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Whole Lotta Nothin’: NBA Teams with Zero and Double-Zero

With the Trail Blazers doing well in this season’s NBA playoffs (they open the Western Conference Finals against Golden State tonight), many fans are noticing, apparently for the first time, that Portland’s roster includes both a No. 0 (point guard Damian Lillard) and a No. 00 (center Enes Kanter). So I’ve been getting a lot of emails and tweets from people asking, “Is that allowed? Has it ever happened before?”

Yes, it is allowed in the NBA (although not in college or high school hoops). And yes, it has happened before in the NBA — lots of times, in fact.

That’s the answer I always give — it’s happened lots of times. But how many times? According to Basketball-Reference.com, 95 players in NBA history have worn No. 0 (often doing so for many different teams) and 36 have worn No. 00 (ditto). The site doesn’t offer any obvious way to cross-reference those two lists, at least that I’m aware of, so I spent yesterday morning going through all the rosters of the teams that the 36 double-zero players played on, to see how many of those teams also had a single-zero player.

I came up with 18 separate instances of teams that had a zero and a double-zero on the roster during the same season. Now, this does not necessarily mean that the two players in question were on the active roster at the same time during that season, nor does it necessarily mean that the two players were ever on the court at the same time. It would take a lot of additional research to determine either of those factors. But for now, this chart I’ve assembled is a starting point (click to enlarge):

If anyone knows for sure that any of these 0/00 pairings were not on the active roster simultaneously, feel free to let me know.

There’s also one example from MLB: The 1985 Blue Jays had Al Oliver (0) and Cliff Johnson (00) on the roster at the same time. To my knowledge, that is the only other 0/00 pairing from any of the Big Four pro leagues other than the NBA. No idea about soccer or college sports other than basketball. Anyone..?

I’ve heard some people say that zero and double-zero shouldn’t be allowed to co-exist on the same team because they both have the same numerical value. “After all,” they say, “you wouldn’t have 09 and 9 on the same team, right?” I understand that point, and I agree that I wouldn’t want a 9/09 pairing. But there’s something enjoyably eccentric about 0 and 00, and having them on the same team just doubles the enjoyment, at least for me. I’m all for it!

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Click to enlarge

Great Raiders FNOB find: We’ve known for quite a while now that the entire Raiders team went FNOB for most of 1960 and all of ’61. Photos of this phenomenon are rare, however, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a color photo of it until now. That’s Raiders quarterback and future coach Tom Flores (obviously) during a preseason game on Sept. 4, 1961. And look at that coach’s cap!

That photo comes our way from longtime reader Jerry Kulig, who reports that there’s a Raiders history exhibit currently on display at the the Las Vegas Town Square. In addition to the Flores photo, they have an original sideline cape from the team’s gold/black days:

I’ve never seen that script before. Very nice! Big thanks to Jerry for sharing these pics with us.

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

This is positively amazing. It literally took my breath away when I came across this early-1970s heavy-duty cardboard chest with NFL graphics. I had this one! Got it for Christmas 1971, along with my Tudor Electric Football game, Colts vs. Cowboys. Now, I don’t recall a helmet being on the top for a specific team (if mine had one on there, it would’ve been Dallas). But look at the killer artwork! Definitely Dandy Don on the lid (you can even make out the small Dymo label on back of the helmet) and on the front panel, from left to right, that’s Cards kicker Jim Bakken, Cowboys wideout Bob Hayes, a quarterback whose identity I’m unsure of, and Browns running back Leroy Kelly. A real beauty!

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Take a look at the “NY” on the side of this 1960s kids’ MacGregor helmet. Just a little bit off.

• We all know the Bengals have had just two helmet designs in their history. This eBay seller created a custom-made Bengals helmet buggy with a white helmet, black and orange stripes down the middle, and their first-ever team logo, the leaping tiger. Not a bad look, I suppose. The seller also has 10 other custom looks available for the Oilers, Cowboys, Dolphins and others.

• These Green Bay Packers slipper socks would be comfy around a Wisconsin fireplace this fall and winter.

