Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Nets Retired Numbers

The Nets begin their season tonight, the 50th in Franchise history! I've only been watching since mid 1995-96, when I discovered the NBA existed, but I've read as much as I possibly can about the sport's history since then.

One of the things that fascinates me is jersey numbers, and especially retired numbers.

There is no higher honor a team can bestow than retiring the jersey number they wore.

I thought I would take a look at the jersey numbers retired by the Nets over the entire history of the team.

There have been 51 numbers used in Nets history, 7 of which have been retired. They Are:

  • 3 Drazen Petrovic
  • 4 Wendell Ladner
  • 5 Jason Kidd
  • 23 John Williamson
  • 25 Bill Melchionni
  • 32 Julius Erving
  • 52 Buck Williams
Drazen Petrovic, a native of Croatia, played for the Nets from  1990-91 through 1992-93. He appeared in 195 games for the Nets. During the offseason between 1992-93 and 1993-94  he was killed in an accident on Germany's Autobahn. He was 28 years old.
1991-92 Skybox #599
Wendell Ladner played only one season with the Nets, 1974-75 in the ABA. He appeared in 55 games with the Nets, but is more well known for posing in the Burt Reynolds fashion- wearing nothing but a hat! Ladner was killed in an airplane crash on June 24th, 1975, at only 26 years old. The rarest Net retired number on cards, he only ever had one card issued.
1974-75 Topps #244
Jason Kidd was traded to the Nets during the offseason between 2000-01 and 2001-02. He would lead the Nets to the NBA Finals in both 2001-02 and 2002-03, the only times the Nets have gotten that far in the NBA, and ranks among the leaders in just about every relevant category in Nets franchise history. He played with the Nets until mid-2007-08 and played 506 games as a Net. He also coached the team in 2013-14.
2002-03 Fleer Box Score Dish & Swish Memorabilia
John Williamson played with the Nets from 1973-74 through part of 1976-77 when he was traded to the Indiana Pacers. During the 1977-78 season, the Pacers traded him back to the Nets where he played until midway through 1979-80. In total he played 405 games for the Nets over 7 seasons, 208 of those 405 while in the ABA. Williamson was the starting point guard on the Nets' two ABA Championship teams, he died from complications of Diabetes in 1996 at only 45 years old.
1976-77 Topps #113

Bill Melchionni played for the Nets solely in their ABA days, joining the team in 1969-70. He would remain with the team until the final year of the ABA, in 1975-76, and did not transition back to the NBA with the team. (He played two years with the 76ers before joining the Nets) He played 502 games with the Nets.
Unfortunately this is the only good card I have of him, I do not yet have his card from 1972-73 or 73-74 Topps. So, I have to post this one in two consecutive posts.
1971-72 Topps #199
Julius "Dr.J" Erving played only three years with the Nets, but was the main superstar on the team when the Nets won their two ABA Championships. When the Nets moved to the NBA, they could not afford to keep him and his contract was sold to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he went on to become one of the greatest legends in league history, and guided the 76ers to the NBA Championship in 1983. He played 252 games with the Nets.
2014-15 Panini Threads ABA Legends #4

Buck Williams leads the Nets in many statistical categories, including most posts scored in franchise history. When most people think of the Nets he is not the name usually first thought of, but when you consider his stats, they are impressive: He ranks 1st in Franchise history for Most Games played, most minutes played, most baskets made and attempted, most free throws made and attempted, rebounds (total, offensive and defensive) and points scored, being the only Net to score 10,000 points with the franchise. (10,440) Second place is Brook Lopez, who will most likely hit only 9000 career points this season.
He also ranks 6th in steals and third in blocks and field goal percentage. The only statistical category that matters that he does not rank in franchise top 10 is 3 point shooting, which in his day, centers simply didn't do.
He played 635 games over 8 seasons for the Nets, from 1981-82 through 1988-89.
1984-85 Star #99
And there you have it! The Nets don't retire numbers too often, and I don't believe they have plans to retire any during the 2016-17 season. No player in the Brooklyn era has had their number retired yet, although since that only began in 2012-13, the majority of the players who have played in this era are still active. I expect Brook Lopez's #11 to join this list at some point, but he is still very much active- I'm typing this as I watch the season opener in Boston, in fact.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Woo Hoo!!! I love the NETS!!! Well, actually, I love Jason Kidd

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