In honor of Elvin Hayes’ 77th birthday and the Rockets retiring the NBA’s 11th all-time leading scorer’s No. 44 Houston jerseyhere are 11 numbers to know about the legendary big man and Hall of Famer known as “The Big E.”
27,313: Career points scored by Hayes, who ranks No. 11 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. If Kevin Durant continues to score at his current pace (30.3 points per game), he would pass Hayes in the second half of this season. When he retired, Hayes was the third-leading scorer in league history.
16,279: Career rebounds by Hayes, who ranks fourth on the all-time rebounding list. Hayes ranked third at the time of his retirement in 1984 (trailing only Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell) and has only been passed by one player (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) over the past 38 years.
5: Hayes finished his career with averages of 21 ppg and 12.5 rpg. He is one of only five players in NBA history to post career averages of at least 21 ppg and 12 rpg, along with Elgin Baylor (27.4 ppg, 13.5 rpg), Wilt Chamberlain (30.1 ppg, 22.9 rpg), George Mikan (23.1 ppg , 13.4 rpg) and Bob Pettit (26.4 ppg, 16.2 rpg).
9: Hayes missed a total of nine games over his 16-year career, appearing in 1,303 of a possible 1,312 games. He never played fewer than 80 games in a season and played all 82 games in eight of his 16 seasons.
16: Hayes played 16 seasons in the NBA, beginning and ending his career with the Rockets franchise. He debuted with the San Diego Rockets in 1968 and retired as a Houston Rocket after the 1983-84 season.
28.4: Hayes’ league-leading scoring average during his rookie season of 1968-69. This was the final year that the NBA awarded the scoring title based on total points rather than average; Hayes led in both categories as he finished with 2,327 points while playing all 82 games for the Rockets. Hayes joined Wilt Chamberlain (1959-60) as the only rookie to win the NBA scoring title. No rookie has led the league in scoring since Hayes did it in 1969.
50,000: Career minutes played by Hayes. While I’m sure no one was tracking this number in Hayes’ final game to make sure he hit the even 50k, that number just looks so clean when checking Hayes’ career stats. By the way, it is the seventh most minutes played in NBA history as Hayes sits between Jason Kidd (50,116 minutes) and Kobe Bryant (48,683). At the time of his retirement, Hayes was the all-time leader in minutes played and games played (1,303).
7: Hayes will be the seventh Rockets player honored with a jersey retirement. He joins:
- Clyde Drexler (22)
- Moses Malone (24)
- Yao Ming (11)
- Calvin Murphy (23)
- Hakeem Olajuwon (34)
- Rudy Tomjanovich (45)
The Rockets also retired the initials of former general manager Carroll Dawson.
11: Hayes had his no. 11 jersey retired by Washington as he spent nine seasons with the Baltimore Bullets, Capital Bullets and Washington Bullets before the franchise was renamed the Washington Wizards in 1997. He was vital to the Bullets reaching three NBA Finals in the 1970s (1975, ’78 and ’79) and keyed Washington’s championship run in 1978.
12: Hayes was named an NBA All-Star for 12 straight seasons in his career (1969-80). That run of 12 consecutive All-Star selections is tied for the 10th longest streak in league history as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are tied for the most with 18.
15: Hayes will be the 15th player in NBA history to have a jersey retired by more than one franchise. He will join:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Lakers (33) and Bucks (33)
- Charles Barkley: 76ers (34) and Suns (34)
- Wilt Chamberlain: Warriors (13), Lakers (13) and 76ers (13)
- Clyde Drexler: Trail Blazers (22) and Rockets (22)
- Julius Erving: 76ers (6) and Nets (32)
- Michael Jordan: Bulls (23) and Heat (23)*
- Bob Lanier: Pistons (16) and Bucks (16)
- Moses Malone: 76ers (2) and Rockets (24)
- Pete Maravich: Hawks (44), Jazz (7) and Pelicans (7)+
- Earl Monroe: Knicks (15) and Wizards (10)
- Dikembe Mutombo: Hawks (55), Nuggets (55)
- Shaquille O’Neal: Lakers (34), Heat (32)
- Oscar Robertson: Bucks (1) and Kings (14)
- Bill Russell: NBA (6)#
- Nate Thurmond: Cavaliers (42) and Warriors (42)
* = Jordan did not play for the Heat, but Pat Riley retired his No. 23 in his final game in Miami in recognition of his excellence and contributions to the game.
+ = Maravich played for the Jazz while the franchise was in New Orleans, both the franchise (Jazz, now in Utah) and the city (New Orleans, now the Pelicans) retired his No. 7 despite never playing with the Pelicans.
# = Russell’s no. 6 was retired by the NBA and will no longer be issued to any player, with current players grandfathered in.