ankle injuries. While it was sad to see Ming retire early, no one can deny that he still made an impact in the league and helped the NBA overall expand into international markets. Currently, the Houston Rockets do not have the number 11 in circulation, but I think that they will eventually retire the number officially. Another name I’d throw out there is Tracy McGrady (no. 1) who combined with Ming was part of a fun Rockets team to watch including scoring 13 points in the final 31 seconds of the game against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Grizzlies are one of the few teams to not have a single number retired. The franchise is still young dating back to 1995 as the Vancouver Grizzlies. Marc Gasol (no. 33), who is arguably one of the best centers in the NBA right now, has been the face of the franchise since having his rights acquired from the Lakers for his brother Pau. He has made the Grizzlies relevant since 2008 leading them to multiple playoff appearences. Another name I’d throw out there is Zach Randolph (no. 50) who is a fan favorite in the city of Memphis as a nightly double-double machine.
Another name, Tony Allen (no. 9) aka the “Grindfather”? He may not have the statistics to light up the scoreboard, but has been one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA setting an unique identity with the “Grit & Grind” mentality since joining Memphis. If these guys stay in Memphis for their careers, they could all see their names up in the rafters one day.
- 7, Pete Maravich
“Pistol” Pete never played for the Hornets, but did play for the New Orleans (now located Utah) Jazz and played college ball at LSU. Maravich was a popular figure in the state of Louisiana leading to the franchise retiring his number.
When the Hornets changed their name to the Pelicans, it led to the Bobcats changing their name to the Hornets. With that, the Pelicans agreed to transfer all of their records as the Charlotte Hornets from 1988-2002. All records since 2002 are currently kept by the Pelicans since that was when the franchise expanded to New Orleans.
With that being said, there is not a lot of options here, but only one player comes into mind and that is Chris Paul (no. 3). Paul was selected by the then Hornets in the 2005 NBA Draft and made an immediate contribution to the team making them a Western Conference threat. I know most people are mentioning Anthony Davis (no. 23). It is way to early in his career to talk about it.
- 00, Johnny Moore
- 6, Avery Johnson
- 12, Bruce Bowen
- 13, James Silas
- 32, Sean Elliot
- 44, George Gervin
- 50, David Robinson
The San Antonio Spurs have always been a consistent winning franchise and have had a lot of great players wear the black and silver. Avery Johnson & Sean Elliot both played significant roles for the teams 1999 championship run. Bruce Bowen was a defensive stopper earning All-Defensive Team selection in 7 of the 8 seasons on the Spurs and was known as an “Iron Man” for rarely missing a game. James Eilas was the first player to have his number retired for the Spurs, playing his career for the team when they were in the ABA days. The “Iceman” George Gervin was a natural scorer, winning the scoring title three times while with the Spurs. David Robinson was one of the best players the Spurs ever had winning just about everything from an MVP, All-NBA selections, Defensive selections, and NBA Championships. Robinson was the starting point for the teams playoff constancy today.
I think we all know who would be next up, or the next three up. Yes, I do believe that not only Tim Duncan (no. 21) & Tony Parker (no. 9) will have their number retired, but also Manu Ginobili (no. 20) will join them. This “Big 3” have always been a great group of guys to watch and after winning multiple titles and All-Star selections. They are a top the best trio’s of all time. Kawhi Leonard (no. 2) is someone I can see being mentioned in the future if he stays healthy and continues to dominate as a member of the Spurs.
Stay tuned as I go over teams in the Pacific Division (Part 5/6)