Why doesn’t NBA allow players to wear jersey number 69? All you need to know


There has been a plethora of iconic jersey numbers in the NBA since its beginning back in the 1950s. From the recognizable single-digit that Allen Iverson wore to the influential No. 23 that Michael Jordan popularized, jersey numbers have their own meaning.

Out of all the numbers that have been worn by players in NBA history, the No. 69 hasn’t been worn by anyone in the league. The reason behind this is because the number is used to refer to a sexual position. Being a family-friendly league, the NBA decided to ban the number from being worn by any player.

The other jersey number that isn’t allowed to be used anymore is the number “6.” However, the reason behind this is to honor the late Bill Russell. Russell was influential in shaping the league and fighting for civil rights for his fellow Africa Americans. He wore No. 6 throughout his career with the Boston Celtics.


Following his death in July, the NBA decided to honor the legend by retiring the number across the entire league. Additionally, each team has a No. 6 patch on their jerseys and every arena has a similar painting on their floor to honor Russell this season.

Also read: 5 major differences between old school & modern era of NBA

Dennis Rodman once tried to wear 69 as his jersey number

Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman is one of the most interesting players in NBA history: from his hair colors (which constantly changed) to marrying himself. He would’ve probably been the biggest troll in the NBA if he played in the modern era. He tried to add more to his shenanigans when he joined the Dallas Mavericks in 1999.

Before the 1999-00 season, Rodman was signed by the Mavericks, giving him an opportunity to play for his hometown. When asked what number he wanted to wear during his time with the Mavs, The Worm requested that he’d wear No. 69.

Mark Cuban was the new owner of the Mavs at the time and went along with Rodman’s jersey number request. According to Cuban, he had already printed a jersey to prepare for his photoshoot.

“He wanted to wear 69, the league said no,” Cuban said. “I had one made, right? ‘Cause we’re gonna take pictures and everything. I was like, ‘Don’t throw that away.’

“Back then, (commissioner) David Stern was not gonna put up with Dennis Rodman and all that nonsense. Plus, they would come down (0n) me. I was getting fined every other day. They didn’t know what to make of me. They didn’t know what to make of Rodman.”

This. Is. Hilarious.Interviewed @mcuban about TX reopening. We start talking ‘The Last Dance’ and @dennisrodman. In 2000, Rodman wanted to wear ’69’ for the @dallasmavs but @NBA said no (makes sense). But a jersey was already made for team pics…and Cuban still has it 😂 https://t.co/zQjabd7a72

Also read: Tokyo Olympics 2020: 5 Major rule differences between the NBA and Olympic basketball

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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