Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Which NBA Player Wore No. 21 Best in League History?

best players to wear 21

We are just weeks away from the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, and while we wait, let’s dive into the debate over which player wore each jersey number the best in NBA history. Today, our focus is on No. 21. So, who wore it best?


Before we get into the top contenders, let’s give a shoutout to some notable players who wore No. 21. These players may not be the all-time best, but they certainly deserve recognition for their contributions to the game.

  • Butch Beard, a 1972 All-Star and 1975 champion.
  • Ron Bonham, a two-time champion.
  • Quinn Buckner, a four-time All-Defensive selection.
  • Mack Calvin, a two-time ABA All-Star.
  • Archie Clark, a two-time All-Star and “the father of the crossover.”
  • Michael Cooper, the 1987 Defensive Player of the Year and five-time champion.
  • Larry Costello, a four-time All-Star and 1967 champion.
  • Vlade Divac, a Hall of Famer and Sacramento Kings legend.
  • Sleepy Floyd, a 1987 All-Star.
  • World B. Free, a 1980 All-Star with a unique style.
  • Cheese Johnson, the owner of the greatest name in NBA history.
  • Slick Leonard, a Hall of Fame coach.
  • Lawrence “Poetry In” Moten, known for his high socks.
  • Red Robbins, a three-time All-Star.
  • Alvin Robertson, a four-time All-Star and 1986 Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Truck Robinson, a two-time All-Star.
  • Gene Shue, a five-time All-Star and spin-move pioneer.
  • Walt Szczerbiak, the father of Wally Szczerbiak.
  • Claude Terry, a 1976 All-Star.
  • Sidney Wicks, the 1972 Rookie of the Year.
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Now, let’s address a few players who have worn No. 21 but might not be considered the best in NBA history.

  • Joe Caldwell, a two-time ABA All-Star and two-time NBA All-Star who did not wear No. 21 for any of those seasons.
  • Dwight Howard, an eight-time All-Star who briefly wore No. 21 with the Washington Wizards.
  • Steve “Snapper” Jones, a three-time ABA All-Star who only wore No. 21 for parts of two seasons.
  • Fat Lever, a two-time All-Star who wore No. 21 late in his career.
  • Bob Love, a three-time All-Star who briefly wore No. 21 before achieving stardom with the Chicago Bulls.
  • Moses Malone, a Hall of Famer who wore No. 21 but changed numbers multiple times in his career.
  • Bob McAdoo, a Hall of Famer who had limited success wearing No. 21.


Among active players, Joel Embiid stands out as the best No. 21. As an MVP candidate, Embiid has the potential to join the ranks of the greatest players to ever wear the number. While there are other notable players currently wearing No. 21, like Patrick Beverley, Hassan Whiteside, and Thaddeus Young, Embiid’s talent sets him apart.


Two players stand out as top contenders for the title of the best No. 21 in NBA history.

  • Dave Bing, a Hall of Famer who spent the majority of his career wearing No. 21 for the Detroit Pistons. Bing made seven All-Star appearances, won the 1967 Rookie of the Year award, and claimed the 1968 scoring title.
  • Kevin Garnett, another future Hall of Famer, wore No. 21 during his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Garnett made the majority of his 15 All-Star appearances wearing No. 21 and won the 2004 MVP award in that jersey. Although he switched numbers when he joined the Boston Celtics and won a championship, his impact as No. 21 is undeniable.
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In conclusion, while there have been many notable players to wear No. 21 in NBA history, the top contenders for the title of the best are Dave Bing and Kevin Garnett. Who do you think wore it best?


Q: Where can I find more information about NBA players and their jersey numbers?
A: For more information about NBA players and their jersey numbers, visit Pesstatsdatabase.

Q: Are there any current players who wear No. 21?
A: Yes, Joel Embiid is currently wearing No. 21 and is considered the best active player with that number.

Q: Who has the most championships while wearing No. 21?
A: Michael Cooper, who wore No. 21 throughout his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, won five championships.

Q: Did any player wear No. 21 for their entire career?
A: While many players have worn No. 21 for a significant portion of their careers, no player has worn it for their entire career.