The Magic Numbers in Sports

The Magic Numbers in Sports


The Magic Numbers in Sports


A game is 60% luck and 40% everything else. Look, there may be all the talent in the world on one side of a game or competition, and that side may put in everything they’ve got. That doesn’t guarantee a win, however. Whether it’s a baseball game or a tennis match, luck is also a deciding factor. Of course, one way that luck often presents itself is through numbers.

People are very picky about numbers; this is apparent when playing at a casino for example. We all have our own lucky numbers that we believe will give us the magic to win.

And we often see lucky numbers present themselves in the form of jerseys. Let’s look at some of the luckiest jerseys in all of sports.

Sep 30, 2018; Paris, FRA; Michael Jordan on the first tee during the Sunday singles matches at Le Golf National. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

No. 23

Technically, the unluckiest number in maths is 23. Often, we associate 13 with bad luck, but that’s more in terms of supernatural beliefs. The fact is that the unluckiest number anywhere is number 23. Sporting figures like David Beckham and Michael Jordan, however, have helped turned that notion on its head. After all, they’re two of the biggest sporting icons in the past 35 years. 

No. 7

Whoever wears jersey number 7 often becomes the team’s heart and soul. And it’s that heart and soul that sees a team persevere (or simply die, as even heroes can fail to deliver at times). Once again, David Beckham makes his name known here, as he also wore No. 7 in his early football years, playing for Manchester United. His replacement Cristian Ronaldo wore the same number, including for the very same team. So, it’s certainly been a lucky number in the world of soccer.

No. 2

Number 2 might sound like a simple and insignificant number, but for Chinese people, it’s a strong number. The reason is that it’s the very first even number. There’s also a belief that the number brings persistent luck that sees you behind number one, and yet ensures the world will always be coming after you. Based on this theory, baseball legend Derek Jeter ranks among the sporting heroes the Chinese might consider lucky.

Nov 16, 2020; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng (right) poses for a photo at Marlins Park with chief executive officer Derek Jeter. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Guzy/Miami Marlins Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

No. 9

Number 9, of course, is the largest single-digit number. As such, its strength assigns the label of “boss” to whichever player is given the responsibility of wearing it. That explains why the player given the number is often the spearhead of their team. Not only that, but Norse mythology says that there are nine realms, as has been seen in the Marvel hit movie Thor. Another great soccer star, Brazilian player Ronaldo, seemed to take on the responsibility of this number quite well indeed. Both Brazil and Real Madrid fans (among others) regarded him as something of a superhero of his own.

No. 11

While jersey numbers 1-10 may be charming in their own special way, number 11 is the first double-digit prime number. And so, with that, the number holds a fascination of its own. There’s also an argument that suggests the two number ones provides twice the power as the single-digit one. Most players wearing this number in soccer often become the black horse of their team. Gareth Bale is one such player, and another who has turned on the luck while donning the colours of Real Madrid.

No. 8

Number 8 is another number believed to be lucky in Chinese culture. Not only that, but the Japanese culture feels the exact same way. The reason for this is that when seen in a mirror image or from upside down, the number looks identical. It’s often assigned to a player who is consistent every time they play.

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