Luka Doncic jersey number: There’s a special reason why Mavericks star wears No. 77

Anthony Edwards, Jayson Tatum and Tyrese Haliburton all have something in common, aside from being the on-court leaders of teams in the conference finals: they all have single-digit jersey numbers.

Compared to the rest of the NBA’s stars, Mavericks star Luka Doncic is a jersey number exception. He wears No. 77, a number more commonly seen from a player trying to make the roster out of training camp than a player in perennial MVP contention.

Doncic could get just about anything he wants in Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki’s No. 41 aside, with the way he’s played over his first six seasons, so why does he stick with No. 77?

Here’s what you need to know about the story behind Doncic’s jersey number and how many other NBA players have worn No. 77.

MORE: Dirk Nowitzki, Trae Young and more react to Luka Doncic’s game-winning shot

Why does Luka Doncic wear No. 77?

Doncic wore No. 7 before entering the NBA, doing so as a tribute to Greek basketball star Vassilis Spanoulis. No. 7 was taken by Dwight Powell when Doncic was drafted, so the No. 3 pick decided to tack on another seven and wear No. 77 rather than try to pry No. 7 away from Powell.

“Spanoulis was my idol since I was little. … That’s why I wear number seven,” Doncic explained to EuroHoops in 2021, calling Spanoulis’ influence “big time” for his own career.

Spanoulis, now 41, spent one season with the Rockets in 2006-07 but was otherwise a European star. He spent about half of his 23-year career with Olympiacos, plus parts of five seasons with Panathinaikos in Greece.

See also  NFL free agency grades 2024: Live analysis of every key free agent signing and trade

Doncic said No. 7 wasn’t an option for him when he entered the NBA, as Powell was already established and heading into his fifth season with the Mavericks. While Doncic is the face of the Mavericks and one of the NBA’s best all-around players, Powell still remains with Dallas as one of the longest-tenured players in the league. 

Could Doncic switch to No. 7 when Powell’s time with the Mavericks is up? He hasn’t given any indication, but there’s little doubt the 25-year-old will outlast Powell. Dallas’ influx of big men, from P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford to Dereck Lively II, has pushed Powell out of the rotation. While Powell is under contract next season, his place on the roster isn’t assured. 

MORE: How Dereck Lively II has been historically good for Mavericks during playoff run

How many NBA players wear No. 77?

Doncic is one of 18 players in NBA history to wear No. 77, and he’s easily the most recognizable of the bench. Here’s the complete list:

Player Years
Andrea Bargnani 2013-15
DeMarre Carroll 2019-20
Luka Doncic 2018-present
Henri Drell 2024-presrnt
Ersan Ilyasova 2018-19, 2020-21
DeJon Jarreau 2023-present
Joffrey Lauvergne 2014-18
John Mahnken 1948-49
Ghorghe Muresan 1993-97, 1999-2000
Johnny O’Bryant 2015-16
Sasha Pavlovic 2010-11
Vincent Poirier 2019-20
Vladimir Radmanovic 2002-06, 2009-13
Lamar Stevens 2023-24
Julyan Stone 2013-14
Blackie Towery 1948-49
Jake Voskuhl 2008-09
Omer Yurtseven 2022-present

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *