Inside the Locker Room: Uniform numbers

By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_Eichenhofer

For some NBA players, picking out a uniform number is a painstaking process, with considerable thought going into making a final determination. For others, it’s a matter of simply taking whatever digits happened to be available on the day the jerseys were distributed by the equipment manager. Some players have an interesting story behind the number they sport on their chest and back 82 games a season. Others? Not so much. To find out how the New Orleans Hornets ended up with their specific jerseys, asked a simple question: How did you choose your current uniform number?

Al-Farouq Aminu (0) 
“I asked my brother and he thought I should wear 0. I wore 3 in Los Angeles, so (Hornets staff members initially) thought I would want it again. But 3 has never really been my number. It was just the only one I liked out of the ones that were available (in Los Angeles with the Clippers). I really liked 1, but everywhere I’ve been, someone had a 1. The next number I liked was 0. After my rookie year, I kind of wanted to change my number. After the draft, they call you and ask what number you want. My brother said there are three of us brothers, so why not go with 3 (in Los Angeles)? It was a really quick decision.”

Ryan Anderson (33)
“The number 33 has always been my favorite number. There is also some symbolism to it. Jesus, when he died on the cross, was 33 years old. People also say that I shoot threes, so it fits that way as well. A lot of people think it’s because of that.”

Anthony Davis (23)
“I’ve had it since my freshman year of high school. I was a guard back then. I always wore 3, but wanted to wear 23 because of Michael Jordan, being from Chicago.”

Eric Gordon (10)
“When I was 10 years old, that was when I really dedicated myself to basketball. I wore 23 in high school and college, but as soon as I made it to the NBA, I knew 10 was the number I wanted to wear.”

Xavier Henry (4)
“I picked 4 because it represents my mom, dad, brother and I. I was 13 in Memphis because my dad and my brother wore it before me.”

Robin Lopez (15)
“In college, I was 42, which was my older brother Alex’s number. But 42 is always taken with every NBA team it seems like, so I couldn’t get it in Phoenix. So I chose 15, which is my second-oldest brother Chris’ number.” (Editor’s Note: Hornets veteran Lance Thomas wears 42).

Roger Mason (8)
“I was in the NBA for my first three years out of college, but then I went to Israel. I’m already a spiritual person, but I felt that the one year there made an impact. When I came back to the NBA, I picked 8 because in the Bible, the number 8 means a new beginning. So 8 represented a new beginning to get back in the league and try to do better the second time.”

Darius Miller (2)
“I didn’t really choose it, honestly. [laughs] I wore 21 in high school and 1 in college.” (Editor’s note: Greivis Vasquez wears 21 for the Hornets, while Hakim Warrick wore 1 prior to being traded to the Bobcats).

Austin Rivers (25)
“It’s our family number. My dad wore it, then my older brother wore it and then my sister wore it. So now I wear it.”

Brian Roberts (22)
“Throughout the years, I’ve always worn either 22 or 2. I was 2 in college, but in high school and when I was little, I wore 22. Darius (Miller) had 2 already here, and I was fine going back to 22. I didn’t really care, to be honest. He didn’t care, either. I would’ve been happy with any number.”

Jason Smith (14)
“I was the last kid to get to pick his number as a freshman in high school, and 14 just so happened to be there. So I got stuck with that. I kept it in college and with the Sixers. I’ve had it the entire time. It’s funny, because not many people have that number in basketball.”

Lance Thomas (42)
"My birthday is on the 24th (of April); 42 is just the reverse of 24."

Greivis Vasquez (21)
“I admired a guy who played in Venezuela, his name is Diego Guevara. He wore 21 for UNC-Charlotte. That’s why I chose 21.”