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Me and My Number

April 02, 2007
April 02, 2007

Table of Contents
April 2, 2007

SI Players: LIFE ON AND OFF THE FIELD
2007 NCAA Tournament Final Four
Baseball
Pro Basketball
Hockey

Me and My Number

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

SHANE BATTIER
Rockets forward

This is an article from the April 2, 2007 issue Original Layout

"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

View this article in the original magazine

How do sports stars fit in?Donald Trump's hair is ...Best thing I watched on TV last weekCatchphrase I can't standMy WWE nickname should be ...Favorite chick flick?My message to Simon Cowell is ...
JASON LANE Astros RFLoftyAmerican IdolBetter luck next timePre-Fontaine LaneThe NotebookUtterly awful
DAVID LEE Knicks FInteresting24It is what it isThe Boarding 'BockerLittle Miss SunshineI like what you're doing
ALEX GORDON Royals 3BA wigNCAA tournamentWin some, lose someThe HulksterHow to Lose a Guy in 10 DaysKeep making fun of people
SCOTT GOMEZ Devils COut thereSeinfeld"I don't have one"The Mexican BanditoLove ActuallyKeep doing what you're doing
PHOTOTOM MIHALEK/AP (BATTIER JERSEY)PHOTOGREG NELSON (BATTIER HEADSHOT)PHOTODAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP (JOHNSON ACTION)PHOTOGARRETT W. ELLWOOD/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (JOHNSON HEADSHOT)PHOTOSCOTT CUNNINGHAM/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (PARKER ACTION)PHOTOROCKY WIDNER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (PARKER HEADSHOT)PHOTOJAMES A. FINLEY/AP PHOTO (LANE)PHOTOJEFF CHIU/AP PHOTO (TRUMP)PHOTOTAMMIE ARROYO/AP PHOTO (COWELL)PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (LEE)PHOTOFOX SEARCHLIGHT/PHOTOFEST (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE)PHOTOPETER READ MILLER (GORDON)PHOTOLOU CAPOZZOLA (GOMEZ)PHOTOCOLUMBIA TRISTAR TELEVISION/EVERETT COLLECTION (ALEXANDER)PHOTO