The NBA has a new rule that players must wear jersey numbers in the order they were issued. Kevin Durant and Joe Johnson have a shared number, so KD is going to have to change his number.
Kevin Durant has been the Finals MVP for the last two years, but Joe Johnson is not upset. He thinks that Durant deserves to have his jersey number retired by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Since 1967, the Brooklyn Nets have existed in some form. Only six jersey numbers have been retired in those 54 years. None of them players are from their Brooklyn period, which is reasonable given the fact that it just started in 2012. However, one player who had a brief stint with the Nets after the team’s relocation to Brooklyn has already admitted that his number will be retired. He isn’t one of them. No, Joe Johnson has already approached Kevin Durant about their common No. 7 jersey.
Three of the six retired numbers commemorate players from the team’s early days in the American Basketball Association. The Nets won the ABA championships in 1974 and 1976, and three players from both teams were recognized. Despite spending just three seasons with the team, Julius Erving won or split the final three ABA MVP awards, and his No. 32 is no longer in use. The others are Bill Melchionni and John Williamson. The Nets have recognized Drazen Petrovi, Jason Kidd, and Buck Williams throughout the course of their 45 NBA seasons.
Joe Johnson was named to the Nets’ All-Star team.
Joe Johnson was acquired by the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal before the team’s first season in Brooklyn in 2012. Iso Joe, an All-NBA selection in 2009–10, was acquired by Brooklyn for five players and two draft choices from the Atlanta Hawks.
In 2014, Johnson was an All-Star with the Nets, averaging 17.4 points per game. After that, his statistics plummeted, and Brooklyn offered him a buyout. Johnson averaged 14.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 34.5 minutes per game during four seasons with Brooklyn, shooting 43.2 percent overall and 37.8 percent from 3-point range.
It’s hardly the stuff of retirement jerseys. On the other hand, the Nets haven’t had many chances to honor outstanding players. Until lately, that is. Kevin Durant’s entrance marks the start of a new era for the club.
Kevin Durant is the most talented player that has ever visited Brooklyn.
No Brooklyn, New Jersey, or New York Net has ever won NBA MVP since the league’s inception in 1976. Only five players have appeared in at least one game in a Nets uniform, out of a total of 510. One of them is Kevin Durant, who won with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2013–14. James Harden (Houston Rockets, 2016–17), Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves, 2003–04), Julius Erving (Philadelphia 76ers, 1980–81), and Bob McAdoo (Buffalo Braves, 1974–75) are the other players on the list.
Durant still has work to do before his No. 7 joins the other retired jerseys at the Barclays Center. Aside from his incredible playoff performance in 2021, he has only played 35 games and 1,157 minutes for the Nets in the regular season (ranking tied for 305th and 227th, respectively, in franchise history).
However, according to a tweet obtained by Nets Daily’s Billy Reinhardt, Joe Johnson has a suggestion for the Nets and Durant about the future day when KD’s jersey goes toward the ceiling:
“Tell them to write Big ISO in the tag or something when that (No. 7) goes up in the rafters… “Naw, fr the time being….”
Johnson is still hooping at the age of 40. He topped the Big 3 in scoring for the second year in a row in 2021, winning MVP accolades in the process. Johnson’s scoring title-MVP double was his second in a row; he previously won both in 2019. (the league did not play in 2020 due to the pandemic). The Detroit Pistons gave him a preseason look after his performance in 2019. Before the regular season, Johnson was the team’s last cut.
In Brooklyn, Joe Johnson had some postseason success, but nothing like Kevin Durant.
Joe Johnson (L) doesn’t want to be forgotten when Kevin Durant’s No. 7 jersey is retired by the Brooklyn Nets. | Getty Images/Chris Covatta | Getty Images/Mitchell Leff
Johnson was at his best in four postseason series with the Nets from 2013 to 2015, with his finest performance coming in 2014. In a seven-game win against the Toronto Raptors in the first round, he averaged 21.9 points per game. In the Eastern Conference playoffs, he averaged 20.2 points each game as the reigning champion Miami Heat thrashed Brooklyn.
Kevin Durant, on the other hand, established a playoff career best in 2021, scoring 34.3 points per game in 12 playoffs games with the Brooklyn Nets. On a.514/.402/.871 shooting split, he added 9.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.5 steals. So, in general, he was OK.
Durant went supernova in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the conference semifinals, averaging 35.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists. In 42.7 minutes per game, he averaged 1.6 thefts and 1.1 blocks.
Durant’s Nets deal extends through 2025–26, giving him plenty of time to build a résumé worthy of retiring. While Joe Johnson had his moments in Brooklyn, Kevin Durant will be the only one who sees No. 7 ascend to the rafters.
Basketball Reference and Big3.com provided the statistics. Spotrac provided contract details.
RELATED: Kevin Durant and James Harden Were Key Players in a Game-Changing Nets Decision
Kevin Durant, who was named the NBA MVP for the second straight year, has a very special jersey number. That number is 33. Joe Johnson’s Jersey number is 33 as well. The two players have shared this jersey number since they were drafted in 2007. Reference: kevin durant mvp.
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