Posted: Friday June 2, 2006 11:20AM; Updated: Friday June 2, 2006 6:10PM
Michael Jordan wore No. 12 in this 1990 Valentine's Day game against Orlando. He scored 49 points in a 135-129 loss.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
We'll spotlight the best to wear No. 32
You have my top 10 list of the best athletes to wear No. 12. Now check out a few tidbits you might not have known about the number.
The best player to ever wear No. 12? I say Tom Brady. You might say Terry Bradshaw. Or Joe Namath. But if we want to get technical, it's actually Michael Jordan. Yes, that Michael Jordan.
His Airness donned No. 12 when his more famous jersey was stolen before a Feb. 14, 1990, game at Orlando. Sam Vincent happily allowed MJ to borrow his threads for one game ... and then logged onto eBay and sold it for a million dollars. OK, just kidding about that last part.
Brady's mom knows best. "I showed up my first day [with the Patriots] and I had a 12 in my locker," Brady explained. "I just said, 'Wow -- 12.' I didn't really pick it. But my mom said there's been a lot of great 12s, so I stuck with 12. I wore it in high school, but I really loved 8."
Dwight Howard could very well become the best No. 12 in basketball history -- sorry, Mr. Stockton -- if he continues on the path he's blazing in Orlando. Just two years removed from high school algebra, Howard has become a double-double machine for the Magic.
Bob Griese didn't play most of the Dolphins' perfect season. He was lost for much of the season after Week 5 when he broke his leg against the Chargers. He returned in time to lead the Fish past the Steelers in the AFC title game and the Redskins in the Super Bowl. Wonder how Earl Morrall felt about that demotion.
Ryan Newman, NASCAR's No. 12, doesn't own your run-of-the-mill good-'ol-boy résumé. He has a bachelor's degree in Vehicle Structure Engineering from Purdue University, was the recipient of the prestigious Rich Vogler Memorial Scholarship, was a National Honor Society member and an honors graduate from South Bend (Ind.) LaSalle High School in 1996.
In what had to be a very unstable ceremony at midfield, the Seahawks retired the No. 12 in 1984 to commemorate their rowdy fans in the Kingdome days. Wonder if they left that banner when the Kingdome was imploded.
Speaking of the "12th Man," the Texas A&M Aggies sued the Seahawks for using the trademarked phrase. The university says its usage dates back to 1922, when it pulled a student from the stands and suited him to play for an injury-plagued team. In recent years, a non-scholarship player was plucked from the student body and wore No. 12 on kickoff coverage.