• I remember these too! This 1970s Johnny Bench plate says, “Kenro Melamine” in the description. With a little quick Googling, we learn that Kenro was the company name and Melamine is “the generic term for molded plastic tableware” of the 1970s. So now you know.

• Here’s a set of four 1960s Detroit Red Wings thermal cups with artwork from one of the Masters, Nick Volpe.

• Always liked the New York Islanders logo as depicted on this 1970s jersey, which looks more like a long-sleeve T to me.

• Here’s another 1970s NHL jersey, this time for the Buffalo Sabres. The seller says it’s made by “Sandow Sporting Knit” in Canada.

• Paul’s an active cyclist, so perhaps this 1970s Mets bicycle tag would fit on the seat. The seller has other teams and sports as well.

• This is a 1970s Boston Bruins “Federal Milk Mug.” Any idea what Federal stands for?

• Now check out the look of Atlanta Flames goalie Dan Bouchard on this photo. Yes, kids, that’s what goalies masks looked like back then.

Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.

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Design contest reminder: In case you missed it on Friday, we’re currently running a design contest to create a set of three uniforms for the girls’ basketball team at Leigh High School in California.

The winning designer will get a cash prize of $375, so this is a good chance to help out a school and make yourself some coin. Full details here.

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Photo taken Monday evening; click to enlarge

ITEM! Mascot update: I can’t adequately express my thanks to the many, many readers who’ve inquired about the health of Uni Watch girl mascot Caitlin. As I mentioned last week, she was limping and generally feeling poorly, and the vet thought it might be something chronic, like arthritis. Things were pretty sad here at Uni Watch HQ (especially when the Tugboat Captain and I tried to give Caitlin some medicine, an experience that all three of us hated).

But by last weekend she was doing much better, and now she’s fully back to her usual frisky self. So it was probably just a sprain or a bruise or something like that (she often climbs up where she doesn’t belong and then jumps down, so maybe she landed poorly), and now it’s healed and I have my little monkey back. We’re all very relieved.

Caitlin just turned 14, and I realize her battery is bound to run down eventually. But I’m glad it isn’t happening yet!

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThe Phillies will wear a memorial patch for team president David Montgomery for the rest of the season. The team also flew a flag in center field in his honor and added his signature on the field. He died last week (thanks to all who shared). … Speaking of the Phils, OF Andrew McCutchen was wearing a grey — turtleneck? Scarf? Neck warmer? — during last night’s game. … And still more Phils news: We’ve covered the tweaks they made this year to their chest script, but they’ve also adjusted the piping on their pants and jersey sleeves. … A new ballpark for the A’s is a step closer to reality (from Brinke). … West Virginia and Pitt are playing a game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Thursday and are giving away a shirt with both Pirates and West Virginia logos (from Evan Snyder). … The Astros are giving away camo caps on Memorial Day, and the Blue Jays are giving a camo cap away on May 24 (from Ignacio Salazar and @omicbumz). … In this photo taken the year before the Giants moved to San Francisco, Willie Mays is wearing a prototype cap that never made it onto the field (from Scott Newman). … The Red Sox have a bag check at Fenway, their check tags feature a pattern that alternates between modern and retro logos (from Matt Straub). … This season, Triple-A leagues switched to the same baseball that the majors have been using for the past few seasons. Guess what? Dingers are up. … Giants manager Bruce Bochy was at the Sharks’ game last night in his own personalized sweater (from Brinke). … Brilliant quiz from MLB.com: Can you pick out how many of these mascots wear pants?

Football NewsThis “What If” story about Randy Moss from NFL.com has plenty of jersey Photoshops (from Andrew Cosentino). … Jets rookies have their new number assignments (from Phil). … New Kansas State football coach Chris Klieman hints that new uniforms could be in store for the program (from Phil). … Remember how the Texans were originally slated to have a white helmet before they switched to navy? Here’s one of those white prototype lids on the set of CBS’s pregame show — six weeks into the Texans’ inaugural season in 2002!

