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Like Ron Artest, Jason Collins could be a rare player to wear a number in the 90s.The newest members of the Celtics quietly made their jersey selections this offseason (never an easy process considering all the retired digits in the rafters). We've spotlighted the decisions of the rookies and Courtney Lee, but it's worth pointing out that veteran center Jason Collins appears to have chosen No. 98, according to the team's official online roster.
Collins wore No. 35 for his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Nets, but that number is retired in Boston for Reggie Lewis. Collins has worn No. 34 ever since, but clearly captain Paul Pierce wasn't giving up his digits.
So rather than pick a Shaq-friendly No. 36 to maintain sequential order, Collins appears to have gone off the grid (1998 would have been his freshman season at Stanford). If he sticks with No. 98, he'll be the first Celtics player to ever wear that number. Heck, only two other players have even dabbled in the 90's (PJ Brown wore No. 93 in 2008, while Roy Rogers wore No. 99 in 1998).
According to Basketball Reference, only one other player in NBA history have worn No. 98. Chet Aubuchon wore it for the Detroit Falcons in 1947.
[Update: Either the Celtics roster updated overnight or I'm blind -- either is a real possibility -- but Collins now appears to be listed at No. 98. When we originally blogged the entry with No. 96, we noted that the only players to wear it were Don Ray for the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in 1950 and Metta World Peace for the Rockets in 2009.]