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Original Issue

Me and My Number

In the NBA it's not just what you score, but also what you wear
Author:

SHANE BATTIER
Rockets forward

"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."

DERMARRJOHNSON
Nuggets guard

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."

ANTHONY PARKER
Raptors forward

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

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JASON LANE Astros RF

Lofty

American Idol

Better luck next time

Pre-Fontaine Lane

The Notebook

Utterly awful

DAVID LEE Knicks F

Interesting

24

It is what it is

The Boarding 'Bocker

Little Miss Sunshine

I like what you're doing

ALEX GORDON Royals 3B

A wig

NCAA tournament

Win some, lose some

The Hulkster

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Keep making fun of people

SCOTT GOMEZ Devils C

Out there

Seinfeld

"I don't have one"

The Mexican Bandito

Love Actually

Keep doing what you're doing

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TOM MIHALEK/AP (BATTIER JERSEY)

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GREG NELSON (BATTIER HEADSHOT)

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DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP (JOHNSON ACTION)

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GARRETT W. ELLWOOD/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (JOHNSON HEADSHOT)

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SCOTT CUNNINGHAM/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (PARKER ACTION)

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ROCKY WIDNER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (PARKER HEADSHOT)

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JAMES A. FINLEY/AP PHOTO (LANE)

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JEFF CHIU/AP PHOTO (TRUMP)

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TAMMIE ARROYO/AP PHOTO (COWELL)

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JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (LEE)

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FOX SEARCHLIGHT/PHOTOFEST (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE)

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PETER READ MILLER (GORDON)

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LOU CAPOZZOLA (GOMEZ)

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COLUMBIA TRISTAR TELEVISION/EVERETT COLLECTION (ALEXANDER)

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