Hockey NewsCross-listed from the baseball section: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy was at the Sharks’ game last night in his own personalized sweater (from Brinke). … Staying in the tank, the Sharks’ anthem singer was wearing an old Reebok jersey during his performance (from Jared Buccola). … JetBlue has a hub in Boston, so yesterday it debuted “Bear Force One” — a plane with a Bruins paint scheme (from @YAMANSDOOD and Michael Wallace). … Speaking of the Bruins, someone mowed a Spoked B in their backyard (from @VerbDC). … This isn’t a Rangers intrasquad scrimmage — it’s the Canadian National Junior A Hockey Championship between the Oakville Blades (blue) and the Prince George Spruce Kings (white) (from Wade Heidt and Kim Johnston). … Also from Wade: The Vancouver Giants wore their alternate sweaters on the road in Game 6 of the WHL Championship series. It’s the first time they’ve worn the alts since the first round of the playoffs. … We’ve reached the Sweet Sixteen of Anthony Zych’s Uniform Concept Madness bracket. Vote here.

NBA NewsRapper Drake has been known to curse the teams he supports. So when his hometown Raptors played in a Game 7 against the 76ers on Sunday, he wore Philly gear to jinx the Sixers (from Wade Heidt). … I guess you could consider your birthday suit a basketball uniform, right?

Soccer News: Grasshopper Club Zurich clinched relegation from Switzerland’s top league this weekend with a loss to Luzern. But before the match ended, irate fans ran onto the field and demanded players give up their shirts. The match was called early, and the players did give up their shirts to the fans. … A Dutch company is celebrating the retirement of Dutch soccer legend Robin van Persie’s retirement by making a mashup jersey of all the kits from his former teams (from Josh Hinton). … With the English Premier League season wrapped up, Trayton Miller‘s EPL kit spreadsheet is complete. … Paris Saint Germain’s chest, sleeve, and tail sponsors advertisers all have Qatari connections (from @albinomuntjac).

Grab BagCal State Long Beach students have voted to make “Sharks” the school’s new team name. … This time-lapse video shows the old scoreboard being removed from the United Center in Chicago (from Jeff Wilk). … English rugby club Saracens won the European Championship on Saturday, and player of the year Alex Goode couldn’t wait to get the party started. A day later, he was still partying in his uniform — complete with his mouthguard in his sock (from Daniel Smith). … Looks like Kohl’s confused their defunct professional sports teams (from Johnny Woods). … We recently linked to a piece about how Nike’s new shoe-sizing app could spell trouble for Paul’s beloved Brannock Device. But it doesn’t sound like the Brannock folks are worried (from Paul Friedmann). … Two volleyball items from Jeremy Brahm: New uniforms for the Brazilian men’s and women’s national teams, and Japanese women’s national team player Yurie Nabeya has been wearing goggles on the court. … Carlton is the latest Aussie football team to release an indigenous guernsey (from @BluesBrother95).

Comments (79)

    The difference between 0 and 00, as I understand it, is that 0 is the lowest possible uniform number and 00 is the highest. That is, 00 is equivalent to 100.

    Of course, that’s not based on anything other than an explanation I heard a long time ago from a source I forget, so it’s not worth much. :-)

    Is there any record of a 00-wearing athlete claiming that his number represented 100? That would be a cool find on the topic.

    If 0 and 00 are acceptable because Hey Cool Fun!, then so must 0 and 09 and other 0-preceding combinations. There is no conceivable principle that would permit the one case but exclude the other. This is how the ratchet works: Break loose from a generally applicable principle in one instance because Hey Cool Fun!, and you make further such instances and eventually the abandonment of the original principle not only possible but inevitable. The next instance will always feel like Hey Cool Fun! to somebody, and the next instance and the next, until the exception is the rule. If one is a huge fan of pajama pants and camouflage alt jerseys in baseball or advertising patches in basketball, then one is absolutely right to declare one’s support for teammates wearing 0 and 00.

    I feel like 0 and 00 is more like 2 and 22, or 3 and 33. If the purpose of a number is to uniquely identify the player, then value shouldn’t be a consideration.

