The 10 Best Athletes To Wear No. 12

Days like today – 12/12/12 – don’t happen often. In fact, it won’t happen again in our lifetime.  People try to make the most of these dates, whether it’s by getting married or just doing something special – which is why we decided to pick our 10 favorite athletes to ever wear No. 12.

10. – Jarome Inginla

Jarome Inginla originally began his career as No. 24 but made the switch to 12 after his rookie season.  He has spent his 15-year career as a member of the Calgary Flames, where he has practically earned folk hero status, though he has never brought home Lord Stanley’s Cup.  Inginla has scored 516 goals in his career, 81 of which were game winning goals.  There’s no doubt he’ll be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame when he decides to hang it up.

9. – Thierry Henry

One of the best footballers of our generation, Thierry Henry wore No. 12 as a member of France’s national team when it won the World Cup in 1998, before becoming the country’s top scorer.  He made the number famous, however he did so with Arsenal of the Premier League – where he earned nearly every award the sport has to offer.  He’s done it all and though he might not be well known in the states, he’s making a name for himself here as well, as a member of Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls.

8. – John Stockton

John Stockton was a member of that 1990s Utah Jazz team that simply couldn’t get over the hump and bring a championship to a city with one major sports team.  Stockton certainly helped do his part, though.  He led the league in assists for nine consecutive years and finished with 15,806, a record still held today – 3,800 more than the next closest player.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

7. – Jim Kelly

If you thought Stockton couldn’t get his team over the hump, imagine what it must have been like to be Jim Kelly – losing four Super Bowls in a row with the Buffalo Bills.  But Kelly is still arguably the best to ever wear the team’s jersey and let’s face it, four AFC titles is nothing to laugh at.  Kelly’s jersey is retired and he was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2002 – his 237 career touchdowns might have helped with that.

6. – Terry Bradshaw

The Pittsburgh Steelers wouldn’t be what they are today if it wasn’t for Terry Bradshaw.  The Steelers might not retire jersey numbers, but if they did, we imagine Bradshaw’s would have been the first.  Bradshaw threw for 212 touchdowns, finished his career with a 107-51 record – oh yeah, and he won four Super Bowls.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989.

5. – Tom Brady

Already heralded by some as the greatest quarterback the NFL has ever seen, Tom Brady is a seven-time Pro Bowler with a knack for winning.  The two-time MVP has won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and holds several NFL records.  Not bad for a guy drafted 199 overall.

4. – Roberto Alomar

Regarded by many as the best second baseman ever, Roberto Alomar was a 12-time All-Star that led the Blue Jays to back-to-back World Series titles in the early 1990s.  He wore No. 12 for each of the eight teams he played for during his career and was a 10-time Gold Glove recipient.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, thanks in part to his 2,724 career hits and 1,1,34 RBIs.

3. – Yvan Cournoyer

He might not have had an easy name to pronounce, but Yvan Cournoyer is by far the greatest NHL player to ever wear No. 12.  He wore it throughout his 16-year career – all of which were spent with the Montreal Canadiens – after getting the number from another NHL great, Dickie Moore.  Cournoyer finished his career with 428 goals, 435 assists, 10 Stanley Cups and a Hall of Fame induction in 1982.

2. – Joe Namath

Joe Namath might not have all the stats as those other guys, he might not have even played as long, but what Namath did have was swagger.  Namath guaranteed a win in Super Bowl III – which was unheard of in those days – and delivered on that promise.  After the win, Namath was snapped in a photo that is probably the most recognizable in NFL history.  He acted in movies and did TV commercials – when he wasn’t throwing for 27,663 passing yards in his career – and was eventually inducted into Canton.

1. – Michael Jordan

We know what you’re thinking, Michael Jordan, he never wore No. 12?! Well actually Jordan wore the number for one game in 1990 in a game against the Orlando Magic.  He was forced to wear a different jersey after his was swiped in the locker room before the start of the Bulls’ game in Orlando.  Sure it’s a technicality but hey, it’s Jordan.  We don’t have to sit here and tell you how good he was – we’re pretty sure you already know that!


Ed is the lead hockey writer and a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller, and subscribe on Facebook @ CraveOnlineSports.

Photo Credit: Getty

By: Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery
Collection: Getty Images Sport