IT'S A NUMBERS GAME

By Martin C. Sumners

THE PLAYERS
Gilbert Arenas 0, Wizards
Marcus Banks 3, Timberwolves
Mike Bibby 10, Kings
Andrew Bogut 6, Bucks
Kobe Bryant 8, Lakers
Jarron Collins 31, Jazz
Tony Delk 00, Pistons
Melvin Ely 2, Bobcats
Pau Gasol 16, Grizzlies
Manu Ginobli 20, Spurs
Drew Gooden 90, Cavaliers
Grant Hill 33, Magic
Royal Ivey 36, Hawks
Linton Johnson 43, Hornets
Dikembe Mutombo 55, Rockets
Eric Piatkowski 52, Bulls
Paul Pierce 34, Celtics
Shavlik Randolph 42, Sixers
Earl Watson 25, Sonics
The great NBA players have come to be identified by their jersey number. For instance, we all see No. 33 when we reminisce about Larry Bird or the No. 32 when we think about Magic Johnson.

We also all may recall how Michael Jordan made No. 23 a mystical number. Then, after his first retirement, he returned at the end of the 1994-95 season wearing No. 45, but met failure in the playoffs. He reverted to No. 23 the next season and three more championships followed. He will always be No. 23.

The players featured in Behind The Numbers one day may be so closely associated with the number they wear but we take a look at why they wear that number. Many reveal that the number they wear goes back to their first team. Others honor a relative or basketball idol with the number they wear. And some have their own esoteric reasons.

Read more by clicking on players' name.