    I agree. Since we aren’t using these numbers to quantify anything, then the fact that 0 and 00 have the same value is meaningless.
    Uniform numbers are simply a way to uniquely identify the player, so 00 is noticeably different from 0, thus it serves the uniform number’s purpose.

    I thought David Wells asked for 03 and was denied, and then opted to wear 33 while in pinstripes.

    No one has ever won an argument with a roulette wheel that 0 and 00 are the same value.

    that original Raiders’ uniform is outstanding, as is the wordmark on the cape. while their current set is among the best in the NFL, it’s still a downgrade from what they wore in those days

    i remember melamine plates – we had them when i was a little kid as mom didn’t trust me with anything that could be broken

    Regarding Woolridge and Bedford on the Pistons. Woolridge actually wore #6 while Bedford was on the roster. I distinctly remember being disappointed by this and recall the reason being that at the time, the NBA’s stat software could not distinguish between #0 and #00 so teams could not have players wear them simultaneously. I recall Bedford leaving the Pistons mid-season and Woolridge changing his number the next week after getting league approval. I know you’ll probably call bubkus on this as I have no support other than my memory from my late teen. However, if Google images does have several pictures of Woolridge wearing both #6 and #0 during his Pistons tenure: link:

    Not calling bubkus at all. I had forgotten about the stat-software issue, but that rings a bell now that you mention it!

    That was the precise reason for the NHL outlawing all instances of 0 or 00 and forcing Martin Biron to change his number. The stats software they introduced caused an error when they were inputting Biron’s number into the system since 0 and 00 have no difference to the software. The resulting has Biron’s jersey number as “undefined”.

    Only Paul Bibeault and Neil Sheehy wore #0 in the NHL. John Davidson also wore #00, but none of these four players ever suited up on the same team.

    Though I can’t see a maker’s mark, Andrew McCutchen may be wearing something like this….

    link

    The ticker said that the minors started using the MLB ball and dingers are up. Only AAA in MiLB is using the Costa Rican MLB ball. Every other level is still using the cheaper Chinese ball. The minors isn’t just one lump as many broadcasters and journalists like to portray it.

    Collector’s Corner: Federal Glass was a glass manufacturer. Folks born before the mid-1980s will probably recall milky white promotional mugs like the one featured today or from fast-food joints or children’s cartoons; those milky-white glass mugs were either made by Federal Glass or made to look like Federal Glass mugs.

    I’ve never seen the problem with 0 and 00 being used at the same time. After all, they’re numerals when worn on a uni (as in, the numerical value is irrelevant). To me it’s the same as having separate players wearing (for example) #3 and #33 at the same time.

    So when a ref has to report a foul by player 0 or player 00, how does he represent that with his hands? One fist? Two fists? It would seem like there is potential to get that wrong. Are there official rules on that?

    The official would report 0 with one fist, and 00 with two fists. Really no different than reporting 1 and 11, 2 and 22, etc.

    The Sonics traded Polynice and a couple of draft picks for Benjamin in 1991.

    Bedford and Woolridge have been covered.

    Benjamin’s three games in Cleveland all took place a couple months before Ketner joined the team.

    So it looks like Pargo and Hawes are the first green-numbered (a roulette wheel reference) teammates.

    I think he meant Payton and Hawes. Pargo and Hawes were on the Sixers and they’ve never worn green. But the Bucks have.

    I definitely recall the Jazz asking Ostertag to switch from his 00 when Polynice joined the team, to accommodate Polynice’s 0, and Ostertag wore 39, Also, when the Magic traded for Drew Gooden, they had Olumide Oyedeji (00) on the team, and Gooden couldn’t get 0 so he settled for 9,

    I also recall the number 39 was in reference to the contract extension he signed with the Jazz.

    I’m sure this has been mentioned on Uni Watch before, but former MLB catcher Benito Santiago used to wear #09 for at least part of his career.

    Here’s a pic: link

    I assume that no other player on the team would have been allowed to wear #9 at the same time, but I guess really if you can have a #0 and #00, then why not?

    I swear I read it! But like I said, I’m sure it has been mentioned here before. :-)

    I will now attempt to redeem this comment by seeing if anybody can answer the trivia question of why Santiago wore #09…?

