One of the best honors a player can get in the world of sports is having his or her number retired. It means that nobody is going to be good enough to sport that number for that team because they did it the best. Now I will say I’m not the hugest fan of this practice because a lot of teams will unretire a number for a short time so an aging player on the last legs of their career who has worn it can do so,therefore making the practice a pointless one. However,there are still many players out there who do deserve it. Here are my 10 entries that do!
10. Theo Fleury, Calgary Flames (No. 14)
For eleven seasons in Calgary,the often-troubled and undersized Fleury showed tremendous skill and physicality for a player his size (5 feet,6 inches). he was also a part of the team that won the Stanley Cup in 1989.
Fleury was able to score 1,000 points in his long career in the NHL,not bad for a guy who some said would never make it to the big time because of his size.
Despite his troubles with drug addiction and alcohol abuse, he has turned his life around and has had much success after his hockey career. He should get his number retired in Calgary for what he did for the team and how great he was for them. They haven’t issued the number since his 1999 departure,so it is long time for them to make it official.
9. Will Clark-San Francisco Giants (No. 22)
I don’t know about you but it does kinda feel weird to see any other Giants player not named Will Clark wear #22. Many have done so since Clark last played in San Francisco in 1993,including Eric Davis, Jose Cruz,Jr.,Matt Morris,Eli Whiteside, Jake Peavy, and more recently,Christian Arroyo,but to this very day it still looks like a number that should be alongside a lot of other numbers the Giants have retired on the facade in left field.
The Giants currently have a policy that players who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame (or have come very close) are eligible to have their number retired. Although Clark is not eligible to be on the ballot anymore, he may one day get in through the veteran’s committee. I do hope,however,that he doesn’t have to wait that long to get this honor. He was the best player on a Giants team that came back to prominence in the 1980s after a lot of bad seasons beforehand. Fans still love him to this day,too.
8. Derek Harper-Dallas Mavericks (No.12)
Derek Harper was one of the key players on a series of very good Mavericks teams in the 1980s along with Rolando Blackmon and Mark Aguirre. Blackmon has his number in the rafters in Dallas,but not Harper.
Harper spent 11 seasons in Dallas and there were plans a few seasons ago by the team to make #12 the third number to be retired,but plans fell through and future plans to do so have not been announced. I think he should get it retired someday soon,and hopefully before Dirk Nowitzki gets his up there. It’s a shame it’s not been done already.
7. Chris Osgood-Detroit Red Wings (No. 30)
The Red Wings were one of hockey’s finest team’s in the 1990s and 2000s and their main netminder was Chris Osgood. In 1998 after main goaltender Mike Vernon left for San Jose, Osgood helped lead Detroit to a back-to-back Stanley Cup. After leaving for several years, he came back to lead them again to a Cup win in 2008.
He’s also in the Top 10 all time in wins and is fourth all-time in playoff shutouts and fourth all-time in win percentage. He is definitely deserving of having his number in the rafters after the career he had and how key he was to the Red Wings during their best years.
6. Mike Singletary-Chicago Bears (No. 50)
I know the Bears have retired 14 numbers already and have said previously that they will not retire anymore of them,but there is a number they haven’t retired and should,the great Mike Singletary.
Just like Will Clark, I have trouble seeing other players in a Chicago Bears uniform wear #50. Currently that number is worn by Jerrell Freeman,but it should be out of circulation.
Singletary is a legend. The way he played,even that stare of his was scary and a lethal weapon on the field. He was a big part of the 1985 team that almost went undefeated and won a Super Bowl,the only one to date in Chicago. I know the Bears are done retiring numbers,but come on,just one more. Please?
Even for this commercial for LensCrafters alone it should be out of circulation:
5. Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway-Orlando Magic (No.32 and No.1)
The Magic have yet to retire any numbers in their nearly three decade history and with O’Neal in the Hall of Fame and Hardaway a very popular and important member of the Magic in the 1990s,I think it’s time their numbers go into the Amway Center rafters.
These two were the first real superstars the Magic really had when they were starting out and they were exciting to watch.
I know O’Neal was only there for four years,but he started his career there and nobody should be wearing #32 ever again. Same with Hardaway’s #1. How these numbers are still being worn by players not nearly as popular or important in the growth and history of this franchise is puzzling. They’re off limits as far as I’m concerned.
4. Kurt Warner-Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals (No. 13)
Kurt Warner had a brilliant career that almost never happened had Trent Green not been hurt in the 1999 preseason. He helped a St. Louis Rams team who hadn’t had much success since arriving in town four years prior go all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV and won it with a high-powered offense that was fun to watch week in and week out. They almost won a second Super Bowl two seasons later,but the Patriots were just too much for the Rams.
He had a little time in his career where he wasn’t as good and his time in New York can be described as forgettable. But when he reached Arizona,he had a big resurgence,as did the Cardinals. The team made it to their first Super Bowl in 2008, but fell short of winning.
Beyond that,he has the seventh best career passing rating of all-time and fourth best career completion percentage. He also ranks first in playoff completion percentage for his career in 13 games and also first in yards per attempt, and second in passer rating.
He’s going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in August and the teams he shined with should honor him by making #13 disappear from circulation!
3. Andrew Toney,Philadelphia 76ers (No. 22)
How in the hell have the 76ers not given Andrew Toney his due and retired his #22 yet?
Toney,who is well known as the Boston Strangler for his dominance in games against the Celtics,was a two-time NBA All-Star and a big piece of the 76ers team that won the NBA championship in 1983,a team that almost went unfdefeated in the postseason.
His career,however,was plagued by injuries and after eight seasons he retired. I still think,however,that he was loved and respected enough by fans,teammates,and opponents alike that he more than deserving of getting his number hung in the Philadelphia rafters along with Chamberlain,Iverson,Barkley,and Erving,to name a few.
2. Randy Johnson-Seattle Mariners (No. 51)
With the M’s having retired Ken Griffey Jr’s #24 last year (the first in team history), it’s time that their other Hall of Famer gets his retired.
Randy Johnson’s career began to flourish when he arrived in Seattle in 1989, where he was a part of some great,memorable Mariners teams. Like in 1995 when he came in to pitch in relief on a day’s rest to beat the Yankees in the American League Divisional Series.
He definitely has a place in Mariners lore and his career speaks for itself. While he did wear #51, there is another popular Mariner who also wore #51,Ichiro,who should also get that number retired in his honor as well!
1. Gary Payton-Seattle SuperSonics (No. 20)
Okay,so I know this one is quite impossible at the moment because the SuperSonics don’t exist anymore, but the moment a new edition of Seattle’s long-lost NBA franchise comes back (something I do hope happens one day), they should retire Gary Payton’s #20.
Payton is,without question,the greatest player this franchise ever had. Yes, he never brought the Emerald City a championship,but he came very damn close in 1996. He is the only point guard to ever win Defensive Player of the Year and he is regarded as one of the most complete guards ever.
It is really a shame that a Hall of Famer like Payton doesn’t have such an honor as a retired number. Sure,his #20 has not been issued by the Oklahoma City Thunder,but he doesn’t see that team as the SuperSonics and neither do I. Like I said, if and when Seattle gets it’s team back, Payton’s number should be raised to the rafters on opening night.