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Only 3 NBA Players Have Had Their Jerseys Retired By A Team They Didn't Play For

Only 3 NBA Players Have Had Their Jerseys Retired By A Team They Didn't Play For

Getting your jersey retired by a team is up there as one of the biggest honors a player can ever get. It means that their impact on the team was so profound and that they have played such a big role in the team's history that no one else will ever get to wear that number.

While only a chosen few have been bestowed with that honor in the 76 seasons that the NBA has been in existence, even fewer have transcended the sport to such an extent that teams they never played for ended up retiring their jerseys. The latest one to get that honor was, of course, the late great Bill Russell, as the NBA announced his number would be getting retired league-wide.

He became just the 3rd player across the major American Sports leagues to get that honor, after Jackie Robinson in the MLB and Wayne Gretzky in the NHL. In the process, he also became just the third player in the NBA to get his jersey retired by a team he didn't play for, with the other two being Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

The Miami Heat became the first team to do this when they retired MJ's No. 23 on April 11, 2003, before their game against the Wizards in Jordan's final season in the NBA. Jordan thanked them for it by scoring 25 points and leading his team to a 91-87 win that day.

Kobe Bryant was then given that honor by the Dallas Mavericks on the day he tragically passed away, which was 26th January 2020, as they hailed his legacy, which transcended the sport of basketball. It takes a truly special individual to have made such an impact on even those who they were never directly associated with, and these three men certainly fit the bill in that regard.