    I know there’s always a chance but what do YOU believe is the likelihood that the Raiders return to gold/black some time after the move to Las Vegas?

    To me it seems like it would be nice for the fans of Las Vegas to have a Raiders team with a new (but actually old) identity that is more their own than a transplant. I also believe it would create cohesion with city and it’s other professional sports organization.

    I agree that it would be very Vegas-y. But the Raiders are the silver and black, period. I see zero chance of that changing.

    And Nevada is the Silver State. There’s a 00% chance of a color change.

    Agreed that the Raiders would not/should not change from silver and black, but Nevada being the Silver State didn’t influence the Vegas NHL team name or colors.

    Adam Ottavino wore 0 and Dinger the Triceratops mascot wore 00 for the Rockies for several years. That has to count for something, right?

    For the record, Vancouver Giants wore their alternates again on the road for Game 7 of the WHL Final in Prince Albert, SK, last night. Can’t get much better for intensity as Game 7 went into overtime.

    Unfortunately, the alternates did not work out for the Giants in the luck department. Prince Albert Raiders scored the OT goal for their first WHL Championship since 1985.

    link

    Thank you for the cat update. I love cats and I wish her all the best. My tabby lived to be 19 years old. (All but the last 36 hours were healthy, playful ones.) I pray your cat will have many healthy years to come.

    In most of the recent cases, there’s usually a starter/rotation player wearing either 0 or 00, and a fringe guy wearing 0 or 00. So yeah, in most cases they’re simultaneously on the roster.

    It’s Gary Payton Jr., who has been back and forth between the NBA and the D-/G-League the last few years.

    I don’t know if it’s specifically disallowed, but soccer players (virtually?) never wear 0/00.

    Players with 0 and 00 currently on the CFL Toronto Argos roster. But not Big Four and still preseason. Still fun though.

    I’m only aware of 0 and 00 being generally allowed in soccer in the NCAA, where both are allowed on the same team, so it’s relatively common to see one or both. It would otherwise be up to an individual country to allow it, so I can’t speak for the entire world.

    There is one player that has worn 0 in the NWSL for several years (Katelyn Rowland for the NC Courage), which is the only current example I know of at the professional level.

    There are previous examples of 0 (Hicham Zerouali for Aberdeen) and 01 (Derek Riordan for Hibernian) in Scotland, but for Riordan there was no No. 1.

    in Riordan’s case, the leading zero was treated as purely cosmetic, so it was less that there was no number 1, and more that he was the number 1

    I think in most soccer cases it’d be the same outside of some competitions in North America

    Also, not sure if the other college sports with goalies (field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse) allow 0/00. Don’t think the hockeys do, but not familar enough with lacrosse.

    I don’t know about you lot, but I am looking forward to Uni-Watch-aversary. I am lacking uni-purple swag. A purple membership card is a rare collectors item.

    Looking forward to seeing what has been planned.

    West Virginia and Pitt are playing a game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Thursday and are giving away a shirt with both Pirates and West Virginia logos (from Evan Snyder).

    EAST CAROLINA, not PITT

    It’s definitely Pitt. I think he thinks that the Pittsburgh Pirates’ alternate logo is the East Carolina Pirates’ logo?

    ““After all,” they say, “you wouldn’t have 09 and 9 on the same team, right?” I understand that point, and I agree that I wouldn’t want a 9/09 pairing.”

    It’s not really a team sport, but NASCAR has had this pairing on the track. I can’t find a photo of both in the same shot, but here’s the Phoenix Racing 09 car. It’s referred to as the “Oh-Nine” to distinguish from the plain old “Nine” car.

    link

    There have been 00, 0, 1, 01, etc, out on the track at the same time, as well.

    0 and 00 should be allowed in any sport with jersey numbers. If we’re not using the numbers for their numerical value, but for their distinctiveness, why not?

    If they were really concerned about telling players apart to that degree, why not do what soccer does with the goalie or volleyball with the libero, and make the jerseys of eligible receivers a different color? Too radical, I know, but they do it in practice.

