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The number 17 jersey might not seem to be the favorite pick of athletes, but there some legends of sport who have done the number justice. If you ever watched Josh Allen throw a touchdown pass, Shohei Ohtani overpower an opposing batter, or Chris Mullin drain countless buckets for the Golden State Warriors, you’ve seen the power of the number.

For our list of the 10 best to ever wear a number 17 jersey, presented alphabetically by first name, we highlighted their professional careers only while wearing the number 17. While you can debate who is worthy of our top 10 all day, these athletes were selected based on their accolades, statistical accomplishments, and talent while wearing a number 17 jersey.

Chris Mullin

Chris Mullin started his career with the Golden State Warriors in 1985. He played in 986 games, wearing the number 17 jersey throughout his tenure in the league, retiring after 16 seasons. The Dream Team member was a five-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA player, and two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Mullin scored 17,000 points in his career and is considered one of the greatest swingmen in NBA history. In 2011, he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Warriors retired his number 17 jersey the following year.

Davante Adams

Part of the 2014 NFL draft class, wide receiver Davante Adams was selected out of Fresno State to play with the Green Bay Packers. He spent eight seasons with the storied franchise before heading to the Las Vegas Raiders in 2022. The three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler has already put up some stellar career statistics and still has plenty of years ahead of him.

Jari Kurri

NHL star Jari Kurri was the first Finnish player enshrined into the Hall of Fame, completing his legendary career as the highest-scoring European-born player in the league. He finished third all-time, behind Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, with 601 goals, 797 assists, and 1,398 points.

Kurri played for the Edmonton Oilers from 1980 to 1990 until he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. The five-time Stanley Cup winner bounced around for several more years, always wearing the number 17 jersey, before retiring from the Colorado Avalanche in the 1997-98 season.

The Hockey Hall of Fame referred to Kurri as Gretzky’s “right-hand man,” saying he was considered by many to be perhaps the best defensive forward in the NHL.”

John Havlicek

John Havlicek was the first NBA player to score 1,000 points in 16 consecutive seasons and functioned as one of the best sixth men in league history. A central piece of the extended Boston Celtics dynasty and always wearing number 17, he played in 1,270 games from 1962 to 1978, becoming a 13-time All-Star and 11-time All-NBA player. He won eight championships and was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Josh Allen

Current Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been wearing the number 17 jersey since he entered the NFL in 2018. With his strong right arm and tank-like running style, Allen finished behind only Patrick Mahomes with 42 total touchdowns in 2022 and has already become one of the best signal-callers in franchise history. He’s finished in the top three of MVP voting twice already.

Lance Berkman

William Lance Berkman, better known as “Fat Elvis,” played outfield and first base for the Houston Astros from 2000 to 2010, wearing the number 17 jersey. When he went to the New York Yankees, the number did too. However, when he traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, he changed numbers and ended up playing in the World Series and winning the championship ring.

Today, he is a head baseball coach after retiring from professional baseball in 2013 with 1629 games played wearing the number 17. Berkman had impressive stats with the Astros and Yankees of 1017 runs, 1675 hits, and 327 home runs.

Mark Grace

Chicago Cubs Mark Grace started his career in 1988 wearing the number 28. The first baseman quickly switched to number 17 in 1989, wearing it for 12 seasons with the Cubs and another three seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The four-time Golden Glove recipient played in the 2001 World Series, winning against the New York Yankees. According to, Grace was recently inducted into the Cubs’ Hall of Fame, recognized as “one of the more memorable infield trios in franchise history,” with Shawon Dunston and Ryne Sandberg.

Philip Rivers

According to Bolt Beat, San Diego Chargers icon Philip Rivers is a potential candidate for the New York Jets QB open position after Aaron Rodgers season-ending injury. The 41-year-old has not played in the NFL since 2021. The eight-time Pro Bowler had an illustrious career with 244 games played wearing the number 17 jersey, with a career completion rate of 64.9% and 421 passing touchdowns.

Shohei Ohtani

Japanese-born starting pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani has played with the Los Angeles Angels since 2018. Named the Rookie of the Year, three-time All-Star, and MVP, the 29-year-old is a force to be reckoned with. This season, Ohtani hit 38 home runs and struck out 156 hitters. Major League Baseball historian John Thorn told The Current, “Some people are already calling him the best player ever,” comparing him to Babe Ruth, saying, “We have never seen anything like him.”

Todd Helton

First baseman Todd Helton played 17 seasons for the Colorado Rockies, named as a five-time all-star, three-time Gold Glove, and four-time Silver Slugger. He is considered the best Rockies player of all time, holding franchise records for hits (2,519), home runs (369), RBI (1,406), and runs (2,519). Helton played in 2,247 games wearing the number 17 jersey from 1997 to 2013. 

Best athletes to wear a number 17 jersey: honorable mentions

We considered so many great athletes who’ve worn a number 16 jersey. The following didn’t quite make it on our top-10 list, but they’re worth mentioning due to their incredible talent and prolific careers. More will join them as new talents distinguish themselves.

  • Anderson Varejao
  • Brent Barry
  • Dave Krieg
  • David Trezeguet
  • Dizzy Dean
  • Don Meredith
  • Emmanuel Petit
  • Gerard Gallant
  • Harold Carmichael
  • Ilya Kovalchuk
  • Jim Hart
  • Jim Pollard
  • Kevin De Bruyne
  • Marek Hamsik
  • Mario Elie
  • Mario Mandzukic
  • Nani
  • Plaxico Burress
  • Rod Brind’Amour
  • Scott Rolen
  • Tim Cahill
  • Wendel Clark
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