You learn something new every day, and I just learned as I began my research for this week’s segment of Who Wore it Best that the #14 of the New York Knicks has been the second most-worn number in franchise history—just one time behind the #5.
There has been a total of 28 players to wear the number, but none more famously than Anthony Mason. Of the 27 other players, there isn’t even a close second and that’s not even being biased to my favorite Knick of all time. Of the 28 players to have worn the #14, sixteen of those players wore it for only one season or less.
We could do as we did with the #7 and disqualify Mase from the voting, but I could never do that to the man, and quite frankly... who wants to vote on whether Chris Dudley or Ronny Turiaf wore it second best?
Out of all the players to wear the jersey over the years, not once has a #14 Knicks jersey seen the light of day during an All-Star game making the long list of #14’s rather ho-hum behind Mason. Even though we will never see a Mason #14 banner hanging from the rafters, let me be the first to hand him the P&T title of Who Wore it Best #14.
Cazzie Russell: Snazzy Cazzie played for the Knicks from 1966-71. In 1967, he received All-Rookie Team honors and served as the Knicks’ sixth man during their 1970 championship season.
Russell’s lone All-Star appearance came in 1972 as a member of the Golden State Warriors. Oddly enough as our weekly segment highlights which players wore each number in Knicks franchise history the best, Cazzie maintains an interesting place in Lakers numerical history as the last player to wear both the #32 and #33 prior to Magic and Kareem. Ironically, he also wore #33 for the Knicks.
Anthony Mason: Since joining P&T, I have done my fair share of appreciation posts for my favorite Knick of all time Anthony Mason, including a special tribute on his birthday and a special P&T segment that named him as having the Most Iconic Hair Style in Knicks history.
Mase was a fan favorite by all Knicks fans during the 90’s. His hard-nosed style of play matched the hard-nosed style that is New York. There is no better way to put it, but Mase was New York. Along with Charles Oakley, the two of them became the Knicks hardcore “Bash Brothers” enforcers during the Riley era which promoted knocking opposing players to the ground along with fines if they helped pick them back up.
Mase was such an all-around gifted athlete standing at 6-foot-7, 255 pounds and boasting the strength of a linebacker coupled with the quickness and ball-handling skills of a point guard. Mason defined the position of “Point Forward”, even going as far as self-proclaiming himself a “Point God” by way of one of his famous haircuts, which no one could, or would, dare to argue.
Although Mase’s best statistical years came after his time with the Knicks, most NBA fans remember his greatest years of playing in the league during the ’90s Knicks era, one in which he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 1995.
Honorable Mentions: Bob Boozer, Chris Dudley, Ronnie Turiaf
Who Wore it Best #14?