There are many distinguished player numbers in sports - 4, 7, 20, 23, 32, 33, 80, 92 - known due to a single great player or a string of very good players. The new hot number ?
You heard it here first. It is by no means a historically significant player number, with the most famous to wear it being Roy Campanella and Larry Csonka, but it is a number on the rise.
Two of the NFL's hot young running backs - Willie Parker and Steven Jackson- wear it and it is beginning to be much more popular in the English Premier League.
Why do I know this you ask?
Well, I have a certain affinity to the number 39. It is an odd sports number and not often seen, but I chose it for my soccer number 5 years ago when we first formed our team. I wore it first to be unique, which it still is, and second because I like French Striker Nicola Anelka, then wearing 39 for Manchester City and probably the only player in the English Premier League to do so. He then took it to Turkey, then Bolton and now Chelsea. Soccer numbers are even more traditional than football. Strikers are usually number 9, the goalie number 1, the center midfielder number 10, and defenders low numbers. That is still close to the case today, but there are the occassional outliers, and teams play more and more they need more and more players, bigger teams mean more numbers in use.
Case in point, last week, where Tuesday saw #39 Belhadj for Portsmouth get a red card and Wednesday saw new signing for Man City Craig Bellemy score in his debut donning the 39 and also Andy Carroll for Newcastle scored in the 39 jersey.
I'm sure there are some baseball 39s I am forgetting and of course, there are no basketball 39s. Also Wisconsin running back J.P. Hill wears/wore it and some hockey players do as well.
So 39 is great. I was like at the beginning of the pyramid scheme, so I am proud and take notice of new 39s. Pretty soon everyone will be wearing it, but for now it is both unique and awesome.
Bonus: What former Packer wore 39 and holds a special place in my memory?