Wearing the right number on your jersey is more than just a fashion statement. It’s an important part of being an NBA player that goes back to the beginning of professional basketball. Without it, you might not have been able to tell who was playing on which team! This blog post will teach you all about the rules for wearing numbers in the NBA. As well as some interesting facts about popular numbers and their history.
What Are The NBA Jersey Number Rules?
As far as the NBA jersey number rules go, there aren’t many! NBA teams can choose what numbers their players will wear. There are only a few restrictions on which numbers you’re allowed to wear during NBA games.
The NBA allows fifteen different digits that include everything from 0-99, as well as 00! There are no restrictions put in place regarding which digit you need to wear so long as it falls within those ranges. This includes double-digit jerseys too such as No. 12 or No. 23 if they have them available on your team’s roster.
The NBA has changed some of its jersey number rules since it started way back in 1946 when they originally had no written rule about wearing specific digits. Or how many were required per team. The earliest recorded use of jerseys dates back even further though, as far as 1892 by Ellis College vs Irvington. Who wore the numbers of their players on their backs which were green for Irvington and white for Ellis.
Does The NBA Allow Three-Digit Numbers?
In short, no! NBA number rules state that you can only wear one to two digits on your NBA jerseys. NBA players are not allowed to wear numbers higher than 99 for NBA games.
The NBA has attempted to make changes in the past but was met with a lot of pushback by fans. Those who were used to watching their favorite players wearing specific jersey numbers especially retired jerseys.
NBA Jersey Number Change Rules
What happens when a basketball player wants to change his/her number? NBA jersey number rules allow NBA players to change their jersey numbers as much as they like. Provided the player is wearing a number within the NBA’s range of digits.
If you want to see your favorite NBA player with another digit on his/her back, don’t fret! The NBA allows for a free agency which means any NBA team can sign that player. And determine what number he or she will wear next. This has happened before where retired jerseys are brought out of retirement by either current or former players who wore those specific digits while playing in the NBA.
Michael Jordan famously changed from 23 to 45 when he came out of retirement after three years away from basketball. But there have been others too including Kobe Bryant changing his No. 24 jersey at one point during his NBA career.
There is another jersey number rule that NBA players and fans need to know too: post-season rules determine how jerseys can be worn during play in the NBA Playoffs! Once a player has played on an NBA team for three years. He/she will have their number “unavailable”.
This means they cannot change it ahead of or during any NBA games. Such as playoffs unless there are extenuating circumstances. This was designed specifically so teams wouldn’t lose marketing power from retired numbers of former legends. Who wore those digits while playing in the NBA.
LeBron’s #6 and #23 Number Swaps
LeBron James started his career with the 23 for the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers but switched to #23 for his second year. He kept this number until he joined the Miami Heat where he changed from 23 to 6. He then went back to wearing his original NBA jersey number of 23 when he left Miami, joining the Cavs again.
LeBron is now wearing 6 again with the Lakers, the reason being that
Basketball Jersey Numbers By Position
NBA jersey numbers have nothing to do with the positional play. NBA teams usually have a set of players who play the same position, and they wear similar numbers because it’s easier for referees to tell them apart on the court this way.
The NBA does not require specific number ranges to be worn by particular positions so you’ll notice that some guards could wear No. 0-25 while others may only wear higher digits such as No. 40 or larger depending on where their jersey falls within their team’s roster organization.
There are no rules about wearing certain numbers during NBA games but there are restrictions regarding what your shirt looks like with regards to advertisements since those can’t interfere with rulebooks being read from across the court! This is why we say each player has a “jersey number” instead of simply “number” as NBA players wear jerseys with advertisements on them.
Iconic NBA Jersey Numbers
The NBA has seen some iconic jersey numbers worn by players over the decades including No. 23, 24, and 45! There are many more like them too which NBA teams pay homage to by retiring their jerseys so that current or future basketball stars will never wear those digits again in any NBA game.
Those who have played for NBA teams include Michael Jordan (23), Kobe Bryant (24) Shaquille O’Neal (33), LeBron James (23/32), Magic Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), and many others.
Why Do NBA Teams Retire Jersey Numbers?
NBA teams also retire jersey numbers for those who have contributed significantly to a franchise whether they played on the team or not like Wilt Chamberlain (13) with Philadelphia 76ers, Bill Russell (six) with Boston Celtics, Jerry West (44) with Los Angeles Lakers, John Stockton (12) with Utah Jazz among others.
The NBA is home to some of basketball’s greatest players ever including Shaquille O’Neal (No. 33 retired by Miami Heat), Michael Jordan (23 retired by Chicago Bulls/Washington Wizards), and Kobe Bryant (24 retired by Los Angeles Lakers). There are many more great NBA legends whose jerseys will never be worn!
Is The Number 69 Illegal In The NBA?
The NBA’s “uniform rule” only prohibits specific advertisements on jerseys that aren’t allowed during NBA games. Players can wear whatever numbers they’d like, but the NBA does not allow for 69 to be worn by any player in an NBA game since it is an offensive slang term! NBA players can wear jersey numbers in the 70s or 80s, but NBA referees will not allow 69 to be worn on NBA jerseys.
The NBA Jersey Number Rules are not difficult, but you must understand them which will help avoid any confusion or issues during your next game day experience watching basketball at home or live on TV! Get ready to cheer on your favorite team and players as if nothing changed even though their jerseys may look slightly different than they did last season…
Here are Some of our Favourite Basketball Sneakers
Here we will be giving more of an opinion, rather than facts. Are the sneakers worth the price that they are being sold at? Should you upgrade from your current sneakers, depending on what boots you own? What features stand out on these sneakers? If any. Does it do the job? Speed, control, stability etc. Depending on your needs/preferences. We can also mention its durability, if we have collected enough data on the specific sneakers.
What did we expect vs. what we got. Is it maybe overrated/underrated?
Here’s our pick from the very best of the bunch.
On your way to the pro leagues? Here’s our pick.
Want something to start with? Have a look at our pick.