"ON MYrecruiting visit to Duke [in '96], I looked in the rafters and saw 32, 33 and35 retired," recalls Battier of numbers worn by Christian Laettner, GrantHill and Danny Ferry respectively. "I said, There must be something aboutthe 30s. Thirty-one seemed logical. I came in with [center] Chris Burgess, whowore 34. People would have thought we'd retire his number quicker than mine,but he transferred after two years. I was lucky to have a good enough careerthat my number was retired my last game."
A BACKUP, he worenumber 3 until Dec. 19, when Denver got a player partial to the digit—AllenIverson. "Number 3 looks better on him," says Johnson. "He's got alegacy behind it." Johnson says he never asked anything from Iverson forthe number—but "if he wants to give me something out of his kindness,that's fine,"—and took number 8 for Kobe Bryant, who used to wear it."I wanted Kobe's stuff to rub off on me," Johnson said. Has it? SaysJohnson, who has averaged 4.3 points since he took the number, "Not atall."
THE NUMBER is atribute to the five years Parker spent playing with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Eighteenis significant in Judaism, representing chai, or life. "To me it means goodfortune in life," says Parker. "I wanted to take experiences I had inIsrael with me and also thank fans [there]." Parker, who led the Maccabi toseveral titles, remains beloved in Israel, and Israeli reporters come toToronto to write stories on him. How do they react to his numerology? SaysParker, "A lot of them think it's real cool and nice that I would dothat."
The Pop CultureGrid
How do sports stars fit in?
Donald Trump's hair is ...
Best thing I watched on TV last week
Catchphrase I can't stand
My WWE nickname should be ...
Favorite chick flick?
My message to Simon Cowell is ...
JASON LANE Astros RF
Better luck next time
DAVID LEE Knicks F
It is what it is
The Boarding 'Bocker
Little Miss Sunshine
I like what you're doing
ALEX GORDON Royals 3B
Win some, lose some
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Keep making fun of people
SCOTT GOMEZ Devils C
"I don't have one"
The Mexican Bandito
Keep doing what you're doing
TOM MIHALEK/AP (BATTIER JERSEY)
GREG NELSON (BATTIER HEADSHOT)
DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP (JOHNSON ACTION)
GARRETT W. ELLWOOD/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (JOHNSON HEADSHOT)
SCOTT CUNNINGHAM/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (PARKER ACTION)
ROCKY WIDNER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (PARKER HEADSHOT)
JAMES A. FINLEY/AP PHOTO (LANE)
JEFF CHIU/AP PHOTO (TRUMP)
TAMMIE ARROYO/AP PHOTO (COWELL)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (LEE)
FOX SEARCHLIGHT/PHOTOFEST (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE)
PETER READ MILLER (GORDON)
LOU CAPOZZOLA (GOMEZ)
COLUMBIA TRISTAR TELEVISION/EVERETT COLLECTION (ALEXANDER)