    Cal State Long Beach changing from 49ers to Sharks is PC gone crazy. The school started in 1949, hence the name, but getting offended by a prospector named Pete is just ridiculous. How about the trauma that will be caused to those who have been attacked by a shark? I also have a friend who is deathly afraid of sharks, and will never go in the ocean. The problem with the current student population determining this is it doesn’t take into consideration all the past students.

    In NASCAR they allow a leading zero for all single-digit numbers to be treated as its own number. And I hate it.

    07 and 7 are the same to me. But there can be a 07 and a 7 racing at the same time.

    Dumb.

    Don’t ever go to a local dirt track…you might have five cars with the same number in the same race!

    I used to referee youth ice hockey and we were specifically told in a seminar that 00 is technically not allowed. The rule book specifically stated that only whole numbers 0-99 were allowed.

    I think 00 is symptomatic of a bit of math illiteracy in the sports world. I find it funny to see, but mathematically it’s redundant. The bad sports math that REALLY bugs me these days though is the trend of baseball statistics saying 5.2 to mean a pitcher pitched five full innings and got two outs in the 6th. That’s some awful use of a decimal right there. It should be 5 2/3 or 5.666…

    It’s interesting but I feel like the problem with your point is that the use of .1 and .2 in that way is not, and has never been intended to be, understood mathematically. It’s simply a part of the sport’s esoteric shorthand and dictated by an internal understanding that doesn’t need to correlate with any broader logic, much like how we accept “K” for strikeout, despite there being essentially no concept in linguistics to support such a contraction.

    Similarly, 00 isn’t a mathematical expression on a sports jersey. There is no context (at least that I can think of) where it is necessary or useful for uni numbers to be used in a mathematical way. They are simply symbols used to differentiate players, and really any symbols could work (I believe certain rugby union clubs used to use letters to name one real life example).

    Fair point. I guess I’m speaking to a broader issue of math literacy in our society. Many people think they “just don’t get math,” and sports can be a great way to teach people numerical literacy in a fun way.

    I also don’t remember seeing the decimal inning notation until fairly recently. And a fraction works on both levels

    Just noting here the Phillies uniform change mentioned in the ticker is comparing this season’s road uniform to the road uniform from 2009. The HK memorial patch gives that away. No telling when, in the last decade, that change actually occurred.

    That picture of Tom Flores of the Raiders in 1961 is fabulous!

    Also, i find it interesting that the photo comes from a game being played on Sept 4. The Raiders opened their regular season on Sept 9 in 1961, just 5 days later!

    Lee

    Big time Clipper fan and Uni-Watch fan here!! Concerning the 1990-91 NBA season: Olden Polynice and Benoit Benjamin were traded for each other. Thus they never suited up for the same team at the same time.

    Johnny Moore wore #0 and Orlando Woolridge wore #00 for the ’88 New Jersey Nets – Woolridge only played 19 games before going into rehab for a coke habit, and Moore only played a total of 10 minutes in 1 game (the only 10 minutes of his NBA career that he didn’t play with the Spurs, incidentally) so they weren’t on the active roster at the same time.

    I don’t think Long Beach State is changing its nickname to “Sharks,” but just the Prospector Pete mascot is being replaced by a shark mascot.

    RE: YOUR PRECIOUS KITTY: YOU MAY WISH TO INVESTIGATE THE ASSISI LOOP. DO A SEARCH. ASK YOUR VET. GOOD RESULTS HAVE BEEN REPORTED. GOOD LUCK!

    00 factoid, which maybe widely known or not, but Aaron Gordon wears 00 as he said the fans have their eyes wide open in amazement when they see him play lol

    Your top listing is incorrect for 0 and 00 playing together. Olden Polynice was traded for Benoit Benjamin. They did not play together:
    link

    Text of that entry specifically says that I’m only identifying teams that had a zero and double-zero during the same season, and that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the players were on the team at the same time.

    The Rockies can easily remove the purple from their uniforms and just stick with black and white. The Suns can eliminate purple by going with orange and yellow-real colors of the sun. As for LSU and the Vikings can’t help them there.

Comments are closed.