NBA jersey number expert Ish Smith explains his process originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Washington Wizards point guard Ish Smith has worn 11 different jersey numbers on 11 different teams over the course of his career, but how does he go about choosing which number he wears?
Smith tells the Wizards Pregame Live crew about the reasoning behind the laundry list of numbers and which one has been his favorite. There isn't much science to most of these.
“When they was trading me and I was picking up my stuff and leaving, as soon as I would get into an arena, it was ‘Ish this is the number we got bro, you don’t have a choice’” Smith said.
During the interview, which will air on Wizards Pregame Live on Tuesday before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies, analysts Drew Gooden and Jason Smith put their former teammate on the spot asking what his favorite number was out of the 11 he's worn.
Jason Smith immediately jumped in to make sure it was No. 14 in D.C. since that was also Jason’s number when he played with the team from 2016 to 2018.
Not quite. Ish tried to let his friend down easy.
"You know what they [Wizards] did? They just shrunk the jersey, washed it and gave me your jersey," Smith said as all three laughed.
Can’t blame the Wizards for trying to save a buck and recycle jerseys since No. 14 still had "Smith" on the back.
Ish Smith couldn’t narrow down just one number worn in his NBA career, but mentioned he liked wearing No. 3 during his year with the Phoenix Suns in 2013-14 in honor of Allen Iverson. And also No. 5 when he played for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015 because he wore that one in high school in suburban Charlotte.
The others? It's so long a list that Smith kept detouring and telling stories before he could finishing telling Gooden and Jason Smith the full order. There was No. 13 (Houston Rockets), No. 12 (Golden State Warriors), No. 10 (Orlando Magic), No. 15 (Milwaukee Bucks), No. 8 (Oklahoma City Thunder), No. 4 (New Orleans Pelicans), No. 1 when he returned to Philadelphia and No. 14 once before (Detroit Pistons)
Ish Smith admitted if he had a choice, No. 10 would be it but he could never wear it in high school. The best player on the team when he was a sophomore already had it so he took 5 and stuck with it. He was proud to wear it with the Magic in the NBA.
No one on the Wizards currently holds that number 10 on their jersey, but that's for good reason: That's what legendary guard Earl "The Pearl" Monroe wore during his Hall-of-Fame career in five seasons with the organization. Yes, the team had a different nickname (Bullets) and played in a different city (Baltimore). But it still hangs in the rafters so Smith is fine with No. 14.