The Best Athletes to Ever Wear a Number 16 Jersey

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Joe Montana celebrates for the San Francisco 49ers

The number 16 jersey has been the favorite of countless athletes, but some have done it more justice than others. If you ever watched Joe Montana throw a touchdown pass for the San Francisco 49ers, Brett Hull squeeze a puck past a helpless goalie, Bob Lanier throw up a classic 20/10 line, or Dwight Gooden overpower an opposing batter, you’ve seen the power of the number.

For our list of the 10 best to ever wear a number 16 jersey, presented alphabetically by first name, we highlighted their professional careers only while donning the one and six. These athletes were selected based on their accolades, statistical accomplishments, and talent while wearing a number 16 jersey.

Bob Lanier

Bob Lanier wore the number 16 jersey for his entire 14-year NBA career. Although he never won a championship, the Hall of Famer was named an All-Star eight times, and the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks both retired his jersey number. Lanier excelled as a nightly threat to go for 20 points and 10 rebounds, exceeding those numbers in seven consecutive seasons during his 20s.

Bobby Clarke

Not only is Bobby Clarke a Hall of Famer, but he’s also regarded as one of the best hockey players ever. He spent his whole NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers (and still works for the organization), winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and ’75. A three-time winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy, Clarke’s iron-man abilities helped him lead the league in assists twice and consistently put up more than a point per game.

Brett Hull

Another hockey legend, Brett Hull didn’t wear the number 16 jersey for his entire career and won his two Stanley Cups in a different set of digits. However, he still excelled for the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, and Phoenix Coyotes with the one-six, even winning the Hart Memorial Trophy for St. Louis in 1990-91.

Dwight Gooden

A four-time All-Star who helped the New York Mets win the 1986 World Series, Dwight Gooden put on a number 16 jersey for all but three seasons and was wearing it when he got off to one of the strongest starts MLB has ever witnessed. The right-hander finished second in the National League Cy Young voting as a rookie and followed that up with the trophy and a triple-crown season in 1985, leading the league with 24 wins, a 1.53 ERA, and 268 strikeouts.

George Blanda

George Blanda thrived as both a quarterback and a kicker before and after his brief retirement in 1959. He made four Pro Bowls, won three AFL championships, eventually earned induction into the Hall of Fame, and excelled throughout his 26-season career as one of professional football’s earliest superstars.

Hal Newhouser

Hel Newhouser accomplished a rare feat in 1944 and 1945 when he won back-to-back American League MVPs for the Detroit Tigers, pitching to a 2.01 ERA over 625.2 innings (and winning a World Series in the latter season). Without ever taking off the number 16 jersey, he made seven All-Star squads, won two ERA titles, and eventually earned induction into the Hall of Fame.

Joe Montana

Even though his numbers might not all translate to the modern NFL, Joe Montana remains one of the most talented quarterbacks in league history. The Pro Football Hall of Famer thrived with the San Francisco 49ers (four Super Bowls and two league MVPs) while wearing the number 16 jersey, which the organization has since retired.

Marcel Dionne

Marcel Dionne may not have won a Stanley Cup, but the Hall of Famer did make four All-Star squads and the 100th Anniversary Team. He also won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy twice, the Ted Lindsay Award twice, and the Art Ross Trophy once during a shot-happy career that routinely saw him push north of 100 points.

Pau Gasol

Earning a jersey retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers is quite the impressive feat, and Pau Gasol did exactly that after winning two championships alongside Kobe Bryant. Also wearing the number 16 jersey for the Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, and San Antonio Spurs en route to the Hall of Fame, the Spaniard thrived as a skilled and powerful big man who made six All-Star teams with career averages of 17.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.

Whitey Ford

Whitey Ford became a legend with the New York Yankees, wearing 16 for the rest of his career after a stellar rookie season and a two-year military stint. The Hall of Famer won five World Series rings and earned 10 All-Star berths before the Yankees retired his digits. With a Cy Young and two ERA titles, as well as a sterling 2.75 career ERA, he remains one of the best pitchers in MLB history.

Best athletes to wear a number 16 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.

  • Al Attles
  • Aleksander Barkov
  • Cliff Hagan
  • Daniele de Rossi
  • Dutch Leonard
  • Edouard Mendy
  • Frank Gifford
  • Frank Viola
  • Henri Richard
  • Jake Plummer
  • Jakub Blaszczykowski
  • Jared Goff
  • Jason Giambi
  • Jerry Lucas
  • Jim Plunkett
  • Larry Foust
  • Len Dawson
  • Michael Carrick
  • Michel Goulet
  • Norm Snead
  • Pat LaFontaine
  • Peja Stojakovic
  • Red Holzman
  • Roy Keane
  • Sergio Busquets
  • Ted Lyons
  • Tom Sanders
  • Tyler Linden
  • Tyler Lockett

Stats courtesy of Basketball ReferencePro Football ReferenceTransfermarktBaseball Reference, and Hockey Reference